Last updated:

31 December 2018

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 record 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.

These historic records, which as of 1 January have passed their assigned closure period, are of particular interest to family historians waiting on files that mention members of their family tree. 

Among the files made public for the first time this year are 1942-43 capital case files. Capital cases relate to those criminal trials where a sentence of death was given. This year the Victorian Government copy of the trial of “Brownout Strangler” Eddie Leonski is included (there is also a copy held on open access with the National Archives in Canberra.) Six months after Leonski was executed at Pentridge, two other men narrowly escaped their death sentences for murder, Norman Morris Searle and Charles Mills - their files sit beside Leonski’s as part of this year’s openings. 

Also among the openings are mental health records, divorce cases, prison registers and other criminal case files of 1943, including an infamous Brighton murder that took place outside the old Coffee Palace, as well as Victorian Railway Records of 1962-63. Director and Keeper of Public Records, Justine Heazlewood, says that the records will help researchers, historians, writers and genealogists paint a fuller picture of Melbourne during those periods.

“These historic records will be invaluable to researchers as they provide not only information about individuals but also a glimpse into the time in which they were written. For instance if your ancestor spent time in an asylum in the 1940s, you can get a sense of what that experience may have been like by looking through some of these records.” 

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 the full list of records opened on 1 January 2019. More information on some of the stories contained within these files can be found on our blog after the 1st, here:

For more information contact Tara Oldfield, Communications Officer, on 0418 698 364.

Full list of opened records

Record Title

Date Range

Criminal Trial Briefs


Capital Case Files


Inward Registered Correspondence, Attorney General’s Department

1942 - 1943

Divorce Case Files, Melbourne

1942 - 1943

Central Register of Male Prisoners

1942 - 1943

Divorce Case Files, Ballarat


Capital Sentence Files


Wages Records, Country Roads Board

1942 - 1943

Children’s Court Register, Castlemaine Courts

1915 - 1919

Children’s Court Register, Richmond Courts

Jun 1917 - Mar 1919

Children’s Court Register, Prahran Courts

Apr 1917 - Dec 1919

Children’s Court Register, Fitzroy

May 1917 - Feb 1919

Children’s Court Register, Geelong

Jul 1918 - Sept 1919

Children’s Court Register, Collingwood

1907 - May 1919

Children’s Court Register, Heidelberg

Sept 1915 - Sept 1919

Minute Books, Pharmacy Board of Victoria

1965 - 1968

Civil Construction Corps Wage Records

1942 - 1943

Criminal Trial Brief Register II


Master Patient Index Cards, Alfred Hospital

1941 - 1943

Ward Registers

1918 - 1919

List of Prisoners, Pentridge Gaol

Nov 1928 - Jun 1943

Divorce Cause Books

May 1942 - Dec 1943

Head Attendant’s Daily Report Books, Male Department, Kew Mental Hospital

Dec 1941 - Jan 1943

Clinical Notes of Male Patients, Kew Cottages

26 Jul 1912 - 10 Nov 1919

Asylum Records, Pleasant View

Jul 1940 - May 1943

Head Nurse’s Daily Report Book, Female Wards, Kew Mental Hospital

1941 - Jan 1943

Bound Circulated Photographs and Criminal Offences of Convicted Persons

Oct 1942 - Apr 1943

Admission Warrants, Female Patients, Sunbury Mental Hospital

May 1941 - Mar 1943

General Subject Files, Education Department

1978 - 1988

Presentments, Supreme Court of Victoria

1942 - 1943

Register of Prisoners Received and Discharged, J Division, Pentridge

Aug 1939 - Jun 1943

Professional Officers’ Cards, Teachers Tribunal

1946 - 1968

Tramway Employees Record Cards

1962 - 1963

Correspondence with Union regarding industrial issues, Victorian Railways

1962 - 1963

Accident Compensation Claim Register, Claims Branch, Victorian Railways

1962 - 1963

Accident Compensation Claim Book, Victorian Railways

1961 - 1963

Classified Technical Teachers Record Books, Education Department

1961 - 1968

Examination Results, Swinburne Technical College

1940 - 1943

Minutes, Country Roads Board


Board Minutes and Papers, Dental Board of Victoria

1967 - Sept 1968

Register of Applicants for Nursing and Other Positions, Royal Children’s Hospital

Apr 1959 - Jan 1968

Criminal Presentments and Final Orders, Court of General Sessions Melbourne

1942 - Oct 1943

Admission and Discharge Register of Patients, Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital

Jul 1918 - Dec 1919

Admission and Discharge Day Book, Salvation Army, The Haven

Dec 1907 - Oct 1919

Infant Life Protection Register – Applications to Board Out Infants – State Ward and Non-Ward, Children’s Welfare Department

Apr 1910 - Jun 1919

Admission and Discharge Register of Patients, Voluntary Boarders, Mont Park Mental Hospital

Mar 1939 - Mar 1943

Observation Ward Report Books, Male Patients, Beechworth Mental Hospital

Feb 1942 - Mar 1943


Note: Due to ongoing work on our digital archive, these records will not be available to order via our online catalogue until later in 2019. In the meantime researchers can order and view these records in our Reading Room by contacting us through our website.


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