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

We will be closing the Reading Room at 1:30pm on Fri 19 Dec, reopening Mon 22nd at 10:00 am

Storage Management – Safety First

162-378-IMG_2383Accidents happen. We all know that, but how do we go about providing a safe work environment in an Archive housing close to 100 linear kilometres of records – an estimated 15 million individual records in various shapes and sizes – covering 12,000 square metres of repository floor space over two floors?

It’s simple: lots of hard work, relevant information, sound processes and committed staff – and PROV has all of these.

Since 2006 there has been a renewed commitment from PROV’s Executive to support a safe work environment. We have undertaken two major ergonomic assessments, in 2006 and again in 2012, in which over 150 recommendations were made. To assist in the retrieval process, we have installed new shelving, and purchased numerous hydraulic lifters and over 100 spring-loaded ladders of all sizes, We’ve improved our storage management by ensuring we follow the recommended manual retrieval processes (what we at PROV also call “picking”), as defined by WorkSafe.

The provision of effective and timely training and advice is critical. Every year manual handling training is provided, and staff must receive manual handling before they can commence work within the PROV repository. OH&S risk assessments are regularly undertaken, and equipment and fittings are regularly inspected to ensure they are operating as required. We have developed or are developing standard operating practice (SOP) and safe work practice (SWP) documentation for all manual handling activities.

Sometimes the best OH&S measure is simply to make sure that the safer thing to do is also the easier thing to do. Repository staff walk several kilometres each day whilst picking items – so what do they do when confronted with an item that is too heavy or awkward to move alone? The problem is solved before it is created – codes for heavier items let staff know exactly what they’re going to find at the end of their walk. Code VH2E, for example, means that a volume is heavy, will require two people and equipment to retrieve.

Accidents will happen regardless of how much work we do. As a result of a recent minor accident, WorkSafe undertook an inspection of our repository and could not attribute any blame to our system, processes, equipment or training. In fact they complimented PROV on our safety management within the repository.

PROV has recently hosted a project undertaken by another Government department in which manual handling was provided to their staff. Their staff where so impressed by the high level of training their departments Chief Training Officer attended PROV to learn from our training and how it could be incorporated into theirs.

We at PROV are proud of our OH&S record and the work we do to ensure our staff can do their jobs safely.

For further information, please contact Merrick Morris, Senior Manager Collection Services at or on (03) 9348 5683.

PROV Storage Management – Meeting the Standard

RepositoryPhotoThe ability to store a collection in state of the art facilities goes a long way in ensuring that all of the collection’s items will be available for use and or display well into the future.

“State of the art” is an easy phrase to write; establishing and managing a state of the art repository is a real challenge.  There are a number of factors that can contribute to  making a repository “state of the art”, including the facility which houses it, its environmental systems, security, preservation and conservation resources, the training provided for its staff, steps taken to ensure a safe work environment, management of any risks and disaster prevention and management.

To assist organisations like PROV, standards have been produced both locally and internationally that set out requirements for high quality collection storage and management.

PROV has produced its own Storage Standard, “PROS11/01”, which has two specifications supporting it: Specification 1 is for Agency and Approved Public Record Office Storage Supplier (APROSS) and Specification 2 is for Places of Deposit Storing State Archives.

During 2012-13 PROV undertook a project to assess its own storage management against Specification 2. An independent assessment panel was established to review evidence, undertake inspections and to discuss the merits of PROV’s storage management.

The results of the assessment are very pleasing: we rated an impressive 96.7% against the specification.

This is not a perfect score and that is to be expected. (For example, the Specification requires all collection storage containers to be acid-free. On that basis alone, PROV can’t score perfectly, as we have an ongoing project to move out of non-archival containers which were in use in the 1980s and earlier.) However, there were no areas identified within the assessment that required any significant remedial attention, or changes to our current practices.

PROV will continue to seek ways to improve our storage and collection management, ensuring the collection is available for all users now and into the future.

Well done PROV!





 New PROV logo BLACK

v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
.shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;

The fees that the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) charges for providing copies of public records are set under the Public Records Regulations 2003.

These Regulations need to be renewed every 10 years, and are next due for renewal in November 2013.

