Communications Officer Tara Oldfield

Author: Tara Oldfield

Communications Officer

Every year on the 1st of January, hundreds of state archives are made public as part of Public Record Office Victoria’s annual Section 9 openings. Under Section 9 of the Public Records Act 1973, files of a personal or private nature are closed to prevent the violation of personal privacy. 

A broad guide to time periods for closure under Section 9 is as follows:
•    Records primarily concerning adults may be closed for 75 years from the year in which the records were created.
•    Records concerning children as the primary subject may be closed for 99 years.
•    Records such as staff records where the individuals concerned may still be in the workforce may be closed for a lesser period such as 30, 40, or 50 years as appropriate.

See below for a snapshot of some of the stories you can find within the pages of this year’s openings. Or scroll to the bottom of this page for a full list of records.

Warning some of these records relate to violence and death and may be upsetting for some readers. 


Central Register of Male Prisoners 
1943-1944

Among the files made public for the first time in 2020, is the 1944 Central Register of Male Prisoners which includes Antonio Agostini, the killer and husband of Linda Agostini also known as “Pyjama Girl”. 
 

photo of a page of a book
Antonio Agostini can be found on page 307 of the Central Register of Male Prisoners, vprs515 p0 unit97.

 

The Central Register of Male Prisoners was a register of prisoners received at Melbourne area prisons. Photos were taken for prisoners serving longer than six month terms, and were routinely taken when the prisoner was first received and just before release.  

The “Pyjama Girl” case first captured the country’s attention back in September 1934 when a young woman’s body was found by a farmer in Albury. The woman, brutally murdered, was wearing her pyjamas and so, with police unable to identify her, that’s how she became known. The case was re-examined in 1944 and an inquest concluded her identity. Antonio confessed to killing Linda in their home in Melbourne. He was convicted of manslaughter and gaoled at Pentridge before being deported to Italy in 1948.

Agostini’s prison register includes a photo of him taken just before his deportation. He is described in the record as being born in 1902 in Italy, 5 feet 6 ¼ inches tall, medium build, fresh complexion with hazel eyes. 


Registers of Military Patients 
Oct 1915-Nov 1944

This Register spanning October 1915 to November 1944 contains admission details of patients received for treatment under the Mental Treatment Act 1915. The Act was proclaimed to facilitate treatment for those affected by wounds, shock and other injuries of World War 1 and 2. The listings include date, name, age, marital status, address of relatives, and condition details. 
 

double page book open
An inside look at the Register of Military Patients, vprs7512 p1 unit3.

 

water coloured swirls on a piece of paper
Many of the records include beautifully decorated end paper like this one from the Register of Military Patients, vprs7512 p1 unit3.

 


Register of Charges Heard Before the Governor 
Sept 1907-Nov 1944

Adorned with the label “Prisoners Offence Book” on the cover, this volume is the first in the series to be opened and spans 1907 to 1944 of the female prison Coburg (Pentridge). Offences listed throughout the book include quarrelling, possession of prohibited articles, making false statements, attempting to communicate in writing to other prisoners, concealing tobacco and damaging government property. It also seems an attempted escape may have been thwarted with Daphne Stewart’s listing describing her as opening her cell, and the cells of four others, with a spoon. 
 

close up on handwritten notes
This page from March 1918 shows that sometimes women were disciplined in groups and that Mona Goodall was reprimanded for claiming to be “half starved”! Register of Charges Heard Before the Governor, vprs4849 p0 unit1.

 

Also included in the Register is Edna Hill. You can find her story in last year's blog post 'Excitement of the Game'.

 
Bound Circulated Photographs and Criminal Offences of Convicted Persons 
Apr 1943-Aug 1944

These bound volumes contain pages related to Victorian criminals, compiled by the Victoria Police and distributed to interstate police offices. Each page contains a photograph, list of offences, place and date of birth, and education details. 
 

spines of two large books labeled Victorian Photos
The volumes are marked ‘Victorian Photos’ along the spine, vprs7856 p1 units 48 and 49.


The pages are also often marked at later dates when the criminal is known to have died. For instance, this page for Kevin Albert Joiner states:

“Deceased. Shot whilst escaping from Pentridge Gaol 25/4/52.”

page with photograph
Kevin Albert Joiner in Volume 49 of the Bound Circulated Photographs and Criminal Offences, vprs7856 p1.

