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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

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:

Preservation

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.

PROV the magic time machine

A photo of the Victorian Archives Centre building

This blog post was written by Marilyn Kenny, Public Record Office Victoria volunteer, and was originally given as a speech at the December 2015 PROV Volunteer Event. 

What a great intimate gathering this is. Just the place to share a few secrets.

The first is that my friends don’t understand me. “You go where?” they say. “You do what??” they add. “Why???” they question. “You should get out more, travel, have adventures, relax, meet new people, explore.”

They then proceed to tell me about all the wonderful folk they met in that New York Hospital whence they were taken after experiencing those chest pains on the plane over. How tranquil and delightful the Whitsundays are when viewed from their hotel room hence they were confined for a week with that bad bout of gastro. About the cute and interesting little bars, cafes, taverns, hotels, wayside stops, restaurants and eateries they visited as they hobbled their way across Spain – forced to sit and rest every 30 minutes after injuring their ankle in Turkey. And of course there is always that life affirming experience of being robbed at knife point in Rio.

I sigh and want to say “but I do travel, experience new cultures immerse myself in the moment, meet a hundred new people a day.” But, to say more would be to reveal my – our – second secret. 

We travel, but in time, for we have a time machine. 

Down in North Melbourne in a bland, unremarkable building is “THE ARCHIVAL REPOSITORY DEPOT INFORMATION SERVICE ©.”

repos

Like all good time machines it is bigger on the inside. 

Every week I descend to the depths, greet my fellow travelers, settle myself in my chair, adjust my equipment and take off.

I learn how to govern an embryonic colonial settlement, experience life and death in a Chinese camp on the outskirts of a goldfield. I see the first visions on paper of grand buildings. I stand behind the counter of a pawn shop and enumerate the possessions of the poor and desperate. I peep behind the scenes at the double dealings of the land boomers and look into the faces of some of their victims, men building the Spotswood pumping station, digging out a square yard of clay for ninepence. Their sons and daughters will be our ANZACs and in another life I will have travelled with them across the seas to Egypt, Palestine, the Dardanelles, France, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and back home. Our time machine takes me, with them, to our Victorian hinterlands as they battles for their farms.

I share in their many troubles, tragedies and triumphs. My fellow travelers tell harrowing tales of what happened to those who fell by the wayside into the jaws of the great kraken, the Repatriation.

I don’t only travel backwards in time but forward. I see the future being made. Those paper plans translated into great buildings that we enjoy today. The infrastructure on which we depend being constructed – the extension of the railways; the underground, the great dams; the O’Shannassy, the Silvan, the Maroondah; the sewerage system.

During my off duty moments I get a free cup of tea and a biscuit; bright conversation from my multi-talented travelling companions, a glimpse at yesterday’s newspaper and a chance to recycle old batteries.

We appreciate the pioneering of those first generation volunteers who undertook epic journeys and explored the galaxies of the Shipping Indices, the La Trobe correspondence and Land Records. We learn from them the lessons that all good time travel teaches. Order will emerge from chaos, persistence pays off, water will wear away a stone…We who are undertaking shorter journeys through Bills of Sale, Inquests and Land Records take heart from this. This wisdom is a lifeline for those still voyaging through Project Albany, Historic Plans and of course Land Records.

Ours is a rare and privileged volunteering opportunity.

And we thank the staff for plotting our course across the time space continuum, fueling up the machines with records and protecting us from feral files and alien handwriting systems.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that one half of the world does not understand the pleasures of the other. I – we – are very grateful to have a place in this  our half of the world, protecting and preserving the collective memories of our Victorian community. 

Learn more about our volunteer program here.

 

Request for Feedback – Retention and Disposal Authority for Records of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

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PROV invites stakeholders to review a new draft Retention and Disposal Authority for records of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

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

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

 

 

 

We would appreciate feedback on the following:

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

 

Please provide any feedback to agency.queries@prov.vic.gov.au by COB Friday 12 February 2016.

 

Personal Victorian histories revealed in newly opened archives

  • A page from the Bound Circulated Photographs and Criminal Offences book including a black and white photo of a man and his physical description
    Bound Circulated Photographs and Criminal Offences of Convicted Persons PROV VPRS 07856 P1 Unit 41

As of the 1st of January, hundreds of records relating to Victoria’s history have been made public as part of Public Record Office Victoria’s annual opening of officially closed records. The records are of particular interest to family historians waiting on files that mention members of their family tree.

