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Author: Tara Oldfield
Every year on the 1st of January, hundreds of state archives are made public as part of Public Record Office Victoria’s annual Section 9 openings. Under Section 9 of the Public Records Act 1973, files of a personal or private nature are closed to prevent the violation of personal privacy.
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 may be closed for 99 years.
• 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 snapshot of some of the stories you can find within the pages of this year’s openings. Or scroll to the bottom of this page for a full list of records.
Warning some of these records relate to violence and death and may be upsetting for some readers.
Central Register of Male Prisoners
Among the files made public for the first time in 2020, is the 1944 Central Register of Male Prisoners which includes Antonio Agostini, the killer and husband of Linda Agostini also known as “Pyjama Girl”.
The Central Register of Male Prisoners was a register of prisoners received at Melbourne area prisons. Photos were taken for prisoners serving longer than six month terms, and were routinely taken when the prisoner was first received and just before release.
The “Pyjama Girl” case first captured the country’s attention back in September 1934 when a young woman’s body was found by a farmer in Albury. The woman, brutally murdered, was wearing her pyjamas and so, with police unable to identify her, that’s how she became known. The case was re-examined in 1944 and an inquest concluded her identity. Antonio confessed to killing Linda in their home in Melbourne. He was convicted of manslaughter and gaoled at Pentridge before being deported to Italy in 1948.
Agostini’s prison register includes a photo of him taken just before his deportation. He is described in the record as being born in 1902 in Italy, 5 feet 6 ¼ inches tall, medium build, fresh complexion with hazel eyes.
Registers of Military Patients
Oct 1915-Nov 1944
This Register spanning October 1915 to November 1944 contains admission details of patients received for treatment under the Mental Treatment Act 1915. The Act was proclaimed to facilitate treatment for those affected by wounds, shock and other injuries of World War 1 and 2. The listings include date, name, age, marital status, address of relatives, and condition details.
Register of Charges Heard Before the Governor
Sept 1907-Nov 1944
Adorned with the label “Prisoners Offence Book” on the cover, this volume is the first in the series to be opened and spans 1907 to 1944 of the female prison Coburg (Pentridge). Offences listed throughout the book include quarrelling, possession of prohibited articles, making false statements, attempting to communicate in writing to other prisoners, concealing tobacco and damaging government property. It also seems an attempted escape may have been thwarted with Daphne Stewart’s listing describing her as opening her cell, and the cells of four others, with a spoon.
Also included in the Register is Edna Hill. You can find her story in last year's blog post 'Excitement of the Game'.
Bound Circulated Photographs and Criminal Offences of Convicted Persons
Apr 1943-Aug 1944
These bound volumes contain pages related to Victorian criminals, compiled by the Victoria Police and distributed to interstate police offices. Each page contains a photograph, list of offences, place and date of birth, and education details.
The pages are also often marked at later dates when the criminal is known to have died. For instance, this page for Kevin Albert Joiner states:
“Deceased. Shot whilst escaping from Pentridge Gaol 25/4/52.”
In fact, when cross checking Kevin’s name on NLA Trove, it appears his death occurred a little earlier than indicated on the file, making the front page of The Herald on the 14th of April.
“Armed convict, Kevin Joiner, 25, was shot dead by a warder, after he had broken out of Pentridge gaol about 11am today. Joiner was shot in the back just after he had scaled a 12ft wall of the gaol near Sydney Road and Church Street.”
