Agency VA 508
Housing Commission of Victoria
About this Agency Records Related Functions Related Agencies
Date Range: 1938 - 1983
 
Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency
Establishment and Functions

A Slum Reclamation Abolition Board was appointed by Cabinet on 19 July 1936 to investigate housing in Victoria after concerns were expressed about the ability of many local municipalities to cope with increasing demands for housing associated with the establishment of large manufacturing industry. Subsequently the Housing Commission of Victoria was established by the Housing Act 1937. Following an initial investigation of housing conditions a further Act was passed in 1938, the Slum Reclamation and Housing Act. The two Acts defined the following main principles governing the operations of the Commission:

improvement of existing housing conditions
determination of minimum standards with which new houses must comply
reclamation of insanitary areas
provision of houses for persons of limited means
zoning, i.e. the division of municipal districts into residential and other areas.

From this early period until the 1970s emphasis was placed on clearing slum areas and re-housing people of limited means at the cheapest cost. From 1945 funding was provided for public housing under the Commonwealth State Housing Agreements and the Commission built large estates of public housing (houses, units and multi-storey flats) in cleared areas in the inner urban region and in undeveloped areas on the outskirts of Melbourne. A Concrete House Factory, known as the Holmesglen Concrete House Project, was established to facilitate the cheap mass production of prefabricated houses.

The first significant change in the Commission's functions resulted from the Housing Act 1943. This Act enabled the Commission to let or lease houses to persons of limited means who wished to purchase a home. The Housing Act 1953 widened the objectives and powers of the Commission to enable it to cope with the planning requirements of large estates. In 1959 the Aborigines (Houses) Act (No.6498) provided for the Housing Commission to enter into contracts to build houses for Aborigines on behalf of the Aborigines Welfare Board. This responsibility passed to the Ministry for Aboriginal Affairs (VA 2873) in 1968. In 1975 the Commission resumed responsibility for housing for Aborigines when the Ministry for Aboriginal Affairs was abolished.

Relationship to Treasurer and Minister of Housing

The Commission reported to the Treasurer (VRG 23) until 1945 when the first Minister of Housing (VRG 53) was appointed. Although the Commission was thereafter responsible to the Minister of Housing it remained administratively within the Treasury (VA 865), until 1973 when it became part of the new Ministry of Housing (VA 609) established under the Housing Ministry Act 1972.

Establishment of Ministry of Housing 1972 and Abolition of Commission 1983

The Ministry was established to provide for the better administration of the laws relating to housing in Victoria and took over from the Commission responsibility for central co-ordination of the housing function. The Commission continued to be responsible for the Ministry's purchase and construction program, the allocation of funds, general tenancy arrangements and house sales until it was abolished and the Ministry restructured under the provisions of the Housing Act 1983. The abolition of the Commission was effective from 1 January 1984.

Location of Records

Some records of the Commission are held by the Public Record Office.

See also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, section 3.12.2.

 
More Research resourcesMore Research resources
Record series created by this AgencyRecord series created by this Agency
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number Series Location Public Access
? 1960 - ? 1983 Publicity Photographs VPRS 3431 Other Not Applicable
1937 - 1975 Personnel Branch - Personal History Files (RETURNED TO AGENCY 2016) VPRS 1810 Other Not Applicable
1938 - 1983 Minutes of Meetings VPRS 8212 North Melbourne Open
1940 - 1973 Secretary's General Correspondence Files, Alpha-Numeric System VPRS 1811 North Melbourne Open
1943 - ? 1954 Minutes - Utility Services Advisory Committee VPRS 8210 North Melbourne Open
1948 - 1956 Minutes - Co-ordination Committee VPRS 8206 North Melbourne Open
1951 - 1958 Property Branch Crown Solicitor Land Purchase Files VPRS 1813 North Melbourne Open
1958 - 1958 Report on Some Aspects of Housing Overseas VPRS 8211 North Melbourne Open
1960 - 1970 General Correspondence Subject Files [Chief Architect's Branch] VPRS 1808 North Melbourne Open
1963 - 1966 Contract Files VPRS 1809 North Melbourne Open
1971 - 1979 Properties Condemned under Section 56 of the Housing Act 1958 Files VPRS 1824 North Melbourne Open
1975 - ? 1976 Diary Notes - Informal Meetings of the Housing Commission VPRS 8204 North Melbourne Open
By 1980 - 1981 Locality Index and Summaries of Proceedings of the Royal Commission into Certain Housing Commission Land Purchases and Other Matters VPRS 8203 North Melbourne Open
Circa 1940 - Circa 1973 Register of Secretary's General Correspondence Files, Alpha-Numeric System VPRS 1822 North Melbourne Open
Circa 1940 - cont Contract Documents, Architectural and Engineering VPRS 3157 North Melbourne Part Open
Functions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibility
Display entries per page
Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
- 1973 Housing, public VF 174
Functions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibility
Display entries per page
Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
Superior AgenciesSuperior Agencies
Display entries per page
Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
1938 - 1973 Department of the Treasurer (also known as Treasury and Treasurer's Office) VA 865
1973 - 1983 Ministry of Housing VA 609
Subordinate AgenciesSubordinate Agencies
Display entries per page
Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
Related AgenciesRelated Agencies
Display entries per page
Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
Groups containing this AgencyGroups containing this Agency
Display entries per page
Date of Relationship Group Title Group Number
1938 - 1973 Treasurer VRG 23
1945 - 1983 Housing VRG 53