Series VPRS 932
Trading Company Registration Files
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1864 - 1976
  Series in Custody 1864 - 1976
  Contents 1864 - 1976
Public Access: Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1864 - 1873 Registrar-General's Department VA 2889
1873 - 1959 Office of the Registrar-General and the Office of Titles, (known as Land Victoria 2001 to 2014; Land Use Victoria 2014 - ct.) VA 862
1959 - 1974 Companies Office (Also known as Companies Registration Office) VA 2725
1974 - 1976 Corporate Affairs Office VA 679
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1974 - 1991 Corporate Affairs Office VA 679
1991 - cont Australian Securities Commission VA 3974
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Users wishing to retrieve a trading company registration file must first obtain the trading company registration number. This can be obtained by reference to microfiche indexes VPRS 8268 or VPRS 8267.

    It must remembered that:

    The microfiche indexes contain detail on all registrations up to the end of August 1990 but the Public Record Office does not maintain any files for registrations established since early 1976.

    The complete file for companies registered post 1976 and company registrations current at this time exists only in a microfiche form and can only be viewed at the Australian Securities Commission.


    A note on item listings in P0 duplicated in P1

    Researchers should note that different methods were used to create lists for the P0 and P1 consignments.

    P0 - Each individual item accurately listed.

    P1 - Initially, only the first and last item in each box was listed. Later, the list was converted to itemised form, generating every item in the original range for each box. This had the effect of creating duplicate listings of many of the items in P0.

    Only one physical file was created for each company. Therefore, if the catalogue search returns an item in:
    - only the P0 consignment, order it as per normal
    - only the P1 consignment, order it as per normal - however, be aware that it may not be in PROV's collection (see below)
    - both the P0 and P1 consignment, order from the P0 consignment only

    It should be noted that items found in neither the P0 nor the P1 consignment are likely to never have been transferred to PROV. Files for companies still active in 1976 were microfilmed by the Corporate Affairs Office (the originals, destroyed - see the Function / Content section below) and transferred to what is now called the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

  • Function / Content
    This series comprises files relating to the registration of trading companies. Since 1864 all incorporated trading companies have been required under the Companies Act to lodge with the Government evidence of their incorporation, name and any significant practices or changes to the company's organisation.

    A trading company is essentially an association of persons formed for the conduct of business that assigns shares (usually by sale) to other persons according to the regulations of the company. There are generally two types of trading company:

    - limited company: the liability of shareholders is limited to the unpaid amount of the nominal value of shares

    - proprietary company: the number of shareholders is restricted and the company is prohibited from inviting the public to subscribe for shares.

    The files in custody relate mostly to trading companies that have been deregistered. Additionally holdings relate only to companies that were deregistered prior to the introductions of a microfilming program at Corporate Affairs in 1974.

    This series has previously been incorrectly titled Defunct Trading Company Files.

    CONTENTS OF FILES

    Contents of individual files will contain documents such as:
    - company's memorandum/articles of association
    - printed copies of company balance sheets and annual reports
    - copies of special resolutions
    - notifications of changes of address or directors
    - notifications of increases in the amount of capital
    - deregistration documents.

    FILING PROCESS

    An envelope or plastic pouch was created for each company. Each envelope or pouch is controlled by a company number allocated when the company was first registered (see below). Most documents received relating to a particular company were placed in the envelope or pouch for that company. Each document was also sequentially numbered within the envelope upon receipt.

    INDEXES AND REGISTERS

    Company and document numbers were initially allocated from a sequence of bound registers (VPRS 8269). Entries detail the company name and number, some summary detail and for each item received, the document number and a description.

    Entry into the registers and files were through alphabetical indexes. Two series have been identified to date:

    - a lexicographical index (ie. in strict alphabetical order) created around 1941 detailing all current registrations at that time (VPRS 8271) and

    - indexes identifying defunct companies (VPRS 8270).

    The registers and indexes were replaced in 1958 by a card register system. These cards were destroyed by CAV during 1991 after microfilming.

    In 1982 a computer control system was introduced which incorporated detail for all trading companies registered up until that time as well as new companies subsequently registered. Two computer generated microfiche indexes were generated for archival use from this system. One of these series (VPRS 8268) relates to defunct registrations and the other (VPRS 8267) covers registrations still current at the end of August 1990. Users should consult the appropriate microfiche index in order to obtain the company registration number.

