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(excl. public holidays)
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We will be closed on Monday 26 January for the Australia Day Public Holiday

Newly opened Section 9 files reveal: The Yarra River Baby

A cutting from the court papers states that Mary Alice Clara Stevens is found guilty and sentenced to death21 December 1934 at approximately 9.30pm, Footscray labourer William Henwood watched as a young woman walked with her baby and suitcase towards Richmond Suspension Bridge on the bank of the Yarra River. Half an hour later she walked past him again in the opposite direction, this time the baby wasn’t with her.

In March the following year, Mary Alice Clara Stevens was sentenced to death for the murder of her baby, Leslie Neil Stevens.

In one of a series of Section 9 files now open as of January 2015, Mary Alice Clara Stevens petitioned the court for mercy. This is her story as told through the records found in that file.* 

Early years

Mary Alice Clara Stevens was born on the 27th of February 1911 in Chiltern. She was one of eleven siblings, ranging in ages from eleven to thirty-five, and her father was an employee of the Albury Council. At school she did well obtaining a Merit Certificate before entering service in Albury at seventeen years of age.

It was here she met the man who would, some years later, become her fiancé. Transport driver Eugene Rollings courted Mary Alice for two years before proposing. However, Mary Alice decided she did not want to be tied down and so handed back the ring.

Soon after, she met Leonard Eames of Tribune Street. He was always well dressed and seemed decent. It wasn’t until Mary Alice became pregnant with his child that she discovered him to be a married man. She returned home to her parents. By her own admission to the Inspector General, her mother wasn’t pleased to see her, but her father was good to her and made all the arrangements for her. 

The birth of Leslie Neil Stevens

Leslie Neil Stevens was born on the 16th of November 1933 at the home of Mary Alice’s parents in Albury. Mother and baby were taken to the nearby private hospital where they stayed for 11 days before returning home for three weeks.

It was then that Mary Alice moved to Melbourne.

In her statement to police she explained:

“On 3rd January 1934 I took the baby to the City Mission Maternity Home at 65 Albion Street, East Brunswick. I registered the baby at Albury when he was about 18 days old. I  named him Leslie Neil Stevens. When I took the baby to the Home I agreed to pay 10/- per week to the Childrens’ Welfare Department for his upkeep. I have paid this amount regularly weekly out of money which I earned whilst in service at Elwood. I was earning 22.6 per week.”

Rekindled romance

It was during this time that she became reunited with Eugene Rollings. He visited her in Melbourne three times before they decided to get married in early January 1935.

According to the court proceedings, when Eugene found out about her baby he told Mary Alice he would not keep another man’s child.

The day of the murder

Mary Alice admitted she was terribly worried over this and did not know what to do with the child. What she resorted to was recorded in her statements to police on Boxing Day 1934:

“I left my employment on 19.12.34 with the intention of going to Albury to marry Eugene Rollings. After I left my employment at St Kilda I went and stayed at Fitzroy for three nights. On Friday afternoon 21.12.34 I went to the Childrens’ Welfare Department and paid three shillings I owed for the child. I told them I was taking the child and I obtained permission in writing to get him from the Home.

“I arrived at the home at about 10 minutes past 5. I saw Sister Sprague at the home and after saying goodbye to the sisters and girls at the home Sister Sprague and another lady drove me in a motor car with the baby and a suitcase to the tram at the corner of Lygon and Albion Street, Brunswick. I went to Bourke Street on the tram. I then went with the baby to Coles and had tea. I then came to Bourke Street and got on another tram and went to Princes Bridge.

“When I got back in the city from Brunswick I decided to drown the baby as I had no place to take him. I only had enough money for my fare to Albury. After getting off the tram at Princes Bridge I walked along the Yarra River upstream on the north side for a considerable distance to a seat which I pointed out to detectives today. I sat on the seat and nursed the baby for about two hours wondering what to do with him.

“During that time I took the blue jumper suit and cap off him and put on the brown jacket produced in its place. I give no reason why I did this. I then carried the baby and the suitcase further along the river and when I came to a spot which I pointed out to the detectives today I stopped. I could see nobody about and I then threw the baby into the river face downwards. I saw him drop into the water. I did not hear him cry and I immediately left and walked back to Collins street with my suitcase. It would be about half past 10 o’clock when I threw my baby into the water.

