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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

2014 Privacy Law Reform

The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Privacy Amendment Act) introduced significant changes to the Privacy Act. These changes commenced on 12 March 2014. The Privacy Amendment Act enhances the protection of privacy in Australia.   For more information please visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s privacy law reform page

So how will this impact the Victorian public sector?
Below is an excerpt taken from the media release published by the Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner;

Acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner, David Watts, has welcomed the recent changes to federal privacy laws. “These changes came about as a result of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2008 report on their review of Australian privacy laws,” explains Mr Watts.  “One of the benefits of privacy laws is that they give people the right to know why an organisation is asking for their information and what they are going to do with it. These rights have been strengthened for organisations bound by the federal laws. This benefits both consumers and the organisations themselves who can have a better relationship with their customers,” says the Acting Commissioner.

“It is important for the public and Victorian government organisations, local councils and contracted service providers to understand that the federal changes do not affect the Victorian Information Privacy Act 2000  which is administered by the Victorian Privacy Commissioner. This includes when state contracts made with private organisations or Commonwealth agencies include provisions relating to personal information,” Mr Watts says.

“Personal information collected and used by the Victorian Public Sector is covered by the Victorian Information Privacy Act 2000. This law requires organisations to be transparent with their customers and staff when collecting personal information and to ensure that personal information sent outside Victoria is accompanied by appropriate privacy protection. The law also provides the opportunity for a person to make a complaint if they believe their personal information has been improperly administered,” explains Mr Watts.

Detailed information about the Victorian Information Privacy Act can be found at

To read the media release, please visit

The Electrification of Melbourne’s Suburban Railway Network

The Electrification of Melbourne’s Suburban Railway Network

“Photo Album: Electrification Scheme”


VPRS 12397/P1 – Unit 1, Image of Six Car Standard Train

VPRS 12397/P1 – Unit 1, Image of Six Car Standard Train


In 1919 the first Suburban Electric Train Services started in Melbourne.  At the time Melbourne was the largest city in Australia, and was the first to electrify its Train Services.  By 1923 most of the Suburban Train Services were operated by Electric Trains.  It was an immediate success, with patronage soaring as a result of the quicker travel times and increased services which had all been achieved at a reduced cost.

This was the conclusion of a large investment by the Victorian Railways into the new Electric Traction Technology which was to replace the Steam Train Passenger Services of the time.  The Electrification Scheme adopted was from the recommendations of a Report in 1912 which had been noted by a UK Electrical Engineer by the name of Charles Merz.  The Scheme was to be the first application of 1,500 V DC using overhead current collection in the World at the time, and boasted the largest Power Station in the Southern Hemisphere.

This series is a photo album which contains photos relating to the electrification of the Melbourne Suburban Railway System.  The subjects of photographs include buildings such as the Jolimont as well as Caulfield Sub-Stations, the Newport Power Station, promotional shoots of Victorian landmarks and countryside, over line bridges, and track structure.


VPRS 12397/P1 - Unit 1, Image of Port Campbell
VPRS 12397/P1 – Unit 1, Image of Port Campbell


Work on the electrification of the railways commenced c.1912; however there are no dates on the records in this series.  The series date range is an estimation which has been established due to similarities between this series as well as other promotional or publicity material prepared by the Victorian Railways c.1919.  The photographs have been bound together in an album and labelled.



VPRS 12397 Photo Album: Electrification Scheme

Creating Agency:

VA 2876 Victorian Railways (also Victorian Railways Commissioners 1883-1973, Victorian Railways Board 1973-1983)

Agency currently responsible:

VA 2984 Public Transport Corporation, 1999 – cont

                                                                            Sasho Talevski, Access Services Officer

2014 MAY Records Management Network Meeting

The Government Services team at Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) would like to warmly invite you and your fellow record keeping and information management professionals to the next Records Management Network  (RMN) meeting.

The event will take place on the 5th May 2014 at Treasury Theatre, 1 Macarthur Street Melbourne. Presentations will commence at 11:00 am and conclude at 2:30 pm.  

