Series VPRS 166
Alphabetical Registers of Inwards Correspondence (Refer to Microfilm Copy, VPRS 228)
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1876 - 1896
  Series in Custody 1876 - 1896
  Contents 1876 - 1896
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
1876 - 1896 Department of Crown Lands and Survey VA 538
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1992 - 1996 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources VA 3097
1996 - 2002 Department of Natural Resources and the Environment VA 3972
2002 - cont Department of Sustainability and Environment VA 4554
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    This series has been microfilmed because of its fragile state. Please use the microfilm copy, VPRS 228, available in the microfilm cabinets in the Reading Room.

  • Function / Content
    This series consists of registers of inward correspondence received by the Lands Department. These registers were used to record summary details and allocate unique identification numbers (registration numbers) to each letter received. Each inward letter was, on receipt and registration allocated a number from the registers for identification.

    The registers record in a column format
    the registration number allocated to the letter,
    the day and month received "date of entry"
    the date sent, "date of letter"
    the name/position and address of sender,
    a summary of the letter,
    the last column on the right hand side of the folio records "how dealt with" ie. to which official/division the letter was referred for action [see below for list of how, ie. to whom, correspondence was to be distributed], and very occasionally the registration number of related previous or subsequent correspondence.

    System of Arrangement/Control

    These registers are self-indexing, that is each volume is divided into alphabetical sections and then each alphabetic section is further sub-divided into sections according to vowels, ie. the B section would be divided into Ba, Be, Bo, Bi, Bu and a letter from Mrs Bentley would be registered in the B section under the Be sub-section while a letter from Miss Bradley would be registered in the Ba section, a letter from the Attorney-General would be entered under the Ao section.

    There are often separate sections within each alpha section for:
    letters from particular government officials and agencies eg. Law Department in the L section. Letters from local land officers (eg. bailiffs, commissioners) were entered under the name of the district/locality in which they operated.
    letters on particular, common, subjects eg. Leave of Absence.
    letters from people with a common (popular) surname eg. a separate section for Mcpherson within the Mc section.

    In most volumes these sub-categories within sections are usually noted in a Contents page found at the start of the volume which gives page number references. Instructions were prepared at various times showing what subject headings were to be used. A copy of the initial instruction is attached to the series file for VPRS 166. Directions for distribution of correspondence were also prepared, these indicate which transactions were dealt with by the different branches of the department.

    Correspondence registration numbers took the form of the letter of the volume plus a consecutive serial number within each alphabetic category.

    Each volume was used until it was full and then a new one commenced. Hence there are five volumes for the letter A: A1, A2, A3, A4, A5. Each volume covers a discrete date range and the series numbers follow consecutively from the first volume to the last of that alphabetic category.

    Background: Establishment and Operation of the Registry System

    In May 1876 the General and Occupation registries which had previously operated within the department were amalgamated and one central registry through which all correspondence was registered was established.

    Subsidiary Registers

    It would appear that subsidiary registers were to be used in each branch or division to record details of correspondence sent to them for action and to record details of file movement and any top-numbering which occurred.

    Further research is required to identify whether the subsidiary registers are in the custody of the Public Record Office. Without these registers it may not be possible to locate correspondence initially registered in VPRS 166 because details of file movement, top-numbering of individual letters and ultimate file location appear to have only been recorded in the subsidiary registers.

    VPRS 3432 Correspondence Registers, which documents correspondence referred to the Melbourne regional land office from the head office for the period 1876 - 1888 may be subsidiary registers of VPRS 166.

    Correspondence Controlled by these Registers

    Correspondence controlled by these registers may be located in various series located at the Public Record Office (or may also be in the custody of the central or regional land offices):

    #VPRS 44 Inward Registered and Unregistered Correspondence (only a small amount)
    *VPRS 242 Crown Reserves Correspondence Files
    *VPRS 5357 Land Selection and Correspondence Files
    VPRS 619 Secretary's Correspondence Files
    VPRS 1016 Miscellaneous Correspondence Files
    *VPRS 444 Unsorted Correspondence Files (units 1A to 6F)
    VPRS 989 General Correspondence Files
    VPRS 1003 Correspondence Files - Land Sales Branch
    VPRS 1004 Correspondence Files - Chief Clerk
    VPRS 1261 Inward Correspondence (one box with one item from 1890 regarding appointment of Crown Land Bailiffs).

    * Use VPRS 7311 Microfiche Catalogue of Crown Land to access correspondence in these series.

    # Use VPRS 8670/P1 Microfiche Catalogue to Crown Lands and Survey Files in VPRS 44 to access correspondence in this series.

    Use the appropriate Records Description Lists to access correspondence in all other series.

    Subsequent Series

    Further research is required to determine possible registry systems used after 1896. The following series in the custody of the PRO may be relevant:

    VPRS 620 Registers of Secretary's Correspondence 1896 - ? 1908
    VPRS 3217 Secretary's Correspondence Registers (Numerical)
    VPRS 3218 Card Index to Secretary's Correspondence Registers (Numerical)

    DISTRIBUTION OF CORRESPONDENCE from VPRS 44/P, unit 736, file no. C 14808

    Complaints, Returns, Administration of the Department

    Asst. Surveyor-General
    Administration of Lands Occupation, Business of Survey Offices, Leave of absence to O.B. Officers, District Surveyors and Assistants in Survey Officers, Applications for employment as Assistants in Survey Officers, and Crown Land Bailiffs

    Chief Clerk
    Commonage, Parks and Gardens, Reserves and Miscellaneous subjects.

