Please review these commonly asked questions below before calling us

Family research

View this short video tutorial on locating the file on our website

A small number of probates from early 2017 are in the collection - you can search for the records on PROV’s index to wills and probate.

Otherwise, these records can be requested from the Supreme Court.

 

You can download for free a copy of the shipping or passenger list from Ancestry on the computers in our public reading room and then print it out.

  • Please note! You need to order your records before they can be copied.
  • Once you’ve found the records on PROV’s topic page on inquests, 
  • You will be prompted to login to the catalogue (or create an account) and then order the item 
  • write down the citation details (Series id and item number) 
  • Submit a Photocopy Order Form (Mailed to you by post) OR
  • Submit a Digital image order form (PDF digital copy emailed to you)   

Enter the person’s name into PROV’s index to coronial investigations conducted by the Melbourne Coroner. They are also referred to as Body Cards.

Services

Copy requests can be placed in person at our Reading Rooms, or online.

  • Step 1: Find the record first via search, and then you will be prompted to order it and to create an account (if you don't have one). 
  • Step 2: Write down the citation details (e.g. PROV, VPRS 1163/P1, Unit 744, 1883/291)
  • Step 3: Submit a Photocopy Order Form (Mailed to you)
  • OR  Submit a Digital Image Order Form (PDF digital copy emailed to you)   

There is a fee for this service. The prices are listed on this page about our copying services.

At the bottom of our Contact us page you will find the opening hours for our North Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo Reading Rooms. Visit the webpages of the Geelong Heritage Centre and Beechworth’s Robert O'Hara Burke Museum for details on accessing public records at their Reading Rooms.

Yes. There are also digital scanners and a digital camera available for use at no charge – just bring along a USB stick to save your images.

Only people who need to order closed physical records that their agency is responsible for, or need to view closed electronic records online that their agency is responsible for, need to register as a government user. See more details on ordering records as a government user.

Gaining permission and access

Once you have registered as a government user, click on the Government User Account Authorisation Form link and download the form.  Once the form is completed by you and your Records Manager, or another senior manager, and received by PROV, your account will be activated by PROV. You will be advised by a PROV staff member.

Password Reset Form – Request a password reset or to obtain your UserID.

If you are from a Government agency please contact us directly via recordsissuesoffice@prov.vic.gov.au

Just click on this link to go to our registration page.

There is a free car park, accessible via Macaulay Road.  There are also railway stations, tram and bus stops. 

Tram

Route 57: City to West Maribyrnong from Elizabeth Street via Victoria, Errol, Queensberry and Abbotsford Streets. Closest stop No. 16 at Haines Street.

Route 55: Domain Interchange to West Coburg from William Street via Flemington Road. Closest stop No. 19 at Abbotsford Street.

Route 59: City to Airport West from Elizabeth Street via Flemington Road. Closest stop No. 19 at Abbotsford Street.

Train: North Melbourne station or Macaulay station.

Bus: Route 402: East Melbourne to Footscray from terminus opposite St Vincent’s Hospital (Victoria Parade) via Rathdowne and Shiel Street. Closest stop Canning Street just south of the intersection with Shiel Street. Buses run every 10 minutes between 6.00am and 7.00pm.

Car: Melway ref: 2A E6, 43 C3. Two-hour street parking at Shiel Street entrance, or free parking via Macaulay Road.

Record retrieval

Records being preserved date from the establishment of Port Phillip District in the mid 1830’s up until almost the present day. They include information produced by government such as the administration of justice, immigration, health and welfare, land, education, housing, planning, transport, and resource management, among many other important records.

 

We do not hold all government records, far from it! There is a careful process of selection that helps determine if certain government records should be preserved for their long-term value to Victoria and Victorians. Here is a short presentation on what we keep and why or for a more detailed explanation on the appraisal tools we use to make this determination please read this guideline.

There are a number of record series that have been digitised and made available free of charge online through our website. A list of online indexes, databases and records can be found on our Online Collections page. If you would like a digitised copy of a record that is not currently available online, order the record with your log in details, and note down the citation of the records, then request a copy via our ‘copy request’ form (photocopy). There is a fee for this service.