Over the past year, the team has conducted extensive research to analyse exactly what topics are considered both interesting and of importance for our audience such as yourself.  And for this RMN, we have prepared an exciting line up of speakers. Please see a detailed description of the presentations below and the attached flyer.

Free lunch and refreshments will be provided, although we ask you to please specify any dietary requirements with your RSVP.  

Don’t forget to RSVP to by 30 April 2014 to secure your place as we do expect high turnout for this event.

For further information and program times click here to download the Records Management Network Meeting program.

If you have any questions or enquiries please contact Ms Carly Godden, Standards and Policy, on 9348 5659 or email

We look forward to seeing you there!


Alethea Belford: How to ensure your IM project fails!

How do you manage the change associated with your IM project when?

  •  People think it’s boring?
  • You have no budget for change or you’ve outsourced it?
  • You are stuck with proscriptive processes?

Drawing on Melbourne Water’s experience from their Hamer Award winning Info Program, this session explores some of the solutions and obstacles common in IM projects.

Alethea Belford has spent her career working with organisations to improve the effectiveness and compliance of their information management (IM) practices.

Alethea’s core skills centre on information management specialising in strategy and governance, program and project management, content management (ECM/EDRMS), knowledge management and collaboration, enterprise data management, cultural change & engagement and digital archiving/preservation.

Alethea is experienced in multiple sectors, with a focus on government, mining and utilities. Her work has been carried out in both and advisory and an implementation capacity

Richard Vinciullo:  Victoria’s IP Policy and recordkeeping

The State of Victoria’s Intellectual Property Policy provides a framework for how the Victorian Public Sector deals with IP. This impacts on recordkeeping by VPS agencies, particularly in relation to issues such as public accessibility to copyright material and the use of material belonging to third parties. This presentation explores the impacts of the IP Policy on recordkeeping.

Richard Vinciullo is the Manager of the State of Victoria’s Intellectual Property Policy at the Department of Treasury and Finance. He has previously worked in civil law policy and acted as a litigation lawyer.

Anita Parer and Paul Cooper: Digital Trends impacting IM in Governments

Digital Trends are impacting our Information Management landscape and the latest move into cloud, collaboration, and mobility are no exception. Today’s workforce is equipped with marvellously advanced mobile technology that enables our workforce to be more productive without sacrificing flexibility. Organisations are challenged to maintain professional effectiveness, to structure unstructured data, to avoid record duplication, to ensure no legal issues occur, and to manage security and identity. SMS Management & Technology will share with you a successfully proven framework and Government best practice to manage your Information.

Anita Parer has been working in Information Management Consulting since 10 years. Her key focus are emerging trends in data centricity and master data management. Such trends include cloud, mobile devices and access to real time data. She has a strong emphasis on driving rapid business value realisation through focusing on the Minimum Viable Product required for an organisation to implement a solution. End-user and customer focus throughout any project are key to her successful projects.  

Paul Cooper is the Australian Information Industry Association representative on VICTAC and the Victorian Spatial Information Council. With a career of over 28 years that has spanned biomedical research, IT and business solutions he has a strong practical experience in the ways in which information can be used for the benefit of citizens and organisations – and the pitfalls. He has extensive knowledge of the applications of information from his many client engagement including managing a core health infrastructure program: National Authentication Services for Health and the Emergency Services Common Operating Picture. He will share the knowledge management cycle that has proved useful to many of his clients.

Recovering from disaster: the Charlton Golden Grains Museum experience

In 2012, Northern Victoria was subject to wide-spread flooding, leading to significant damage to archival collections housed in the region. Carolyn Olive will discuss how this flooding affected the Charlton Golden Grains Museum archives, and will provide a first-hand perspective of disaster recovery and salvaging of archival and records material. Drawing from this experience, Carolyn will reflect on lessons learnt and the primacy of disaster preparedness and planning for archival institutions and record keepers.

Carolyn Olive is the Secretary and Curator of the Charlton Golden Grains Museum for eight years and also responsible for the digitisation of our photographs and other archives. Instrumental in the recovery and redevelopment of the museum after the January 2011 flood.

