The Hills Shire Rate Books
The Hills Shire (known until November 2008 as Baulkham Hills Shire) was proclaimed on 6 March 1906 and the inaugural meeting of the first elected Council held on 8 December.
1907 saw the introduction of Rates and the recording of information which was necessary to assess the rate amounts for the various properties within the Shire.
The earliest volumes, conventional ledger style bound in sheep skin with water wave cloth boards, are very large measuring 572mm x 450mm x 46mm.
For the years 1907-1909 there are three volumes, one for each riding (now known as wards): A Riding covered the north of the Shire and included Annangrove, Dural, Glenorie, Kenthurst, Lower Portland, Rouse Hill and Wisemans Ferry; B Riding included Baulkham Hills and Kellyville; and C Riding included Castle Hill and West Pennant Hills. The 1910 Rate Book includes A, B and C Ridings in one volume. The1911-1913 Rate Book was originally in three volumes, A, B and C Ridings, but only the records from B and C Ridings have survived.
To make information more accessible to family and local historians and to help tell a story of the Shire’s development, library volunteer Ian Beckett has painstakingly transcribed the Shire’s early rate books. The records vary but usually contain the following information:
- Assessment/rate number: a number given to each property.
- Name of owner/ratepayer: when the name of owner or ratepayer change, the original entry was crossed out and the new details written in. The trade/occupation and address of the owner/ratepayer/occupier was often shown.
- Description of property: Contained information about the situation and area or dimensions of the land including the name of the Parish, the Portion number or part (pt), and sometimes the Subdivision details. Street names are not shown.
- Annual rates: Shown in pounds and shillings. The assessed value of the property was used to set the rates payable by the owner or occupier.
- Unimproved (UCV)/improved capital value (ICV): A difference between these amounts may indicate that a building or fencing had been constructed on the property.
Parish maps show the transfer of land from government to the first individual to own the portion of land either by grant or purchase, and have nothing to do with church parishes. Portion numbers act as starting points for tracing changes of land ownership through land title records and parish maps.
Sydney is covered by the County of Cumberland and consists of many land parishes. Those in The Hills Shire are, from north to south, the Parishes of Cornelia, Maroota, Nelson, Castle Hill and some of the Parish of the Field of Mars. As development progressed in the Shire, portions were subdivided amongst families and from the late nineteenth century through the sale of advertised subdivisions.The Local Studies Collection at Castle Hill Library contains Parish maps and local Subdivision Plans that can assist researchers in locating properties. For more information please contact the Development Officer Customer & Information Services by phone, on 9761 4554, Monday Friday or by email.