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

Crossing State Borders : Archives Sharing & Reusing Disposal Authorities

Melbourne Olympic 2

Working together for the archives

Recently Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) was tasked with developing new Retention and Disposal Authorities (RDAs) to provide coverage for legacy Victorian gas and electricity agency records.

PROV identified that State Records NSW had already produced two general authorities (GA40 Provision of Energy Transmission and Distribution Network Services and GA37 Retailing of Energy and Associated Products and Services) which were comprehensive and general enough to be applied to the Victorian jurisdiction. We requested permission to adopt the general authorities as standards for use in Victoria and in generous spirit State Records NSW agreed.

PROV produces and stores RDAs in Online Retention and Disposal Application (ORDA). ORDA is a RDA development workflow system and database that stores and exports RDAs in various formats including XML. Because State Records NSW could provide the retention and disposal authorities in an XML format, PROV was able to easily import the authorities directly into ORDA and issue them in a timely manner.

Collaborating with our counterpart in NSW meant that we did not need to expend resources on developing a Retention and Disposal Authority for a defunct function. It also identified the technical compatibility of PROV and State Records NSW RDA systems and set a precedence for the two archival jurisdictions to work more closely together and share valuable resources in the future.

See also State Records NSW blog: Sharing is caring – how developing retention and disposal authorities in xml facilitates cross jurisdictional reuse of valuable information

WWI in the archives

  • A photo of a soldier settler campsite including tents, soldier settlers, their dogs and horses
    A photo from the archives featured in the Soldier On exhibition: PROV VPRS 14517 P1 Unit 34 L533

Following the end of the First World War, more than 250,000 soldiers returned to Australia; almost 78,000 to the state of Victoria alone.

The Victorian Soldier Settlement Scheme was developed to provide these returned soldiers with a livelihood and as a reward for the service they had given their country on the battlefield.

Between 1918 and 1934, the Scheme helped settle around 11,000 of these returned soldiers on farming land across Victoria. Most settled in the Mallee, South Gippsland, the Western District and the irrigation areas of the North West, Central Gippsland near Maffra and Sale and in the Goulburn Valley.


View the soldier settler archives

The original records of the soldier settlers are now on display at Old Treasury Building as part of the Soldier On: WW1 Soldier Settler Stories exhibition. You can also access these records online via our Battle to Farm website – simply search your ancestor’s name and all of their files will appear.

Search for your ancestors' records on the Battle to Farm website.

Search for your ancestors’ records on the Battle to Farm website.

“Over the years there has been great debate as to the success or failure of the settlement scheme as ex-soldiers were entering farming life in an increasingly difficult economic climate as the world descended into the depression. Through these resources, we can see not only the land allocated to each settler, but the hardships they faced,” said Public Record Office Victoria Director and Keeper of Public Records, Justine Heazlewood.

Over 50 per cent of the soldiers allocated blocks left the scheme. Many were unable to cover their debts when food prices plummeted during the depression, while others accused the government of leasing blocks that were too small.

Shirley Boyle’s family, daughter of Beaufort soldier settler James Henderson, was an exception. Their records can be found on the Battle to Farm website, and she says life was hard for everybody during the depression, but her family never felt deprived.

“When you lived on a farm you had your butter, your milk and your vegetables – you didn’t realise there were shortages,” Shirley said.

The returned soldiers lived close to one another and developed new regional communities.

“We lived like a village, only we lived further apart then you do in a village, and we would meet at weekends on ponies or on bikes…and so we were sort of known as the soldier settlers and we had a lot of fun, we grew up well.”

Download the WWI Resource Kit

The Bendigo Regional Archives Centre has developed a WW1 Resource Kits for researchers interested in the responses to the war from the Bendigo, Eaglehawk, Huntly, Marong, Strathfieldsaye, McIvor and Raywood Councils.

Derived from council minutes, the kits include:

  • School Children’s contributions to Patriotic and War Savings funds’ collections
  • The formation and activities of local voluntary fundraising groups
  • Enlistment figures
  • The plans to construct the Soldiers’ War Memorial in Pall Mall.