“I then went back to the room at Fitzroy and the following morning I caught a tram at 8 o’clock and went to Albury. I stayed at Eugene Rollings’ home until interviewed by police today. I did not tell anyone what I had done with the baby. When Eugene Rollings asked me on Tuesday Christmas Day what I had done with the baby I told him that some person had adopted it but I did not know their names.

“At no time did the father of my child give me a penny towards the support of the baby. This statement which has been read over to me was made on my own free will and is true and correct. Alice Stevens.”

This is the hand written letter petition of mercy

Petition for mercy

A ‘not guilty’ plea

At trial, however, Mary Alice Clara Stevens pleaded ‘not guilty’ and said in a statement from the dock:

“Your honour and gentlemen, I am innocent of any intention of killing my boy. I loved him and wanted to keep him under most distressing circumstances. I never thought of doing such a thing and I did not intend to do it. Since he was born my only thought and idea was to rear him to the best of my means. My mind for months became disturbed. I was in distress and began to lose any grip I had of myself. I tried to get him adopted by somebody who would care for him and look after him, and where I could see him frequently.

“I often went to the Travellers’ Aid Society and had my meals there. Occasionally I met a friend there whom I knew as Miss Gilbert, who lived in the Parade, Ascot Vale. She promised to look after my child if her parents did not object, or to get a friend to do so. The reason I took the boy from the Home that day was because I made arrangements to meet her at the Travellers’ Aid Club rooms, or rather she promised to meet me at the GPO herself the following night and arranged to take the boy herself or to get a friend of hers to take him. I can remember bringing the child to the City. I waited for hours to meet my friend. She did not come, and I grew ill and depressed and dejected.

“I have no memory of where I went or what I did from then on. I loved my boy dearly that night, as much as I had ever loved him. I would not have destroyed him and never intended to do so. Since my arrest I have been in prison. The statements I made have been read to me. They are not correct. I am telling the truth now. I never at any time intended injuring or destroying my boy when I took him away from Mission Home. I am unable to tell you my feelings in regard to the dreadful charge made against me. I am innocent of murder.”

The jury’s finding

The jury deliberated for five hours before finding Mary Alice Clara Stevens guilty of murder with a very strong recommendation to mercy.

Sentence to death was then passed by the Judge.

Petition for mercy

In the petition for mercy that followed, arranged by Mary Alice’s fiancé Eugene, signatures were accompanied by a letter that said “we make no attempt to justify her action but desire to respectively express the opinion that if the law compelled the father of the murdered child to share in the responsibility of maintaining the child, such a desperate act would have been avoided.”

This is the final document approving a reduced sentence

Sentence reduced to three years


The Inspector General disagreed with this view and claimed Mary Alice to be a cold-blooded killer.

“She is the stuff of which murderers for gain are made. She shows few signs of being moved by joy or sorrow, anger and hatred, or love and affection. She appears entirely self-centred.”

He reports a female officer’s observations:

“She was perfectly calm and collected during the Court proceedings. She was quite cheerful, ate well, and discussed the incidents of the trial with me. When the verdict was given she went limp and dead and then screamed twice. A few minutes later she said, ‘How could they? How could they? I did the best for the child when I had it.’ It was fear she felt. For the first time she realised what the consequences might be. She quickly recovered. It did not appear that she realized that the killing of the baby was a crime. My knees knocked and my heart turned over. The main thing in my mind was the murder; but I am certain it was not in hers. She is not a normal woman. The impression she leaves with me is that of a person who has drowned a cat or a dog.”

While Miss Wall, the Matron was quoted as saying:

“She shows little emotion. Neither grief nor sorrow touch her much. When first received she told me all about the crime keeping nothing back – all without emotion. She behaved quite normally with other prisoners on remand talking and laughing.

“When questioned as to the consequences to herself of her actions she said I did not think of them at the time. I first realized that something might happen to me when I was arrested.”

The finding

In spite of the Inspector General’s letter, the Premier’s Office recommended on the 9th of April 1935 that Mary Alice Clara Stevens’ death sentence be amended to three years imprisonment.