Under Section 9 of the Public Records Act 1973 files of a personal or private nature are closed for up to 99 years to prevent the violation of personal privacy. Director and Keeper of Public Records, Justine Heazlewood, said this year’s openings provide us with an insight into parts of Victorian history which have been obscured for many years.

“These newly opened records provide a snapshot into our history previously unseen. From 1915 Children’s Court and ward registers to 1940 asylum records, criminal trial briefs and capital case files – through these annual openings we can find out more about ourselves and our past,” said Ms Heazlewood.

Included in this year’s openings is the capital case file of murderer Morris Ansell whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on the 10th of April 1940. According to the transcripts within this file, the jury requested mercy for Ansell on account of his youth – he was only 20 years old when he shot and killed his lady love’s husband.

The Head Nurse’s Daily Report Book from Kew Mental Hospital’s Female Wards is also an interesting record detailing activities within the mental hospital from the year 1940. Her daily report included notes such as who was injured, ill, violent, or out on trial with further remarks about patient conditions.

“We encourage Victorians to explore their past through our archives, whether that be tracing your family roots, researching your home or community, or simply discovering a particular time in Victoria’s history to better understand the present,” said Ms Heazlewood.

A broad guide to time periods for closure under Section 9 is as follows:

  • Records primarily concerning adults may be closed for 75 years from the year in which the records were created.
  • Records concerning children as the primary subject of the record may be closed for 99 years from the year in which the records were created.
  • Records such as staff records where the individuals concerned may still be in the workforce may be closed for a lesser period such as 30, 40, or 50 years as appropriate.

See below for a full list of opened records: 

Get to know our volunteers

A colour photo of 5 volunteers standing behind records from the archives

Gail Thornthwaite and Leone Marshall with fellow volunteers Barbara Minchinton, Anna Maree Malmgren, and Margaret Wright.

We are lucky at Public Record Office Victoria to work with an amazing team of volunteers. Our volunteers work closely with historic records from our collection. Our volunteers are currently working on approximately 10 projects, focusing on areas of the collection such as inquest depositions, land selection documents and public works plans. All our projects have the aim of preserving our collection and making its contents accessible to researchers.  

Here, two of our longest serving volunteers share their experiences of volunteering with us:

Leonie Marshall

1. Why did you start volunteering at PROV?

I was co-opted into volunteering on my first visit to the research room at PROV. One of the members of our family history society was also working there and suggested that I might like to join her and two others on the 7.40am train from Frankston. They were transcribing the Passenger Lists, and, as I had used these to find my grandparents’ arrival in Melbourne, I thought I could repay this discovery, and perhaps help some other family history researcher. It wasn’t long before I realised what a terrific group of people I was working with, and that the friendship of those volunteers was equally as important as the work that we were doing.

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

It was also terrific to lay a family myth to rest by finding just when my grandparents arrived: six months separated their arrival, not the two years that the myth suggested.

3. What project are you working on now / what’s the last project you worked on?

Currently, I am working with the land selection records, which are also important to researchers, giving a history of the land worked from early selection days. The records are often dusty and crumbling, but the information they reveal is anything but. Prior to this, I worked on the Inquest records, which were quite gruesome, but most interesting from a social history point of view. It’s hard to recognise now, the Victoria that some of those victims of all kinds of illnesses lived in. And the depression that led some to take their own life.

4. What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

The friendship of the volunteers I work with has been really important. Some of our members have suffered illness and grief, but the support of the group has been visibly helpful to them. It doesn’t seem to matter what you want to know, there is always someone in the group who has the answer. The variety of backgrounds that has brought Wednesday’s group together is remarkable. Who could not enjoy getting up at 5.30am to take the train from Frankston to join them?

Gail Thornthwaite

1. Why did you start volunteering at PROV?

I started volunteering at PROV in March 2006, having visited a few weeks earlier with the Fitzroy History Society. My interest in history and my learning that PROV runs a volunteer program attracted me to the organisation.

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

While working on the outward passenger shipping lists I came across the names of an Australian cricket team on their way to England.  There were other interesting passengers, including Dame Nellie Melba.

3. What project are you working on now / what’s the last project you worked on?

For the last year or so I have been working on the Albany Project.  Prior to that I worked on ‘Battle to Farm’, the KIN Project, and the outward passenger index.