Correspondence related to the soldier settler scheme can also be found in the records, such as this one:

This is a photo of a letter contained within the WW1 kit that says that a land application has been rejected.

A file contained within the WW1 kit.

Download the kit here.

New to the archives: records of geographic place names

  • This is a photo of a folder with the title 'Land Management Place Names, Geographic Place Names, Naming Proposals, Wayaperri House' it also includes the logo for the Department of Sustainability and Environment
    The geographic place name proposal for Wayaperri House, VPRS 17888 P1 Unit 6

If you’re the inquisitive type you may have wondered how a place, park or building got its name or even what it means. As part of the Land Management, Place Names record series (VPRS) 17888 recently transferred to our archives, you will be able to uncover how and why many Victorian geographic places got their names between 1998 and 2010.

The practice of naming or renaming a public place is often a lengthy process driven by consultation between local councils, communities and stakeholders. The proposed name then goes before the regulatory body, the Office of Geographic Names, for approval. The records created as part of this process often include council minutes, maps or plans of the place under consideration and official correspondence with stakeholders that detail the significance of the proposed name.

These records, now available to order and view at the Victorian Archives Centre, document the cultural significance of a place name including places named to reflect the local Aboriginal community or original title, for example:

This is a photo of a plaque that says 'Kirrip Wurrung Biik denots the link between the five clans of the Kulin Nation of South Central Victoria, the common language spoken by them and their strong relationship to country.'

Image courtesy of Wyndham City Council

Kirrip Warrung Biik Park, Werribee

Adjacent to the Wyndham Cultural Centre, this parkland was the site of a commissioned artwork that brought together creative ideas from members of all five Kulin Nations.

To promote the artwork’s themes, particularly friendship between the Kulin Nations, the park underwent a name change to ‘Kirrip Warrung Biik’, literally meaning ‘friend mouth country’. Kirrip denotes friendship, Warrung is the common language spoken, and Biik represents their strong connection to country, creating an appropriate name for the park.

Galada Tamboore Pathway, Craigieburn Bypass bicycle-pedestrian path

Constructed alongside the Craigieburn bypass, this shared pathway was named through a community nomination process held by VicRoads. The nominated ‘Galada Tamboore’ was then investigated by VicRoads in consultation with the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council. Galada Tamboore is derived from the nearby 93-hectare floodplain, which is of great archaeological, geological and historical significance. More can be read and discovered about Galada Tamboore and the VicRoads’ naming nominations by ordering this file.

Wayaperri House, Werribee

In 2004, the Wyndham City Council purchased the former St Phillip’s Lutheran Church Hall so it could be used as a community meeting facility by the Werribee Community Centre. The hall is now known as Wayaperri House. ‘Wayaperri’ meaning ‘to meet’ is an Indigenous name that is locally relevant and is an appropriate reflection of the current use of the hall.

By viewing the records, one learns that the Werribee Community Centre had originally proposed calling the hall ‘Milpara Place’, but having consulted the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, found that the closest word to ‘Milpara’ in the Boon Wurrun language was ‘Milpala’ meaning ‘crooked’, as in a bend in the river.

These records are now available to order and view at the Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room. Search the collection now.

Note, place name records created prior to 1998 are currently in the custody of Land Victoria. 

Victoria’s early history revealed through ‘Letters to La Trobe’ now available online

  • A handwritten letter detailing the number of servants in employ in black ink.
    Letters to La Trobe: number of servants in employment.

Delicate hand written 19th century letters sent to Charles Joseph La Trobe are now available online for the very first time, providing a snapshot into the lives of early Victorians.

Director and Keeper of Public Records, Justine Heazlewood, said it took 18 passionate volunteers six years to digitise the 170 year old documents which are now online in time for the 215th anniversary of La Trobe’s birthday.