This was Approved by the Governor in Council on the same day.

* VPRS 1100 / P0002 / unit 000007 / Type M2

Section 9 files now open for viewing

This is a photo of some of the files found in a box of S9 Criminal Trial Briefs

Peering into a box of s9 Criminal Trial Brief files

Accessing new files this new year

Section 9 of the Public Records Act 1973 allows for the closure of “personal or private” records.

This prevents the violation of personal privacy and covers such material as personnel records, medical records, police and prison records and case records concerning students, welfare recipients, children in government care or compensation claimants. 

Records closed on grounds of personal privacy are generally closed for a period approximating a person’s lifetime. As of 1 January 2015, a number of Section 9 files have passed this time frame and are now open to the public:

Criminal Trial Briefs 1938-39 (unit 7)
Criminal Trial Briefs 1939 (units 2809-2870)
Inward Registered Correspondence 1939
Divorce Case Files, Melbourne 1938-39 (units 284-301)
Central Register of Male Prisoners 1938-39 (unit 92)
Register of Names, Particulars and Personal Descriptions of Prisoners, Pentridge 1938-39 (units 69-72)
Children’s Court Register, Castlemaine Courts 1907-15
Capital Sentence Files 1935-39 (unit 7)
Children’s Court Register, Richmond Courts 1914-15 (unit 8)
Minute Books, Pharmacy Board of Australia 1963-64 (unit 3)
Children’s Court Register, Prahran Courts 1914-15 (unit 5)
Children’s Court Security Book, Woodend Courts 1898-1915
Criminal Trial Brief Register II 1939 (unit 47)
Master Patient Index Cards 1937-39 (units 97-102)
Ward Registers 1914-15 (units 111-118)
Children’s Court Registers, Stawell 1907-15 
Divorce Cause Books 1938-39 (unit 8)
Children’s Court Registers, Fitzroy 1914-15 (units 8-9)
Children’s Court Register, Majorca 1907-15
Children’s Court Register, Loch and Poowong 1909-15
Post Mortem Registers, Kew Mental Hospital 1936-39 (unit 18)
Post Mortem Registers, Mont Park Mental Hospital 1937-39 (unit 5)
Head Attendant’s Daily Report Books – Male Department, Kew Mental Hospital 1938-39 (unit 11)
Nominal Register of Patients at Receiving Houses; Ballarat, Royal Park and Pleasant View 1930-39
Transfer Warrant Book 1915-39
Register of Boarded Out Patients 1924-39
Discharge Registers, Kew Mental Hospital 1929-39 (unit 10)
Head Nurse’s Daily Report Book – Female Wards, Kew Mental Hospital 1938-39 (unit 20)
Patient Clinical Notes, Kew Mental Hospital 1937-39 (unit 18)
Bound Circulated Photographs and Criminal Offences of Convicted Persons (units 38-39)
Record of Officers and Warders’ Names and Particulars, Bendigo Prison 1851-1939
Medical Journals, Sunbury Mental Health Hospital 1934-39 (unit 11)
Admission Warrants – Male Patients, Sunbury Mental Hospital 1936-39 (unit 20)
Admission Warrants – Female Patients, Sunbury Mental Hospital 1937-39 (unit 20)
Children’s Court Registers, Frankston Courts 1907-15
Dockets Offender Histories 1939 (units 149-176)
Examination Results: Leaving Technical Certificate 1964-84 (units 1-23)
Children’s Court Register, St Kilda 1913-15 (unit 4)
Children’s Court Register, Geelong 1913-15 (unit 3)
Children’s Court Register, Linton 1908-15
Children’s Court Register, Elmshurst 1914-15
Salary History Cards, Premier’s Department 1954-84 (units 1-18)
Children’s Court Register, Toongabbie 1912-15
Met Management Group Minutes, Public Transport Corporation 1989-90
Board Minutes, Public Transport Corporation 1991-93
Tramway Employees Record Cards 1959 (units 54-61)
General Public Transport Files, Passenger Services, Commercial Department, Business Planning, 1983-86
General Public Transport Files, Corporate Division 1983-85
Correspondence with Australian Railway Union regarding industrial issues 1948-59 (unit 4)
Accident Compensation Claim Register, Victorian Railways 1958-59 (unit 18)
Accident Compensation Claim Book, Public Transport Corporation 1957-59 (unit 6)
Classified Technical Teachers Record Book 1939-64 (units 1-10)
Temporary Teacher Record Books 1959-64 (units 1-2)
School Council Employees, Dead Books 1920-64 (units 1-5)
Executive Committee Minutes, Victorian Nursing Council 1962-64 (unit 2)
Board Minutes and Papers, Dental Board of Victoria 1959-64
Children’s Court Registers, Eaglehawk 1912-15 (unit 2)



