Series VPRS 937
Inward Registered Correspondence
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1853 - 1894
  Series in Custody 1852 - 1894
  Contents 1852 - 1918
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
1853 - 1893 Victoria Police (including Office of the Chief Commissioner of Police) VA 724
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1853 - cont Victoria Police (including Office of the Chief Commissioner of Police) VA 724
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    To access this series, a category must be selected from the list of categories for 1859, 1869, 1879 and 1889. To find correspondence relating to a specific police station it is necessary to ascertain to which Police District it belonged. It should be noted that the composition of Police Districts changed during this period. Full listings of the contents of many Units has been provided by a volunteer and these may be consulted to locate specific correspondence items within the bundles in each Unit.

    Control records, which obviously existed through the placing of letter and number references on the correspondence, are no longer extant. Limited access to parts of this series is possible by other means. Correspondence relating to all categories may be found through use of VPRS 676 Register of Letters and Memos Sent (Outward Correspondence), 1853 1895 which details the outwards correspondence of the Office of the Chief Commissioner as well as giving reference to previous correspondence to which the specific item was a reply or response. For some specialised offices and for the Kilmore and North Eastern Districts limited access is possible through VPRS 1562 Minute Books, Correspondence Received and Despatched (Kilmore District), see System of Arrangement and Control for further explanation of Minute Books. Other similar Minute Books which may provide indexes to parts of VPRS 937 are held as VPRS 1554 Minute Book (Correspondence Inwards and Outwards), 1875 1876 for the Bourke District and VPRS 841 Register of Inwards and Outwards Correspondence, 18641919, Units 1 6.

  • Function / Content
    The Victoria Police was formed with the passing of the 1853 Act for the Regulation of the Police Force. This vested overall responsibility for the police in a Chief Commissioner appointed by the Governor and established a system for the appointment of other officers with the terms and conditions of their employment. The Office of the Chief Commissioner of Police performed an essential role in central management and administration of the Police Force providing central control, supervision, administration and coordination.

    Victoria was originally divided into nine metropolitan and country districts with these being increased to eleven after the 1881 Royal Commission. Each of these districts was further sub-divided into local areas with local police stations and offices. Districts were eventually in the charge of a Superintendent responsible to the Chief Commissioner.

    The Police Depot and the Detective Force existed prior to the 1853 Act. The Depot was used for the training of recruits and the provision of certain essential services to the police force. The Detective Force, initially under the control of an Inspector and later a Superintendent, were part of the police establishment but operating from a central office. From 1883, this Detective Force was reformed in the wake of the 1881 Royal Commission being then formally established as the Criminal Investigation Branch.

    The correspondence in this series was created as part of the management and administration of the Police Force and as a means of communicating essential matters, decisions and information important to the exercise of its law enforcement functions.

    The correspondence is that sent to the Chief Commissioner of Police as the chief executive officer of the Victoria Police. The Police used the nineteenth century practice of responding to a piece of correspondence by annotating the original and then returning this to the office of origin or forwarding correspondence with an annotation rather than a separate covering letter or memorandum. Records of incoming correspondence were kept by the copying of significant letters by the recipient or by the noting of a precis in the Minute Book.

    Items in Units 507 to 515 are varied files. Some may be part of the earlier sequences of correspondence which have become separated from these earlier sequences such as that for Kilmore 1856 and Wimmera 1890. Other items are separate distinct files of specific criminal cases, files to do with separate issues and files of statistical returns. With these latter, provenance is most unclear. They may have been created this way as they marked special criminal cases or administrative issues. Similar records to those in Units 507 to 515 may also be found in later units of VPRS 807 Inwards Correspondence.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Bundles of correspondence are arranged in chronological sequence within records classification categories. Listings of these categories are given for 1859, 1869, 1879 and 1889. These categories appear to be loosely based on an administrative area within the Victoria Police (for example, Depot, Detectives, District Police Office); by office of origin of the correspondence (for example, Chief Secretary, Law Officers, Lands, Public Works Department) and by subject (for example, Industrial Schools).

    Most items of correspondence or sets of correspondence have written on them at the top of the item annotations giving the category and a brief summary of the subject content of the correspondence. This, it is hypothesized, was done in the Chief Commissioners Office as a means of classification for filing into the correct category. Letter and figure numbers placed on correspondence relate to the Correspondence Registers and Minute Books maintained by each section, office or station. From the limited examples available, it appears that both incoming and outgoing correspondence was registered by an annual single number. The letter of the alphabet preceding the number was a designation for the year. This may be seen by examining the volumes making up VPRS 1562 Minute Books, Correspondence Received and Despatched (where year 1875 = E, 1876 = F and 1878 79 = H) and VPRS 1554 Minute Book Correspondence Inward and Outward (where year 1875 = Q and 1876 = R) with this also able to be seen in other series registering correspondence (VPRS 675 Register of Correspondence, VPRS 676 Register of Letters and Memos Sent (Outward Correspondence) and VPRS 841 Register of Inward and Outward Communications).

    The designation of Minute Book appears to have been that given by the Victoria Police to registers of outgoing and incoming correspondence from c1869 with these being a standard recordkeeping volume in all police offices and stations. A note in VPRS 1008 Correspondence Register [Shelford Police Station] indicates that from 1869, rather than correspondence, particularly memoranda and circulars being copied into the correspondence book, the Minute Book was henceforth to be kept in the form of a register of incoming and outgoing correspondence.

    Directions for their maintenance (and the maintenance of other standard records) have been found in loose papers in VPRS 848 Register of Orders and Circulars from Geelong rather than from the Police Branch.

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Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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- 1894 Inward Correspondence Files VPRS 807
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 1852 - 1918 Open 515
P0001 1857 - 1857 Open 1
P0003 1855 - 1879 Open 1
P0004 1852 - 1870 Open 8
P0005 1855 - 1870 Open 2
P0006 1857 - 1889 Open 8
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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    PROVguide033 Police Records