“While Charles La Trobe served as Superintendent of Port Phillip District from 1839 to 1851, and Lieutenant-Governor of the colony of Victoria from 1851 to 1854, he helped create the city of Melbourne and oversaw Victoria’s separation from NSW – the letters he received during this time paint a portrait of the people and their concerns of the day.”

The letters to La Trobe range from suggestions for the establishment of Melbourne’s streets, gardens and markets to the personal appeals and complaints of citizens.

In this letter, the Colonial Secretary sends approval for the establishment of the Melbourne Supreme Court:

“I am directed by the Governor to inform you, that a Bill will very shortly be laid before the Legislative Council, one of the Provisions of which will be to establish Courts of Justice at Melbourne.”

While in a more personal letter, a woman pleads for the release of her son from jail having been convicted for selling ginger beer:

“The son of your petitioner is now confined in the gaol of this town for an offence committed in utter ignorance that any law was infringed by the act for which he is punished, he being only nineteen years of age and having been brought up in a simple and retired manner, so that his knowledge of the world is ever below his years.”

In a humorous exchange, this letter writer seeks reprimand for an incompetent lighthouse watcher:

“I beg leave to inform your Honor that the man attended to the light house, Daniel Hickey, has been frequently found asleep during his watch at night, and indeed very impertinent to both Mr McNaughton and myself.”

Diane Gardiner AM, President of the C.J. La Trobe Society, says that these records are significant to Victoria’s memory.

“The digitised letters of Lt Governor Charles La Trobe show new details about his administration and give researchers an idea of the issues and difficulties he was dealing with. In this day of instant messaging, Twitter and telephones, imagine La Trobe’s frustrations in waiting a month or more for answers and instructions regarding urgent matters.”

Listen to this letter from C Lewis, 12 August 1840:

Listen to this letter from James Woodman, 19 September 1840:

Listen to more.

According to Dianne Reilly of the C.J. La Trobe Society, and previously La Trobe Librarian of the State Library of Victoria, most citizens didn’t know that La Trobe had very little power in many of these matters.

“What most settlers did not realise was that La Trobe, at least in the early years, had very little power to make decisions about the territory under his management. Most matters had to be referred to the Governor in Sydney. An example of this was that La Trobe even had to ask for an allowance to provide forage for his horse.”

“The most significant impact of this project is that, with all the documents in the series online, there will be no need to handle these fragile letters again – researchers anywhere in the world will have easy access to this important material whenever and wherever it suits them.”

To research the letters, search through series VPRS 19 of the PROV catalogue here.

Or view this interactive sample of the letters that helped shape Melbourne (click here to view it in full screen and read the transcriptions):

‘Letters to La Trobe’ is a Public Record Office Victoria initiative supported by the CJ La Trobe Society with funding from the R E Ross Trust.

IM3: Your Free Information Management Diagnostic Tool

Question mark on digital background
How does your organisation measure up?

Government Information Management (IM) professionals manage information in an increasingly complex business environment. With competing priorities and limited budget, senior management need evidence that IM projects will produce measurable benefits. So, how do you begin to build a business case that strategically aligns with your organisation’s priorities?

Today’s public sector faces these and other significant IM challenges.

This article explores these issues in greater detail and explains the benefits of using Public Record Office Victoria’s IM3 tool to assess your organisation’s IM strengths and weaknesses.

The Information Management challenge

The increasing proliferation and decentralisation of business structures and systems has led to greater challenges in both the management of information and its strategic coordination among business units and agencies. Further, information architectures increasingly depend on a diverse range of hosted and off-the-shelf business systems to provide quality service to the public.

Persistent, available and reliable information

There is a direct link between responsiveness and how integrated information sits within government. Sound IM is crucial to ensure knowledge is maintained within an organisation in the face of:

  • higher rates of staff turnover
  • frequent restructuring
  • shorter life-spans of programs and projects for efficiency gains
  • contracted policy cycles driven by executive government.

These factors create risks of knowledge leakage where operational and content knowledge of systems leaves an organisation.

