Series VPRS 12905
Photographic Collection: Prints: Railways
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series ? 1920 - ? 2000
  Series in Custody Circa 1920 - 1986
  Contents ? 1900 - 1986
Public Access: Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
? 1920 - 1983 Victorian Railways (also Victorian Railways Commissioners 1883-1973, Victorian Railways Board 1973-1983) VA 2876
1983 - 1989 State Transport Authority VA 1038
1983 - 1989 Metropolitan Transit Authority VA 1044
1989 - ? 1999 Public Transport Corporation VA 2984
1999 - 2000 Department of Infrastructure VA 3971
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1999 - cont Department of Infrastructure VA 3971
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    PROV is currently in the process of processing and imaging photographic negatives of the former Public Transport Corporation Photographic Collection so that these can be accessed online. Before seeking to request any prints from this series, please search the online images that are already available via this website. Refer to VPRS 12800 or consult PROVguide 69.

    Use this series to find a photographic print if an image cannot be located online in VPRS 12800. It is advisable to start with consignment P0001 as the bulk of this consignment is not yet available via an online digitised image. A significant portion of the P0003 consignment is currently available on-line; it is recommended that this only be requested if the online images in VPRS 12800 and the P0001 consignment of this series does not yield a result.

  • Function / Content
    This series consists of photographic prints created by the agencies responsible for managing the Victorian railways. It encompasses black and white prints, some of which have been mounted on index cards or cardboard. Images depicted in this series include trains, rolling stock, stations, publicity pictures and other railway facilities.

    Between c 1990 and June 2000, all of the items in this series were maintained within a Photographic Collection that had been established by the Public Transport Corporation. This series is one of a number of series that have been created following transfer of the Photographic Collection to PROV.

    This particular series brings together a number of sequences of prints that were created to identify the negative containing the original image. Most of these sequences, however, contain prints from a number of different negative series. It would appear that, unlike the negatives which were maintained in their original order, the corresponding prints were intersorted into broader sequences. Consequently it has been decided to register all of the railway prints within a single archival series with each sequence of prints organised into separate consignments.


    The specific print sequences and the consignments in which these have been processed and which can be ordered online are:

    Index Prints (refer to consignment P00001)

    This sequence consists of small photographic prints arranged by the subject of image. These were originally stored drawers in a sequence of metal cabinets or folders; each drawer or folder usually contained the prints for a nominated subject category. PROV has attempted to recreate this arrangement when possible by placing the prints from within a drawer into one unit (i.e a box) and has retained the folders as units.

    This sequence contains prints from a mixture of negative sequences. The majority of prints are from three alpha-numeric negative sequences; PR (Public Relations - created between 1965-1976), PRC (Public Relations Colour (1965-1976) and M (Miscellaneous 1946-1967). Smaller numbers of prints come from the CN (colour Negative 1959-1969), CNF (Colour Negative Feature 1962-1971), F (thought to also be Miscellaneous 1949-1970) sequences as well as photographs from an annual single number sequence created between 1969-1986. A very small number of prints originate from the H (or Historical sequence - all available on-line) and from a sequence controlled by box numbers prefaced by the letter A created between 1953-1968.

    Prints either stand alone or pasted to index cards; identifying information is written on the reverse of the print or on the card. The word "index" is superimposed across the PR & PRC prints.

    Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Construction (refer to consignment P0002)

    This sequence consists of colour prints pertaining to all phases of the construction of the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop. Prints show the opening of the project (ie first diggings), construction of most aspects of the loop including site works, tunnels, stations and shafts, visits and inspections, portraits of Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Authority members and photos taken for various reports. Originally found within a sequence of seriously overpacked metal drawers, these were arranged mostly according to the construction zones (known as areas) established for the project with some additional headings and a miscellaneous classification. It is unclear whether this was the original arrangement. There appears to be no evidence of an order within subject categories and there is a high probability of mis-sorting. The negative number and a description are written on the reverse of most prints.

    Index Print Cards (refer to consignment P0003)

    This consignment consists of prints mounted on thick cardboard backing. It is possible that these cards were maintained by the Advertising Division of Victorian Railways. Again, prints are from a number of other Railways negative sequences. A significant number are from the H (Historical) sequence with others from the RS (or Rolling Stock ? - 1969) and another box number sequence created between c1920 - c1980. (These are identified by the prefix "P.C Box" or "Box" written on the card,) This consignment also contains prints from the P (Publicity, also known as Scenic) sequence. The negatives for the P sequence were transferred to the State Library of Victoria prior to the establishment of Public Record Office Victoria.

    The subjects of prints include trains, carriages and rail travel locations inside and outside Victoria. These cards were originally stored within a minimum of two, three drawer cabinets and were divided within drawers by divider cards that indicated the subject. A number of divider cards were found without prints and it is assumed the prints were either lost or redistributed within other categories. (These dividers have been placed in the final unit of the consignment and are listed on the website.) Index sheets found within the drawers were removed as there did not seem to a direct relationship between these and the images in the drawers.

    Individual cards were numbered both as part of the original system and within the Photo Collection; the latter saw approx 60% of cards numbered in a sequence from 1 - 1283 irrespective of the category. This was seemingly done to ensure that the cards could not be placed out of sequence within the drawers. The remaining cards were not numbered. Cards include negative number or numbers (in the case of two numbers one is the original negative and the other is a copy negative located in another negative sequence). Most have a complete or partial description on the reverse.

  • Recordkeeping System
    This series has been arranged by PROV into the consignments as described above. Records have been maintained in the order in which these were found within these consignments.

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Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 ? 1900 - 1986 Open 74
P0002 1971 - 1985 Open 11
P0003 ? 1900 - Circa 1980 Open 17
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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