We provide a range of resources and services to members of the public wishing to access the public records in our collection, but we cannot  do research on your behalf, there are professionals who can do that for you. A good place to start when searching for records is to visit our explore the collection index page, where some of our more popular records are collected by type into useful categories and you can search directly on those pages. Many of our research tools and our main records of interest can be found on those pages.

How to access records:

  • search via the website via simple search or the advanced search (top of page)
  • look through our topic pages because you can search our most popular series of records on those pages
  • once you have identified a record of interest you will be prompted to order and register a user account at the same time.
  • order records for viewing in the Reading Rooms (8 at any one time)
  • view and download electronic and digitised records directly from the catalogue
  • request online support.

 

After you have made your online order, records are delivered to the Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room in North Melbourne, Monday through to Friday at the following times:  10.30am and 2.30pm.

Records must be ordered before:

  • 8.00am to make the 10.30am collection time
  • 11.30am to make the 2.30pm collection time

Please note: Records in cold storage (such as photographs or series designated for conservation S11) require an additional 24 hours or more to be delivered. You can order 24 records at a time, limit of 8 records per delivery apply. Records are held for you for a maximum of 10 working days. Regional Reading Rooms are open at different times, look at the Contact us page for details

We do not undertake research on your behalf. Professional search agents are available and charge a fee for their services. See Search agents for details. You can also ask a research question through our online researcher query form but we may point you back to this website – be sure to have visited our Explore the archives pages. Reading Room staff are also available to provide some basic guidance to those undertaking research in our Reading Rooms. If your are undertaking family or local history research, we recommend reading this handy online guide Private Lives, Public Records, contacting your local historical society or doing some general online research.

Copy requests can be placed in person at our Reading Rooms, or online.

  • Step 1: Find the record first via search, and then you will be prompted to order it and to create an account (if you don't have one). 
  • Step 2: Write down the citation details (e.g. PROV, VPRS 1163/P1, Unit 744, 1883/291)
  • Step 3: Submit a Photocopy Order Form (Mailed to you)
  • OR  Submit a Digital Image Order Form (PDF digital copy emailed to you)   

There is a fee for this service. The prices are listed on this page about our copying services.

We do provide a copying service. Copying orders can be made in person through our Reading Rooms or online. You must order the records first using your own log in details. Once the order has been made, note down the citation details (for example: VPRS 2800, P1, Unit 4) then fill out a copy request form. Please read these instructions first. If you a Government agency and require copies or access to records please read this information first.

 Public users can order up to 8 records per delivery and can accumulate up to 24 orders in total. Only one item can be viewed at a reading room desk, unless the records are bound volumes with no loose paper. Records will be held in the Reading Room for you for ten days.

 Yes, so long as you have emailed us with the Permission to View information, citing who you are giving permission to view the records that are ordered under your account. Please forward these to our online researcher query form

Access to public records

Access restrictions (commonly referred to as "closures") are applied to certain types of records, in accordance with the Public Records Act 1973. Records may be closed for various reasons, with the most common being privacy or preservation. A record's access classification is displayed in the Access field (to the right hand side of record description and date or consignment details). For further information click here.

Some records of the Parliament of Victoria in our collection have been placed on 'Restricted Access'. To access these records, prior written permission from the Clerks of either the Legislative Council or Legislative Assembly (whichever is relevant) is required. We suggest contacting us in the first instance via our online contact form and we can assist you in applying to Parliament for access to the records you require. 

Records on open access in the PROV Collection are available to anyone who wishes to view them and so an FoI request should not be made. 

You can make an FoI request for some of the records in the Collection that are closed, but these requests should be directed to the government agency concerned. For further information click here.

There is no simple answer to this question. Processes exist to request access to closed records under the Public Records Act 1973 and the Freedom of Information Act 1982 but the approach to take will vary according to a number of factors. These factors include why the record is closed, who is making the request for access and the reason for seeking access. Obtaining access to the closed records cannot be guaranteed and can, in some instances, be extremely time intensive and require PROV to consult with two government Ministers. Pathways also exist for obtaining access to information from closed records via other processes operated by agencies. Click here for more information about seeking access to closed records.

 

 

Reading Rooms in Victoria

See the address, a map and public transport directions to our Reading Room in North Melbourne via this link or for other regional offices look to the bottom of this page.  Free parking is available. 