Another risk is unmaintained technology-dependent systems or systems not properly retired in accordance with established rules and principles through the appraisal and disposal of assets. This results in a decline in the usability of information sets; particularly where information becomes locked in a legacy system. Re-discovering the information becomes costly, and highly valuable information is lost or mixed with low value information.

By contrast, migration of information assets and/or appraisal and disposal allows for either the preservation of information assets of medium to long-term value to be reused as required in the future or for information assets to be legally destroyed.

Lost opportunities

Failures to manage information can lead to lost opportunities in efficiency, cost reduction and service improvement. A lack of information sharing among government agencies results in duplication and fracturing where relational information is isolated and confined within different agencies. Increasingly, members of the public expect that information should not only be accessible but that the point of access is maintained as a singular interface or ‘one-stop-shop’.

Low priority, high impact

IM practises which fall short of legal obligations can lead to poor public perception and high costs associated with legal action.

Yet IM ranks as a low priority in many government organisations. When presented with perceivably minor IM failures that appear to be singular events, a CEO may be inclined to tolerate the consequences when faced with competing priorities. Damage caused by poor IM tends to be delayed and accumulative. Evidence suggests that the impacts of IM in businesses are significant:

  • According to Gartner, 40% of business initiatives fail to achieve targeted benefits because of poor data quality (P. Southekal, IDM July-August 2015).
  • On average, the potential benefits of improving information management practices are up to $20,000 per employee per year (Experience Matters, RMN2015).

Towards organisation-level Information Management

Positioning IM at an organisational level provides a robust framework for justifying and measuring results from expenditure on IM. This approach seeks to minimise waste and lost opportunities. It offers a structured, clear process for formulating IM-related strategies and ventures, and identifying outcomes.

How does Public Record Office Victoria’s IM3 tool fit in?

The Information Management Maturity Model (IM3) provides records managers and senior management with a clear snapshot of their current IM capability. By completing the model, you can quickly identify your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses across all key IM areas. Importantly, the model also provides clear high-level goals for improvement in each area.

Results from the IM3 assessment can be used to:

  • Better identify areas of IM in the organisation that need attention
  • Assist in setting goals for IM capability and skills development
  • Link to relevant Whole-of-Victorian Government policies, standards and guidelines
  • Support a case for resources or initiatives to improve information and records management.

The IM3 is perhaps most useful when an organisation undertakes the assessment on a regular basis. By charting IM ‘health’ over time, your organisation can track the effects of initiatives, decisions and changes to move towards continuous IM improvement. The development of this data-set can be used to inform broader IM strategies in your agency.

What’s involved in performing an IM3 assessment?

Start by simply downloading the FREE tool.

The assessment requires you to think about different aspects of your organisation’s current IM practices, policies and processes.

Questions are divided into four areas:

  • People
  • Organisation
  • Information Lifecycle & Quality
  • Business Systems and Processes.

You will be asked to select your organisation’s current ‘maturity’ for each criterion. The levels of maturity for each criterion are characterised by short statements, each one simply describing what a higher level of maturity might look like. Completion of the assessment does not require special resources or data collection, you judge where your organisation sits based upon your knowledge and experience. In many cases, it will be appropriate for more than one person to collaborate on the assessment.

The intention of the IM3 is not to ‘pass or fail’ organisations against a compliance checklist. It is simply a self-assessment. Upon completion, you will be provided with a graph and table of your results. This shows the level of IM maturity across different areas, with levels ranging from ‘unmanaged’ (least mature) to ‘proactive’ (most mature).

Find out more

For more information about IM3 and to hear examples of organisations that have found it helpful, please contact us via email at

By Carly Godden, Senior Officer Standards and Policy, and Howard Quenault, Senior Manager, Government Recordkeeping – Public Record Office Victoria. Based on an article first published in Records and Information Management Professionals Newsletter.

Your connection is not secure

You may have noticed recently we’ve been having some technical difficulties with ‘Access the Collection’. We thank you for your patience as our IT team irons out the issues.

When ordering records: One error that may occur for some users is shown below (click to enlarge), including information on a quick solution, so that you can go on ordering the records you require.

