Last updated:

1 January 2023

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 records of a personal or private nature are closed to prevent the violation of personal privacy. 

On the 1st of January 2023, the files opened for the very first time include records related to the 1940s underworld, social worker histories, and the case of the Bentleigh burger murder, to name a few. 

Keith Kitchener Hull was infamous in Sydney gangland circles for killing Donald ‘Duck’ Day. Day’s mates caught up with Hull in Melbourne of July 1947, attempting to shoot him in his own truck in Little Neptune Street St Kilda. Notorious standover man George Barrett, his accomplice Charles Martin and a cast of characters including ‘angel of death’ Dulcie Markham all escaped an attempted murder conviction in a fascinating case of revenge. 

Also among the January openings is the 1947 capital case file of Esbert Ridgway who, in a scuffle outside a Bentleigh hamburger shop pulled a knife on Vincent Quinn, killing him in front of a crowd of late night diners. 

In a first for the Section 9 records release, Royal Park social worker books are to be opened spanning the years 1944 to 1947. Royal Park was opened as a Receiving House in September 1907 to provide accommodation for patients requiring short-term treatment for mental illness. Around the time of these records there were around 200 patients. The histories include background on the patients’ families, schooling, work, and friendships. They also include the social workers own observations about family members they meet, such as: “Mother talked incessantly, ignoring interruptions and continually flying off on tangents. She was at great pains to prove that patient is unbalanced…” 

These records provide an insight into the lives, not just of the patients, but of the patients’ family and friends at the time. Even earlier records include Children’s Court Registers from 1907 through to the 1920s and School Records from 1903.   

Director and Keeper of Public Records, Justine Heazlewood, says that records such as these provide a great resource for researchers, historians, students, writers, and genealogists with blanks to fill in their family tree.

“We can learn so much from these records which reveal intricate details of the lives of those who’ve come before us. We look forward to seeing researchers visit us at the Victorian Archives Centre in the New Year to access these and other items from our collection.”

View our blog post for a deeper dive into the stories mentions above.

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 2023:

•    Criminal Trial Briefs, 1947
•    Capital Case Files, 1947
•    Attorney-General’s Department Inward Registered Correspondence, 1947
•    Melbourne Divorce Case Files, 1947
•    Central Register of Male Prisoners, 1946-1947
•    Roads Corporation Secretary’s Letter Books, 1946-1947
•    Ballarat Divorce Case Files, 1947
•    Castlemaine Children’s Court Register, 1919-1923
•    Victorian Government Printing Office Record of Staff Service, 1912-1947
•    Capital Sentence Files, 1947
•    Country Roads Board Wages Records, 1946-1947
•    Richmond Children’s Court Register, Aug 1922-Nov 1923
•    Pharmacy Board Minute Books, 1969-Jun 1972
•    Criminal Trial Brief Register II, 1947
•    Criminal Trial Brief Register II, 1947
•    Alfred Hospital Master Patient Index Cards, 1945-1947 
•    Smythesdale Children’s Court Register, 1907-1923
•    Ward Registers, Dec 1922-Oct 1923
•    Divorce Cause Books, Nov 1946-Jul 1947
•    Index to Divorce Cause Books, 1947 
•    Inpatient Admission Register, 1936-1947
•    Mockinya Primary School Records, 1903-1947
•    Royal Park Receiving House Head Nurses Daily Report Books, 1946-1947
•    Kew Mental Hospital Head Attendant’s Daily Report Books Male Department, Apr 1946-May 1947
•    Mont Park Mental Hospital Head Nurse’s Daily Report Books Female Department, Oct 1946-Nov 1947
•    Registers of Voluntary Boarders in Hospitals for the Insane, 1942-1947
•    Royal Park Receiving House Social Worker Histories, 1944-1947
•    Ballarat Mental Hospital Discharge Register of Patients, 1933-Feb 1947
•    Kew Cottages Admission Warrants, 1919-1923
•    Kew Mental Hospital Head Nurse’s Daily Report Book Female Wards, Mar 1946-Apr 1947
•    Sunbury Mental Hospital Nursing Report Books Female, Oct 1946-Nov 1947
•    Sunbury Mental Hospital Admission Warrants Female, Jun 1945-Jun 1947
•    Cheltenham Children’s Court Registers, Oct 1914-Mar 1923
•    Main Lead Primary School Records, 1907-1947
•    Court of Petty Sessions Index to Maintenance Cases, 1911-1924
•    Skipton Court of Petty Sessions Maintenance Registers, Apr 1922-Aug 1923
•    Williamstown Children’s Court Registers, Feb 1920-Aug 1923
•    Warrnambool Children’s Court Register, Feb 1917-Jan 1923
•    Pentridge Prison Register of Prisoners Received and Discharged J Division, 1947
•    Tramway Employee Record Cards, 1966-1967
•    Victorian Railways Correspondence with Australian Railway Union regarding industrial issues, Transportation Division, 1966-1967
•    Victorian Railways Accident Compensation Claim Register, 1966-1967
•    Victorian Railways Accident Compensation Claim Register, 1963-1967
•    Swinburne Technical College Examination Results, 1947-1948
•    Country Roads Board Minutes, 1972
•    Victorian Nursing Council Executive Committee Minutes, Feb 1971-1972
•    Medical Board of Victoria Board Minutes, 1966-Apr 1972
•    Chiropodists Registration Board of Victoria Minutes, 1970-1972
•    Dental Board of Victoria School Dental Therapists Register, 1975-1992
•    Court of General Sessions Criminal Presentments and Final Orders, Jan-Oct 1947
•    Royal Women’s Hospital Birth Registers Midwifery Department, Jun 1918-Aug 1923
•    Royal Women’s Hospital Case Book Maternity Department, 1923
•    Royal Women’s Hospital Midwifery and Medical Student Labour Ward Case and Statistics Books, 1958-1972
•    Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital Admission and Discharge Register of Patients, Feb 1922-Apr 1923
•    Beechworth Mental Hospital Observation Ward Report Books Male, Jun 1946-Jul 1947
•    Box Hill Children’s Court Register, Apr 1916-Jan 1923
•    Ferntree Gull Children’s Court Register, Jul 1908-Jan 1923 

For more information contact Tara Oldfield, 0418 698 364,

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