Last updated:

1 January 2024

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

On the 1st of January 2024, files opened for the first time include prison records and mugshots of Victoria’s 1930s and 40s female criminals, and a 1948 criminal trial brief for notorious conman Kenneth William Korrington-Willis, alias Kid Stranger.   

Among the pages of a large leather-bound book known as the Central Register of Female Prisoners, Julie Baldwin’s photo shows her in a checked scarf and dark blazer, hair in a low bun. She was 23 years old when convicted of robbery in company for the 1939 Bonnie Doon Post Office hold-up. Alongside male companions John Jackson and Leslie Malone, she stole a car and procured a gun, then accompanied the men in the robbery. A police car took chase with the three quickly apprehended. That she wore a men’s suit to court captured public and media attention. The 1934 to 1948 female register containing Julie’s record is the last of its kind to be opened. The final male register, spanning 1947 to 1948, is also open this year. After 1948, the justice system moved to a card-based recordkeeping system which remains closed.

A 1948 criminal trial brief for notorious conman Kenneth William Korrington-Willis is also being opened for the first time. Through the 1930s and 40s he posed as American boxer and showman Kid Stranger, scamming people out of money for fake investments. In Melbourne in 1944, he claimed to be a parachuter with a factory looking for investors. Many fell for his trick, handing over life savings, while 50,000 people attended Essendon Aerodrome to watch him jump out of a plane only to leave disappointed. He was sent to gaol, but his frauds continued after his release. In the 1948 brief opened today, he was convicted for defrauding Edwin George Douglas out of a £300 car deposit while posing as an American Captain in the Department of Justice. 

Other records opened today include Ballarat Asylum Clinical Notes, 1920s Register of Patients Admitted to the Labour Ward of the Royal Women’s Hospital, the 1948 Capital Sentence File of Eric Stanley Jacobi, and Tramway Employee Record Cards.    

Director and Keeper of Public Records, Justine Heazlewood, says records such as these provide a snapshot in time. 

“The Victorian public records being released today span from the 1880s through to the early 1990s, providing valuable insight into Victoria’s social history. These fascinating files will be of particular interest to family researchers, as well as historians with mysteries from Victoria’s history to uncover.” 

A broad guide to time periods for closure under Section 9 is:

•    Records primarily concerning adults may be closed for 75 years from the year they 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 the full list of records open as of 1 January 2024. 

•    Ararat Asylum Register of Complaints Against Staff, 1871-1948
•    Ballarat Asylum Admission Register of Patients, 1936-1948
•    Ballarat Asylum Clinical Case Notes and Patient Files, 1887-1948
•    Ballarat Asylum Trial Leave Register, 1931-1948
•    Ballarat Children’s Court Register, 1922-1924
•    Ballarat Divorce Case Files, 1948
•    Beechworth Outward Letter Books, 1945-1948
•    Beechworth Patient Clinical Case Notes, 1902-1948
•    Benalla Children’s Court Register, 1924
•    Bound Circulated Photographs and Criminal Offences of Convicted Persons, 1945-1948
•    Buln Buln Committee Minutes, 1989-1991
•    Buln Buln Council Minutes, 1989-1993
•    Capital Sentence Files, 1948
•    Central Register of Female Prisoners, 1934-1948
•    Central Register of Male Prisoners, 1947-1948
•    Country Roads Board Minutes, 1973
•    Country Roads Board Wages Records, 1947-1948
•    Criminal Presentments and Final Orders, 1947-1948
•    Criminal Record Books, 1940-1948
•    Criminal Trial Briefs, 1948
•    Criminal Trial Brief Register, 1948
•    Crown Appointees Register – Data Input Sheets and Reports, 1986-1993
•    Dental Practice Board Minutes and Papers, 1972-1973
•    Divorce Case Files, 1948
•    Divorce Cause Books, 1947-1948
•    El Dorado Courts Children’s Court Register, 1908-1924
•    Fairfield Infectious Diseases Admission and Discharge Register of Patients, 1923-1924
•    Geelong West Children’s Court Register, 1916-1924
•    Gordon Children’s Court Register, 1907-1924
•    Index to Divorce Cause Books, 1948
•    Inward Registered Correspondence for the Attorney-General’s Department, 1947-1948
•    Janefield Staff Register, 1937-1973
•    Kew Asylum Post Mortem Register, 1946-1948
•    Kew Cottages Medical Journals, 1920-1924
•    Kew Mental Hospital Head Attendant’s Daily Report Books – Male Department, 1947-1948
•    Kew Mental Hospital Head Attendant’s Daily Report Books – Female Department, 1947-1948
•    Kew Mental Hospital Head Nurse’s Daily Report Book – Female Wards, 1947-1948
•    Kew Mental Hospital Patient Clinical Notes, 1946-1948
•    Kyabram Children’s Court Register, 1907-1924
•    Melbourne Court of Petty Sessions Index to Melbourne Cases, 1911-1924
•    Melbourne Water Historical Records Collection, 1946-1948
•    Pentridge Register of Prisoners Received and Discharged “J” Division, 1937-1948
•    Pharmacy Board Minute Books, 1972-1973
•    Registers of Voluntary Boarders in Hospitals for the Insane, 1948
•    Roads Corporation Secretary’s Letter Books, 1947-1948
•    Royal Children’s Hospital In-patient Admission and Discharge Register, 1922-1924
•    Royal Children’s Hospital In-Patient Death Registers, 1986-1993
•    Royal Melbourne Hospital Secretary’s and Manager’s Subject Correspondence Files, 1969-1973
•    Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital Admission and Discharge Register of Patients: Recommended Patients, 1942-1948
•    Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital Admission and Discharge Register of Patients: Voluntary Boarders, 1942-1948
•    Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital Discharge Register of Patients, 1938-1948
•    Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital Discharge Register of Patients, 1946-1948
•    Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital Post Mortem Registers, 1947-1948
•    Royal Women’s Hospital Register of Patients Admitted to Labour Ward Midwifery Department, 1920-1924
•    Royal Women’s Hospital Extern Case Book, 1923-1924
•    Sebastopol Children’s Court Register, 1907-1924
•    Sunbury Mental Hospital Admission Warrants – Male Patients, 1946-1948
•    Sunbury Mental Hospital Nursing Report Books – Female, 1947-1948
•    Sunbury Mental Hospital Restraint and Seclusion Register, 1948
•    Sunnyside Licenced House Asylum Records, 1938-1948
•    Supreme Court Presentments, 1948
•    Swinburne Technical College Examination Results, 1947-1948
•    Swinburne Technical College Examination Results, 1936-1948
•    Teacher Examination Entry Forms, 1959-1973
•    Tramway Employees Records Cards, 1967-1968
•    Victorian Railways Accident Compensation Claim Book, 1966-1968
•    Victorian Railways Accident Compensation Claim Register, 1967-1968
•    Ward Registers, 1923-1924

Contact: Tara Oldfield, Senior Communications Advisor, 0418 698 364,

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