Register of Applications, Beechworth, Sections 19 and 20 Land Act 1869 (Occupation Branch)
||1874 - Circa 1912
||Series in Custody
||1874 - 1888
||1874 - 1888
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|Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series|
|Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series|
|Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series|
- How to use the Records
VPRS 12035 Register of Applications, Beechworth, sections 19 & 20 Land Act 1869 (Occupation Branch) controls the Beechworth District selection files in Land Selection Files, Section 19 & 20 Land Act 1869 (VPRS 626).
When an application to select Crown land was received by the Department it would be registered in a register of applications. The register of applications allocated a number to each applicant that was written on the application to select and subsequently became their land selection file number if their application was approved. For example if an application to select under section 19 of the Land Act 1869 was registered as application number 324 then the selection or occupation file number would be 324/19.
Registers of applications can also be used to track changes in the occupation of an allotment. The selector who ended up with outright ownership of an allotment through a Crown Grant was not always the original selector. If a licence was forfeited or abandoned the land was re-opened for selection. The application number (and subsequent selection file number) of the next selector for that allotment was annotated next to the original selectors entry in the register.
If the land was held under lease the register of applications does not record any transfer or abandonment. Transfer of lease was recorded by the Office of Titles (VA 2888) and on selection files.
Once the required selection file number has been obtained from the register of applications, consult the Records Description List for the Beechworth Land District files in Land Selection Files, Sections 19 & 20, Land Act 1869 (VPRS 626) to find the unit required.
Researchers note: for access to section 19 & 20 land selection files for the Beechworth District see:
VPRS 12026 Register of Applications, sections 19 & 20 Land Act 1869 (provides access to VPRS 625)
VPRS 12036 Register of Applications, Beechworth, sections 19 & 20 Land Act 1869 (Beechworth District Survey Office) (provides access to VPRS 626)
VPRS 12035 Register of Applications, Beechworth, sections 19 & 20 Land Act 1869 (Occupation Branch) (provides access to VPRS 626)
- Function / Content
VPRS 12035 Register of Applications, Beechworth, sections 19 & 20 Land Act 1869 (Occupation Branch) was created by the Beechworth District Office at the Occupation Branch of the Department of Crown District Survey (VA 538). It is duplicated by Register of Applications, Beechworth, sections 19 & 20 Land Act 1869 (Beechworth District Survey Office) (VPRS 12036) which is the series created by the District Survey Office at Beechworth (See description below).
VPRS 12035/P1 was previously registered as units 60 & 36 of VPRS 451 Application Registers.
VPRS 12035/P2 was previously registered as units 92, 114 and 137 of VPRS 458 Miscellaneous Registers.
The introduction of the Land Act 1869 saw all Crown land, not previously occupied in Victoria opened up for selection. Provisions were made in section 42 of the Land Act 1865 for selection before survey. Prior to this time surveys were conducted on all Crown land before it was made available. The provision of free selection before survey was carried to the 1869 Act. The aim of the legislation was to encourage settlement on lands that would be most advantageous to the colony.
Under section 19 of the Land Act 1869 selectors could apply for a three-year licence to occupy Crown land. The rent was set at two shillings per acre and a maximum of 320 acres per selector was allowed. On application a deposit of half a years rent was paid. If the application was refused, the deposit was refunded. Section 20 of the Act placed conditions on the three-year licence, selectors were required to improve their allotment by the erection of fencing and a dwelling, cultivation of their land and the destruction of vermin and noxious weeds. After the licence term had expired, the selector was eligible to apply for a seven-year lease or a Crown Grant to purchase their allotment. Grants or leases were only approved if improvement conditions had been met. If a selector opted for a seven-year lease, the yearly rent was used to pay off the purchase price of the land.
The additional advantages provided to selectors as a result of the Land Act 1869 resulted in an exceptional number of applications to select Crown land. By 1873 the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538) was experiencing many problems in managing applications. Public complaints were at an all time high. The complaints ranged from extraordinarily long delays in application processing, applications being approved for more than one person on the same allotment and long delays in replying to correspondence.
When an application to select Crown land was received by the Department it would be registered in a register of applications. Prior to 1874 and the establishment of the Occupation Branch all applications made under section 19 and 20 of the Land Act 1869 were recorded in the same series of registers irrespective of location; see VPRS 12026. The contents of registers of applications were arranged alphabetically and application numbers were allocated consecutively in blocks for each letter of the alphabet.
Separate registers of applications were usually created for each section of the Land Act under which individuals could apply to select land. For example, all applications received under section 19 of the Land Act 1869 were recorded in the same register. Sections of an Act that were less common were often recorded in the one register.
In an attempt to try and rationalise the way the Department managed Crown land, the Occupation Branch was established in 1874 under the influence of H Byron Moore, Assistant Surveyor General. The Occupation Branch was to deal with all matters relating to the occupation of Crown land.
The State was divided into fifteen Land Districts, these being Ararat, Ballarat, Beechworth, Benalla, Castlemaine and Dunolly, Echuca, Geelong Warrnambool and Camperdown, Hamilton, Horsham, Melbourne, Sale and Bairnsdale, Sandhurst (Bendigo), Seymour and St Arnaud. Each District was represented at the Occupation Branch in Melbourne by a District Land Office.