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Royal Children’s Hospital records transfer now complete

  • This is a photo of a folder with the word 'news' on it.
    Great news for researchers: new Royal Children’s Hospital Records available for viewing at the Victorian Archives Centre

Records from the Royal Children’s Hospital dating as far back as 1870 are now part of our collection here at the state archives.

The transfer comprises a wide range of historic records created by the Hospital over the last 140 plus years.

Over the course of the last five years, records ranging from hospital minutes and correspondence, to autopsy registers and nurses’ lecture books have all been added to the collection.

The final transfer, which took place earlier this year, includes minutes, agenda and papers of the Committee of Management, patient histories, and nurse training records.

One interesting record we discovered in the collection was this September 1954 edition of the Parents’ Paper.

This is the front cover photo of a publication called 'The Parents' Paper'

A copy of The Parents’ Paper was found in the collection, VPRS 16876 P1 Unit 1

VPRS 16876 P1 Unit 1 2

VPRS 16876 P1 Unit 1 3

Costing only One Penny-half-penny at the time, this handy little periodical provided parenting advice from the Young People’s Department, Methodist Church of Australasia. This can be found among the files of VPRS 16876 P1 Unit 1 which contains an assortment of research and information from various conferences that those in the Social Work Department attended at the time. The records were handed over to the Royal Children’s Hospital Archives in mid-2007 forming part of their collection.

The new files – completing the transfer of Royal Children’s Hospital’s collection – include:

VPRS 16796 P2     
Minutes of the Committee of Management (1870-1992), Board of Management (1992-1995); Finance and House Committees (1944-1995)
1985 to 1995

VPRS 16804 P1
Minutes and Correspondence of the Medical Staff Association
1891 to 1989

VPRS 16868 P1
Minutes of the Senior Medical Staff and Various Sub-Committees pertaining to the Orthopaedic Section; Correspondence and other Papers
1960 to 1976

VPRS 16876 P1
Records of the Social Work Department
1962 to 2004

VPRS 16888 P1     
Files of the Executive of the Medical Staff Association, Chairman and Secretary’s Files
1961 to 2001

VPRS 16900 P1     
Agenda, Minutes and Papers for Meetings of the Board Office Bearers (Board of Management), Previously the Board Executive Committee
1984 to 1995

VPRS 16902 P1     
Minutes, Agendas and Papers of the Board of Management
1990 to 1995

View the full list of Royal Children’s Hospital records by searching 1239 under ‘Find My Number’ Agency.

State Bank Victoria Archives – Ephemera Collection

  • This is a photo of an old bank cheque from 1842 - it's faded blue with black handwriting asking the Port Phillip Bank to pay Henry Woods thirteen punds and nine shillings signed Robert von Steiglitz. He is described in a note at the bottom of the cheque as a squatter and settler near Ballan.
    An unpresented Port Phillip Bank cheque dated 1842. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E467.

The State Bank Victoria Archives Ephemera Collection holds many fascinating items dating back as far as 1842 all the way to 1992. With ‘Old Stuff Day’ coming up on the 2nd of March, we thought it an excellent time to take a trip back in time with one of the boxes from this collection – we’ve chosen Unit 248 from the series. Let’s take a look…

This is a photo of a cook book cover that shows a colourful drawing of a woman holding a cake.

A colourful Cook Book cover titled ‘Our Cookery Book’ by Flora Pell, VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E461.


The back inside cover of the same cook book is printed with the State Savings Bank of Victoria logo and includes the text "It is the lady of the house who holds the purse strings. The smooth running of the family's affairs depends on her. It is she who buys the necessities of life - and whatever luxuries that can be afforded. The modern housewife is a Manageress, and a Treasurer, too. She needs a helpful fund of ready money which will crop up - she cannot do without it. The best way to build up a Reserve Fund is to make regular deposits in this Bank. It costs nothing to save and it pays.

The back inside cover of the same book – including the State Savings Bank of Victoria’ brand. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E461.