4. What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

I enjoy working in a most congenial environment with like-minded colleagues who are interested in all facets of history.  I also enjoy the social moments – the camaraderie experienced at morning tea and lunch times!

Interested in volunteering? Find out more about our program here.

Discover more of our long-standing volunteers on our online Volunteer Honour Board. 

Introducing the latest IM3 tool

A black and white image that says 'IM3' in building blocks with the words 'Information Management Maturity Measurement' underneithPublic Record Office Victoria has just released the latest version of IM3 (v.1.5).

What is the IM3?

Public Record Office Victoria developed the Information Management Maturity Measurement Tool (IM3) in 2013.

Made up of a questionnaire and support documents, IM3 helps measure compliance with whole of Victorian Government Information Management (IM) standards and assess an organisation’s ability to meet IM best practice.

What’s changed?

The latest version of IM3 includes more consistent language and up-to-date links to Victorian Government IM policies, standards, guidelines and legislation. Content regarding information privacy and security has also been updated to reflect requirements of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014

Why use IM3?

Results from this 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
  • Support a case for resources or initiatives to improve information and records management.

How to access IM3?

To access IM3, simply download the tool from the PROV website.

If you would like more information about using the IM3 please email agency.queries@prov.vic.gov.au.

 

Family life on Victorian soldier settlement blocks

The Victorian Soldier Settlement Scheme was heralded as a new beginning. Servicemen and women returning from fighting in World War 1 were offered blocks of farm land to help rebuild their lives.

The Soldier On: WW1 Soldier Settler Stories exhibition, now showing at Old Treasury Building, uncovers the fascinating stories of these soldier settlers. Here is just a taste of one of the themes of the exhibition – family life…

Family life on the farms

On many soldier settler blocks, the work of the youngest family members was vital. Children contributed regularly to the day-to-day functioning of the farm, allowing settlers to save on labour costs. Leslie Kirby, a Mallee settler, attributed his block’s success to ‘the labour of my wife and two sons’.

Compulsory schooling was a burden for many families, taking the children away from the fields. Organisations such as the Victorian Farmers’ Union and the Australian Housewives Association protested the ‘slavery of little children’ on farms. At the same time, the Closer Settlement Board urged settlers to use the cost-saving labour of their wives and children.

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Farming was a family affair. On dairy farms, milking was often the work of the women and children; even toddlers accompanied their mothers to the cowsheds, learning from an early age how to help. This photograph was taken on the Chocolyn Soldier Settler Estate, in the Western District, Victoria. Photograph courtesy Shirley Russell, daughter of soldier settler James Murrie Fleming.

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Feeding the calves, Chocolyn Soldier Settler Estate, Western District, Victoria, c.1930. Photograph courtesy Les Anderson.

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Daughter of soldier settler Arthur T. Drinkwater sleeping on the verandah at their home in Annuello, Victoria, c.1950. Courtesy George Drinkwater, son of soldier settler Arthur T. Drinkwater.

Living conditions

Some soldier settler families were able to build a home with their own savings, or by using money loaned to them by the Closer Settlement Board. For these families, life was relatively comfortable. Other families were not so lucky.

The burden of loan repayments, poor crop yields or a lack of savings forced many settlers to live in tents, or in homes made of canvas or hessian bags, scrap tin, or wattle and daub. These ‘bag humpies’ were far from weatherproof, and a difficult setting in which to rear children.

The back of a farm house showing two water tanks.

Photograph of a soldier settler’s ‘bag humpy’ at Nandaly, in 1921. Courtesy Museum Victoria.

Soldier On: WW1 Soldier Settler Stories is presented by Old Treasury Building in partnership with Public Record Office Victoria, and is supported by the Australian Government’s Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund.

Christmas Closures

12903-P0001-000865-040Visitors please note the following Christmas closures:

Victorian Archives Centre
Closing early 12 noon Fri 18 December
Closing for Christmas 3pm Thurs 24 December
Reopening 10am Mon 4 January 2016 

Cafe 99 will be closed from 3pm Fri 18 December to Tues 19 January at 8am. 

Ballarat Archives Centre
Closing for Chistmas 4.30pm Tues 22 December
Reopening 9.30am Mon 4 January 2016

Bendigo Regional Archives Centre
Closed on Wed 2 December
Closing for Christmas 3pm Thurs 24 December
Reopening 10am Weds 6 January 2016

Geelong Heritage Centre
Closed on Fri 25, Sat 26 & Mon 28 December
Closed on Fri 1 January 2016

 

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