What do I need to know?
Key details of a public building such as:
- name of building
In this context, public buildings are places that can be accessed by the public (theatres, cinemas, privately-owned hospitals and schools), but do not include buildings that have been built or maintained by government (such as those relating to state schools and government-run hospitals). Try searching Public Works Department Plans if you are searching for one of these government buildings.
How do I search?
These files are organised into boxes containing references to multiple buildings. Order the whole box and browse through to find your relevant file.
About these records
The Department of Health (and predecessor agencies) created and maintained files and plans on publicly-accessible non-government buildings such as community halls, private schools, cinemas, theatres and even grandstands at sporting ovals such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The primary function of these records kept from the 1920s to 1988 was to detail the compliance of these buildings with health and safety regulations (for example, the number of toilets, fire safety and so on). The files relate to approvals for the construction of these buildings and/or major changes that were made during this period.
Note: in this context, a 'public building' was regarded as being any building that the public could access for entertainment, amusement, recreation or education (excluding state schools). Other buildings included in this series are privately-operated hospitals, circus tents, and churches.
Once you have found a public building file of interest, you can order online and view it in our North Melbourne Reading Room.
What are in these records?
Files usually contain some or all of the following:
- name of building
- building address
- building plans (see also tip!)
- correspondence (regarding such issues like inspections and compliance approvals)
Files may contain material about temporary structures for specific events held at the building (for example, a stage and seating plan for a concert).
Tip! - For buildings built or maintained by the government, for example, state schools and government-run hospitals, search for Public Works Department Plans.
Tip! - Plans that were too large to be placed into a public building file were stored in a separate series, and this search will also provide you with any matches from that series.
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