What is Victoria Unearthed?
Victoria Unearthed brings together existing information about potential land and groundwater contamination, historical business listings, and more.
Victoria Unearthed is a useful starting point for people wanting to find out more about a piece of land or area. It is not a definitive source of information about current contamination.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: From 1 July 2021 some EPA data in Victoria Unearthed has changed due to new legislation. See About the datasets
Victoria Unearthed includes information from a range of existing government sources including up-to-date data from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria.
Victoria Unearthed includes five key datasets from EPA.
- Priority Sites Register – sites where EPA has issued a cleanup notice or pollution abatement notice
- EPA Licenced Sites – sites licenced by EPA
- EPA Environmental Audits – sites with completed environmental audits
- Groundwater Quality Restricted Use Zone – sites that have restrictions of the use of groundwater
- Victorian Landfill Register – locations of current and historical landfill
It also includes the Environmental Audit Overlays from the Victoria Planning Provisions, indicating where an audit may be required before development.
It also includes Historical Business Listings - information from Victoria's Sands & McDougall business directories (Victoria’s original 'phone books') from around every 10 years between 1896 and 1974, which until recently were held at State Library Victoria in hard copy only.
Victoria Unearthed helps you investigate the history and state of your land. Enter an address, suburb, town or area into the searchable map and access information about land and groundwater from a range of Victorian Government datasets.
Enter an address, suburb, town or area into the searchable map and access information about land and groundwater from a range of Victorian Government datasets.
Victoria Unearthed is not a source of all information about current contamination, it is a tool that helps you find out more about land, groundwater, past business listings and possible contamination.
More information: About the datasets
Victoria Unearthed has been created to provide helpful information to anyone in the community who is interested in finding out about more about historical business listings and potential land and groundwater contamination.
Victoria Unearthed has been created in response to Recommendation 14.1 of the Independent Inquiry into the EPA.
In its Response to the Independent Inquiry, the Victorian Government committed to improving access to information to strengthen management of risks associated with legacy contamination.
In particular, the government committed to developing a public database providing consistent, easily accessible state-wide historical information to assist with identification of potentially contaminated sites.
Victoria Unearthed is a joint project led by the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
The Victoria Unearthed team has also worked with the State Library Victoria, who digitised the Sands & McDougall directories on behalf of DELWP.
Victoria Unearthed brings together various existing datasets, some of which relate to the condition of land and groundwater in Victoria.
The purpose of Victoria Unearthed is to help individuals decide whether they want to make their own further enquiries in relation to the actual condition of particular land and/or groundwater.
In Victoria Unearthed, when we refer to potential contamination, we are not suggesting in any way that there is a basis for concluding that particular locations appearing in Victoria Unearthed are contaminated.
The inclusion or omission of information in Victoria Unearthed is not evidence that a location is, or is not, contaminated or potentially contaminated. For example, a particular location may have no information relating to it in Victoria Unearthed, and yet still be contaminated. Similarly, a particular location may have information relating to its historical contamination, but this has since been rehabilitated and is today free of contamination.
The information in Victoria Unearthed is limited, incomplete and may be inaccurate. Users of Victoria Unearthed must not rely on, reach conclusions or make assumptions about the significance of the inclusion or omission of information relating to particular locations in Victoria Unearthed.
Victoria Unearthed must only be used as a starting point for enquiries, and any person with a particular interest in a specific location must make their own further enquiries about the actual condition of the land or groundwater. In general, only qualified and experienced environmental professionals should be consulted about testing for contamination.
The presence of contamination does not always mean there is a risk to health. Many factors need to be considered to understand if there is a risk to health, such as how the land is used, the nature of the contamination, whether people are exposed, how much they are exposed to and for how long.
It is important to remember that the Historical Business Listings information from the Sands & McDougall directories (old 'phone books') do not show actual evidence of contamination – they are simply business listings and do not provide evidence of actual land use.
Furthermore, Victoria Unearthed is a not an exhaustive source of information about current contamination. It is a tool that helps you find out more about land, groundwater, historical business listings and potential contamination. This data, mostly from the EPA, is already publicly available, but now made easier for people to access in one place at one time.
If you have any concerns that land or groundwater may be contaminated, you can:
- Get further information via EPA and other sources, such as State Library of Victoria, historical aerial photos, local historical societies, historic land titles, council rates records, Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works plans and the Victorian Heritage Database.
- Speak to an experienced environmental consultant. EPA provides detailed information on engaging environmental consultants at https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/business-and-industry/guidelines/engaging-consultants.
If you have any health concerns regarding potential contamination, see your doctor.
Find out more via the links below.
Find out more about who's responsible and who can help clean-up contaminated land or groundwater.
Not all land that is affected by contamination poses a risk to human health or the environment. Find out more about the different ways health can be affected by contamination.
We welcome your feedback on Victoria Unearthed, which will be used to inform future development.
To leave feedback, find out more, or to report technical issues with Victoria Unearthed, click the Feedback button in the top toolbar of the Victoria Unearthed map or email us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Page last updated: 29/04/22