Blue Shield Australia – Advocating that your records are safeguard against disasters

The Blue Shield is the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. The distinctive emblem was specified by the UNESCO’s 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. It is also the name of the International Committee of Blue Shield (ICBS), set up in 1996 to advise UNESCO on the protection of the world’s cultural heritage threatened by wars and natural disasters. With the approval of ICBS in 2005 Blue Shield Australia (BSA) was established. BSA’s vision is to influence disaster preparedness and emergency management in Australia in order to ensure the preservation of cultural heritage within Australia’s areas of responsibility and influence.

This paper will give a brief introduction to the aims and objective of the BSA and will outline basic disaster preparedness strategies. These mitigation measures will help any records manager to reduce the risks of damage or loss of records in their care. Ideally these measure should be integrated into everyday working structures and activities and lead to the establishment of a local network/arrangement for assistance between similar organisations and emergency services with the ultimate aim of hardwiring the relationship and building a community which ensure our cultural heritage becomes ‘disaster resilient’.

Detlev Lueth holds a Bachelor Degree in Applied Science, specializing in the conservation of both Paper & Photographic materials and has been a professional practising conservator for over 15 years.

In 2002 Detlev joined the National Archives of Australia as Assistant Director of Preservation and Digitisation. Previously he has worked as Senior Paper and Exhibitions Conservator at the National Museum of Australia, Senior Film Preservation Officer at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and Photo Conservator at International Conservation Service in Sydney (ICS). 

He has carried out research and lectured on the preservation and conservation of photographic materials at both Canberra and Melbourne Universities.

Detlev has been an active member of the conservation profession for over twenty years and was named the 2004 Australian Institute for Conservation of Cultural Materials (AICCM) Conservator of the Year for contributions to photographic conservation. Detlev represents the International Council on Archives (ICA) on the Blue Shield Australia (BSA) Committee and is the current chair of the BSA committee.

Further information is available from our website:

Free Tours and Information sessions – April to June 2014

Join us on our free tours and a range of information sessions on what we do here at Public Record Office Victoria and how you can access our ever-evolving collection of records through our online catalogue.  These tours and sessions are run at the Victorian Archives Centre, 99 Shiel Street, North Melbourne.  ===> Transport details.

We run regular our one-hour guided tours that venture beyond the Get Smart security doors, through the air locks and into the repository. Who knows what you might encounter among the 90 kilometres of records and 180 years of history in our collection, but you’re guaranteed plenty of pause for thought about the links to your history as well as a look at a petition so big it was tabled in parliament on a surf reel!


To book, click on the relevant link below or visit  If you are unable to book online, please contact us on 03 9348 5609 Monday to Friday 10am to 4.30pm.  Bookings are essential.  

Wednesday 2nd April 2014
11:00am – 12:00pm    Tour of the archives
1:00pm – 2:00pm        Introduction to the PROV online catalogue

Monday 14th April 2014
11:00am – 12:00pm    Tour of the archives
1:00pm – 2:30pm        Digging Deeper – Advanced PROV searching

Friday 2nd May 2014
11:00am – 12:00pm    Tour of the archives
1:00pm – 2:00pm        Introduction to the PROV online catalogue

Thursday 15th May 2014
11:00am – 12:00pm    Tour of the archives
1:00pm – 2:30pm        Researching Education Records

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
11:00am – 12:00pm    Tour of the archives
1:00pm – 2:30pm        Introduction to the PROV online catalogue

Wednesday 18th June 2014
11:00am – 12:00pm    Tour of the archives
1:00pm – 2:30pm        Reading 19th Century Handwriting

All sessions are wheelchair accessible.  Group bookings are welcome.

Reminder: Hamer Awards Nominations due 11 April

It’s the Awards season, and now that the Golden Globes and Academy Awards have been presented, the next important awards ceremony (the Sir Rupert Hamer Records Management Awards) is fast approaching.

Did your agency complete a records management project in 2013 that in some way improved the business efficiency and effectiveness within your agency and / or ensured a high level of compliance with the Public Record Office Victoria Recordkeeping Standards?

