Photo of Tara Oldfield

Author: Tara Oldfield

Senior Communications Advisor

Hundreds of historic State Government archives 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 from between 75 to 99 years to prevent the violation of personal privacy. On the 1st of January 2017, another year of files was opened to the public for the first time. Director and Keeper of Public Records, Justine Heazlewood, said this year’s openings may provide researchers with missing pieces of their family history puzzle.

“These newly opened records provide a snapshot into our State’s history. From the capital cases that made headlines in 1941 to divorces of Ballarat – these annual openings provide a new opportunity to discover our past,” said Ms Heazlewood.

Among this year’s openings are Criminal Trial Briefs relating to Pentridge prison escapee Kenneth Raymond Jones, the capital case file of Alfred Bye executed for the murder of Tommy Walker, Divorce Case Files from Melbourne and Ballarat Courts of 1941, Post Mortem Registers from Kew Hospital and Tramway and Victorian Railroads Employee Records.

“There are so many incredible stories to be found in Victoria’s archives. These records of the past now serve to help researchers, academics, writers and historians discover another dimension to years gone by,” 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:

Record Title


Date Range

Criminal Trial Briefs
(VPRS 30 P0000 Units 2928-2974)


Inward Registered Correspondence
(VPRS 266 P0001 Units 35-51)


Divorce Case Files, Melbourne
(VPRS 283 P0002 Units 320-339)


Children’s Court Register
(VPRS 329 P0000 Unit 2)


Central Register of Male Prisoners
(VPRS 515 P0000 Unit 94)


Register of Names, Particulars and Personal Descriptions of Prisoners
(VPRS 521 P0000 Units 76-78)


Index To Register Of Prisoners Received
(VPRS 526 P0000 Units 8 and 10)


Divorce Case Files, Ballarat
(VPRS 552 P0001 Unit 6)


Examination Registers (Technical Subjects)
(VPRS 923 P0003 Units 1-13)


Capital Sentence Files
(VPRS 1100 P0002 Unit 13)


Wages Records
(VPRS 1752 P0000 Units 1-19)


Children’s Court Registers, Richmond
(VPRS 1792 P0000 Unit 10)

Feb 1916-Jun 1917

Children’s Court Registers, Prahran
(VPRS 1941 P0000 Unit 6)

Sept 1915-April 1917

Children’s Court Register, Berringa
(VPRS 2519 P0000 Unit 1)


Criminal Trial Brief Register II
(VPRS 3524 P0000 Unit 49)


Criminal Trial Brief Register II
(VPRS 3524 P0001 Unit 49) 
This is a microfiche copy of the unit above, no need to order it, just come in and view in our North Melb Reading Room. 


Master Patient Index Cards
(VPRS 3848 P0000 Units 110-115)


Ward Registers
(VPRS 4527 P0000 Units 125-130)

Nov 1916-Nov 1917

Children’s Court Registers, Stawell
(VPRS 5025 P0000 Unit 2)


Divorce Cause Books
(VPRS 5334 P0001 Unit 9)

Sept 1939-Feb 1941

Children’s Court Registers
(VPRS 6063 P0001 Unit 11)

Feb 1916-May 1917

Post Mortem Registers, Kew Mental Hospital
(VPRS 7432 P0001 Unit 19)

Jan 1939-Jul 1941

Head Attendant’s Daily Report Books Male Department, Kew Mental Hospital
(VPRS 7440 P0002 Unit 13)


Registers of Voluntary Boarders in Hospitals for the Insane
(VPRS 7515 P0001 Unit 2)


Head Nurse’s Daily Report Book – Female Wards,
Kew Mental Hospital
(VPRS 7692 P0001 Unit 22)

Nov 1940-Dec 1941

Bound Circulated Photographs and Offences of Convicted Persons
(VPRS 7856 P0001 Units 43-44)

Dec 1940-Sept 1941

Nursing Report Books – Female, Sunbury Mental Hospital
(VPRS 8252 P0001 Unit 5)

Nov 1940-Nov 1941

Admission Warrants – Male, Sunbury Mental Hospital
(VPRS 8259 P0001 Unit 21)

Mar 1939-May 1941

Admission Warrants – Female, Sunbury Mental Hospital
(VPRS 8261 P0001 Unit 21)

May 1939-May 1941


Presentments, Supreme Court
(VPRS 10008 P0001 Units 52-54)


Children’s Court Registers, Camperdown
(VPRS 10367 P0000 Unit 1)

1907-Aug 1917

Children’s Court Registers, Williamstown
(VPRS 10589 P0000 Unit 4)

June 1916-Oct 1917

Children’s Court Registers, Warrnambool
(VPRS 10621 P0000 Unit 2)

June 1916-Jan 1917

Children’s Court Registers, Ararat
(VPRS 10741 P0000 Unit 1)

1907-Nov 1917

Personal Description of Prisoners Received Book, Ballarat
(VPRS 10859 P0000 Unit 16)
These records are currently undergoing conservation. Watch this video for more information:

July 1935-May 1941

Children’s Court Registers, Sale
(VPRS 11609 P0001 Unit 1)

1907-Feb 1917

Children’s Court Registers, Carlton
(VPRS 12610 P0001 Unit 1)

1908-July 1917

Tramway Employees Record Cards
(VPRS 12739 P0001 Units 69-76)


Correspondence with Australian Railway Union
(VPRS 13279 P0001 Unit 7)


Accident Compensation Claim Register, Claims Branch
(VPRS 13531 P0001 Unit 20)


Accident Compensation Claim Book
(VPRS 13536 P0001 Unit 7)


Employment History Sheets, Photographic Division
(VPRS 13997 P0001 Unit 1)


In-Patient Death Registers
(VPRS 16817 P0002 Unit 1)

July 1979-Feb 1986

Board Minutes, Physiotherapists Registration Board
(VPRS 16484 P0001 Unit 3)

August 1963-June 1966

Board Minutes and Papers, Dental Board
(VPRS 16503 P0002 Unit 2)

Oct 1964-Oct 1966

Criminal Presentments and Final Orders, Melbourne
(VPRS 17020 P0003 Units 8-11)

Nov 1940-Dec 1941

Register of Pathology Tests, Mont Park Mental Hospital
(VPRS 17704 P0001 Unit 1)


Children’s Court Register, Preston
(VPRS 18149 P0001 Unit 2)

Nov 1913-March 1917

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