Find the past residents of your home in this ongoing series on heritage planning

Who’s lived in your house? is a series of articles that will explore different resources to get the most history out of your house. City of Greater Bendigo Heritage Planner Dannielle Orr says city archives hold a wealth of information on old homes and streets. In this series, Dannielle will share some tips on what information you may discover when asking the right questions.

If these walls could talk – it’s a popular saying we all wish for at times but it can seem like mission impossible!

This column will explore the different resources available to turn your bricks and mortar into virtual motor mouths and make your weatherboards wax lyrical about the good ol’ days, and help develop a picture of your home through the ages.

But before your research begins, let’s have some fun! Charles Daniel Pratt was born in New Zealand in 1891 and died in 1968. He served in World War I as a chief designer and test pilot for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company. After the war many non-military applications were found for piloting, in particular aerial photography.

In the late 1920s, about a decade after the war, Charles Daniel Pratt combined his military piloting experience with aerial photography and started taking detailed aerial photographs of Victorian locations. The project was known as ‘Airspy’ and the collection is a wonderful record from the air of cities and towns like Melbourne and Bendigo between two world wars.

Today you can use these images to find an accurate picture of what your house looked like nearly a century ago. The Airspy collection is digitised and available from the State Library of Victoria. A simple search of the words ‘Airspy’ and ‘Bendigo’ at the main home page will result in over 30 high resolution photos of our city. The Airspy collection is out of copyright but it is recommended that you comply with any guidelines for uses other than your own research.

See if you can find your house in these aerial views - happy airspying!

For more information on Charles Daniel Pratt visit

Dannielle Orr is the City of Greater Bendigo's Heritage Planner.


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