Last updated:

January 18, 2024

What do I need to know?

These records relate to matters occurring between 1839-1851. Records in this series are fragile and are closed for public viewing, but they have been digitised and can be viewed online.

How do I search?

1. Search the 'title' of these records with a keywords or names from that time period. Or simply press 'Search' and browse the kind of letters you'll see in this series.

2. If you are researching a person or place, find out how to search by viewing our Koorie Index of Names guide. This database will help you locate records relating to people and places in this series.

About these records

This series contains correspondence about Aboriginal affairs which was sent to the Superintendent of the Port Phillip District during the operation of the Aboriginal Protectorate between 1839 and 1851.

The majority of the correspondence is from the Chief Protector of Aborigines (G.A. Robinson), Assistant protectors (Thomas, Parker, Le Souef, Dredge and Sievwright) and medical officers and dispensers attached to the reserves.

The letters cover a wide variety of topics relating to Aboriginal people and the administration of the Protectorate system.

Who created these records?

Superintendent, Port Phillip District 1839-1851 (VA 473).  

Next Steps

Once you have found records of interest to you, select and view the digitised copy online.

What are in these records?

The correspondence covers a wide variety of topic including:

  • daily administration of the protectorate system (appointments, dismissals, requisitions)
  • the operation of institutions such as Buntingdale Mission and the Merri Creek Aboriginal School
  • reports from assistant protectors relating to the districts under their responsibility
  • reports on movements of Aboriginal tribes and groups.
  • names of Aboriginal people
  • government policy relating to Aboriginal people
  • the granting of land for reserves and survey of Aboriginal reserves
  • reports of incidents such as crimes committed and boundary disputes.

Note: These records contain words, descriptions and information used in the past that may be insensitive or offensive and can be upsetting.

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