This is a print of a planned mural painted by Leonard French for the State Bank Centre. The image shows colourful images representing all four seasons beginning with spring, then summer, autumn and lastely winter.

‘Journey of the Sun’ a mural by Leonard French commissioned for State Bank Centre. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E463.


This is a photo of the front cover of an old book that says "Business Lectures for Business Men". There's old font and logos on it and it's faded. It's dated 1933.

A book of “Business Lectures for Business Men” 1933. VPRS VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E464.


This is two bank pay-in slips sitting side by side. One has text written on it in red font, the other has dark blue. They both include space for the bank customer to fill on their account number, name, date and amount of money enclosed.

Bank Pay In Slips. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E465.


This is a share certificate for Mark Moss dated 1889.

A share certificate from 1889. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E466.


An old cheque book from 1913 that includes a pay receipt to Miss Gallacher Dressmaker.

A cheque book from 1913. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E467.


This is a photo of an old bank cheque from 1842 - it's faded blue with black handwriting asking the Port Phillip Bank to pay Henry Woods thirteen punds and nine shillings signed Robert von Steiglitz. He is described in a note at the bottom of the cheque as a squatter and settler near Ballan.

An unpresented Port Phillip Bank cheque dated 1842. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E467.


This photo shows a series of old cheques from the 1800s donated to Mr Ernest M. Wills of 191 albert Street Sebastopol. The attached letter states "Dear Mr Wills, Re Sebastopol Borough Council Cheques Bank of Victoria. Me Vendy passed four of the old cheques that you donated to this bank and on behalf of the General Manager I would like to express our very grateful thanks. These documents will be placed in our Archive collection and will be displayed when the occasion occurs that requires old documents to give authenticity to a function. Mr Vendy is to display the remaining cheques in his office. Again I thank you. Yours faithfully, John A Knight."

A series of cheques donated to the archive. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E467.


This is a photo from a brochure titled 'Self Banking Service'. In it there is a photo of an ATM and a man and lady using it.

A Self Banking Service brochure. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E472.


This is a picture of the colourful 'Calendar Club' brochure from the State Savings Bank of Victoria. On the left is a yellow background with text that says "Why do it this way? It's easier to pay for the tour in low, weekly instalments than all at once. And with a Calendar Club book you always have a record of how much you have saved. It's so convenient, deposits can be made at school or at any branch of the State Bank. If you are not able to go on the tous, what then? If you wish to withdraw from the tour, an advisory note, endorsed by the tour organiser, should be sent to the bank. Arrangements will then be made to have the total of your deposits, plus interest, refunded to you." In the middle of the page is a State Savings Bank logo and on the far right is a colourful picture of a plan, bus and train.

Calendar Club Brochure. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E481.


This is an image of the front and back cover of a Burroughs Adding Maching Short Cuts Manual. It shows photos of different types of adding machines (they look a lot like typewriters) and text about saving valuable time and promote accuracy.

Burroghs Adding Machine Short Cuts Manual. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E455.


This is a letter from 1928 that states "To the Secretary, Bankers Institute of Australia. Sire, My Aunt, Miss Potter, of 2 Stanhope Grove in Camberwell, searching through some property left by her father, Matthew Potter, found the enclosed. She sent it to me here thinking it would be of some value. I have made enquiries but it is valueless. However, the Bank Manager of my bank here, has advised me to send it to you thinking it might make a specimen for your collection there. My grandfather went to Australia in the early 50s during the Gold Rush. There is a short description with the note - information found for me by the manager of the bank here with regard to it. Should it be any any use to you will you accept it and acknowledge the receipt of it to my aunt at the above address. Yours Faithfully, Winifred M Gregor."

A letter of donation 1928. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E468.


This is a photo of the donated item referred to in the previous letter - it is an old cheque from the 1800s.

The donated item referred to in the previous letter. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E468.


This is a colourful brochure cover for Easy Bank which has two people sitting on the dock overlooking the ocean with the text "How to so your banking at a time and place that suits you."

A brochure about easy banking from 1986. VPRS 08936 P1 Unit 248 Item E483.

