Adjust Font Size [ + ] [ – ] [ o ]

Victorian Archives Centre public opening hours

Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
(excl. public holidays)
The second and last Saturday of every month

Hackney Cab Drivers 1859-1938, Reputable or Reprobate

Black and White photo of a horse drawn cab waiting on Swanston Street outside Flinders Station

External Flinders Street Station, Horse and Cab, Swanston Street VPRS 12800 P3 ADV/0075

 

Blog post by Graham Herschell, Access Services Officer:

Origins of “Uber”

In 1883, Nietzsche coined the term “Übermensch” to describe the higher state to which he felt men might aspire. From this first iteration of the term, the Uber ride sharing service, which has become very  popular in Melbourne, has grown [1].

Whether or not the Uber ride service has lived up to this lofty ideal is a matter of opinion, and has led to a lot of discussion about the existing taxi services, the conditions of the cars, as well as the friendliness, knowledge and ability of the drivers. This is nothing new!

I don’t know whether the cab drivers of the late Victorian era were in the habit of reading Nietzsche or whether they aspired to any higher state, however the industry was controlled by a board whose judgements and rules were in some ways harsher and in other ways more lenient than today.

I’m sure that, in the main, the public were conveyed by “Uber” sober, law abiding citizens; however, a perusal of the records in the series entitled: Hackney Carriages (Licensed Vehicles) demonstrates that not all of the drivers were without flaws. 

Hackney Carriages of Melbourne 1859 – 1938

The series consists of 15 Volumes stretching from 1859 – 1938 and documents the activities of a committee overseeing the operation of the taxi industry at that time. 

The committee’s major task appears to have been monitoring the various types of license applications (i.e. Hackney Carriages, Motor Car Drivers, Motor Car Owners, Carters and Motor Omnibus) and dealing with any petitions, complaints or correspondence referred to it.

For instance, this excerpt from Page 143 of Volume 2:

“Petition received from Palmer and O…..  praying that the Cabmen on the Richmond road may be permitted to charge 6 pence in lieu of 3 pence for the journey from Melbourne to Richmond and from Richmond to Melbourne after 11pm. Prayers of the petition granted to commence after the 12th January 1876 and cabmen instructed to have the number of passengers which their vehicles are licensed to carry painted inside their cabs.”

However, amongst the formalities, is a bit of larrikinism, often in the form of drunkenness. In June 1873 Edward Cooper fronted the committee. I imagine the hearing might have gone a little something like this…

Meeting of the Committee (Dramatisation)

Insert

Meeting of the Committee VPRS4035 P0 Volume2

14th June 1873
Present: Alderman Story (Chairman), Councillor Anderson, Cab driver Edward Cooper, Constable.
(Names have not been changed to protect the innocent as they are all dead anyway either that or they are over 150 years old and don’t care anymore. )

Alderman Story: And why are you fronting the committee?

Edward Cooper: Well, your honour…

Alderman Story: Alderman Story will do.

Edward Cooper: Yes Alderman Story.

Alderman Story: Well?

Edward Cooper: Well what?

Alderman Story: Why, are you here Sir?

Edward Cooper: Cooper will do.

Alderman Story: I beg your pardon?

Edward Cooper: Sorry sir, a bit nervous.

Alderman Story: Indeed… Constable why is he here?

Constable: He’s here Alderman Story because I brought him here.

Alderman Story: And why did you bring him here?

Constable: Oh, yes… well let me see it’s in my notes here somewhere, ah here it is. He stole a pair of boots….no, that’s not it…he.. er, that’s right ah.. He allowed a woman… it was Pratt sir who stole the boots sir… he, Cooper that is, allowed a woman to fall from his cab sir.

Alderman Story: I see, so did the woman fall from his cab or did he push her?

Constable: Oh no sir, she definitely fell from his cab.

Alderman Story: Was he driving…were you driving unduly roughly Cooper?

Edward Cooper: No more unduly than usual Alderman Story.

Alderman Story: Do people often fall out of your cab?

Edward Cooper: Oh no sir, not unless they’re p****d.

Alderman Story: Then there will be no foul language in this committee room!

Edward Cooper: Yes sir.

Alderman Story: So this woman was…. inebriated?

Edward Cooper: As a parrot sir.

Alderman Story: Quite… So Constable, what is the charge.