 

In fact, when cross checking Kevin’s name on NLA Trove, it appears his death occurred a little earlier than indicated on the file, making the front page of The Herald on the 14th of April.

“Armed convict, Kevin Joiner, 25, was shot dead by a warder, after he had broken out of Pentridge gaol about 11am today. Joiner was shot in the back just after he had scaled a 12ft wall of the gaol near Sydney Road and Church Street.”

 

See below for the full list of records opened on 1 January 2020.

Series number Consignment Series title Agency Units Date range
VPRS 30 P0000 Criminal Trial Briefs Office of Public Prosecutions  units 3090-3144 1944
VPRS 30 P0008 Criminal Trial Briefs Office of Public Prosecutions  unit 1 1924 & 1944
VPRS 30 P0026 Criminal Trial Briefs Office of Public Prosecutions  unit 5 1944
VPRS 30 P0030 Criminal Trial Briefs Office of Public Prosecutions  units 12-13  1944
VPRS 264 P0001 Capital Case Files Law Department unit 16 1944
VPRS 266 P0001 Inward Registered Correspondence Attorney-General's Department  units 79-88  1943-1944
VPRS 283 P0002 Divorce Case Files, Melbourne Supreme Court of Victoria units 397-434  1943-1944
VPRS 515 P0000 Central Register of Male Prisoners Penal & Gaols Branch unit 97 1943-1944
VPRS 552 P0001 Divorce Case Files Ballarat Courts unit 9 1944
VPRS 1100 P0002 Capital Sentence Files Governor  unit 16 1944
VPRS 1752 P0000 Wages Records Coutry Roads Board units 51-57 1943-1944
VPRS 1759 P0000 Civil Construction Corps Wage Records Coutry Roads Board units 36-75 1943-1944
VPRS 3524 P0000 Criminal Trial Brief Register II Office of Public Prosecutions  unit 52 1944
VPRS 3524 P0001 Criminal Trial Brief Register II Office of Public Prosecutions  unit 52 1944
VPRS 3848 P0000 Master Patient Index Cards Alfred Hospital units 128-133 1943-1944
VPRS 4527 P0001 Ward Registers  Chief Secretary's Department units 4-6  Dec 1919-Dec 1920
VPRS 4849 P0000 Register of Charges Heard Before the Governor Pentridge Goal/Prison unit 1 Sept 1907-Nov 1944
VPRS 5334 P0001 Divorce Cause Books Supreme Court of Victoria unit 13 Dec 1943-Aug 1944
VPRS 5335 P0004 Index to Divorce Cause Books Supreme Court of Victoria unit 4 1943-1944
VPRS 5424 P0000 Children's Court Registers Avoca  Courts unit 1 1907-1920
VPRS 7433 P0001 Post Mortem Registers Royal Park Receiving House unit 5 March 1943-Sept 1944
VPRS 7434 P0001 Post Mortem Registers Mont Park Mental Hospital  unit 7 June 1942-March 1944
VPRS 7440 P0002 Head Attendant's Daily Report Books - Male Department Kew Mental Hospital unit 15 Jan 1943-Feb 1944
VPRS 7454 P0002 Trial Leave Register and Register of Escapees Royal Park Receiving House unit 2 1933-1944
VPRS 7455 P0001 Asylum Records Ararat Mental Hospital unit 11 1921-1944
VPRS 7512 P0001 Registers of Military Patients Department of Mental Hygiene unit 3 Oct 1915-Nov 1944
VPRS 7692 P0001 Head Nurse's Daily Report Book - Female Wards Kew Mental Hospital unit 24 Jan 1943-Feb 1944
VPRS 7693 P0001 Patient Clinical Notes Kew Mental Hospital unit 21 1943-1944 surnames to Ke
VPRS 7856 P0001 Bound Circulated Photographs and Criminal Offences of Convicted Persons South Australia Police Department units 48-49  April 1943-August 1944
VPRS 8084 P0001 Register of Appeals to County Court, Melbourne Office of the Victorian Government Solicitor unit 6 1940-1944
VPRS 8231 P0001 Estrays : Darwin Gaol and Labour Prison (Microfiche Copy) Darwin Gaol and Labour Prison units 1-2 1905-1944
VPRS 8252 P0001 Nursing Report Books - Female - Mental Hospital Sunbury Asylum units 7-8 Dec 1942-July 1944 
