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Author: Public Record Office Victoria
In July 2010 an item of interest was located in the catalogue of the Duke University in North Carolina, and copies of a few pages were provided to a Colac and District Historical Society member for identification.
The item was found to be a leather-bound journal with 250 pages of the first Court of Petty Sessions Register for Colac, dating from 1849-1865.
Duke University had purchased the register in 1961 from a bookstore in Sydney to add to their British colonial special collection. Duke University were so fascinated to hear of someone from the other side of the world with so much local Colac knowledge that they gave priority to digitising the register.
A team of volunteers was assembled to transcribe and index the entire register, and in November 2010 it was made available for free access online. Interested users from around the world can now view the original register, search the database, view and search the full transcription and read background history on the town and people involved with the Colac Court of Petty Sessions.
The Colac and District Historical Society won a 2011 Sir Rupert Hamer Records Management Award for their role in making the register available online.