See below for the full list of records opened on 1 January 2020.
|Series number||Consignment||Series title||Agency||Units||Date range|
|VPRS 30||P0000||Criminal Trial Briefs||Office of Public Prosecutions||units 3090-3144||1944|
|VPRS 30||P0008||Criminal Trial Briefs||Office of Public Prosecutions||unit 1||1924 & 1944|
|VPRS 30||P0026||Criminal Trial Briefs||Office of Public Prosecutions||unit 5||1944|
|VPRS 30||P0030||Criminal Trial Briefs||Office of Public Prosecutions||units 12-13||1944|
|VPRS 264||P0001||Capital Case Files||Law Department||unit 16||1944|
|VPRS 266||P0001||Inward Registered Correspondence||Attorney-General's Department||units 79-88||1943-1944|
|VPRS 283||P0002||Divorce Case Files, Melbourne||Supreme Court of Victoria||units 397-434||1943-1944|
|VPRS 515||P0000||Central Register of Male Prisoners||Penal & Gaols Branch||unit 97||1943-1944|
|VPRS 552||P0001||Divorce Case Files||Ballarat Courts||unit 9||1944|
|VPRS 1100||P0002||Capital Sentence Files||Governor||unit 16||1944|
|VPRS 1752||P0000||Wages Records||Coutry Roads Board||units 51-57||1943-1944|
|VPRS 1759||P0000||Civil Construction Corps Wage Records||Coutry Roads Board||units 36-75||1943-1944|
|VPRS 3524||P0000||Criminal Trial Brief Register II||Office of Public Prosecutions||unit 52||1944|
|VPRS 3524||P0001||Criminal Trial Brief Register II||Office of Public Prosecutions||unit 52||1944|
|VPRS 3848||P0000||Master Patient Index Cards||Alfred Hospital||units 128-133||1943-1944|
|VPRS 4527||P0001||Ward Registers||Chief Secretary's Department||units 4-6||Dec 1919-Dec 1920|
|VPRS 4849||P0000||Register of Charges Heard Before the Governor||Pentridge Goal/Prison||unit 1||Sept 1907-Nov 1944|
|VPRS 5334||P0001||Divorce Cause Books||Supreme Court of Victoria||unit 13||Dec 1943-Aug 1944|
|VPRS 5335||P0004||Index to Divorce Cause Books||Supreme Court of Victoria||unit 4||1943-1944|
|VPRS 5424||P0000||Children's Court Registers||Avoca Courts||unit 1||1907-1920|
|VPRS 7433||P0001||Post Mortem Registers||Royal Park Receiving House||unit 5||March 1943-Sept 1944|
|VPRS 7434||P0001||Post Mortem Registers||Mont Park Mental Hospital||unit 7||June 1942-March 1944|
|VPRS 7440||P0002||Head Attendant's Daily Report Books - Male Department||Kew Mental Hospital||unit 15||Jan 1943-Feb 1944|
|VPRS 7454||P0002||Trial Leave Register and Register of Escapees||Royal Park Receiving House||unit 2||1933-1944|
|VPRS 7455||P0001||Asylum Records||Ararat Mental Hospital||unit 11||1921-1944|
|VPRS 7512||P0001||Registers of Military Patients||Department of Mental Hygiene||unit 3||Oct 1915-Nov 1944|
|VPRS 7692||P0001||Head Nurse's Daily Report Book - Female Wards||Kew Mental Hospital||unit 24||Jan 1943-Feb 1944|
|VPRS 7693||P0001||Patient Clinical Notes||Kew Mental Hospital||unit 21||1943-1944 surnames to Ke|
|VPRS 7856||P0001||Bound Circulated Photographs and Criminal Offences of Convicted Persons||South Australia Police Department||units 48-49||April 1943-August 1944|
|VPRS 8084||P0001||Register of Appeals to County Court, Melbourne||Office of the Victorian Government Solicitor||unit 6||1940-1944|
|VPRS 8231||P0001||Estrays : Darwin Gaol and Labour Prison (Microfiche Copy)||Darwin Gaol and Labour Prison||units 1-2||1905-1944|
|VPRS 8252||P0001||Nursing Report Books - Female - Mental Hospital||Sunbury Asylum||units 7-8||Dec 1942-July 1944|
|VPRS 8259||P0001||Admission Warrants - Male Patients||Sunbury Asylum||unit 22||June 1941-Jan 1944|
|VPRS 8609||P0004||Historical Records Collection||Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works||unit 21||Sept 1942-Dec 1944|