Researchers who have ordered records can make photographic copies of those records using their own digital cameras or our cameras accessible in the Reading Rood. Each record must be listed on a copyright declaration form available in the Reading Room. The completed form is then submitted to the copy desk.

Note: The use of personal equipment such as USB drives and external hard disk drives on IT systems and resources (including computers, digital cameras and scanners) provided for public use in the Reading Room is undertaken entirely at the user’s own risk.  PROV does not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage or data corruption incurred as a result of the use of its IT systems or resources.

Media producers who wish to take photos of the Reading Room as a whole, or film in the space, must contact our communications team via media@prov.vic.gov.au outlining their photography/filming request. Note: we don't allow shoots in Reading Room hours as this would disturb researchers who may not want to be photographed/filmed. However out of hours arrangements can be made to accommodate most requests. 

 

At the bottom of our Contact us page you will find the opening hours for our North Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo Reading Rooms. Visit the webpages of the Geelong Heritage Centre and Beechworth’s Robert O'Hara Burke Museum for details on accessing public records at their Reading Rooms.

When you visit one of our Reading Rooms you will be asked to sign in and place your belongings in a locker (secure lockers are available at our reading rooms)

  • The following items can be brought into the reading room; pencils, loose leaf paper,  laptops, cameras. 
  • The following are not permitted in the reading room: pens, folders, clipboards or plastic sleeves, bags, containers of any kind, food or drink.

Copyright and publication of public records

If you wish to publish a public record either in hardcopy (e.g. a book) or digital format (including online) permission must be sought from the copyright owner. Public Record Office Victoria can grant permission to publish Crown copyright material, which comprises of the majority of records in the collection. Be aware however, that files may contain material which is either administered by other government agencies or is privately owned.

To seek permission by PROV to publish records, please submit a Request for permission to re-use a record. You must include details about the citation of each record you want to publish (series, unit and item) and as best you can identify the government authority (department, statutory authority etc) who created the record.

You will be informed if PROV cannot grant permission because the records are not Crown copyright. However PROV cannot undertake to find copyright owners on your behalf.

If you receive permission to publish from PROV then you can publish the record/s in any other publications that are of a non-commercial nature. However, for any publications which are commercial in nature, you must reapply to receive permission from PROV for that particular publication.

For further information about copyright and our collection see Copyright for researchers.

If you wish to publish, exhibit or provide references to  records in our collection, there are specific ways to reference the citation of the record. Please ensure accurate citations of public records are used in all publication. Here is how to write them.

Copyright law applies to Aboriginal records in the same way as other records in the collection. However due to the possible personal and cultural content contained within the records relating to Aboriginal people, researchers should make reasonable efforts, and act in good faith to ensure that any disclosure of information or images contained in these records is consistent with the sensitivities and views of relevant Aboriginal individuals and communities.
For further information please contact the Koorie Records Unit

 

If you'd like to borrow items from PROV's collection to put on display in an exhibition, the first step is to send us an expression of interest  to recordsissuesoffice@prov.vic.gov.au - and include the dates of the exhibition, the location and the items you'd like to borrow. We'll get in touch with you to start the process of making a formal application to borrow the records. To learn more about that process go to our page on exhibition loans

Training

Training sessions are provided by the Victorian Archives Centre but there is no consistency. Check our What's On calendar. Some of our most popular collections have topic guides and they will guide you through the steps for research and you can search within those pages. It is best to look through our online educational publications, or seek support from a historical society.

We aim to meet the special needs of clients visiting our Reading Rooms. If you have a physical or hearing disability, are visually impaired or have special language needs, please contact us before your visit and we will try to provide any special assistance you require. 

General enquiries

Please email us your enquiry using this online contact form before contacting us by phone.

 

T:  +61 3 9348 5600

F:  +61 3 9348 5656

P: PO Box 2100, North Melbourne, VIC 3051

 

The hearing and speech impaired can reach us through the National Relay Service relayservice.com.au

TTY users: 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 657 452.

Speak and Listen users: 1800 555 727 then ask for 1800 657 452.

Internet relay users: www.iprelay.com.au/call/index.aspx then ask for 1900 657 452.