|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Prior to the establishment of the Central Roads Board (VA 2803) in 1853, the construction of roads and bridges had been the responsibility of the Clerk of Works until 1844 when the Superintendent of Bridges was appointed. The Superintendent apparently exercised joint responsibility with the Colonial Engineer from the latter's appointment in 1852. From separation in 1851, these colonial officials were responsible to the Colonial Secretary.
Establishment and Functions
In 1853, the Central Roads Board was established under the provisions of An Act for making and improving Roads in the Colony of Victoria (16 Vic., No.40). The Board consisting of three members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, was to be responsible for the formation, construction, improvement, management and maintenance of proclaimed main roads and bridges and for the co-ordination of the works undertaken by the District Roads Boards. The Act provided for the appointment of a Secretary and Treasurer to the Board and for the appointment of an Inspector General of Roads and a staff of engineers, surveyors, clerks and other officers who were responsible to the Board. The Board was also responsible for the calling of tenders, determination of the position of toll gates, appointment of toll keepers, levying of tolls which were payable at any punt or ferry constructed at public expense at a rate which was determined by the Lieutenant Governor and for prosecutions for the non payment of tolls.
In rural areas the earliest local government authorities were concerned with roads. The New South Wales Parish Roads Act 1840 provided for the establishment of elective Road Trusts to maintain and repair roads in their areas. The first trust was Warringal (Heidelberg) in 1841. Under the provisions of Act 16 Vic.,No.40, District Road Boards were established and given responsibility for the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges other than those proclaimed as main roads. In the exercise of their powers District Road Boards were expected to comply with the requirements of any general plan established by the Central Roads Board for the development of the colony's roads and bridges and the Chairmen of the District Road Boards were entitled to attend the meetings of the Central Roads Board in an ex-officio capacity having the right to be heard but not to vote. District Road Boards also had the power to levy rates and tolls.
The Municipal Institutions Act 1854 provided for the establishment of Municipal Districts which were responsible for the construction and maintenance of local roads and bridges.
The Central Roads Board was abolished on 1 January 1858 under the provisions of the Board of Land and Works Act 21 Vic.,No.31 1857. The Board of Land and Works (VA 744) thereafter assumed statutory responsibility for the construction and maintenance of main roads and bridges, including the collection of tolls, and a Department of Roads and Bridges (VA 2964), a sub-department of the Board of Land and Works assumed operational responsibility for the functions associated with the construction of main roads and bridges.
Location of Records
See List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, sections 3.14.1 (Central Roads Board), 3.19.1 (Public Works Department) and 3.16.4 (Colonial Secretary's Office).