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Copying and publishing public records

Most original records held by PROV can be copied, except where copying would cause damage.

Making your own copies

Using a search agent

Using PROV's copy service

Certified copies for legal purposes

Obtaining permission to publish

Making your own copies in a reading room


Personal digital cameras

Researchers can make copies of records free of charge using their own digital camera, provided that conditions of use are observed. 

PROV cameras and scanners

We have provided digital cameras and scanners at the North Melbourne Reading Room that you can use to copy records that you have requested to view. Bring a USB stick or portable hard drive to save the images to when you visit.

The use of personal equipment on PROV systems in the Reading Room, such as USB drives, is undertaken at the user's own risk. PROV does not accept responsibility for any loss, damage or data corruption incurred as a result of the use of its IT systems or resources. 

Using a search agent


Search agents can also visit Reading Rooms and make copies on your behalf.   See Search Agents for contact details.

Using PROV's copy service


Copy orders can be placed through our website.

Step 1: 'Select' the record in our catalogue and click through to your account with us (you will need to log in or create an account if you don't already have one).

Step 2: From your 'My Selections' list, follow the prompts to choose the type of copy you wish. Your requests will then be listed on a 'Cart' screen. From this screen you can change or delete requests. 

Step 3: From the 'Cart' screen you must click 'Complete order' to make the request.  

  • We charge a set fee for copies of records from series on the list below, and will ask you to pay that immediately. For records not on that list we will contact you with a quote once we have looked at the records and confirmed a price. 
  • We charge a minimum fee for each record copied that scales with the number and size of pages in the record according to the Prices table below.
  • We are not able to print paper copies of large format records (e.g. plans and drawings) at the same size as the original.  You can download our digital copies and take them for large format printing by an organisation with the necessary equipment.
  • Payment is by credit card.  We will only ask for payment after we have provided a price, but we do ask that you provide contact details as part of your initial request.


Copy serviceQuantityCharge
Digital copies of standard size documents
(up to A3)
For each 50 images in a record$20.70
Digital copies of non-standard size documents
(larger than  A3, photos, negatives or other records needing special handling)
For each 16 images in a record$20.70
Paper printouts of digitally copied records
(up to A3 only)
For each record add to the cost of making the digital copy$5.00
Certification of copiesFor each document certified, add to the cost of making and printing the digital copy$5.00
PostageAdded to the cost of making and printing the digital copy, up to$9.00


How we apply fees

Our copying fees are based on the size and complexity of the record to be copied. For many records this means that we need to retrieve the record from storage and count pages before we can quote a price.

We always quote the minimum fee for records from the following series, and you can pay for copies at the same time as placing the request:

  • VPRS 24 Inquest Deposition Files
  • VPRS 28 Probate and Administration Files
  • VPRS 267 Civil Case Files
  • VPRS 640 Central Inward Primary Schools Correspondence
  • VPRS 10010 Body Cards
  • VPRS 17379 Probate and Administration Files (Courtview)

If you request copies of records from VPRS 7591 Wills, and have also ordered the corresponding file from VPRS 28, we will not charge for copying the VPRS 7591 part.

While most records can be copied for the minimum fee, sometimes our quotes can be much larger than you expect. There are two common reasons for this.

  • The specific information you are requesting is part of a much larger record. A typical nineteenth century ‘register’ (for example a prison register, or rate book) might be three hundred pages long, which would cost $124.20 to copy.
  • Many records in our collection are not listed individually. For instance the records in VPRS 937 Inward Registered Correspondence (to Victoria Police) are listed on our website in ‘bundles’, one bundle for each box of records transferred to us. If you request a copy of these records and are not able to specify a particular record in a bundle, we can only quote for the entire box.

We cannot quote for or provide copies of part of a record unless you have first viewed that record in one of our Reading Rooms to confirm the exact part to be copied.


We will provide copies of records to you within 25 working days. Generally we can provide copies in a much shorter time but the time varies depending on how many other people have made requests.

If you have an urgent and essential need for copies (for instance a court case) please contact us and we will prioritise your request.

Receiving your copy order

Once the record is copied we will send you an email with a link to download a copy in PDF format. If you have requested a paper copy, we will post this to you, or you can ask us to hold the copy at our North Melbourne Reading Room for you to collect.

We will (in most cases) publish the copy of the record to our website so it can be viewed online by everybody. By providing copies we can better preserve fragile original records. While we may publish any open record in our collection, we will not publish every record, particularly if it is very recent. If you have concerns about the publication of a particular record, you can contact us.

Certified copies for legal purposes


Copies of public records produced by PROV can be certified for legal purposes by the Keeper of Public Records. 

Please note that certification is only needed when documents are required to be produced for formal legal proceedings. In other cases, providing a link to the copy of the record on our website is enough to demonstrate that we have made that copy in line with our standards.

It is advisable to allow 10 working days plus time for postage for certification, which is undertaken subject to the availability of the Keeper of Public Records. To ensure the integrity of the certification process, copies of records will only be certified by the Keeper if the copy has been made by PROV and has not left PROV custody.

Obtaining permission to publish


Before a public record can be reproduced in a publication or exhibition, the written permission of the copyright holder must be obtained. Refer to Copyright For Researchers for information about the permissions process. You must also note down the citation details for the item you wish to publish and complete an application for permission to publish form.

Our guidelines on citing public records set out how to cite records consistently in a way that means other researchers can find them in our collection.


Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples