Author: Charlie Farrugia
Senior Collections Advisor
One of the most important things to remember about the PROV Collection is that new records are regularly added from Victorian Government agencies through out the State. In the year 2010-2011 alone, a total of 2,274 metres of records was received. Today all new accessions of records come with full documentation, including lists that can be accessed through our online catalogue. This is the result of the hard work of PROV’s transfer archivists within the Transfer and Documentation team who work closely with the transferring agency and the Collection Management team.
Collection Management is responsible for the accession (i.e receipt) and shelving of the records towards the end of the transfer process. Like a number of PROV staff, I am advised of new accessions when the documentation about them is made available via the catalogue. Usually, I make a mental note; after all, most of my work requires me to consider the overall Collection rather than just new accessions. It is a reasonably rare event when I note the availability of a new accession and feel compelled to have a look at the records for myself. And so it was late in 2011 when an accession from the Rural Finance Corporation and documentation was made available.
The accession relates to settlement purchase leases within estates made to either soldier settlers initially under section 27 of the Soldier Settlement Act 1946 or land settlers initially under the Land Settlement Act 1959. The accession accounts for all of the VPRS numbers 16750 – 16760 inclusive and connects to records in slightly earlier accessions (refer to VPRS 16289, 16290 and 16540). These series mark the first major completed accession of lands records since the publication of our Lands Manual. Collectively the series cited above appear to span a comprehensive range of activities related to post WW2 Soldier and Land Settlement estates. These include a number of plan series including estate plans (16751), survey plans (VPRS 1672), compiled plans (VPRS 16750) and standard building plans and specifications for structures that could be built on the allotments (VPRS 16754).
Series containing information about individual settlers include purchase lease preparation files (VPRS 16540), estate development files (VPRS 16289 for land settlers and VPRS 16290 for soldier settlers), summary estate cards (VPRS 16756), a deed register (VPRS 16759) and a number of other registers accumulated within VPRS 16758. There are also information sheets regarding sales for the benefit of applicants (VPRS 16755). Researchers interested in the administration of these schemes might want to look at a series of general subject correspondence files (VPRS 16760).
Full descriptions for all of these series are available in the catalogue. But there is one aspect of this accession that will benefit all researchers. Both the transfer archivist and the transferring agency have ensured that the names of individual leaseholders and estates have been listed for the file and card series and the estates identified for most of the plan series. As a result researchers can optimise their catalogue searching options for these series, particularly for those who already know the name of the estate. Have you used these records already? If so, we’d love to hear from you.