During May and June, PROV conducted consultation with its stakeholders on the renewal of the Public Records Regulations. We received valuable feedback and undertook to report back once the process was completed. We can now report that as a result of further internal and external review, PROV has made a number of revisions to our Regulations.

Changes to conditions of use

The conditions of use have been revised to better reflect current expectations. Regular users of the Reading Room at the Victorian Archives Centre or the Ballarat Archives Centre will note that the proposed conditions are in line with existing practices which are available in a number of fact sheets.

Changes to fees

As the fees are set by the Regulations, PROV has not been able to increase its photocopying or digitising charges in 10 years. This has resulted in fee levels being charged at a lower rate than the cost of recovery. PROV’s renewed Regulations include a relatively small increase in fees to address this.

We believe that this small increase will help us to continue to deliver quality reproduction services to our users across the next decade. Fees will be increased in four phases over the ten year life of the Regulations. This approach is designed to account for inflation, so that a major overhaul is not needed in 2023.

Please note: PROV welcomes and encourages all users to make their own digital representations of public records using their own digital cameras or digital cameras provided in the Reading Rooms.

Some services have been removed from the Regulations:

  • Microfilm services will no longer be listed in the Regulations, however, material from microfilm can still be obtained in a number of forms:
    • A researcher can make a copy from a computer or a microform reader onto their own USB free of charge.
    • Printing from microform readers will be phased out as the toner becomes unavailable. In the meantime, there will be no charge for self-service printing.
  • Fees for inspection of records will no longer apply. PROV inspects all records on their admission to the archive.

A comparison of the changes to Conditions of Use and the Fees can be downloaded here (

A copy of the proposed Public Records Regulations 2013 can be downloaded here (

We’d like your feedback

PROV wants to hear from Reading Room and remote users of the archive about our proposed fee changes. All feedback, ideas and suggestions are welcome.

  • You can send us your thoughts in an email to
  • You can send us a submission in writing to:
    Manager, Standards and Policy
    Public Record Office Victoria
    PO Box 2100 North Melbourne Vic 3051.
  • You can talk to any of our friendly Access Services Officers on your next visit to our Reading Rooms

Written and verbal feedback needs to be received by 23 September 2013 to be considered.

You’ll be kept informed

Each person or group that provides us with input will be acknowledged and will receive a response.

Showcase Record – September 2013

Bound Circulated Photographs & Criminal Offences of Convicted Persons – VPRS 7856

This is a fascinating series comprising of 67 of 68 bound volumes transferred into the custody of Public Record Office of Victoria by the Public Record Office of South Australia.  The series includes original photographs of convicted persons, listed offences and prior convictions, place and date of birth, details of arrival in Australia (if applicable), education details, distinguishing physical features, “VR” number reference and docket reference.

The series spans 1924-1954.  Currently volumes 1-36 (covering 1925-1927) are on Open Access and available to order for viewing in our Reading Room.

Units 37 – 68 are closed Under Section 9, Sub-Section (2) of the Public Records Act  – Containing personal information on the data subject and will not be released during the prospective lifetime of the data subject. This is 75 years after creation of the records regarding adults and 99 years after the creation of the record relating to children.

Further volumes are opened as the 75 year closure period elapses.

The series provides and interesting glimpse into the changing punishments in the criminal justice system. One example is the case of a prisoner who committed Manslaughter in 1925. He was sentenced to15 years hard labour and to be “thrice whipped with the cat-o-nine-tails, each whipping to consist of 15 lashes”.  Application of leave of appeal was granted four days later, the Governor General decreed the whippings were omitted, but otherwise the sentence was to stand.  In 2013, this punishment is shocking for us to contemplate.

