Photo of Tara Oldfield

Author: Tara Oldfield

Senior Communications Advisor

A vast array of historic records have recently been added to the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) collection. Now available for researchers to delve into online or in our reading rooms are Supreme Court of Victoria applications under the Environmental Protection and Ombudsman Acts; Interstate Adoption Reciprocal Agreements, and appeal records; Cardinia Shire Council minutes; Royal Women’s Hospital case books, correspondence and lecture notes; and photographs from Geological Survey of Victoria.

Historic Photographic Collection of Geological Survey of Victoria

Photographs of the Geological Survey of Victoria and its various parent departments from around 1860 to 1978 are now available on our website by searching series VPRS 19731

The photographs document mining and mining-related activities throughout Victoria, with the photographs likely used for publications, advertising and reports. Beautiful mining buildings, mineral springs, picturesque views of bushland and even portraits of tourists are scattered throughout the collection. 

The photos can be searched by location and subject and are dated by year or decade.  

horse and cart in the bush
Bush fires on the road from Jumbunna to McCrae Creek, Korumburra, VPRS 19731/C1, DME photo 885
city view
Procession for visiting American Fleet, Melbourne, VPRS 19731/C1, DME photo 1390
a man panning for gold in a creek bed
Panning for gold, Stringers Creek, VPRS 19731/C1, DME photo 1654
two people standing in the snow
Sightseers, Glen Wills, VPRS 19731/C1, DME photo 674
a rams head
Ram's head fossil, Bendigo, VPRS 19731/C1, DME photo 258

Records of Royal Women’s Hospital

Six historic files from the Royal Women’s Hospital added to PROV’s collection in the last few months and available for public inspection include a Midwifery Department Extern Case Book, Honorary Secretary’s Correspondence, Nursing Student Lecture Notes and Handouts, Maternity Allowance Account, and an Almoner Case Book.

book cover
The Nursing Student Lecture Notes

The Extern Case book, dated 1922-23, was compiled by medical students attending home births as part of their training. The entries provide a fascinating insight into the students, their patients, and the circumstances of the deliveries. 

Honorary Secretary’s Correspondence covers 1883-1884 and 1897-1915. The Honorary Secretary was one of the executive positions filled by a voluntary member of the Committee/Board of Management. During the early years of the hospital, the Committee and hence the Honorary Secretary had complete control over the management of the hospital's affairs and consequently the correspondence covers a very broad range of topics.

The Nursing Student Lecture Notes and Handouts are from 1985 while the Maternity Allowance Account, documenting each woman who gave birth at the Royal Women’s and received a maternity allowance, dates back from 1915 to 1928. In 1912 the Maternity Allowance Act was introduced to provide a once-off payment to women of non-Indigenous, non-Asian, and non-Pacific Islander background who had recently given birth. The volume was used to maintain a record of who had been paid, how much, and on what date.

The Almoner Case Book, Midwifery Department, dated 1938-1939, provides information on the social welfare and conditions of individuals who used the midwifery department.

Minutes of Cardinia Shire Council 

Cardinia Shire Council Minutes and Town Planning Committee Minutes from 2020-2022 are available as PDFs. The minutes list members and officers in attendance at meetings, community questions and answers, and the various matters raised including discussion on planning amendments, policy reports and financial reports.

Appeals from the Supreme Court of Victoria 

Various appeal books spanning 1896 to 1933 document cases heard in the civil jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and appealed in either the Full Court of the Supreme Court, High Court or the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Appeal books are documents complied by the appellant’s legal practitioner and submitted to the court. Appeal books vary in the amount of detail included, but usually contain transcripts of evidence from the original case, exhibits, orders or judgements from the Trial Judge, further particulars that outline the case, and details of related cases such as those that set precedent.

Interstate Adoption Reciprocal Agreements 

Records of the Supreme Court of Victoria pertaining to adoptions, including open records of Interstate Adoption Reciprocal Agreements, have been transferred to PROV. More detailed information on the full scope of adoption records is coming soon. The open records now available for research in the reading room are the Interstate Adoption Reciprocal Agreements from 1943-1945

This series comprises documentation received by the Protonotary of the Supreme Court of Victoria relating to agreements made by the Crown Law Department with the governments of New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia that constitute the reciprocal adoption agreements made under the Adoption of Children Amending Act 1942. This Act authorised the transmission of copies of adoption orders to or from Victoria concerning children either born or adopted in Victoria. Included in the documentation is correspondence between Victoria and other state authorities regarding the agreements as well as copies of the final agreement.

Applications of Supreme Court of Victoria 

Applications under the Environmental Protection Act 1970 from 1975-1976 and Applications under the Ombudsman Act 1973 from 1974-1976 are now available as physical records through PROV. 

The records of applications under the Environmental Protection Act 1970 were created following the passing of the Act which allowed decisions made by the Board of the Environment Protection Authority to be appealed to the Supreme Court. The records include applications made by the Rylands Brothers P/L and Protean Holdings.
The records of applications under the Ombudsman Act 1973 were created following the passing of the Act which allowed for challenges to the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to investigate certain matters. There are only 8 cases in this series and nearly all have a judgement.

Only a small number of applications under these acts were transferred, as cases were later incorporated in Miscellaneous or Civil Case files and can be found in VPRS 12024 and VPRS 267.  


Use the various links throughout this blog to order and view these records either in the reading room or as digitised records online. 

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