VPRS 8259 P0001 Admission Warrants - Male Patients Sunbury Asylum unit 22 June 1941-Jan 1944 
VPRS 8609 P0004 Historical Records Collection Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works unit 21 Sept 1942-Dec 1944
VPRS 8762 P0001 Children's Court Registers Caulfield Courts unit 5 Feb 1918-June 1920 
VPRS 8890 P0002 Central Correspondence Files, Multiple Number System Ministry of Consumer Affairs units 1-26  1974-1985
VPRS 9046 P0002 School Records Dunach Primary School unit 1  1902-1944
VPRS 9757 P0002 School Records Jeetho West Primary School unit 1  1924-1944
VPRS 10008 P0001 Presentments Supreme Court of Victoria units 62-65  1944
VPRS 10589 P0000 Children's Court Registers Williamstown Courts unit 5 Nov 1917-Feb 1920
VPRS 12611 P0001 Children's Court Registers Coburg Courts unit 1  1907-1920
VPRS 12618 P0001 Children's Court Register North Melbourne Courts unit 1 1907-June 1920
VPRS 12739 P0001 Tramway Employees Record Cards Melbourne And Metropolitian Tramways Board units 90-97  1963-1964
VPRS 13279 P0001 Correspondence with Australian Railway Union regarding industrial issues, Transportation Division Victorian Railways unit 10 1963-1964
VPRS 13531 P0001 Accident Compensation Claim Register, Claims Branch Victorian Railways unit 23 1963-1964
VPRS 13536 P0001 Accident Compensation Claim Book Victorian Railways unit 9 1963-1964
VPRS 13971 P0001 Exchange Teacher Record Books Education Department unit 1 1950-1969
VPRS 14005 P0001 Teachers Requesting Permission to Perform Private Work Education Department unit 2 1935-1969
VPRS 14019 P0001 Examination Results Swinburne Technical College  unit 12 1943-1944
VPRS 14351 P0001 Minutes Country Roads Board unit 68 1969
VPRS 14440 P0001 Register of Professional Officers Education Department unit 2 1950-1969
VPRS 16484 P0001 Board Minutes Physiotherapists Registration Board of Victoria unit 4 Aug 1966-June 1969
VPRS 17020  P0003 Criminal Presentments and Final Orders, Melbourne Court of General Sessions units 19-23 Nov 1943-Nov 1944
VPRS 17792 P0002 Admission and Discharge Register of Patients Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital  unit 11 Dec 1919-Jul 1920
VPRS 17822 P0001 De Facto Adoption Register Children's Welfare Department  unit 1 1906-1920
VPRS 17872 P0001 Admission and Discharge Register of Patients Mont Park Mental Hospital  unit 4 1938-May 1944
VPRS 17873 P0001 Discharge Register of Patients Mont Park Mental Hospital  unit 3 1938-Dec 1944
VPRS 17882 P0003 Admission and Discharge Register of Patients: Inebriates Royal Park Receiving House unit 1 Dec 1941-Mar 1944
VPRS 17891 P0001 Discharge Register of Patients Royal Park Receiving House unit 13 July 1942-Oct 1944
VPRS 17933 P0002 Orders to Remand a Person in a Receiving House or Receiving Ward Royal Park Receiving House unit 1 June 1940-Dec 1944 
VPRS 18101 P0002 Observation Ward Report Books:Male Patients Beechworth Mental Hospital unit 4 Mar 1943-Apr 1944
VPRS 18120 P0001 Staff Leave Registers Ararat Mental Hospital unit 1 1932-1969
VPRS 18149 P0001 Children's Court Register Preston Courts unit 3 1917-Sept 1920
VPRS 18163 P0002 Nurse Training Records Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital unit 1 1905-1969
VPRS 18164 P0001 Case Books: Male Patients Repatriation Mental Hospital, Bundoora unit 2 1933-1944


Due to ongoing digital archive work, these records will not be available to order via our online catalogue until mid 2020. In the meantime, if you would like to order and view any of these records in our Reading Room, please contact us via this contact form.