Archival snapshot: war emergency nurses

VPRS 1875/P1 Unit 4 Pg 0226

VPRS 1875/P1 Unit 4 Pg 0226


A nurse is a gift sent from above

In 1915 there was increased need for nurses to help with the war effort so nurses were asked to sign up as “war emergency nurses” in the military hospitals.  When these nurses signed up as “war emergency nurses”,   they could not have imagined that the register which authenticates their qualification would become a unique part of Victoria’s Nursing history.





Prior to the establishment of the Nurses Board, private organisations such as the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association registered nurses who completed and passed in one of their training schools. In 1901 the Australian Nursing Federation, Victorian Branch, was first constituted as the Victorian Trained Nurses Association (VTNA).  The role of the Association was to register nurses and introduce a uniform curriculum of training. From 1924 the role of registering nurses was the responsibility of the Nurse Board (VA 3144).  And, whilst these volumes do not necessarily correlate to nurses who served during World War 1, they are a resource which may help researchers locate Victorian nurses who trained prior to the declaration of the war.

The Warfront 

By 1917 the demand for nurses on the warfront was still increasing as the war raged on.  It had been suggested that Melbourne hospitals help with the supply of nursing staff by decreasing the training period from four years to three. Senator George Pearce, the Australian Defence Minister noted the great demand for nurses by the Imperial authorities, yet the supply was far short of the demand and by 1917  2,000 nurses had been accepted in Australia for war service.

Matron Grace Wilson on Lemnos. Image courtesy of Australia War Memorial

Matron Grace Wilson on Lemnos. Image courtesy of Australia War Memorial

 Army matron-in-chief Grace Wilson

In 1934 the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses Association changed its name to the Royal Victorian College of Nursing, which was in operation until 1975. Nursing Sister and army matron-in-chief Grace Wilson, who was recently depicted in the World War 1 miniseries Anzac Girls, was a council member of the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association and helped to establish the postgraduate training courses. 

Matron Wilson nursed in both World Wars and after her death in 1957 was given a service with full military honours. Upon her death the Matron left provisions in her will for several military and nursing organisations.

 Written by: Phoebe Wilkens, Access Services Officer, Public Record Office Victoria


VPRS 7591/P3 Unit 161, 513/516

VPRS 28/P4 Unit 1347, 513/516

Various newspapers

Australian War Memorial

War records

Australian Dictionary of Biography


Celebrating 150 Years of Sebastopol, Victoria, 1864 to 2014

  • PROV, VPRS 2545/P1 Council Minutes, Unit 1.

Sebastopol was a long, thin, little township, strung out along the gold mines between Buninyong in the south and Ballarat, the bustling town just over Rubicon Street, in the north.  Shops and houses shared the township with mines and mullock heaps.

On 1 October 1864, the Borough of Sebastopol separated from Buninyong Shire. The first Borough council meetings were held in November that year. To mark this milestone, 150 years since its inception, we look back at the history of the town. 

Step back in time in Sebastopol

In the twentieth century the borough provided a pool, a war memorial, an infant welfare centre and a kindergarten for its residents. Albert Street was a major shopping centre, with a Mechanics Institute and Free Library, but residents could also rattle into Ballarat on the tram for the theatre, botanical gardens and the art gallery.