Constable: The charge sir is that he allowed the drunken woman to fall from his cab and he left her there and drove off without offering any assistance.

Alderman Story: Is this true Cooper?

Edward Cooper: To the extent that it isn’t a lie sir, yes.

Alderman Story: And what excuse can you offer up?

Edward Cooper: I had another fare arranged sir and I didn’t have time.

Alderman Story: What fare?

Edward Cooper: I had to pick up Pratt sir; he was getting some new boots.

Alderman Story: Licence suspended for seven days. Next!

The above of course is pure speculation but the basic facts are recorded in the pages of VPRS 4035 P0 Volume 2. Edward Cooper had his licence suspended for seven days for allowing a drunken woman to fall out of his cab and for leaving her where she fell.

Insert

Complaints VPRS 4035 P0 Unit14

Complaints and Other Grievances

Also in the files, George Harris had just left prison after serving a sentence for stealing boots – presumably so he could drive his cab – and then promptly had his licence cancelled. Walter Pratt was refused a licence because he too had been convicted of stealing a pair of boots.

Then there’s the case of Patrick Neil, Charles Douglas and Lewis Nicholson gambling and leaving their horses unprotected on the street.

There are also a number of drink driving offences; earning the perpetrators, Robert Cane and Humphrey Sugden amongst others, a warning with the threat of suspension should they reoffend.

Although I am highlighting the bad, which is always more interesting, you can see by some of the later volumes in the series that the committee is trying its best to improve the situation for both drivers and the public.

The Cabman’s Shelter

Unit 14 of the series covers the 1920s and is typewritten. In it, there seems to be less concern about drunkenness – although on p.226 an Inspector Montgomery reported Thomas E Lappen for being under the influence of liquor whilst in charge of a motor car. Unfortunately Mr Lappen was in gaol at the time so the Inspector was unable to serve a summons on him. There was more concern about such things as locality tests for the drivers, a debate still being had today, and improving a number of taxi stands in the city.

An interesting entry in this volume talks about the demolition of a cabman’s shelter  in Carpentaria Place Melbourne. Carpentaria Place was originally part of the Parliament House grounds but became detached in 1863. It was demolished during the construction of the City Loop and the area is now known as The Gordon Reserve.

Again, Inspector Montgomery reports that  “…the shelter is almost invariably locked up and that it does not at the present time seem to be of any practical use..”

It would seem that the shelter wasn’t demolished after all, according to a report in The Age Newspaper , on June 11, 2005 it was moved to Yarra Park [2]. 

The above is just a small amount of information that can be gleaned from the Hackney Carriages series. This series provides a valuable insight into some of the history and management of  public transport through the years. I think it’s fair to say that many of the issues that were being tackled are still around today and, thanks to the Uber phenomenon, are being discussed in a new light.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9Cber
[2] http://www.theage.com.au/news/Sport/Landmarks/2005/06/10/1118347594978.html

 

Hazel Edwards: Why self-publish a family history online?

A photo of Hazel Edwards standing at the lecturn ready to speak

We’ve been pleased to welcome Hazel Edwards to the Victorian Archives Centre twice over the last few months to teach us all about writing a ‘non-boring’ family history and memoir. Here she answers some additional questions for those of you considering publishing your life story:

Why do you feel that self-publishing is so important?

Many family stories are of extra-ordinary, so called ordinary people whose lives should be told. The advances in computers and e-publishing mean limited runs for specialised readerships are viable.  

The real issue is marketing and distribution. Are there enough readers interested in that subject, is it well written enough and can they buy the book easily? Some family histories are best givers rather than best sellers.

What does self-publishing offer compared to traditional publishing?

It depends what you mean by self publishing: whether print, e or audio book and whether you will sell via your own web site or via one of the Amazon, Apple or other commercial distribution sites. Or whether you offer extracts to be read free as a blog on your site.

Generally self-publishing means you are the publisher (and pay for all costs) as well as being the author and paying for editorial help. Don’t edit your own work. You read what you think is there. But an e-book must be of comparable editing quality to a print book. Photos too.

Self publishing your family history can take a lot of time, but some really enjoy it as a retirement hobby, which involves purposeful international travel with the research.

Are there any downsides to self-publishing?

Be wary of ‘vanity publishers’ who offer to edit and convert your manuscript to a book at considerable cost, and then the book is not quality controlled, reviewed nor distributed. But there are reputable ‘packagers’ who offer these services at reasonable fees. Check with your local library who publishes local histories in the area. Always have your book properly edited. The Society of Editors will provide contacts.