    Other Company Record filing sequences in custody

    Company debentures were not stored within the envelopes or pouches of this series. These were controlled by a separate sequential number sequence prefaced by the letter "D" (VPRS 1413). The company number does not appear to have been utilised in this instance. (For further detail refer to series registration for VPRS 1413).

    Separate filing sequences were also created to deal with the registration of:
    - Mining companies (period 1871-1958) (VPRS 567) and
    - Foreign companies (period 1896-1984) (VPRS 934).

    Files for mining companies registered after 1958 are incorporated within this series.

    Trading company registration: documents not in custody

    It appears that many documents known as Annual Returns (comprising lists of shareholders and details of paid up capital) were not stored within these files. This practice seems to have been adopted because of the sheer size and/or bulk of these documents for larger companies that prevented storage within envelopes or pouches.

    Also excluded from the envelopes and pouches, and presumably also for reasons of bulk, were any existing books and papers of the company moved to the agency after liquidation.

    The 1958 Companies Act included provisions that allowed the Registrar for Companies, with State Library concurrence, to make arrangements for the destruction of:
    - allotment for shares 2 years after lodging and filing
    - annual returns/balance sheets 7 years after lodging
    - documents evidencing a change 7 years after registration of a memorandum of change
    - any other documents 15 years after lodging.

    A provision built into this requirement was that all papers relating to defunct companies were to be held for 15 years.

    It is understood that PRO holdings of trading company registration records are limited to the files, indexes and registers already in custody. It is assumed that all remaining files have been destroyed by the agency in accordance with this Act.

    Trading company files post 1974

    In 1974, Corporate Affairs decided to control company registration documents through the application of microfilming. Accordingly it began a program which resulted in the microfilming of:

    - all files with a trading company registration number greater than 70,000 and
    - all files relating to registrations current in 1974 with a registration number below 70,000

    These files were gradually filmed over a two year period. Paper based files continued to be created as new companies were registered until March 1976 when the filming project incorporated the last paper file created (number 115,956).

    Once a paper file was filmed, any paper documents subsequently received were incorporated into the microfiche company file. All of the original documents were destroyed after filming although a portion of these papers was previously in archival custody. (VPRS 10048 Company Registration and Deregistration Documents).

    It is understood that the bulk of the paper files in category (a) above to file number 115,956 are in PRO custody whilst most of the file comprising category (b) have been destroyed.

    Responsibility for the registration of trading companies was transferred to a Commonwealth agency - the Australian Securities Commission - at the start of 1991. All of the microfiche files are currently maintained by that agency.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Series : Single number sequence of company numbers.

    Series in Custody : Single number sequence of companies which were deregistered (ie. became defunct) prior to 1974.

    Range of Control Symbols

    Series : 1 - 115956

    Series in Custody : 1 115956 (MOSTLY DEFUNCT REGISTRATIONS ONLY)

More research resourcesMore research resources
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1864 - 1941 Index to Trading Companies VPRS 8271
1864 - 1958 Register of Trading Companies VPRS 8269
1864 - 1976 Index to Current Company, Association and Business Name Registrations (Microfiche Output from Computer System) VPRS 8267
1864 - 1976 Index to Defunct Company, Association and Business Name Registrations (Microfiche Output from Computer System) VPRS 8268
1907 - 1976 Index to Defunct Trading Company Registrations VPRS 8270
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
- 1958 Mining Company Registration Files VPRS 567
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0000 1864 - 1976 Part Open 2064
P0001 1869 - 1976 Open 6722
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
1864 - 1941 Index to Trading Companies VPRS 8271
1864 - 1958 Register of Trading Companies VPRS 8269
1864 - 1976 Index to Current Company, Association and Business Name Registrations (Microfiche Output from Computer System) VPRS 8267
1864 - 1976 Index to Defunct Company, Association and Business Name Registrations (Microfiche Output from Computer System) VPRS 8268
1907 - 1976 Index to Defunct Trading Company Registrations VPRS 8270
More research resourcesMore research resources