Moving house

With a only a small number of rate-payers the borough was often strapped for cash. In 1873, with rate revenue disappearing in front of his eyes, the Mayor instructed the Town Clerk to go out and count the miners’ cottages being lifted off their suburban blocks and carted away to towns with jobs. Many homes in Sebastopol were built on blocks for which they paid a yearly fee to the Mines Department. People often carted their houses away with them when they moved to another town. See the FAQ Mining Records on the PROV WIKI. 

Sebastopol records

Interesting records giving glimpses of everyday life in Sebastopol over the last two centuries include a register from the local Sebastopol court. Many of Sebastopol’s residents came from mining districts in Cornwall and Wales with Welsh names common among the names of rate-payers, miners, and Borough councillors.  

Finding records at Ballarat Archives Centre

The Ballarat Archives Centre holds a fascinating collection of Sebastopol records. 

Records which reveal something of life in Sebastopol include a list of new books for the library in 1892 and a local court register of collectors and carriers. A complete list of Sebastopol records held at the Ballarat Archives Centre can be found under Borough of Sebastopol and Sebastopol Courts in the Public Record Office Victoria online catalogue.

 Written by Elizabeth Denny, Access Services Officer Ballarat.


Update on VERS refresh

The work on renewing the VERS standard continues and is expected to be completed around February 2015.

Work is currently underway to produce software tools to construct, analyse, and view the new style VEOs. We are producing these tools for two reasons. The first, long term, reason is so that agencies and vendors can easily adopt and use the new standard. A second, short term, reason is to test the draft revised VERS standard. This will allow us to ensure that can be efficiently and easily implemented, and to fine tune the requirements and XML specifications. The tools are being written in Java 1.7 and will be available within the Victorian government.

Currently the construction tool (VEOCreate) has been written and tested. The analysis tool (VEOAnalyse) has been largely written and testing is underway (this not only tests the analysis tool, but the VEOCreate tool as well). A number of minor tweaks to the XML schemas in the renewed standard have been made as a result of this work.

The text of the renewed VERS standard is available on the PROV website at

Eureka gets an online facelift

An image of the Eureka flag of blue and gold

The Eureka Stockade was an eruption of suppressed anger on the Ballarat goldfields in 1854, and remains an ongoing symbol of popular protest.
Arising out of an unpopular licensing scheme, the rebellion resulted in a set of even more unpopular show trials that failed to convict any of those charged.
The records that the government kept of its dealings with the mining community of Ballarat are focused around attempts to impose order through fines, arrests and trials. However, the widespread unrest turned into a test of the government’s aims and methods. Indeed, Eureka in many ways shaped the governance and character of the new colony of Victoria. 

A New Online Resource

To mark the 160th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade, Public Record Office Victoria has created a new display of our digital collection using a brand new platform – Google Open Gallery.

Google Open Gallery allows us to do some very powerful things with our collection material that we hope will go some way to changing the way researchers can experience – and share – records. 

Other websites can also embed the gallery using a code generated by Google making the online exhibition available to anyone with a shared interest in Eureka.

View our new Google Open Galley ‘Eureka on Trial’ here

Archival Snapshot: Victorian Railways’ Sir Harold Clapp

A black and white portrait of Sir Harold Clapp

Portrait of Sir Harold Clapp

Sir Harold Winthrop Clapp (7 May 1875 – 21 October 1952) was a transport administrator with the Victorian Railways who over the course of thirty years revolutionised railways as we know it.

Clapp introduced faster services and more powerful locomotives, supported the farming sector and presented a report on standardising rail gauges (track width) which then led to a uniform rail gauge across capital cities. 

Clapp was renowned for his unprecedented attention to customer service and a paternal management style. He had a fantastic memory and learned the names and faces of thousands of railway employees. His concern for worker conditions was genuine and he was personally responsible for improvements within the industry such as better sanitation facilities and the provision of good cafeterias.

Clapp became Chairman of Commissioners of Victorian Railways in 1920 and remained Chairman until his retirement in 1951. 

