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What do I need to know?

Where the person worked, locations, type of work they did, and approximate dates relating to the employment of the person you are researching.

This search may also lead to records that are not strictly-speaking employment records, but to all kinds of records that might help you establish whether someone was employed at some time in a port or shipping related activity.

Some recent employee records may be closed to public access if they divulge personal information and could be closed for up to 75 years from the time they were created.

How do I search?

Enter a keyword and / or a date range into the search below, for example, Portland, or pilots.

It is very unlikely that the name of the person you are researching will be found using this search. Instead, think about the place they worked, or the location and type of work. For example, "Port of Melbourne" (using quotation marks) for records about employees working at the Port of Melbourne.

On the search results page, use the filter toggle arrows to the left of the page to narrow the results either by date, series or government department that created the records.

About these records

Various Victorian government departments and agencies have been responsible for ports, harbours, and shipping. Some of the records they created relate to people who worked for the government in ports or shipping activities. Some aspects of the operation of Victoria's ports and airports are regulated by the Australian Government and therefore records about staff relating to those operations may be held by the National Archives of Australia.

Who created these records?

  • Department of Trade and Customs, 1851-1901 (VA 606)
  • Port Phillip Sea Pilots (Port Phillip Pilot Service), 1854-cont. (VA 4180)
  • Public Works Department, 1855-1987 (VA 669)
  • Melbourne Harbor Trust Commissioners, 1877-1978 (VA 2799)
  • Port of Geelong Authority, 1905-1997 (VA 1425)
  • Port of Melbourne Authority, 1978-1996 (VA 1426)

Next Steps

Order the records of interest and view in our Reading Room. Some records are digital records and can be accessed directly online. 

What are in these records?

The kinds of records that you may find relating to employees and staff of working in ports and shipping:

  • staff/employee registers or personal summaries
  • wages or earnings books
  • accreditation/licencing records

Additionally this search may lead you to employment-related information that is in records that were not primarily about employment.


From 1901 the administration of trade and customs was transferred to the Australian federal government. Records relating to employment in this area of work may be found in the records of the Department of Trade and Customs and associated agencies held by the National Archives of Australia.

There may be some digitised images relating to your search in your results, to see these at the top of your search results select the Digital option in the View Record filter toggle arrows on the left of the screen. You can also use these to explore only results from particular series or created by particular agencies.

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