My website has a link to the Australian Society of Authors who provide much information free on their website.

Quality is an issue. It can be so embarrassing if the final version has mistakes or is not well produced. Legal issues like copyright of photos and maps and letters may need checking.

Do you feel that self-publishing has special significance to writers of memoirs or family history?

Generally they have only a family audience/readership unless they broaden the appeal by a fascinating style or set in a context which is of interest to others from that industry, geographic area or is an insight into a little known period. e.g. pacifist family during wartime.

The reason many families write and publish is that they want to find out for medical reasons whose genes they are carrying, families have split or have many extra twigs and branches and it is an explanation for the newcomers, or some people discover they are not who they thought they were. i.e. their mother is not their mother etc.

Or it maybe that the writer becomes aware of being the oldest, and the only one who knows certain facts which need to be passed on.

So it is not a commercial ‘costing’ decision but rather an emotional or psychological decision to record the past.

But there are other issues such as ‘two versions’ of the one family event. Revenge is NOT a good motive.

How did you begin self-publishing and why?

Our junior chapter book was seen as a controversial subject and traditional publishers were wary. So recently I self published ‘Hijabi Girl’ which just went into a third reprint.

As a professional author of 200 books by mainstream publishers and best known for the children’s picture book ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake’ which is currently touring as ‘Hippo! Hippo! the Musical’, I have had an author website for a long time.

I’m also an Australian National Reading Ambassador and keen on encouraging families to read and write together, across generations.

Originally I wanted to e-publish some of my popular children’s literacy mysteries and also some of my Antarctic writings (I was in an expedition with the Australian Antarctic Division in 2001). So I set up an online bookstore for only my own e-books and a few print books to which I had rights reverted. E-books are easy to send internationally (no postage) and since I have an international readership for these topics, and for the ‘Writing a Non Boring Family History’ I knew there was a market.

My daughter is my marketing manager (which is her day job elsewhere) and she has helped me in the design of the online store and revamped website.

However, other people may wish to sell their books through the various self-publishing companies offering online, but be aware of the need to check on the quality of production and design and accountability for sales.

Often family historians want only a few copies, and e- format is easier for photographs and accessibility internationally.

Publishing can be expensive, so get quotes and check with others beforehand. Circumstances vary in different geographic areas, but wise to check with the local library who usually hold locally published histories.

Do you have anything else that you would like to say about self-publishing in general?

Suggest that you buy an e-book online and read it so you will be aware of the importance of issues like cover, title and layout.

Have a look at the articles under Interviews on my website, especially relating to e-publishing.

I write a story for each of my grandson’s birthdays and this is often a great way for families to pass down their history in a format which will be read at the appropriate age.

PS I have NOT written my family history but last year I did my memoir ‘Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author’. Available from Booktopia who list most Australian e and print titles. 

My e book of ‘Writing a Non Boring Family History’ is a revised, new edition of a book which has been popular for 20 years, and used in workshops nationally. It was originally based on the 20 most common questions and answers. The new edition has extra chapters on writing for grandkids and military history tourism of visiting war-graves and writing about ancestors.

There are challenges for those wishing to publish their family histories. I run workshops on Writing Non Boring Family Histories. My major role is not as a genealogist nor publisher, but mainly in the shaping of their stories, so the content will appeal to prospective readers in their families and beyond. This is an area many tend not to consider, as they just list everything in chronological order and put in all dates. My book suggests ways of using anecdotes and themes to structure these important stories but also to consider the reader first. So if writing for children, choose examples to which they can relate e.g. contrast then and now in area such as what it was like to go to school or ‘a day in the life of…’

But capture those stories.

Hazel will be discussing her book ‘Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author’ at the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre on the 20th of July. Book online. 

Request for Feedback – Retention and Disposal Authority for Records of the Higher and Further Education Functions

What Do You Think Concept

PROV invites stakeholders to review a new draft Retention and Disposal Authority for Records of the Higher and Further Education Functions.

The aim of the RDA, once issued as a Standard, is to specify records required as State Archives and to provide for the lawful disposal of records not required permanently after specified periods.

The draft RDA is available below, along with a brief report outlining the background, scope and appraisal recommendations

We would appreciate feedback on the following:

  • Are the retention periods reasonable?
  • Is the language used in the RDA clear enough?
  • Can you identify any gaps in the RDA coverage?

 Please provide any feedback to agency.queries@prov.vic.gov.au by COB Friday 22 July 2016.

What to do with credit card data

What to do with credit card data...

What to do with credit card data…

Government organisations manage a range of payment applications for the general public. What’s the best way to manage the data created via these financial transactions?

Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) advises agencies not to retain credit card details on any records once the transaction has been completed[1].

Credit card details should be located on the form in such a way that they can be easily removed without undermining the integrity of the record. Well established business processes and policies would ensure that transactions and any redaction of specific credit card references are well documented.

Keeping credit card details can have serious and long-term negative consequences, some of which include compromising the agency’s reputation and the ability to conduct business effectively.

Sufficient protection and security measures should be in place in circumstances where credit card details are retained due to legitimate business, legal, and/or regulatory purposes. The Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard provides an actionable framework for developing a payment card data security process and measures for storing and recording credit card data, such as truncation or masking of credit card details.

Retrospective actions to remove credit card details are recommended, in particular where:

  • the associated risks are high;
  • the protection and security measures are not in place; and
  • retaining these credit card details would contravene Victorian legislation and/or contractual agreements you may have with third parties.

The State Records Authority of New South Wales and the Queensland State Archives have also released guidance relating to the management of credit card data.

[1] Please refer to PROS 07/01 – the General Retention and Disposal Authority for Records of Common Administrative Functions for more information. 

Ballarat in 1916

  • VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 110, File “Tourist Bureau 1916”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

The world was in its second year of war in 1916. Despite all the upheaval it was still very much business as usual in Ballarat and everyday events of life in a vibrant community still went on regardless. Services still had to be provided, laws maintained and the future and wellbeing of the community considered.

The following selection of records are part of the Ballarat Archives Centre collection, and are drawn from inward and outward correspondence, mayoral reports and minutes of the City of Ballarat and the Town of Ballarat East. They give a view of some aspects of the life and times in Ballarat in 1916.

Still in the dark in 1916

Electricity first came to Ballarat in 1894 however in 1916 many streets, homes and business premises were still lit by candles, oil and gas lamps. The electrification of the city required a network of infrastructure enabling the system to be established consistently and progress was slow to spread throughout the landscape, it would take many more years to achieve a fully electrified city. 

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 109, File “Electric Supply Misc. 1916”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 109, File “Electric Supply Misc. 1916”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

 

VPRS 8117/P1 Unit 15, Outward Letter Book, Ballaarat East (Municipal District 1857-1863; Borough 1863-1870; Town 1872-1921)

VPRS 8117/P1 Unit 15, Outward Letter Book, Ballaarat East (Municipal District 1857-1863; Borough 1863-1870; Town 1872-192

 

First Flying School in Australia!

The aeroplane was still a new technology in 1916 and very much a novelty to both man and beast. Forward thinking gentlemen of the Ballarat community were ever ready to pounce on any new and innovative enterprise that could benefit Ballarat as seen in this correspondence.

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 110, File “Miscellaneous Correspondence 1916”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 110, File “Miscellaneous Correspondence 1916”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

Factory Day

Mining in Ballarat was no longer the main source of employment for the workforce in 1916 and new industries were critical for the survival of the city. In an endeavour to showcase and promote locally manufactured goods, Factory Day was an event organised by Ballarat luminaries and business men in an effort to attract greater enterprise and patronage to the district, thereby providing further opportunities for employment and industry for the community.

VPRS 13009/P1 Unit 49, page 6, Notice Papers and Reports to Council. Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 13009/P1 Unit 49, page 6, Notice Papers and Reports to Council. Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

Women in uniform

For many years Ballarat council had been lobbied by various community groups to employ police women in Ballarat. The council made movements in this direction as seen in this request forwarded to the Town Clerk of the City of Sydney to gather information and guidance from their municipal counterparts. New South Wales and South Australia were the first states to employ women in this role in 1915. Women first made an appearance in the Victorian police force in Melbourne in 1917. It wasn’t until 1949 that Ballarat received an auxiliary police woman and then finally in 1950 the first fully sworn police woman was added to their ranks.