Sir Harold Clapp’s Greatest Achievements

  • Improved timetables
  • Larger, modern and more powerful locomotives
  • The introduction of electric lighting on locomotives and the fitting of auto-couplers (the mechanism for connecting rolling stock)
  • Improved services to regional areas
  • Under his chair, Victorian Railways expanded operations into everything from motor coach services, a ski chalet, bakeries and crèches.
  • He gave support and assistance to the farming sector by introducing two special trains, the Better Farming Train and the Reso Train (Victorian National Resources Development) which boosted rural rail traffic and helped to meet customer demands for agricultural products.
  • He examined and implemented the Upgrade of the clunky (Melbourne to Sydney express) service into the all-metal, all-air-conditioned, non-stop, high-speed express.of Progress.

Harold W Clapp was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1941 in recognition of service to public service.

Sir Harold resigned from the Victorian Railways in September 1951 due to declining health, but continued to act as a consultant to the Department of Shipping and Transport. On 14 July 1952 Harold was honoured by having the new revolutionary B Class Diesel electric Locomotive named after him, the B60 – Harold W Clapp.

Harold passed away 21 October 1952. He left behind a wife, and three children. He was tributed far and wide, including by then Prime Minister Robert Menzies. He was praised as a remarkable man and his list of accomplishments are to this day considered momentous and ground-breaking.

Victorian Railways ‘B’ Class Diesel Electric Locomotive – B 60 the Harold W Clapp

This is a black and white photo of the B class Diesel overland

Locomotive B Class Sketch circa 1952 (VPRS 12851/P1 unit 1 Diagrams of Rolling Stock, Locomotives, Rail Motors, Cars, Vans, Wagons)

The B class were diesel locomotives built by Clyde Engineering, Granville for the Victorian Railways in 1952-53. They were the first mainline diesel locomotives built in Victoria and were designed similarly to the Electro-Motive F-unit which has the characteristic bulldog nose.

The first B Class locomotive (number B60) was launched in July 1952 and was named the Harold W Clapp.

A very popular and important locomotive for the next few decades, the 26 B Class locomotives operated on broad gauge lines throughout Victoria, working with many important passenger trains, as well as fast freights.

In the 1980s it was decided to try to rebuild the now aging B Class Loco’s into A class locos.

In 1985 after 11 Loco’s had been rebuilt the project was abandoned due to funding issues and rising costs. This combined with the inception of new higher powered locomotives rendered many of the B class superfluous and a few were scrapped. Others were purchased by private vendors, some were stored and as of 2014 only three of the original B Class Diesel electric Locomotives are still in service.

In 1983 the B 60 – Harold W Clapp was converted to an A Class Locomotive – A 60 Sir Harold Clapp and continued as a passenger loco for many years. It is currently in storage.

Lee Hooper, Access Services Officer

Public Records Sourced

PTC Collection photographs: VPRS 12800 Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems and VPRS 12903 Photographic Negatives: Railways: Box Systems, digital images available via PROV’s online catalogue

Creating Agency: Victorian Railways (also Victorian Railways Commissions 1883-1973, Victorian Railways Board): VA 2876 1883 – 1983.

Agency currently responsible: Public Transport Victoria: VA 4968 2014 – Cont, Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure: VA 5003 2014 – Cont.

  1. Portrait of Sir Harold W Clapp VPRS 12800/P1 Item H1255

  2. Sir Harold W Clapp on tour VPRS 12800 P1 Item H2551

  3. B 60 Harold W Clapp Locomotive Model on display at the Victorian Railways Centenary 1954 VPRS 12800 P1 Item H2664

  4. B class Diesel Locomotive NO.60 named Harold Clapp at North Melbourne VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5072

  5. Inauguration of the Spirit of Progress at Spencer Street Station. Victorian Premier AA Dunstan speaking with Harold Clapp at left – 7 November 1937 VPRS 12800 P4 RS/0456

  6. Model of B Class Diesel Locomotive NO.60 Harold W Clapp, Front view VPRS 12903 P1 Item Box499-07

  7. B class Diesel No.60(Harold Clapp) on overland train VPRS 12903 P1 Item Box665-06

Special thanks to Phil Dunn for the loan of the Victorian Railways ‘B’ Class – B 60 Harold W Clapp – Locomotive model.

The Ministerial Forum for the Cemetery Sector


As an initiative of the Hon David Davis, Minister for Health, The Ministerial Forum for the Cemetery Sector was held at the Melbourne Town Hall on Friday 24 October, 2014.

