|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Establishment and Functions
In 1895 the Department of Mines (VA 2719) and the Victorian Water Supply Department (VA 2787) were amalgamated to form the Department of Mines and Water Supply.
The new Department, in which the Victorian Water Supply Department continued to operate as a sub-department, was responsible for management of the rural water supply, including the provision of water for mining, manufacturing and industrial uses, domestic and stock supply and irrigation.
Statutory responsibility for rural water works rested with the Board of Land and Works (VA 744) under the provisions of the Waterworks Act and the Public Loans Act 1865. Its statutory powers related to commissioning the construction of waterworks, purchasing land, levying charges, leasing or selling works, and providing loans to local water authorities. The Victorian Water Supply Department (VA 2787) functioned as the Board's operational arm in these matters.
The Department was also responsible for:
regulating and licensing mining activity
superintendence of the activities of Mining Surveyors, Registrars, Wardens and Mining Boards (see also VRG 25 Mining Districts)
investigating the State's geological structure, mineral wealth and underground water resources
developing the mining industry
supervising the safe working of mines, machinery and quarries
regulating sludge and other waste products until the establishment of the Sludge Abatement Board in 1904.
In 1909 the Department of Mines and Water Supply was abolished. From 1906 to 1909 the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (VA 723) gradually assumed statutory and operational responsibility for all matters relating to rural water supply from the Board of Land and Works (VA 744) and Victorian Water Supply Department (VA 2787). The Mines Department inherited responsibility for the administration, regulation, licensing and development of mining activity in Victoria.
State Forests and Nurseries
Responsibility for this function was shared by a number of portfolios until 1909 when the Minister of Forests assumed responsibility for the Department of State Forests (VA 534). Until that time, responsibility had been exercised by:
Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey prior to 1875
Minister for Agriculture (VRG 34) 1875-1890
Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey 1890-1891
Minister of Mines (VRG 30) 1891-1893
Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey 1893-1899
Minister for Forests 1899-1900
Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey 1900-1903
Minister of Agriculture 1903-1904
Minister of Mines and Forests 1904-1909.
For convenience each of the Ministers responsible for forests from 1900 to 1909 has been placed in the Forests Group (VRG 41) for the period of their responsibility for this function.
Until 1908 the Departments of Agriculture (VA 618), Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538), Mines (VA 2719), and Mines and Water Supply were at various times responsible for State Forests. In 1908 the Department of State Forests (VA 534) was established. Until it became a department of State in its own right in 1918, it functioned as a sub-department of the Mines and Water Supply Department until 1909 and thereafter of the Mines Department (VA 612). The Department of Mines and Water Supply has therefore been included in the Forests Group (VRG 41) for the period 1904 to 1909.
Location of Records
Record holdings at the Public Record Office are patchy. See also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, sections 3.13.2 (mines) and 3.23.2 (rural water supply).