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PROVguide 56: Education Records

Education, Health and Welfare – Education Records

Prior to 1872 religious/denominational schools were maintained separately from government schools. The Denominational School Board provided for denominational schools and the National School Board, later the Board of Education, provided government sponsored secular education. In 1872, following growing dissatisfaction with State aid to religious schools and the burgeoning cost of funding and administering a dual school system, the government introduced free, compulsory and secular education and established the first Education Department. The Department became the employer of government teachers and Victoria had a Minister for Education. State aid to denominational schools ended in 1874.

Public Record Office Victoria holds records for the central administration of education including:

National School Board

State Council of Education

Denominational School Board

Teachers and Schools Registration Board

Board of Education

Council of Public Education

Education Department

Victorian Inquiry into Teacher Education

Department of School Education

Advisory Council on Tertiary Education

The records of over one thousand educational institutions including primary and secondary schools, Colleges of Advanced Education, the Victorian Institute of Colleges and some tertiary bodies are also held at PROV.  While some records about government regulation of private schools are held, the records of private schools themselves are not.

Searching in PROV’s Online Catalogue

  • For records about individual schools search PROV’s Online Catalogue using the school name in the Advanced or Simple search.
  • For records concerning the construction and maintenance of school buildings use PROV’s Online Catalogue to search VA 669 Public Works Department records.
  • For records about National Schools, Denominational Schools, grants to schools, especially grants of land, use PROV’s Online Catalogue to search VA 475 Chief Secretary, VA 919 National School Board and VA 703 Denominational School Board.
  • There are also a number of Royal Commissions and Boards of Inquiry relating to Education, use PROV’s Online Catalogue to search VRG 14 Royal Commissions and Boards of Inquiries for the records of the various Commissions and Inquiries relating to education.

A Select List of the Most Commonly Used Series

Primary Schools

VPRS 640 Primary School Correspondence Files 1878 – 1962

This includes correspondence from each primary school to the Education Department.

VPRS 795 School Building Files 1863 – 1975

These files can include information about requests for schools, obtaining grants, raising local money, site selection, building and maintenance of school buildings and equipment, residences, maintenance of school grounds. Some files contain a list of students attending or who would attend the school.

VPRS 796 Outward Correspondence – Primary Schools 1868 – 1938

VPRS 10059 Outward Letter Books c.1886 – 1965

These series contain correspondence sent from the Education Department to schools.  To use the Series Information Registers to find correspondence relating to a particular school you need to know the school number. Education Department Victoria’s 1968 publication Alphabetical Listing of Primary Schools: Operating and Otherwise, lists school names and numbers and is available in PROV’S Reading Rooms.

High Schools

VPRS 10249 Inward Registered Correspondence from High Schools, c.1907 – 1960

This series includes correspondence from each High School to the Education Department.

Outward correspondence from the Education Department to post primary schools is found in VPRS 10275 to 1938 and VPRS 10059 from 1938. Both series are accessed by school name.

VPRS 3916 School Building Files (High Schools) 1905 – 1964

Information about many aspects of the building and maintenance of the schools is found in these files.


VPRS 907 Examination Papers for Appointments and Classification 1863 – 1872

This series gives the examination reports/results sent to individual teachers. An online database index gives the teachers’ names, their school names and numbers and the examination report number.

VPRS 13718 Teacher Record Books 1863 – 1959

This series contains records of teachers that worked in Victorian public schools. It is a microfilm copy of a number of teacher record book series: VPRS 13579, 13974, 13973, 11481, 14005, 11469, 14012, 13971 and 13970. The microfilm is available in PROV reading rooms. VPRS 13719 Database Index to Teacher Record Books can be used to search for teachers’ names and locate teacher record numbers. These numbers can be used to locate a teacher record in the microfilm.

Other Series

VPRS 794 Central Inwards Registered Correspondence 1873 – 1963

This series includes correspondence sent to the Education Department from government departments, teachers, schools, inspectors and others. The correspondence deals with a very wide range of subjects. To identify correspondence it is necessary to use the index VPRS 893 Classified Subject Index to Inward Registered Correspondence c1864 – 1984.  Consult the Guide to VPRS 893/P. This is a list of indexing terms used in the first consignment of this series.  It shows you which pages and in which volumes each subject appears.

VPRS 892 Special Case files 1853 – 1946

These files deal with a wide variety of subjects from inquiries into teachers’ conduct to polio epidemics and free milk. An alphabetical index to subjects and parties is available VPRS 5675 Index to Special Case Files c1883 – 1977.  See also, VPRS 5676 Register of Special Case Files c1883 – 1977.

VPRS 10537 Classified Headings Correspondence 1926 – 1969

These files are arranged in large subject groupings and deal with topics such as Curriculum and Research, Libraries, Physically Handicapped Children, Psychology and Guidance and the Teachers Tribunal. A complete list of topics and date ranges is given in the Series Information Folders in each Reading Room. See PROV’s Online Catalogue for information on accessing these files.

Regulation of Private Schools

VPRS 10061 Teacher Registration Files 1905 – 1964

This series documents the registration of teachers in private schools. The files are arranged numerically by teachers’ registration numbers. Registration numbers can be obtained by consulting the Register of Teachers published annually in the Government Gazette. Public Service Lists will also provide this information.

VPRS 10300 Closed Registered School Files 1906 – 1996

This series appears to document the closure of private schools which failed to qualify for registration or which subsequently closed for other reasons. The series is arranged by school number and there is a card list index by Principal/Proprietor and by school name in the Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room.

Online records


Digitised Records

VPRS 13719 Database Index to Teacher Record Books

VPRS 65 Copy of Inward and Outward Correspondence, Board of Education, 1849-1851

Index to VPRS 907 Teacher Examination Papers, 1863-1872

VPRS 5675/P0 Index to Special Case Files, 1862-1977   

VPRS 5676/P0 Register of Special Case Files, 1852-1977

State Schools Listing 

An alphabetical and numerical index of State Schools within Victoria including those schools which have closed or merged and may no longer operate.


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