The theme of the Ministerial Forum was Heritage and Historical Linkages to Cemeteries. The main event of the day was a book launch to promote In Memoriam : A Guide to the History and Heritage of Victoria’s Cemeteries by Garrie Hutchinson. Download a copy of the publication here.

Public Record Office Victoria was invited to speak at the Ministerial Forum along with Dr Celestina Sagazio, Historian and Manager of Cultural Heritage at Southern Metropolitan Cemetery Trust and John Hawker, Horticulturist, Heritage Victoria.

Julie McCormack, Manager of Appraisal and Documentation at Public Records Office Victoria, presented a talk at the forum on How Records Become Archives.  Julie’s presentation covered the Public Records Act 1973 and discussed cemetery records required as State Archives. Julie further discussed the forthcoming Retention and Disposal Authority for Cemetery Records, how to transfer records and records relating to cemeteries already held by Public Record Office Victoria.

Indeed, Public Record Office Victoria holds a selection of records about cemeteries, as well as records created by cemetery trusts. Amongst our substantial collection at Public Record Office Victoria are records from the Greta, Oakleigh, Old Melbourne, Melbourne General, Walhalla, and Fawkner cemeteries.
Public Record Office Victoria also holds records from a range of government agencies which have had a role in the regulation of cemeteries in the 19th and 20th centuries. This includes the Public Works Department, the Department of Crown Lands and Survey, the Chief Secretary’s Department and successive health departments and local councils.

If you would like more information or have any questions please email us at

Image: Presenters at the Ministerial Forum

PROV volunteers win Melbourne Award!

  • PROV staff Jack Martin and Leigh Kinrade accept their 2014 Melbourne Award for the Public Record Office Victoria volunteering program

Our Public Record Office Victoria volunteers are the proud recipients of the 2014 Melbourne Award for Contribution to Community by a Corporation. The City of Melbourne’s ‘Melbourne Awards’ were held on Saturday 15 November. Volunteer Program Coordinators Jack Martin and Leigh Kinrade attended the gala event and were thrilled to accept the award on behalf of more than 150 volunteers. 

Jack told the audience that PROV volunteers cover a broad demographic and come from a wide range of backgrounds.

“But one thing they all have in common – and in common with Leigh and myself – is their passion for the State’s archives and for the stories contained in the records.

“Their work is making a permanent contribution to current and future researchers and enhancing Melbourne’s reputation as a centre for research. For recognising their work with this award, we’re both very grateful to the City of Melbourne and the sponsors of this awards ceremony tonight.”

See a full list of award winners here. 

Here is a link to the PROV volunteer projects currently underway.

PROV volunteers nominated for Melbourne Award

This is a photo of some of our volunteers. A group of about 60 got together for a photo at the Archives Centre.

Some of our outstanding volunteers

Now in its 12th year, the Melbourne Awards were introduced by the City of Melbourne to recognise outstanding achievements of organisations and individuals who are committed to making Melbourne a unique place to live, visit and do business.

The Public Record Office’s volunteer program is a finalist for the prestigious ‘Contribution to Community Award’.

Our team of more than 120 volunteers undertake work on under-utilised or difficult-to-use areas of our archival collection.

 The volunteer program has run for over twenty years, with volunteers providing an incredible 21,000 hours annually. Their work enables researchers to easily discover previously hidden links to people, places and decisions that have shaped Melbourne’s history.

The most recent projects our volunteers have worked on include digitising and indexing records related to:
• Over 30,000 prisoners in Melbourne area jails
• Melbourne court cases
• Wards of the state
• Immigrants
• Indigenous Australians
• Establishment of Government in Melbourne (from policing to schooling systems)
• Melbourne’s built environment (maps and plans)

We are proud of our volunteers for their hard work, dedication and passion, and their amazing help undertaking this important work.

Managers of the volunteer program, Jack Martin and Leigh Kinrade, will be attending the Melbourne Awards to see if we win on Saturday 15 November at Melbourne Town Hall.

See the full list of finalists here.

If you would like to volunteer for the Public Record Office of Victoria keep an eye on our training and orientation schedule.

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