Last updated:

August 12, 2021

What do I need to know?

Key details of a public building such as:

  • name of building
  • location
  • type

Note: public buildings are theatres or sports ovals, public works are schools or hospitals constructed by and for the Victorian Government. So you may need to also try searching Public Works Plans as well.

How do I search?

These files are organised into units containing references to multiple buildings. Order the whole unit and browse through to find your relevant file. 

About these records

The Department of Health kept files and plans on public buildings such as community halls, schools, cinemas, theatres and even the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The primary function of these records kept from the 1920s to 1988 was to detail the compliance of these public buildings with health and safety regulations (e.g. number of toilets, fire safety and so on). 

A 'public building' is regarded as any building used for entertainment, amusement, recreation or education (excluding state schools). Other buildings included in this series are hospitals and churches.

Next Steps

Once you have found a public building file of interest, you can order online and view it in our North Melbourne Reading Room.

What are in these records?

Public buildings files relate to buildings used by the public e.g. cinemas and churches. 

Files usually contain some or all of the following:

  • name of building
  • building address
  • building plans
  • correspondence (regarding such issues like inspections)
  • changes to the building

Larger public building files may contain material about specific events (e.g. a seating plan for a concert).

Tip!: For buildings built or maintained by the government, for example, public schools and hospitals, search also for Public Works Plans.

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

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.

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