The State Savings Bank archive collection was transferred to Public Record Office Victoria in 1995.

The first Government controlled savings bank was established on 1 January 1842 under New South Wales legislation. Known as the Savings Bank of Port Phillip it was administered by a Board of Trustees and a Vice-President. Branches of this Bank were subsequently established in other parts of the colony.

In 1853 a statutory body known as The Commissioners of Savings Banks in the Colony of Victoria was constituted under the Savings’ Bank Act and each bank was thereafter to be a separate and independent institution with its own trustees and officers – however, between 1896 and 1912 the independent Savings Banks of Victoria merged to become a single institution and this development was formalised by the 1912 legislation.

From 1980 the Bank was known as the State Bank of Victoria under the provisions of the State Bank Act 1980. 

The State Bank of Victoria established its own Archives before the Bank was sold in 1990 to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. After the sale, the Archives of the State Bank continued to operate until the Archives’ holdings were transferred to the state archives.

Proposed changes to copyright laws that affect archives and libraries

Large copyright sign made of colorful jigsaw puzzle pieces, isolated on a white background in landscape mode and with plenty of white space on the right side.

Copyright image credit Horia Varlan.

In December 2015, the Federal Department for Communications and the Arts released an Exposure Draft of an amending Bill to the Copyright Act 1968. The proposed changes would have particular implications for management and use of copyright material by archives and libraries.

The consultation period upon the Exposure Draft closes on 12 February 2016. Guiding Questions have also been released, all of which are available on the Department’s website.

Proposed changes of significance to archives and libraries include:


Former provisions regarding copying for the purpose of preserving the material would be revoked. In their place, the Copyright Act 1968 would allow not for profit archives which open their collection to the public to make copies of copyright records for preservation and research purposes. Archives which fall under the definition of key cultural institution would also be allowed to make preservation copies of records, regardless of whether the archive derives some level of profit or revenue generation from the collection.[1] Digital versions of preservation or research copies could be publically viewed in the archive provided they could not be copied or shared by the user.

Unpublished records

Under current copyright laws, records which are not published remain protected in copyright in perpetuity, so there can be restrictions on publication or other uses.

The amendments would introduce, amongst other things:

  • A new general protection period of life of the author plus 70 years for all copyright material where the author is known (for literary, dramatic, musical works and engravings).
  • For records not ‘made public’ , a protection period of 70 years commencing the year in which the record is first ‘made’, where the author is ‘not generally known’. However, if the record is ‘made public’ within 50 years of its making, the proposed amendments provide a protection period commencing when the record was first ‘made public’ plus 70 years.

Archival collections usually contain many unpublished records where the identity author of the work is unknown. However, they also typically contain records of which the author is known, but current copyright owner of the work cannot be traced to secure permission to use the records (commonly called ‘orphan works’). At this stage, it is not clear that the proposed amendments to the duration of copyright would include these types of records.

Copyright material made or first published by the Crown

For records in which copyright is owned by the ‘Crown’ the proposed amendments would set a copyright protection term of 50 years from the year in which the record was first made, regardless of whether the records have been published or ‘made public’ in any way.

The majority of records held at PROV are owned by the Crown.

[1] It is uncertain if these new provisions would cover public records in some government agencies.

Operations Management Standard Refresh

Public Record Office Victoria is pleased to announce that version 2.0 of the Operations Management Standard has now been released. The Operations Management Standard is about managing and directing records management practices, systems and processes within an agency.  

These versions introduce mostly minor amendments and improvements to the Operations Management Standard suite of documents. A notable change to the Specification has been made, with Clause 37 now stating that permanent and temporary records can be transferred between jurisdictions with the approval of the Keeper of Public Records.

Time frames have been removed from the Standards Principles. This change was made to provide agencies with the opportunity to select their own time frames based on risk assessments.

Where can I find Operations Management Standard documents?

The new Standard and full suite of updated Operations Management documents are now available online:

Thank you to all those who provided feedback during the consultation process.

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