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What do I need to know?

Any locations or subjects of interest, and approximate dates relating to what you are researching.

How do I search?

Enter a keyword and / or date range  into the search below. Consider searching on keywords that are alternative terms, for example, aerodrome instead of airport.

For a more exact search use inverted commas on your search term, for example, "Victoria Dock".

About these records

Various Victorian government departments and agencies have been responsible for ports, harbours, shipping and airports. The records they created as a result of this work documents the circulation of goods and people around Victoria, interstate and internationally, and also provide a rich source of information about Victoria's built environment and infrastructure. These records mainly relate to commercial and civilian shipping and aviation rather than military ships and planes. Some aspects of the administration and regulation of Victoria's ports and airports, particularly in relation to major airports, are regulated by the Australian Government and therefore records will be held by the National Archives of Australia.

Who created these records?

While most of the records that you will find with this search were created by government agencies associated with water or air transport and infrastructure, you may also find records that were created by other agencies using this search.

The main agencies that have been associated with water and air transport are listed below. Click on the VA number to read more about a particular agency and see a complete list of series that the agency created:

  • 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)
  • Marine Board of Victoria, 1888-cont. (VA 1424)
  • Port of Geelong Authority, 1905-1997 (VA 1425)
  • Royal Commission on the Geelong Harbour Trust, 1912-1912 (VA 5163)
  • Warrnambool Harbour Board, 1928-1936 (VA 2836)
  • Transport Regulation Board, 1933-1983 (VA 2738)
  • Select Committee on the Airport, 1935-1935 (VA 4896)
  • Port of Portland Authority, 1951-1996 (VA 1427)
  • Department of Transport (known as Ministry of Transport 1951 to 1992), 1951-1996 (VA 673)
  • Port Phillip Authority, 1966-1984 (VA 1102)
  • Port of Melbourne Authority, 1978-1996 (VA 1426)
  • State Transport Authority, 1983-1989 (VA 1038)
  • Melbourne Port Corporation, 1996-2003 (VA 4837)
  • Department of Infrastructure, 1996-2008 (VA 3971)
  • Port of Melbourne Corporation, 2003-cont. (VA 4028)
  • Department of Transport II, 2008-2013 (VA 4853)
  • Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, 2013-2014 (VA 5003)

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?

    Because this search covers a number of agencies relating to ports, ships and airports in Victoria, the records you will be exploring are of diverse types and purposes. You can expect to find records that are:

    • photographs, negatives, slides and transparencies
    • plans, diagrams and drawings
    • maps and surveys
    • indexes to some of the above

    There may be some digitised images relating to ports, ships and airports 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