37470 Francis Perkins v2

7535 Irene Brownv2

Creating Agency:

1924-1954 – South Australian Police Department        VA 2967

Agency currently responsible:

1989-continued – Public Record Office Victoria           VA 683

Kerry Harding – Access Services Officer


Leslie “Squizzy” Taylor – From the Archives (Pt5)

Episode five of Underbelly: Squizzy started off as a sombre affair, with Les and Lorna visiting the grave site of their young daughter June.  As Senior Detective John Brophy said, this is “not the natural order of events”.  At Public Record Office Victoria, we hold a selection of records about cemeteries, including some records created by cemetery trusts.  To search our collection, start with our cemeteries tab on our researcher landing page –

With violence peaking in the early 1920’s, we saw the robbery of the Commercial Bank on Smith Street by Squizzy and his gang.  During Squizzy’s get away he knocks over a mother and her pram only to carefully pick up the baby and hand it back to its mother.  Sadly for Squizzy, this couple were able to provide police with details of his appearance which enabled a sketch artist to make a composite sketch of his face.  Squizzy was arrested for this robbery however he was not convicted.  We have found the Court of Petty Sessions Register at Northcote which contains details of his arrest:


VPRS 338/P0 Unit 17, Page 225 – Court of Petty Sessions/Magistrates’ Court Registers

Episode five also saw the arrival of two new characters in the life of Leslie “Squizzy” Taylor.  The first was the beautiful young Ida Pender who Squizzy met in the Women of Paris Apparel shop while buying his wife Lorna a gift.

The second was a potential new member of Squizzy’s gang.  Joseph Lennox Cotter was introduced to Squizzy by Tank, however he didn’t leave a very good impression on Squizzy and was rejected.  Public Record Office Victoria has Joseph Lennox Cotter’s prison record digitised and available online for you to view.  You can also search for other male prison records online now – VPRS 515/P1 Central Register of Male Prisoners (search for your prisoner surname within series 515)


VPRS 515/P1 #35288 – Central Register of Male Prisoners

And finally, in this episode it looks as though Squizzy’s luck may have just about run out when he was caught red handed in the Scales Warehouse Fine Furs.  He was charged with burglary and committed to stand trial however when his trial date arrived, he failed to appear at court and the bail money was forfeited.  Squizzy spent the next 14 months on the run.  We will see more of this in the next episode next Sunday night at 9pm on Channel 9.

VPRS 30 P0 Unit 1985 File 517 of 1922

VPRS 30/P0 Unit 1985 File 517 of 1922 – Criminal Trial Brief


Leslie “Squizzy” Taylor – From the Archives (Pt4)

The fourth episode of Underbelly: Squizzy was an eventful one!  We were to assume Squizzy had married Lorna and witnessed the birth and tragic death of their daughter June who at only eight months fell victim to the Spanish Flu epidemic.

If you are looking to do some research in this area, certificates of Victorian births, deaths and marriages can be obtained from the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, for a fee.  The Registry’s contact details are:

Street Address: 595 Collins Street, Melbourne

Postal Address: PO Box 4332, Melbourne, VIC 3001

Telephone (Australia) 1300 369 367

Telephone (Overseas) +61 3 9613 5111


For further information, please consult our PROVguide number 18 –

If Channel 9 were to show the wedding of Leslie Taylor and his first wife Lorna Kelly, they would have showed it in the St James’s Congregational Church in Fitzroy.  Public Record Office Victoria’s Public Building Files contain correspondence, plans and other material (see below an example for the Congregational Church in Victoria Parade Fitzroy)

You can kick start your own research in this area by searching our online index and ordering to view the original record within our reading room at North Melbourne.

VPRS 7882 P1 Unit 664 Item 4988 pg1

VPRS 7882 P1 Unit 664 Item 4988 – Public Building FilesVPRS 7882 P1 Unit 664 Item 4988 pg2

VPRS 7882 P1 Unit 664 Item 4988 – Public Building Files

This episode also took us back to 1919 when lucky Squizzy took over Henry Stokes’ fine establishment while Henry and Annie Stokes sailed back to Tasmania.  We at Public Record Office Victoria have done some sleuthing and a search of our outward passenger index does not have Henry and Annie Stokes listed as sailing to Tasmania.   However, there are entries of a Miss A Stokes sailing to Sydney in February 1920.  Was this our Annie Stokes of the Squizzy era?

Index to Outward Passengers to Interstate, UK, NZ and Foreign Ports 1852-1923


Search for passengers who travelled on ships leaving Victoria between 1852 and 1923.