|VPRS 8762||P0001||Children's Court Registers||Caulfield Courts||unit 5||Feb 1918-June 1920|
|VPRS 8890||P0002||Central Correspondence Files, Multiple Number System||Ministry of Consumer Affairs||units 1-26||1974-1985|
|VPRS 9046||P0002||School Records||Dunach Primary School||unit 1||1902-1944|
|VPRS 9757||P0002||School Records||Jeetho West Primary School||unit 1||1924-1944|
|VPRS 10008||P0001||Presentments||Supreme Court of Victoria||units 62-65||1944|
|VPRS 10589||P0000||Children's Court Registers||Williamstown Courts||unit 5||Nov 1917-Feb 1920|
|VPRS 12611||P0001||Children's Court Registers||Coburg Courts||unit 1||1907-1920|
|VPRS 12618||P0001||Children's Court Register||North Melbourne Courts||unit 1||1907-June 1920|
|VPRS 12739||P0001||Tramway Employees Record Cards||Melbourne And Metropolitian Tramways Board||units 90-97||1963-1964|
|VPRS 13279||P0001||Correspondence with Australian Railway Union regarding industrial issues, Transportation Division||Victorian Railways||unit 10||1963-1964|
|VPRS 13531||P0001||Accident Compensation Claim Register, Claims Branch||Victorian Railways||unit 23||1963-1964|
|VPRS 13536||P0001||Accident Compensation Claim Book||Victorian Railways||unit 9||1963-1964|
|VPRS 13971||P0001||Exchange Teacher Record Books||Education Department||unit 1||1950-1969|
|VPRS 14005||P0001||Teachers Requesting Permission to Perform Private Work||Education Department||unit 2||1935-1969|
|VPRS 14019||P0001||Examination Results||Swinburne Technical College||unit 12||1943-1944|
|VPRS 14351||P0001||Minutes||Country Roads Board||unit 68||1969|
|VPRS 14440||P0001||Register of Professional Officers||Education Department||unit 2||1950-1969|
|VPRS 16484||P0001||Board Minutes||Physiotherapists Registration Board of Victoria||unit 4||Aug 1966-June 1969|
|VPRS 17020||P0003||Criminal Presentments and Final Orders, Melbourne||Court of General Sessions||units 19-23||Nov 1943-Nov 1944|
|VPRS 17792||P0002||Admission and Discharge Register of Patients||Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital||unit 11||Dec 1919-Jul 1920|
|VPRS 17822||P0001||De Facto Adoption Register||Children's Welfare Department||unit 1||1906-1920|
|VPRS 17872||P0001||Admission and Discharge Register of Patients||Mont Park Mental Hospital||unit 4||1938-May 1944|
|VPRS 17873||P0001||Discharge Register of Patients||Mont Park Mental Hospital||unit 3||1938-Dec 1944|
|VPRS 17882||P0003||Admission and Discharge Register of Patients: Inebriates||Royal Park Receiving House||unit 1||Dec 1941-Mar 1944|
|VPRS 17891||P0001||Discharge Register of Patients||Royal Park Receiving House||unit 13||July 1942-Oct 1944|
|VPRS 17933||P0002||Orders to Remand a Person in a Receiving House or Receiving Ward||Royal Park Receiving House||unit 1||June 1940-Dec 1944|
|VPRS 18101||P0002||Observation Ward Report Books:Male Patients||Beechworth Mental Hospital||unit 4||Mar 1943-Apr 1944|
|VPRS 18120||P0001||Staff Leave Registers||Ararat Mental Hospital||unit 1||1932-1969|
|VPRS 18149||P0001||Children's Court Register||Preston Courts||unit 3||1917-Sept 1920|
|VPRS 18163||P0002||Nurse Training Records||Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital||unit 1||1905-1969|
|VPRS 18164||P0001||Case Books: Male Patients||Repatriation Mental Hospital, Bundoora||unit 2||1933-1944|
Due to ongoing digital archive work, these records will not be available to order via our online catalogue until mid 2020. In the meantime, if you would like to order and view any of these records in our Reading Room, please contact us via this contact form.