Last updated:

January 2, 2020

1 January 2020

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. 

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”. 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 extradited to Italy in 1948.

Also among the January openings are mental health records, divorce cases, nurse training records, court registers, tramway employee cards, and capital and criminal case files of 1944. Director and Keeper of Public Records, Justine Heazlewood, says that these records provide a snapshot in time for researchers, historians, writers and genealogists wanting to explore Victoria’s past.

“These historic records, which as of 1 January have passed their assigned closure period, are of particular interest to family historians waiting on files about members of their family tree. Most of the records being opened this year capture what life was like for Victorians interacting with Government in 1944 – just one year before the end of the Second World War.” 

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.

The full list of records opening on 1 January 2020 and information on how researchers can gain access to these files can be found here.

For more information contact Tara Oldfield, Communications Officer, on 0418 698 364.
 

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