Family Name Given Name Age Ship Name Month Year Destination Film_Mth Film_Yr Page

Search for your ancestors coming into Victoria or leaving Victoria using out passenger lists –

Stay tuned for episode 5 of Underbelly: Squizzy on Channel 9 this Sunday night at 9pm and the following day for our blog post highlighting original records from the archives.

Concerns over some Xerox devices for document scanning

Xerox Corporation has posted a warning on their website about an accuracy issue when scanning documents using particular compression levels and resolution settings.  

When scanning using the ‘Normal’ quality setting in some Xerox products, the scanned image may be inaccurate. Specifically, digits in numbers may be arbitrarily replaced. Note that this is not an OCR issue – the actual scanned image is incorrect.

What you should do

If you produce scanned documents using a Xerox scanner, you should ensure that you are using the factory defaults with a quality level set to “higher”. Use of the ‘normal’ quality level must be avoided.

PROV advises that any agencies using Xerox scanners should visit the Xerox site listed above for up to date information and advice; check their settings; and contact their support providers if necessary.


The issue was identified on 5 August, when a blogger reported on an apparent bug in some Xerox devices that appeared to incorrectly reproduce characters when scanning.  Note: This link is to the original blog post, the blogger has added other posts as further information came to hand.

In the cases reported to date, complete numbers and individual digits have been incorrectly substituted by the scanning process. The bug is particularly problematic as the errors introduced to the scanned document are not immediately apparent, unless a thorough visual check is performed each time.

The issue appears to be with the compression format JBIG2 which is only activated when the operator selects ‘Normal’ scan quality. The higher quality settings use a different format that does not appear to produce the problem.

UPDATE: The blogger who placed the original warning about this issue is receiving reports that the problem may not be restricted to use of the ‘Normal’ setting, and may extend to products by other manufacturers. As these additional claims have not been confirmed at time of this post, PROV recommends that any agencies using scanners make their own enquiries and if necessary take action to reduce their risk.

Great White Fleet – 105 years on

Record of the Month – August 2013

Great White Fleet – 105 years on

Souvenir and Official Programme

On the morning of 29 August 1908, sixteen white-hulled battleships carrying fourteen thousand sailors and marines of the United States’ Atlantic Fleet steamed through the Rip and into Port Phillip Bay.

The ‘Great White Fleet’, as this flotilla became known, had been launched on its circumnavigation of the globe by President Theodore Roosevelt. The cruise was a propaganda campaign of extraordinary proportions – a showcase of naval power beyond anything ever before attempted during peacetime. It was also a practical and strategic exercise, at once testing the battle-readiness of the US navy and demonstrating its ability to patrol and protect the US west coast and Pacific interests.

Despite the fact that several ships were antiquated, their arrival had a powerful impact on Australia, politically independent for seven years but still reliant on British military muscle to guarantee its independence.

Concern about this reliance was exacerbated by Britain’s decision to withdraw its Pacific naval presence, and the destruction of the Russian navy by the Japanese during the Russian-Japanese war of 1904–05. The symbolic victory of an Asian navy over a ‘European’ power, coupled with the fact that there was still no formal Australian navy, would have made the presence of the US battleships even more significant.

Victoria pulled out all the stops for ‘Fleet Week’, and records held at PROV show the scale and scope of the welcome: newspaper reporters waxing lyrical about the ‘Turner-esque’ picture of the ships steaming past Dromana; sixteen thousand copies of maps, guide books, railway schedules and souvenir programs printed and distributed to the ships’ crews to guide them around Australia’s biggest city; hundreds of thousands of extra train travellers swarming into Williamstown to see the Fleet, and into Melbourne to meet the sailors; young cadets marching five days from Ballarat to take part in the welcome parade; and of course sailors ‘with a girl on each arm’.