If the answer is yes, then you have a few weeks to complete your nomination for the annual Sir Rupert Hamer Records Management Awards.

Friday 11 April 2014 is the closing date for this year’s nominations. The Awards ceremony will be held on Thursday 22 May. 

Further information, including nomination guidelines, application forms, and case studies from previous winners, are available from our website: <> or by contacting Bridget Ruff ( or Jenny Rout (

We look forward to receiving your nomination.

Entertaining for decades: The Dux Picture Theatre, Albert Park and The Block

The Block is one of Australia’s more popular television shows and this season, work has commenced on an historic property in Albert Park in Melbourne.

In amongst the hype of reality television, where the contestants are being bombarded with colour swatches, door knobs and light fittings is the maiden in the story, the former Dux Picture Theatre.. Located at 47 O’Grady Street, Albert Park, this property is in the throws of being reinvigorated and converted into four three-bedroom, three bathroom, loft-style apartments.

Floor Plan

PROV’s collection holds the original Public Building files (P.B. 1165) for the picture theatre. However, prior to this large space being what is now marketed as a ‘former picture theatre’ the Dux was actually the Albert Park Presbyterian Church.

Established in January 1885, this large brick building was designed by an architect from South Melbourne by the name of Buckhurst and was shortly followed with an ‘opening soiree’ about ten days later. Aside from the occasional request for alterations from the Department of Health, the Presbyterian Church coasted along without any fuss.

Presbyterian Church correspondence

By 1911 well known Collins Street architects Messrs, Ashworth and Oakley had submitted a proposal to convert the Church ‘into a public hall in biograph entertainment’, of which the board had no objection save for a few stipulations for its conversion. Before its grand opening as a picture theatre in 1912, rigorous inspections were underway to make it safe for the general public to frequent.

A report from an officer of the fire brigade outlined a few fundamental problems with the building, which was ‘constructed entirely of wood and comprise[d] an auditorium about 60 feet by 50 feet with raised platform, three galleries and two small elevated places at front end approached by means of narrow ladders. In the front there is a lofty wooden tower or belfry and a ticket office, above which is a lantern room.’

This report, as with a few subsequent reports from health inspectors outlines the need for fire safety measures, and in this particular report from October 1911 recommends chemical extinguishers as the ‘building which, owing to the nature of its construction, is a serious risk not only to the public using it, but is also a menace to the adjoining properties.’

Dux Picture Theatre correspondence

As the years went on the Dux Picture Theatre was required by the Public Health Department to make many alterations for the safety of its visitors. Most notably throughout this file is the number of instances that were considered to be ‘overcrowding’ of the venue, a lack of exits in the case of an emergency evacuation and incapable fire extinguishing facilities.


Aside from these issues, the theatre was used for a variety of entertainment purposes apart from motion pictures and stage-based plays, pantomimes and musicals, it also appears to have been a popular platform for meetings and presentations for the folk of Albert Park, Middle Park and South Melbourne. With congregations coming together to for events such as swimming carnival presentations, to hearing Alfred Deakin speak on behalf of a Liberal candidate in 1911.

As the years progressed the theatre again came up against issues with the Public Health Department regarding more overcrowding and proposed alterations to the building, which appear to have been rectified over time.

Post-World War II saw the closure of the Dux Picture Theatre for the use of movies and entertainment, instead being used as a storage warehouse until it was sold in 1983 and subsequently used as a studio for filming commercials as well as an advertising agency.

That is, until present day, where the prior picture theatre retains only part of its original façade and will be home to several new owners come auction day for the television series. 

Dux Picture Theatre Public Building File: VPRS 7882/P1/222 1159-1168

Phoebe Wilkens
Access Services Officer

Moomba: The Gas and Fuel Corporation in the Moomba Parades

The 2014 Moomba parade marks the 60th anniversary of this Melbourne event.  Over the years, many entertainers including glamorous floats have provided children, young and old, with memories of this special event.

