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The Public Records Act 1973 requires Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) to work with Victorian government agencies to select public records for permanent preservation as State Archives.

So, out of all the digital and paper files government creates every day, how do we decide which ones are worth keeping forever?

To find out, see the presentation and list of characteristics below 



This presentation provides a summary of the types of records Public Record Office Victoria preserves as Archives for future discovery.


The following characteristics guide our decisions about which records to keep as archives.

  1. The authority, establishment and structure of government. Public records which provide concise evidence of the source of authority, establishment and structure of Victorian government. For instance, Acts of Parliament.
  2. Primary functions and programs of government. Public records which provide concise evidence of the government’s primary functions and programs, especially those records that provide evidence of a new or changed policy decision. For instance, Cabinet records, budget statements, planning and management of major infrastructure projects.
  3. Enduring rights and entitlements. Public records which provide concise evidence of the life events, enduring rights and entitlements of individuals and groups. For instance, births, deaths marriage registration records  and divorce records, records of land ownership.
  4. Significant impact on individuals. Public records which provide evidence of the significant impact of Victorian government decisions and actions on individuals and communities, the interaction of people with the government, and the influence of the Victorian community on government decision-making. For instance, criminal court decisions, records of government care of individuals, planning schemes records, petitions seeking government action.  
  5. Environmental management and change. Public records which provide evidence of the Victorian government’s significant actions in relation to environmental management and change, response to the impact of climate change, and the occupation, management and use of the state’s natural resources. For instance, rainfall, temperature and soil feature statistics, management of landfill sites, forestry planning and management..
  6. Significant contribution to community memory. Public records that have a substantial capacity to enrich the memory, knowledge and understanding of aspects of Victoria’s history, society, culture and people. For instance, public records relating to events or that represent the Victorian way of life including work, education, leisure and culture.

For more information about the characteristics, please see Appraisal Statement for Public Records required as State Archives policy.


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