Melburnians laid out the red, white and blue welcome mat for the new Pacific sea power. The records describe months of preparations by state and city officials to celebrate the visit. Suppliers of bunting and decorations rushed to offer their wares, and scores of Victorian town councils, as well as public and private clubs and societies, wrote to beg the State Cabinet American Fleet Reception Committee to consider them when scheduling the official program of events. The Victorian Railways offered cheap excursion trains from country centres, and free travel to the sailors, and carried record numbers of passengers during Fleet Week. Victorians and Americans mingled, as thousands visited the Royal Agricultural Show, where they saw dumbbell and wand exercises by state school students, and flocked to the racing at Flemington, where the Washington Steeplechase and Fleet Trotting Cup were run. The Zoo, the Aquarium and ‘Glacarium’ all offered free entry to visiting sailors.

While country Victoria travelled into the city to meet the sailors, the sailors journeyed out to see the country. At the invitation of a local American citizen, some sailors made the long trip to Mirboo North in East Gippsland, where they saw wood chopping and ‘Aboriginal boomerang throwing’ and took part in foot races (a handsome silver-mounted emu-egg trophy was carried home by the victor) and a tug-of-war. Others travelled to Bendigo and to Ballarat, watching Australian Rules Football and visiting the mines.

In such a flurry of welcome and activity, there were problems, both comic and tragic. The failure of an American officer to pass on an invitation meant that only seven sailors turned up to a reception and dinner at the Exhibition Buildings, where catering had been laid on for 2,800. Two sailors died in train-related accidents, with newspapers quoting a comrade as saying ‘we lose a few in every port’.

Spruiking of the state’s liveability was also in evidence. Visitors were proudly told that, in Victoria, ‘All railways … and supplies of water are state-owned’ and that we had ‘Factories Acts and Wage Boards, Pure Food Laws, Compulsory Vaccinations’ and ‘Manhood Suffrage’ – the Fleet had arrived just three months shy of Victoria awarding the vote to women.

This combination of attractions no doubt contributed to the sailors’ view that Melbourne was the ‘best port of call’ in their 14-month, 20-port call, round-the-world voyage. So convinced were the visitors of Victoria’s, and Australia’s, attractions that 221 deserters jumped ship in Melbourne. The USS Kansas stayed on for a number of days after the rest of the Fleet departed for Albany, Western Australia, in part to wait for a mail steamer, but also to collect stragglers. A reward of $10 was advertised for the successful return of each deserter to his ship, but the conditions of the reward were so difficult to meet that no money was ever paid. By the time the Kansas finally weighed anchor and bade farewell to Melbourne, more than half the deserters had been recovered, but about a hundred men remained behind to start a new life.

Flamboyant press descriptions, bureaucratic reports, orderly minutes, colourful programs, boastful guidebooks, and stacks of correspondence – including telegram upon telegram organising, confirming, rearranging and renegotiating functions, are the records left in the wake of the Great White Fleet’s visit to Victoria. These and more are part of Victoria’s state archives – call in to PROV and have a look at them some time soon.

Welcome to the Australian Fleet Poem

VPRS 10370/P0 Unit 7 – Welcome to the Australian Fleet Poem

Railway Dept - Transport of State School Cadets

VPRS 10370/P0 Unit 7 – Letter regarding the transport of State School Cadets


PROV, VPRS 1163/P0 Inward Correspondence Files (Premier’s Office), unit 483, file P/08/4476 Papers re visit of American Fleet in 1908

VPRS 10370/P0 Records Regarding the American Fleet Visit, units 1–7

(unit 7 contains newspaper clippings, programs and guidebooks)

Leslie “Squizzy” Taylor – From the Archives (Pt3)

In episode 3 of Underbelly: Squizzy last night we were taken on a roller coaster ride with Squizzy and his gang in Squizzy’s quest to rule Fitzroy.

And didnt the shootout at the Railway Hotel where both Henry Stokes and Harry Slater were arrested have Squizzy crouching in a corner like a scared teenager?  This was part of his plan though.  And did you know the Railway Hotel still stands today in West Melbourne?  Take a look at an image from our online Public Transport Corporation photographs that we found with the Railway Hotel in the background in the 1960s.  A truly amazing building.  Search our PTC collection now – Photographic Collection of Railway Negatives index



And didn’t Lorna Kelly make an entrance into Squizzy’s life.  And what was that Women’s Temperance Movement?  When we searched our catalogue we found a couple of references to this group.  Known as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union Victoria Inc, organised in May 1891, they quote “re-affirm our total abstinence stand and our opposition to the use of beverage alcohol, tobacco and all other harmful drugs, as well as all immoral and degrading practices”.  This is interesting given Squizzy’s background.  View a letter to the Resolutions National Convention in 1977 below. (VPRS 12549/P3 Unit 14, File 01/05/0007).