We have shared with you below The Corporation’s floats which won a variety of awards and commendations.  The Gas and Fuel Corporation was a frequent and highly visible participant in Melbourne’s annual Labour Day Moomba Parades.  Do you remember these floats?  Do you recognise anyone on the floats or in the crowd?

These records are part of the ‘Gas and Fuel Archival Collection’ currently being accessioned by Public Record Office Victoria. They will be available to researchers once cataloguing is complete.

Gas and Fuel Corporation, VA 1040 (1951-1995) – VPRS 13141 Gas and Fuel Archival Collection

13141-P0004-000045-017 sml

13141-P0004-000045-011 sml


13141-P0004-000045-012 sml

Labour Day Closures

The Victorian Archives Centre and Ballarat Archives Centre Reading Rooms will be closed for Labour Day on Monday 10 March

Reopening on Tuesday 11 March at 10am.

watch makers


Showcase Record – March 2014

Victorian Railway Employee records

VPRS 13537 Employee History Sheets, Traffic/Transportation Branch circa 1910 to 1926

This series comprises self-indexed volumes containing staff record sheets of employees who worked with the Victorian Railway Traffic/Transportation Branch.

The information recorded includes:

  • Name, date and place of birth, address and qualifications
  • Date of their appointment,
  • Position held (porter, signalman, guard, shunter),
  • Other information (date of permanent appointment, place of employment, resignation, retirement or transfer, leave taken).

The series appears to have commenced in 1910, however, the contents date range extends back to about 1885.

The P1, P2 P3 and P4 consignments of this series were previously processed as VPRS 12596 Employee History Sheets, Rolling Stock Branch, P1, P11, P12 and P13 consignments.

The Victorian Government Gazettes also can be searched from 1884 to 1929 for lists of railway employees in the Victorian Railway Triennial lists.  See PROVguide 40 for further information. –

I have chosen this record to showcase the information available in relation to movement of railway staff around Victoria.

Middleton, William L Pg 1

Middleton, William L Pg 1

Middleton, William L Pg 2

Middleton, William L Pg 2

Agency responsible

VA 2876 Victorian Railways (Also V R Commissioners 1883-1973)  Victorian Railways Board 1973-1983

VA 4853 Department of Transport II 2008-cont

Pam Sheers, Access Services Officer

Burning land: Victoria and bushfires

VPRS 24-P2-Unit 293-Item 1969_1054 Aerial photograph Lara

VPRS 24-P2-Unit 293-Item 1969_1054 Aerial photograph Lara

Parched land, plumes of smoke and burning embers. All of these phrases have been in the headlines in the last few weeks since the devastating fires raged to the north of Melbourne, fires which are still smouldering. These fires are not the first to cause devastation across the state as Victoria has a long history of bushfires.

Just over five years ago Victoria watched the ‘Black Saturday’ fires cause immeasurable damage, including loss of property, livestock and lives. However, this is not the first time that Victoria has been razed by fire. In fact ‘Black Saturday’ and the more recent fires of February 2014 are just a number in a long line of bushfires that have impacted on Victoria and Victorians.

On Friday 13 January 1939, in the peak of summer, as hot northerly winds played havoc, Victoria was once again alight. On “Black Sunday”, thirteen years earlier, almost to the day Warburton was ravaged by fire. Now, more than a decade on, Warburton, along with Yarra Glen, Woods Point and as far as Mansfield, the Grampian Ranges and the Otway Ranges were again burning. This time the fires covered over 1.5 million hectares of land and claimed seventy-one lives, up to 1300 buildings and completely destroyed the town of Narbethong. The fires that ripped through Warburton, St Clair, Woods Point and Matlock on their own claimed seventeen lives. At James Michael Fitzpatrick’s Mill at St Claire, near Matlock the fire claimed fifteen of those lives; one person lost their life at Yelland’s Mill at St Clair and one woman, Vera Ada Maynard died from ‘effects of suffocation and burns caused when they were overtaken by a bushfire (sic)’. The forest and the mills that these men were working in would have been the perfect dry tinder for the fire to latch on to, and evidently cause further deaths in the area.

