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PROVguide 55: Land Records

Land, Places and Local History – Land Records

Public Record Office Victoria holds a wide range of records that document the administration of Crown lands in Victoria.  The main agency involved in this administration was the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538).  This PROVguide outlines how to access some of the most frequently used series regarding land selection in Victoria, and other significant land records such as the Historic Plan Collection.  

For detailed information about the administration of Crown lands in Victoria consult the pages for VF 310 Crown lands (government) and VF 309 Crown lands (public) on PROV’s online catalogue at www.access.prov.vic.gov.au.  See also individual series pages referred to in this PROVguide for more information about accessing records in those series.

Online and microform resources

A selection of land records are available in PROV Reading Rooms on microfilm and microfiche without having to be ordered.  See PROV’s guides to Microfilm, Microfiche and Online Resources at the Victorian Archives Centre, and Microfilm, Microfiche and Online Resources at the Ballarat Archives Centre for more information about accessing land records on microfilm and microfiche.  A range of land related finding aids are also available online: http://prov.vic.gov.au/publications/lands-guide.

A select list of land records held at PROV

Land selection and occupation

The first step in locating correspondence files about land selection is to identify the file number allocated to the piece of land you are researching.  File numbers for land selection and occupation files are found on parish and township plans.  The plans are available on microfiche at PROV Reading Rooms and through Lands Victoria.  Once you have obtained a file number from a plan you can search PROV’s online catalogue for the correspondence file.  

A correspondence file number on a parish or township plan is recorded in the format of a fraction.  The top number is the file number and the bottom number contains the section or sections of the Act under which the Crown grant was made.  A selection of the more commonly-used series that can be accessed by finding these numbers on parish plans includes:

VPRS 625 Selection Files, Sections 19 and 20, Land Act 1869

VPRS 626 District Selection Files, Sections 19 and 20, Land Act 1869

VPRS 627 Land Selection Files, Section 31, Land Act 1869

VPRS 624 Land Selection Files, Section 42, Land Act 1865

VPRS 629 Land Selection Files, Section 33, Land Act 1869

The following two microfiche series control access to the list of series that follow them, which comprise files relating to land selection and occupation under various sections of successive Land Acts:

VPRS 7311 Microfiche Catalogue to Crown Land and Survey Files: File Number Order

VPRS 7312 Microfiche Catalogue to Crown Land and Survey Files: Parish/Township Order

VPRS 242 Crown Reserves Correspondence Files

VPRS 439 Land Selection Files, Land Act 1869, Section 49

VPRS 440 Occupation Files – District Series

VPRS 444 Miscellaneous Land Selection and Occupation Files

VPRS 5357 Land Selection and Correspondence Files

VPRS 5714 Closer [and Soldier] Settlement Files     

Closer and Soldier Settlement

VPRS 5714 Closer [and Soldier] Settlement Files 1898 – 1960

Retrieval of these files is facilitated using the Microfiche Catalogue to Crown Land and Survey Files (VPRS 7311 and VPRS 7312) which contain file numbers.  File numbers for closer and soldier settlement files are also found on parish and township plans.  The plans are available on microfiche in PROV Reading Rooms and through Lands Victoria.

Crown Reserves

VPRS 242 Crown Reserves Correspondence Files

This series includes files relating to land reserved for public parks, foreshores, commons, flora and fauna reserves, early national parks as well the proclamation of townships and roads. This series is accessed using the Microfiche Index to Crown Lands and Survey Files (VPRS 7311 and 7312).

Historic Maps and Plans

VPRS 15899 Historic Plans Collection [Copy of VPRS 8168] is available on microfiche in the Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room.  It can be accessed by using the online index which includes a number of search options.

Pastoral Runs

VPRS 5920 Pastoral Run Files (Microfiche Reference Copy) 1840 – 1879

VPRS 244 Pastoral Run Plans (Microfiche Reference Copy) 1848 – 1875

VPRS 5826 Pastoral Run Registers (Microfiche Reference Copy) 1848 – 1875

The records are accessed by the name of the run. If you know the name of the licensee only, use Billis and Kenyon, Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip, to determine the name of the run.  This book can be consulted at PROV Reading Room reference libraries. 

To access Pastoral Run Plans consult VPRS 8168 VPRS Register of Historic Plan Collection (1802-1963) (Computer Output Microfiche), which is available in PROV Reading Rooms and does not have to be ordered.  See also this online finding aid regarding Pastoral Runs:

Index to Correspondence Regarding Pastoral Runs in VPRS 7 Treasurers Inward Correspondence

Correspondence

VPRS 44 Inward Registered and Unregistered Correspondence c1839 – 1930

This series comprises early correspondence regarding the administration of Crown lands. The series VPRS 8670 Microfiche Catalogue to Crown Lands and Survey Files in VPRS 44 facilitates the retrieval of correspondence in VPRS 44.  Refer to the description of the series for further information.

VPRS 226 Index to Inward Correspondence (Microfilm Copy) 1856 – 1876

VPRS 227 Register of Inward Correspondence (Microfilm Copy) 1856 – 1876

VPRS 228 Alphabetical Register of Inward Correspondence (Microfilm Copy) 1876 -1896

Use these series to obtain correspondence registration numbers. These films are available in the Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room.

VPRS 5357 Land Selection and Correspondence Files 1850 – 1984

VPRS 6605 Inwards Correspondence of the Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands 1853 – 1860

These series comprise miscellaneous correspondence. Retrieval of this correspondence is facilitated using the Microfiche Catalogue to Crown Lands and Survey Files (VPRS 7311 and 7312).

Land Titles and Sales

VPRS 405 Titles Application Books 1862 – 1964

VPRS 460 Applications for Certificates of Title 1862 – 1969

These series relate to the conversion of general law titles to Torrens titles from 1864. The records are accessed by application number available from the Department of Sustainability and Environment www.dse.vic.gov.au.

VPRS 102 Register of Purchasers of Town Lands 1837 – 1856

VPRS 80 Reports of Land Sales 1849 – 1869

These series record the earliest land sales by auction in town and country areas.

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