VPRS 12549_Page_1 VPRS 12549_Page_3 VPRS 12549_Page_2


In a small quiet town of Fitzroy, in the Jika Jika Parish, in Melbourne, Victoria, a vendetta known as the “Fitzroy Vendetta” often resulted in many shootings in Napier Lane in Fitzroy.  Within our collection, we hold a number of online Parish and Township Plans.  Look what we found – one for the Parish of Jika Jika (VPRS 16171/P1 Plans Ne-R – North Fitzroy in Parish of Jika Jika, Imperial measure M17).   Available to those seeking information on land records is access to the online Parish and Township working plans in VPRS 16171.  The series contains digitised copies of parish and township working plans, as well as closer settlement, land settlement, soldier settlement, county and other miscellaneous working plans.

North Fitzroy M17

Stay tuned for episode 4 of Underbelly: Squizzy next Sunday night on Channel 9.  To start your research using the PROV collection, please visit

National Literacy and Numeracy Week 2013

Literacy and Numeracy Week – 29th July  – 4th August 2013 – The fundamentals are fun!

Written by Xavier Healy, a Year 11 student from Ouyen P-12 College who completed a week of work experience at PROV.

Tucked away deep inside of the vast repositories, Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) has many old books in its impressive collection.  These books have come from government schools and have been donated by various people after they have been used for governmental purposes. Looking through the collection, it is easy to get swept away by the enormous amount of historical items, but eventually you will hit the proverbial oil. This is exactly what happened when we viewed some of our story books.  From the sickeningly cute to the hilarious to the outdated, this week, in honour of Literacy and Numeracy Week, we will be showcasing some of our most delightful books, some from as far back as 1871.


Sixpence to Spend

Ultimately a cute children’s book, ‘Sixpence to Spend’ was first published in 1935 by Angus and Robertson.  The story and the illustrations were all done by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, who transports us into the land of animals.  Talking Koala’s, Platypuses, Possums and Rabbits are integral to this imaginative narrative.  The book is likely to have provided relief during the height of the great depression while the illustrations that accompany Albert Edward the Koala, the main character, are mostly black-and-white with a few in colour. All of the illustrations are beautifully drawn, including the endearing cover.  Amusing in 1935 and still amusing now, ‘Sixpence to Spend’ really is a charming book.

SONY DSC VPRS 13554-P21-2-P VPRS 13554-P21-2-Q VPRS 13554-P21-2-R

VPRS: 13554/P0021/000002



Written by Gwen Harrowsmith and illustrated by Jackson Hull, ‘Dinty’ was published in 1947.  Following the lives of the residents of Carrowobbitty Street, this book centres around Dinty, a cat, and Erbi, an elephant, as the two best friends go about their lives.  The overriding theme relates to the differences the two face and how they still can be wonderful friends (isn’t that sweet?).  Next to the slabs of writing are a number of vivid images. Full page images in full colour really add to the delight of the book, while easily the most impressive images are those just inside of the cover.  At the front and at the back are identical images of Carrowobbitty Street at sunset.  The colours used are fantastic and make sure that the book stands out from the pack.  The front cover simply depicts Dinty’s head (they even included the bow tie!) while the back cover shows an old-fashioned gun, which would seem weird today considering our views towards guns and the implications of violence that they bring.