VPRS 8118/P1 Unit 15, page 797, Outward Letter Book, Ballaarat East (Municipal District 1857-1863; Borough 1863-1870; Town 1872-1921)

VPRS 8118/P1 Unit 15, page 797, Outward Letter Book, Ballaarat East (Municipal District 1857-1863; Borough 1863-1870; Town 1872-1921)

It’s a hard life in 1916

Hardship was ever present for many people in 1916 with minimal welfare which was stretched to breaking point. Women and children were particularly affected by poverty and hardship as husbands and fathers left the family home to go to war leaving behind loved ones with little means of support.

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 125, File “Petitions 1913 - 1920”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 125, File “Petitions 1913 – 1920”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

 

 

VPRS 8118/P1 Unit 15, page 178, Outward Letter Book, Ballaarat East (Municipal District 1857-1863; Borough 1863-1870; Town 1872-1921)

VPRS 8118/P1 Unit 15, page 178, Outward Letter Book, Ballaarat East (Municipal District 1857-1863; Borough 1863-1870; Town 1872-1921)

 

A plaintive request for assistance

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 111, File “Miscellaneous”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 111, File “Miscellaneous”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

 

Times were tough even if you were lucky enough to have a job in 1916. This petition signed by municipal employees of the City of Ballarat for a pay increase of one shilling a day highlights the difficulties of trying to make ends meet. The council was sympathetic to the request and after careful consideration subsequently granted the workers a 6 pence a day pay increase which was gratefully accepted.

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 111, File “Wage Increase”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 111, File “Wage Increase”, General Correspondence Files, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

Civil disobedience

The average citizen was unable to afford an automobile in 1916, drays, carts and bicycles were still the primary conveyance for goods and people and traffic infringements were still just as common place then as they are now.

VPRS 8118/P1 Unit 15, page 899, Outward Letter Book, Ballaarat East (Municipal District 1857-1863; Borough 1863-1870; Town 1872-1921)

VPRS 8118/P1 Unit 15, page 899, Outward Letter Book, Ballaarat East (Municipal District 1857-1863; Borough 1863-1870; Town 1872-1921)

 

Vandalism and deliberate damage to public property was not uncommon in 1916 and was probably perpertrated, as is a timeless trend, by the disaffected and rebellious youth in an attempt to make their mark in the community.

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 110, File “Progress Association 1916”, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 110, File “Progress Association 1916”, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 13009/P1 Unit 48, page 134, Notice Papers and Reports to Council. Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 13009/P1 Unit 48, page 134, Notice Papers and Reports to Council. Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

Visitors to Ballarat

Ballarat, well known in many countries throughout the world for its long history of gold mining, continued to draw distinguished visitors to the city in 1916. One such occasion were officers of the Japanese Imperial Navy whose vessels were harboured in Port Phillip Bay while visiting Australia as representatives of Great Britain’s allies during World War I. A very different scenario was to follow in the next few decades during World War II.

VPRS 13009/P1 Unit 48, page 158, Notice Papers and Reports to Council. Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 13009/P1 Unit 48, page 158, Notice Papers and Reports to Council. Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

Empire Day

Empire Day observed by children in state schools since 1905, was never more important than during the war years. Despite the need for economy and frugality, Empire Day was celebrated with patriotic fervor.

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 109, File “Education Department 1916”, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 109, File “Education Department 1916”, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 109, File “Education Department 1916”, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 2500/P0, Unit 109, File “Education Department 1916”, Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

Farewell to the “Ballarat Battalion” and Ballarat in 1916

The 39th Battalion was formed on 21 February 1916 at the Ballarat showgrounds as an expansion of the 1st A.I.F. It was comprised of recruits from Ballarat and many places throughout the western district of Victoria. After rigorous training, both in Australia and overseas, the battalion was sent to the western front where they were to take part in various campaigns resulting in many honours but also many casualties. The unit was ultimately disbanded in 1919 and the remaining personnel gradually returned home.

VPRS 13009/P1 Unit 48, page 150, Notice Papers and Reports to Council. Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

VPRS 13009/P1 Unit 48, page 150, Notice Papers and Reports to Council. Ballaarat (Municipal District 1855-1863; Borough 1863-1870; City 1870-1994)

State archives on display at City Gallery

  • Hand-shaped building, 1978, designed by Michael Hilton, Decatur, Texas, USA

Spaceships on rooftops, a hand-shaped building and an ornamental lake with British Isles-shaped islands are among the unrealised plans for Melbourne that feature in a new City Gallery exhibition.

