Building Files: Primary Schools
||1863 - 1975
||Series in Custody
||1863 - 1975
||1855 - 1975
|Format of Records:
|Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series|
|Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series|
|Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series|
- How to use the Records
The files are arranged in school number order. Researchers should obtain the school number from an alphabetical list of schools available in the Melbourne Archives Centre Search Room.
Scan through the Records Description Lists for this series to identify the units that would hold the file/s for a particular school. There could be more than one file for a school.
There are three Records Description Lists that represent three transfers.
1. Units 1-1929 - School Numbers 1-3623 - Files closed by 1913
2. Units 1930-2399 - School Numbers 1-1998 - Files closed by 1959
3. Units 2400-3126 - School Numbers 1999-4898 - Files closed by 1968.
- Function / Content
This series comprises correspondence files relating to the construction, alteration and maintenance of State primary school buildings in Victoria. The series also comprises some files relating to school residences and land purchases.
The series was created and maintained from 1863 to 1975. For the period 1883 to 1947 responsibility for school building works rested with the State Schools Branch of the Public Works Department (VA 669) and there was no Buildings Branch in the Education Department. The transfer of the function between the two agencies seems to have had little effect upon the filing system.
The content of the files changed significantly in circa 1956. To this date the files contained papers pertaining to all aspects of school construction and maintenance such as obtaining grants, raising local money, site selection, and construction and maintenance of the buildings, residences and school grounds. From circa 1956 the only papers added to the files in this series were documents pertaining to minor works and routine maintenance of primary school buildings.
Residence files found within this series appear to relate to residences that had been sold by the 1970s. The remaining residence files were transferred to the Teacher Housing Authority. Residence files in this series are identified in the Records Description List by the letter R.
Land purchase files found within this series were created by the Buildings Branch prior to the establishment of the Estates Branch in 1960 and for some reason were not transferred to the Estates Branch when the function moved.
- Recordkeeping System
Between 1855 and mid 1863 correspondence relating to primary school buildings was registered in VPRS 879 Inward Correspondence Register (National Schools Board) and VPRS 889 Register of Inward Correspondence (Denominational Schools Board). The correspondence would have originally been filed in annual single number order within the general inward correspondence system.
The first list of common schools was compiled in May 1863. All schools operating at that time were listed in alphabetical order and a unique number was allocated to each school. The building file series appears to have commenced shortly after when the extant correspondence was extracted from the original recordkeeping system and arranged by school number.
The introduction of school numbers enabled file level control, however, correspondence received from 1863 continued to be registered under an annual single number system. VPRS 898 Register of Inward Correspondence records the number of the letter, the date received, who the letter was from and the school number under which the letter was filed. By circa 1923 the correspondence relating to specific schools ceased to be registered.
Separate filing systems were established for teachers colleges and hostels from 1885 (VPRS 3853), manual training and cooking centres from 1894 (VPRS 3852), domestic art schools from 1895 (VPRS 3854), high schools from 1905 (VPRS 3916), and consolidated schools from 1944 (VPRS 3851). A separate filing system was maintained from 1920 for miscellaneous schools (VPRS 3855).
Correspondence relating to general buildings matters (ie. not relating to a specific school) was also maintained separately (see VPRS 3857, VPRS 3858 and VPRS 8819).
From circa 1956 correspondence began to be segregated and attached to one of a number of separate files relating to building matters. The files in this series came to comprise only papers relating to minor and routine works and were known as maintenance files.
Separate files were created for capital expenditure works (VPRS 8796), temporary premises (VPRS 3917), furniture (authorised for destruction), fencing (authorised for destruction), subsidies (authorised for destruction), special grants (authorised for destruction), school residences (authorised for destruction) and land purchase (authorised for destruction). The above file series were authorised for destruction by the Keeper of Public Records in 1992-93. Note that some files relating to school residences and land purchase can be found within this series (residence files are indicated by the letter R on the Records Description List).
This maintenance file series ended in 1975 when responsibility for the maintenance of school buildings was transferred from the central Department to its regional offices.
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