SONY DSC VPRS 13554-P21-2-T

VPRS 13554-P21-2-U

VPRS 13554-P21-2-V

VPRS 13554-P21-2-W

VPRS: 13554/P0021/000002


What Katy Did At School

Following up from the successful ‘What Katy Did’, ‘What Katy Did At School’ centres around the life of a young girl from the 1860’s. The series (even more books followed) began in 1872 and drew from the personal experiences of the author, who wrote under the name of Susan Coolidge. The book explores the problems of the 12-year-old Katy, who was involved in a life-changing accident during the first book, as she attends high school. While obviously outdated, the book gives an upbeat look at life. Within the book are quite a few simple, black-and-white illustrations that simply add to the charm of this 141-year-old book. The author tells her young readers that ‘if your school days are happier than Katy found hers it is because times have changed for the better’, which is abstractly uplifting until you remember that the book is virtually a self-made biography with the names changed. In the 1960’s and 70’s, multiple TV and movie adaptations of the series were created, while, more recently, the book has made it into pop culture in less blatant ways – two episodes of the hit TV show ‘Lost’ have even featured the name of the book  in the title: ‘What Katy Did’ and ‘What Katy Does’.



VPRS 13554-P21-4-B

VPRS 13554-P21-4-C

VPRS: 13554/P0021/000004


True Stories of Bravery

Retelling tales from history ‘for little folk’, ‘True Stories of Bravery’ is a great old-fashioned children’s history book. With stories titled ‘How the Dutch Saved their Country’ and others about Michael Angelo, the book traverses across various chapters in world history.  Told as a narrative, each story is an historical recount, showing us that children were able to learn about history from a young age and by different approaches.  As the title indicates, each story is true and is one of bravery.  The cover, before we even explore the content, is laden with stereotypes and seems to have been designed to appeal to boys: a boy stands in armour and with fierce weapons.  The image is striking in its composition, as are the various illustrations that can be found within the book. Like all other cultural products from any time in our history, books show us the morals and values at any given time. This book is clearly aimed at stereotypical boys, not to mention that every story within it centres on men.  To be fair, it is probably a product of its time, when stories of brave women were not prevalent in our history books.  The book is a great insight into our past – and while I do mean the history of the stories written about in it, I also mean the history of the book itself.



VPRS 13554-P21-8-G

VPRS 13554-P21-8-H

VPRS: 13554/P0021/000008


Gay Street Book

Consisting of compiled short stories, ‘Gay Street Book’ was created by Enid Blyton, a famous British children’s writer who is also known as Mary Pollock.   The stories are designed to be happy little adventures.  Accompanying each of the stories are various images that are very 50’s-esque.  Black and white images punctuated with vivid drabs of a single colour force the illustrations to really stand out.  This book really is worth a look.  Honestly, how often do you hear ‘it’s been real champion to meet you’?

VPRS 13554-P21-2-I

VPRS 13554-P21-2-J

VPRS 13554-P21-2-K

VPRS 13554-P21-2-L

VPRS 13554-P21-2-MVPRS: 13554/P0021/000002


The Wee One’s Nursery Rhymes

Made by Renwick of Otley England, ‘The Wee One’s Nursery Rhymes’ is a Walker Toy Book. The book contains classic children’s nursery rhymes, including ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep’ and ‘Jack Sprat’.  Every page is adorned with colourful or black-and-white images, which really do take centre stage. The cover shows a young girl and a friendly dog reading a book while being watched by a jester (who errs on the side of being creepy).  The central two pages are the most stunning of the whole text. Depicting the Queen of Hearts and the Knave of Hearts fighting over tarts on a summer’s day, the pictures are bright and brilliant. Reading through the book, memories of childhood experiences will come flooding back.  The book is a beautiful reminder of past experiences and it truly is a visual feast for the eyes.


VPRS 13554-P21-8-E

VPRS: 13554/P0021/000008


Dangerous Secret

Dangerous Secrets is a seamless story written by eleven different authors. Aged from 11 to 17, each writer created a chapter. The book, which was edited by John Gunn and released in 1960, was formed over the course of a year. The first chapter was written and released, and then the floor was made open for submissions to be made for the next chapter. A similar scenario occurred for the wonderful illustrations in the book. Eight boys and girls, aged between 8 and 18, created the illustrations for the book while under the guidance of Jeffrey Smart. The idea came to Australia from Norway, where Charles Moses, then General Manager of the A.B.C, had visited. Each contributor was a member of the Argonauts Club (an Australian children’s radio club) and was given just three minutes of guidance from Gunn through radio broadcast every five weeks. With the idea being well received, Gunn gave the book a starting point and let the Argonauts run rampant with the rest. With a time frame of one year, five weeks was allocated to each chapter. The A.B.C created a film based on the story and donated all profits garnered from the book and film to an appropriate charity. The book is charming and the illustrations beautiful, but you can’t deny that the story behind the making of the book is as interesting as the narrative itself.VPRS 13554-P21-2-E