Each District Land Office consisted of a double table or desk at which both a clerk and draughtsman sat. Everything in the way of files, maps and plans were at convenient reach. The same officers dealt with the sale of Crown land from its inception to its disposition. The District Offices' staff consisted essentially of a clerical officer and a draughtsman who dealt solely with that Land District. It was their business to know the District and to deal with all land business related to it.
By 1877 each District Land Office, consisted of a District Officer, a rental clerk, a draughtsman and several general clerks.
After the establishment of the Occupation Branch in 1874 and the division of the State into Land Districts, applications were registered by District. Each District Land Office created and maintained their own series of registers of applications. Any new applications received by the Department after 1874 were registered in separate District registers with applications numbers that were allocated from the number one onwards. The same application number could be allocated for selections in different Districts. For example the application number 1021/19 could exist in both the Ballarat and Bendigo Land Districts, it is the District name plus the accompanying file number that is the unique identifier.
Applicants completed an Application for Licence under Part II of Land Act 1869 form at District Survey Offices. Most Land Districts had a District Survey Office. The District Surveyor would enter the applicants details in a register of applications kept at the District Survey Office. The register allocated a number to each applicant. The application number was written on the application to select and subsequently became their land selection file number if their application was approved.
The District Surveyor would enter into the register of applications the application number, the date the application was received, the applicants name, occupation and parish, the allotment number and size (acres, roods and perches) applied for. The application was then forwarded to the appropriate District Land Office at the Occupation Branch in Melbourne. It was then entered in a duplicate register of applications there against the same application number. The District Surveyor also forwarded a tracing of the allotment applied for.
The position of the allotment applied for was immediately charted on a working plan in pencil. The tracing was then sent to the Department of Mines and Water Supply (VA 2720) for a report on any mining objections. If there were no mining objections the application would be heard before a Local Land Board. Local Land Boards were made up of representatives from the local community and the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538). The Boards would hear from all applicants for an allotment and would decide who was to be granted the licence or lease. The schedule documenting the decisions of the Local Land Board was forwarded to the appropriate District Land Office at the Occupation Branch and the decision was entered into the register of applications.
The Board of Land and Works (VA 744), the statutory authority for the management of Crown land would give final approval for land selection, acting on the recommendation of the Local Land Board. The decision of the Board of Lands and Works (VA 744) was then recorded in the register of applications. The registers also record the date of the licence issue and any subsequent action in relation to that file. The selectors granted each allotment would then be recorded on the working plan by the District Land Office draughtsman at the Occupation Branch. The tracing of the allotment was then sent to the Crown Land Bailiff responsible for that Land District.
After the creation of the Occupation Branch, applications made under the Land Act 1869 that had been registered prior to 1874 were copied to District Indexes that were separate from registers created for new applications received. The contents of these District Indexes that recorded pre 1874 applications are arranged alphabetically but the application numbers are not consecutive. An Index for the Beechworth District is not in PROV custody as at August 1999.
The new registers of applications were arranged by Land District and by section of Land Act applications were received under. For example, all applications received under section 19 of the Land Act 1869 for the Ballarat Land District were recorded in the same register. Sections of an Act that were less common were often recorded in the one District register.
Registers of applications control selection and occupation files. If an application to select Crown land was successful, the application number would become the file number. For example if an application to select under section 19 of the Land Act 1869 was registered as application number 324 then the selection or occupation file number would be 324/19.
The application number remained the selection file number for a particular piece of land if all terms and conditions were met and the selection resulted in a Crown Grant. However, often the original selector did not end up owning the land. Many selectors forfeited or abandoned their licence. If this were the case then the land was re-opened up for selection. Any new applicants were registered in a register of applications under a new application number. The original applicants file would be attached to the new selectors file. The new file number was annotated in the register against the original selectors' entry.
Even if the same selector applied for a licence on land he had previously forfeited a new application number would be allocated and the file would have a new selection file number.
If the allotment was held under lease the ownership of the lease could be transferred without the need to open up the land for re-selection. The transfer of lease was managed by the Office of Titles (VA 2888) who sent a memo to the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538) informing them of the lease transfer. This memo was attached to the selection file. The transfer was not recorded in the register of applications.
The transfer was recorded in the rent roll and a new entry made for the transferee. Rent Rolls were administered by rental clerks at the at the Occupation Branch. The transfer was also recorded on the selection file. A new application was not required to transfer a lease, therefore the selection file number would remain the same, as no new entry would be made in a register of applications.
- Recordkeeping System
Application registers control selection and occupation files. If an application to select Crown land was successful, the application number would become the file number. For example if an application to select under section 19 of the Land Act 1869 was registered as application number 324 then the selection or occupation file number would be 324/19.
Series is arranged chronologically by date of application and contents of each register is arranged alphabetically by name of applicant. Application numbers are block allocated under each letter of the alphabet. See above for description of the record keeping system.
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