Featuring records from our ‘Landmark’ collection, ​A History of the Future: Imagining Melbourne includes building plans, underground roads and public art projects proposed by city planners, architects, artists and writers over the last 180 years that would have changed the face of the city and how we engage with it.
 
The exhibition also features a 14-metre long panoramic wall drawing by artist Lewis Brownlie whose imagined Melbourne’s cityscape brings some of these dreams and schemes to life.
 
Chair of the Arts and Culture Portfolio Councillor Rohan Leppert said A History of the Future was a fascinating compilation of some largely forgotten plans for a Melbourne that never was.
 
A History of the Future is a wonderful opportunity to see what might have been and reflect on how we can best protect and preserve Melbourne’s heritage and natural environment,’ Councillor Leppert said.
 
Clare Williamson said the exhibition contains food for thought for anyone interested in Melbourne’s past, present and future. 
 
‘In recent years, Melbourne has been transformed, not by towering landmarks, dramatic demolitions or elevated walkways, but by subtle adjustments to the fine grain of its urban fabric,’ Clare said. 
 
The exhibition is open from 19 May until Friday 12 August 2016. For more information see www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/citygallery

Our current technology issues: an apology and a plan

A message to all of our researchers, agency colleagues and institutional partners

Many of you will be aware that in recent months we have been severely impacted by technology problems that have affected your ability to undertake online research of our collection. There have been periods of slowness, system time-outs and unplanned outages to our collection search tool.

I want to acknowledge to you all that I know this is really frustrating for you. It’s also really frustrating for me, and for my colleagues here at PROV who are absolutely committed to making our unique collection as discoverable and usable as possible. We always foresaw the decline of our current technology over time and have been planning to introduce new technology in time to avoid the issues that we’re now experiencing. Unfortunately the rate of that decline has been faster than we predicted. I want to share with you what we’re doing about this issue.

In the short term we’re focussing on the most acute causes of our online service problems and planning to put in place solutions to last us for the short- to medium-term. The aim is to stabilise our existing online services as much as possible given the technology involved. This will go part of the way to resolving the problems, but there will still be ad hoc slowness and the occasional unplanned outage. We’re aiming to minimise these disruptions.

In the medium term we’re planning for an entirely new online environment. We’re already well under way with our collection systems transformation program and will be launching our new website around the middle of this year. That will improve the navigation of our site tremendously, and will be the first component of our new collection systems environment. We’ll also be progressively introducing more online functionality, with better search facilities and results presentation capabilities.

In the long term we will be replacing all of the core systems that deliver online services to you. We will have a new website supported by a new security environment. We will deliver a sophisticated and elegant search capability that will deliver online content more quickly and reliably. The environment will be more highly available at all times. This is our commitment to you.

In the meantime please continue to keep us informed of any system issues. Your reports assist us to verify that our short-term solutions continue to keep the service running for you all. We will shortly introduce a more streamlined way for you to register all issues that you experience but until then feel free to contact us via our usual channels: Facebook, Twitter and our website.

Thank you.

Graeme Hairsine
Assistant Director, Corporate Services

Why volunteer with us?

IMG_3758 - CopyHere, one of our long-standing volunteers Irene Kearsey lets us in on why she loves volunteering with us here at Public Record Office Victoria (PROV):

Why did you start volunteering at PROV?

During my working life, I’d collaborated with a PROV archivist to develop a retention schedule for public hospitals which got me interested in the archival value of records. Post retirement, volunteering at PROV was inevitable.

What’s the most exciting record you’ve discovered?

One of the Bills of Sale was the then unknown artist Gordon Coutts raising a loan with his art works included in the list of assets. This lead me to research his later life (very racy) and his work (his most famous painting is “Waiting” held by the Art Gallery of NSW).

The most moving record was among the Koori papers: during the First World War, a Coranderrk woman wrote to the government department asking for a rail pass to Melbourne so she could farewell her son who was embarking as a soldier – the letter was endorsed “No funds available.”

What project are you working on now?

Currently Bills of Sale, the indexing of which will make a great resource easily available to family historians.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

The content of the work; the company of fellow volunteers and staff; the occupation of time that then can’t be wasted on housework.

If you’d like to join Irene as a volunteer, click here.

May Records Management Network event wrap-up

  • Photo of a microphone
    Records Management Network, May 2016.

Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) hosted the latest installment of the Records Management Network (RMN) on Friday 6th May 2016. The event featured presentations from across Victorian Government and the private sector, focusing on records management innovations and improvements, predominately in the digital sphere.

From the City of Casey, Sally Curtain, Tim Brown and Sheena Frost presented ‘Recordkeeping by Stealth, our Journey to Digital’. It outlined how the largest municipality in Victoria transformed their information management regime from predominately paper-based to a digital environment. With a clear digitisation plan and road map, the City of Casey demonstrated that they have greatly increased the uptake of records managements users in their organisation, as well as the quantity of documents on, and storage volumes within, enterprise content management (ECM). Along the way City of Casey have been able to gradually move closer to the PROV standard for records compliance. A key challenge has been reducing paper usage and related physical storage, while maintaining a customer first, digital first philosophy.

Linda Tolson from Monash Health presented, ‘Migration of Records from Legacy System – Managing the Change’, outlining how the organisation has been able to create better information management efficiencies. As the largest health provider in the state, it manages a vast array of records covering patients, clinical health, and business administration, including significant quantities of contracts and student practitioner records. Recordkeeping issues and challenges were identified, with the aim to have 70% of electronic documents stored in their EDRMS. This involved a TRIM and network drive migration and file mapping; here Monash Health swept out the DIRT – documents which were Duplicates, Irrelevant, Redundant and/or Trivial.

Iron Mountain’s Daniel Warren-Smith presented on ‘Digitisation Trends in the Private Sector’. The company’s three main scanning solutions are pre-process, post-process, and legacy conversion. From here, five ‘lessons’ from digitisation with examples were shared with the audience. One such lesson was ‘The business case is never in the paper’, implying that paper based recordkeeping attracts high storage and access costs, and carries a degree of risk while potentially hindering the desired level of customer service. Another key lesson was ‘Simple solutions are best’. Daniel gave the example of a document conversion that Iron Mountain carried out involving 30,000 files, where the client had an overly onerous document classification in place; this had to be simplified for efficiency. Along with simplicity, another take home message was the advice to look at the process, rather than focusing on the technology to be used.

Lyn Morgan’s presentation (from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC)) ‘Resilience – the key to successfully rolling out a records management project’ highlighted how the TAC audited their information management practices, and overcame barriers to eventually implement an EDRMS. This was facilitated by an appointed project team, which was assigned after a retention and disposal authority (RDA; PROS 14/01) was issued in August 2014, for use by TAC, as well as a BCS being created. Lyn highlighted that it was difficult process, emphasising that good recordkeeping has benefits for the user, but that staff need to understand how the EDRMS will help them in their work. Each TAC workgroup’s records access requirements were sought to be met through the configuration of the EDRMS. Resilience and ‘a bit of mongrel’ were vital ingredients during the implementation process.

Finally, Michelle Tolliday from the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) presented ‘Access to Public Sector Information’, which described the 2009 Economic Development & Infrastructure (EDIC) Parliamentary Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data (PSI Inquiry) and the subsequent 2015 VAGO report Access to Public Sector Information. VAGO’s role is to provide assurance to parliament on accountability and performance of the Victorian public sector. The extensive VAGO 2015 recommendations included the development of whole-of-government information management framework; the use of PROV’s IM3 tool; and maintaining the PSI asset register.

Stay tuned for copies of each of the presentations. To sign up for notifications about future RMN events, email standards@prov.vic.gov.au

Bendigo Library Heritage Discovery Week

advertiser_letter_rate_booksThe Bendigo Regional Archives Centre is planning a week of talks, tours and workshops as part of Bendigo Library’s Heritage Discovery Week

The Bendigo Regional Archives Centre is a grassroots historical archives centre, where visitors can view and use original historical records in person.

Take a tour of the archives, discover what secrets lie amongst the local council’s 19th century correspondence or learn what mattered most to Bendigo citizens through a rich archive of petitions. 

 

The Bendigo Regional Archives Centre will also be open on Saturday 14 May from 10-2pm, along with Bendigo Library, for a special Heritage Discovery Day event. There will be research staff on hand to answer questions, volunteers from local genealogical groups and City of Greater Bendigo Heritage staff. 

Bookings are essential.

Learn more about the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre here. 

View the full Bendigo Heritage Week program here.

Page 1 of 2212345...1020...Last »