VPRS 13554-P21-2-H

VPRS 13554-P21-2-F

VPRS 13554-P21-2-G

VPRS: 13554/P0021/000002


Warrumbungle, the Wallaby

First published in 1950, ‘Warrumbungle, The Wallaby’ unsurprisingly follows the adventures of a Wallaby who goes by the name of Warrumbungle. Thanks to the informative title given by the author, Harry Hodge, readers are mentally prepared to follow the adventures of the courageous Warrumbungle and his friends. Strangely, one of his friends, Rochester, a city mouse, always carries a spare tail – just in case of emergency! The third member of the crew is a boy who can talk to animals. The story follows their trip through the mountains, where they encounter many strange and new things (cue the life lessons!). Unaware they are being followed by a wicked fox (SHOCK, HORROR!), they return home. Their exploits are accompanied with many pleasant images depicting their high jinks. Setting readers up for a whimsical ride, the cover depicts a jovial scene from the book where the three companions are trouncing down a hill.  The drawings were provided by Bonor Dunlop, and breathe life into the story.


VPRS 13554-P21-2-C

VPRS 13554-P21-2-D

VPRS: 13554/P0021/000002


Cleanliness: starring Johnny Toothbrush

Beautifully illustrated, ‘Cleanliness’ is part of a 6 book series that encapsulates other titles – ‘Manners’, ‘Safety’, ‘Kindness to Pets’, ‘Obedience’ and ‘Going to Bed’. Written in 1943 by Virginia Parkinson and the Sass-Dorne Studio, you could forgive me, born in 1996, for finding the charming content more entertaining than informative. The story follows the escapades of a toothbrush who feels down in the dumps when his owner – dubbed his best friend – forgets to brush his teeth the morning of a busy day. You see, this oversight of Bobby deprived Johnny of his all-important morning exercise. Johnny Toothbrush eventually hijacks Bobby’s day to visit Doctor Stork (a bird with a bow tie and PhD) and convinces him that ‘cleanliness comes first before he plays’. The pictures, found on every page, are visually pleasing and certainly help keep the message of the book, that ‘Johnny helps you keep your smile so fresh and shiny bright!’ firmly inside of your head. Whatever you do, don’t forget to give your toothbrush his morning exercise! But, if you do forget and he takes you to a bird-doctor, it might be time to finally go and see your psychiatrist.VPRS 13554-P21-8-A

VPRS 13554-P21-8-B

VPRS 13554-P21-8-C VPRS: 13554/P0021/000008


How The Bunnies Got To Australia

Published through the Alpha-Printing Company in 1944 by an aspiring young soldier-turned-author, ‘How The Bunnies Got To Australia’ was the only book ever written by G. Maxwell Baker.  Somewhat similar to the historical events that led to rabbits populating Australia, the book introduces readers to the fictional sea-side town of Burrowville in the year 1787 – the same year the first fleet set out for Australia. Is this a coincidence? No, it is not. Bunnies, like Mrs Longears, Brighteyes, Whitehair and Furrycoat, got to Australia on ships that sailed from European countries in 1787. And yes, those names are legitimately the names for the characters in the book! The main family of bunnies, headed by Mr and Mrs Rabbit, decide to make the leap to Australia.  Meandering through various ship-orientated adventures, the bunnies do make it to Australia, where wistfully embrace and look out over their new land. The book is filled with stunning images, the most striking of which are the fruity coloured pages that book-end the story, broken only by solitary images of a bunny. While the bunny on the cover does make me quiver in fear, G. Maxwell Baker did very well in illustrating the book that he also wrote.


VPRS 13554-P21-3-D

VPRS 13554-P21-3-C

VPRS 13554-P21-3-B

VPRS: 13554/P0021/000003

Page 10 of 27« First...89101112...20...Last »