Photographs from the inquest show trees and land blackened by fire, unrecognisable bodies and the utter destruction of the saw mills, of which a total of 69 timber mills were destroyed.

Only a few years later in early 1944 whilst Australians were overseas fighting the battle of the Second World War, fires tore through Victoria again. Forty-nine lives were lost, more than five hundred homes and vast amounts of livestock was destroyed in ferocious fires that covered over one million hectares of land. The Central and Western districts, including Hamilton, Dunkeld, Skipton and Lake Bolac were deeply affected, as well as plant works in Morwell and Yallourn.

However, another fire in Woodend would prove fatal with the death of a woman in her 70s. As it happens, this particular fire would also take place on 13 January, and an inquest into Sarah Lugg’s death was held at the Woodend Court House in May 1944. Her inquest details how ‘the fire had evidently started near a small rubbish tip in [a] paddock, on the side of a hill about 150 yards south of [the] dwelling house and 50 yards away from the milking sheds.’ Once this fire had been ignited it seemed as if it would be a matter of time that it would erupt into something larger with ‘the conditions on that day…conducive to the rapid spread of fire. The temperature was high with a strong north to north west wind blowing which caused the fire to frequently change direction over a wide front.’

Sarah Lugg had packed her belongings into two suitcases and along with Bridget Connelly, whom she had known for sixty years, the two made the decision to flee the dense smoke and retreat to an open paddock for safety. However, it appears that Lugg that retreated on her own, with Connelly eventually making her way to the paddock to find that she was not there. By this time the fire had swept across Ashbourne Road, taking in its path the life of Sarah Lugg.

Forty-five years ago on the 8 January 1969 total and utter devastation would befell the small community of Lara, between Geelong and Melbourne. However this destruction would be widespread, affecting communities across the state and even the country.

VPRS 24-P2-Unit 293-Item 1969_1054 Weather summary

“Summary of Aerodrome Weather Reports” – The weather and conditions the day of the Lara Fires (8 Jan 1969)

Conditions during the 7 and 8 January were hot and windy, the perfect combination for the fast and the wide spread of fire. An initial fire broke out on Tuesday 7January near Anakie at a large grazing property called Woollomanata, close to Lara. This fire was contained before it broke out again on the 8 January. In the inquest held at the Geelong Coroner’s Court on the 9 and 10 June 1969 the coroner stated that ‘the evidence adduced [did] not enable [him] to say what was responsible [for the fire], or perhaps, further, who was responsible, if anybody, for the starting of the first fire.’ There was contention as to whether the initial fire was ignited by a spark from a passing truck or caused from a cigarette butt thrown from a car.

VPRS 4-P2-293-1969_1054 Photo 13

VPRS 24-P2-293-1969_1054 Photo 13

Whilst this was never established, the facts of the fire detailed in the coroner’s inquest, along with news reports and eye witness accounts from the day are all wracked with tragedy and devastation. The losses from the fire included thousands of livestock, the destruction of many homes and properties, grievous bodily injuries and the death of 18 people.

From the eighteen lives that were lost on this day, 17 of them had been caught on the Princes Highway at Lara in their vehicles. The fast moving grass fire had caused thick smoke, which in turn caused low visibility along the highway. Eye witness accounts from the day describe the panic and terror that ensued as people decided to flee their cars and attempt to outrun the fire. Ultimately this decision took the lives of seventeen people, including one family and several members of others. The tragic circumstances of the day have also helped in establishing the changing of guidelines for people in cars during bushfires.

Bushfires are a part of Victoria’s history, and no doubt will be a part of our future. The tragic events detailed here are just a small handful of Victoria’s bushfire history, with PROV holding a large and varied range of records relating to events and outcomes surrounding these wild forces of nature.


A selection of available sources at PROV:

Black Saturday bushfires Royal Commission (digitised online) – VPRS 16295/P3

Bushfire inquest – VPRS 24/P0/1379 1939/818

Sarah Lugg inquest – VPRS 24/P0/1492 1944/507

Lara bushfire inquest – VPRS 24/P2/293 1969/1054


Phoebe Wilkens

Access Services Officer

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