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PROVguide 40: Railway Employment Records

Railway Employment Records

Employment records can be a rich source of information for the family historian.  There is a wealth of detail to be found in records such as Inwards and Outwards Correspondence Files, Accident Compensation Claim Books, Discipline Record Books, Leave Record Books, Sponsored Migrant Records, Staff Registers and Employee History Sheets. Many records give names, addresses, ages of employees, details of accidents and injuries suffered, promotions, leave entitlements and dates of beginning and ending employment with the railways.

Above: Engine Painters at Williamstown Workshops 1883
 Public Record Office Victoria, VPRS 12800 / P1, H2344

Finding railway employment records at PROV

There is no centralised collection of Railway Employment records and the records were transferred between the different branches along with the employees. For the purposes of locating records, it is beneficial to know in which Branch of the Railways the employee worked. Some of the branches for which Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) hold records are:  

  • Rollingstock
  • Traffic / Transportation
  • Way and Works
  • Commercial and Marketing
  • Refreshment Service / Trading and Catering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Stores
  • Freight Services
  • Printing                                                                                   

Suggested record series for family history research

The following series, used in conjunction with their indexes and registers, can provide information on individuals via the use of the surname:

  • Secretary’s Inward Correspondence 1859 – 1962 (VPRS 421)
  • Inwards Correspondence Registers 1859 – 1871 (VPRS 422)
  • Engineer in Chief Minute Books 1859 – 1904 (VPRS 423)
  • Engineer in Chief Inwards Correspondence 1859 – 1980 (VPRS 425)
  • Engineer in Chief Indexes to Inward Correspondence 1867 – 1956 (VPRS 427)
  • Existing Lines Branch Inwards Correspondence Registers 1878 – 1904 (VPRS 433)
  • Outwards Memoranda (Promotions and Increments Board, Ways and Works Branch) 1919-1929 (VPRS 12086)
  • Index to Personnel Matters, Industrial Relations and Personnel Division 1928-1993 (VPRS16331)
  • Staff Salary Records 1919-1926 (VPRS 13703)
  • Name Index Cards to Secretary’s Correspondence, VPRS 421 1963-1983 VPRS 16321
  • Accident Compensation Claim Book 1906-1990 VPRS 13536
  • Staff Record Book, Accounts Branch 1858-1953 VPRS 12555
  • Discipline Record Book, Traffic Branch  1875-1928 VPRS 1349
  • Railway Employees Leave Record Book 1883-1930 VPRS 13707
  • Employee History Records, Printing Division 1919-1987 VPRS 12598
  • Employee History Cards, Transport Operations / Transportation 1926-1986 VPRS 12597
  • Workshop Employees Service and Conduct Register, Rolling Stock Branch, 1885-1912 VPRS 12736
  • Staff Register, Transportation Branch 1883 – 1921 VPRS 12774
  • Employee History Sheets, Traffic/Transportation Branch 1910-1926 VPRS 13537
  • Sponsored Migrants Records 1951-1979 VPRS 12807
  • Staff Returns, Rolling Stock Branch 1932-1983 VPRS 13278
  • Employee History Sheets, Stores Branch 1933-1984 VPRS 12592
  • Accident Register, Employees, Rolling Stock Branch 1939-1947 VPRS 13532
  • Employee History Sheets, Rolling Stock Branch VPRS 12596 (there are some gaps in this series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left: Interior of Campaspe Dining Car with Catering Staff and Passengers
Public Record Office Victoria, VPRS 12800 / P4, RS 0432

Access to “closed” records held by PROV

Many railway employment records held by PROV are closed under the Public Record Act 1973 because they may hold information of a personal and / or sensitive nature. The Department  of Transport (DOT)are the responsible agency and may allow access to these records under certain criteria. To submit a request in writing for consideration for access to these records, please contact:-

Transport Insurance and Risk Management Services, DOT Legal, Department of Transport, PO BOX  2797, Melbourne, 3001

Records in other places

Information sources about railway employees

Parliamentary Papers:

1880–1

Vol. 3

p. 138

 

1882–3

Vol. 1

p. 693

 

1886

Vol. 1

p. 753

Triennial List of Railway Employees in the Government Gazette

(1884 – 1929)

 Year

Vol

Page

 

Year

Vol

Page

1884

1

1459

 

1908

2

2333

1887

2

2055

 

1911

2

4457

1890

1

1237

 

1914

2

3267

1893

1

  387

 

1918

1

  887

1896

1

  621

 

1921

1

1189

1899

1

  433

 

1924

1

1167

1902

3

4099

 

1926

1

1233

1905

3

4719

 

1929

2

1931

Please note that these lists were no longer published in the Government Gazette after 1929. The Government Gazette is available on the State Library of Victoria’s website

http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au

Employee records and other records still in custody of Department of Transport

The Department of Transport still retains custody of many railway records of former employees including personal records, pre-1985 Workers Compensation & Work Cover records and payroll records. They also assist with issues in relation to Superannuation and can provide advice regarding pre-1985 Workers compensation & Workcover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left: Staff from the “Spirit of Progress” first run on 7th November, 1937.
VPRS 12800/P4, RS 0648

Requesting records from DOT
It is not necessary to make a Freedom of Information request for these records. The records may be made available directly to you upon request by an authorised person. To make a request for access to former employee records contact DOT employee.records@transport.vic.gov.au

DOT – Related information

Further Information

Please refer to the following for information about locating and ordering a range of railway-related records held by PROV.

PROVguide 62 – Public Transport – Railways ,

PROVguide 69 – Public Transport Corporation Photographic Collection Online

HOW TOguide 40 – Ordering Railway Employment Records

FAQ – Employment Records

FAQ – Railways ,

FAQ – Photographic Collections.

 

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