    Cemeteries, Grants in Aid, Accounts, Applications for employment on Clerical Staff and in Public Gardens

    Inspector-General of Surveys
    Corr. re Surveys in progress, Employment of Surveyors and Draftsman

    Rec.r [Receiver] of Rent Roll
    App.ns under Section 33, Land Act 1869, to pay rent, for renewal of licenses, and for transfers under 42nd Sect. Land Act 1865, Correspondence respecting collection of revenue

    Clerk Land Sales
    Corr. appertaining to land advertised for sale

    Deed Branch
    App.ns for Crown Grants for land sold at auction [titles]

    Mr Levey
    Correspondence relating to Part 5 and Sec. 110 Land Act 1869

    O.B [Occupation Branch] Officers
    Sec.s 19,20,45,47,49,55, and 56 Land Act and miscellaneous business re occupation of Crown Lands, also applications for sale of land by auction

    Sup.t of Bailiffs
    Applications under Sec. 31 Land Act, 1869 [conversion of section 42 licence]


    On and after the 1st proximo the present system of registering correspondence will cease and the general and occupation registries will be amalgamated, and the following rules carried out.

    1. Official letters are to be opened as heretofore by Registrar, who will be assisted by the next officer in rank in writing or causing to be written, a statement of the contents of each letter on the covers provided for that purpose.

    2. One register will be supplied for each letter of alphabet, and used until filled up, when another bearing the same letter is to be procured in its stead. Each register will contain 250 pages and be numbered throughout with a few blank pages for reference purposes.

    3. The registers will be in the charge of three Registry Clerks, each of whom will be responsible for all entries made by him.

    4. The letters are to be sorted by the Registrar and handed to the Registry Clerks to enter, number and mark them off to the proper officers, as shown in list herewith. If more than one entry is to be made of any paper the Registrar shall decide which is to lead the case, and the clerk in whose book the leading entry is made shall see that the necessary entries are made in the other books. Each register is to be subdivided into subjects, a list of which is annexed hereto, and all entries on the same subject are to follow each other.

    5. On the same day that letters are entered, the Register Clerks shall obtain receipts in their receipts books from the officers to whom such letters may be distributed and on the fly sheets of registers record the number of letters entered each day

    6. The Registrar shall examine the register and receipts every morning and satisfy himself that all paters received the preceding day have been disposed of in the manner above mentioned, or call to account any Registry Clerk in arrears.

    7. In the several office divisions an officer to be styled the Entering Clerk shall be employed, whose duty it shall be to record each document separately immediately after its receipt, mark it with the divisional stamp and assign the file, or first number, thereto, and all subsequent letters on any one subject shall be referred back to such file number in the divisional register and on the papers. Does this mean "bottom-numbering" rather than "top-numbering" ?

    8. To admit of any document the number of which only is known being readily traced, the correspondence and folio numbers shall be entered in the columns ruled for the purpose in the small index of the divisional register.

    9. The entering clerk shall submit letters after he has recorded them to the officer in charge of his division, who shall direct action thereon.

    10. Correspondence registered under the old system shall be in the care of an officer in the Registry to called the Custodian, who shall give out such documents as may be required, and keep an account by marking them off in the books in which they have been recorded to the person by whom received or the document to which attached, but it shall not be the business of the Custodian to procure any papers which are not in the registry.

    11. When papers are referred to other divisions or out of the office, they shall be marked off in the divisional register and despatched by the Entering Clerk, who shall see that no unnecessary detention occurs, and when papers may be so referred the officer receiving them shall return them to the division to which they belong.

    12. When any case shall be closed, a note to that effect shall be made in the divisional register by the entering clerk, who shall put away the papers. When required press accommodation will be provided in the Registry for storage of papers finally disposed of.

    W.H. Archer
    Secretary for Lands

    Office of Lands and Survey
    Melbourne, 24th April 1876

  • Recordkeeping System

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Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1870 - 1896 General Correspondence Files VPRS 989
1876 - 1896 Inward Registered and Unregistered Correspondence VPRS 44
1876 - 1896 Land Selection Files, by Land District, Section 49 Land Act 1869 VPRS 439
1876 - 1896 Land Selection and Occupation Files VPRS 440
1876 - 1896 Miscellaneous Land Selection and Occupation Files VPRS 444
1876 - 1896 Secretary's Correspondence Files, Alphabetical System [1876-1896]; Correspondence Files, 'A' Series [1901-1929]; Unregistered Inward Correspondence, Minister of Lands [1881] VPRS 619
1876 - 1896 Land Selection Files, sections 19 and 20, 1869 VPRS 625
1876 - 1896 Land Selection Files by Land District, Sections 19 and 20 Land Act 1869 VPRS 626
1876 - 1896 Land Selection Files, Section 31 Land Act 1869 VPRS 627
1876 - 1896 Land Selection Files, Section 33, Land Act 1869 VPRS 629
1876 - 1896 Miscellaneous Correspondence Files VPRS 1016
1876 - 1896 Land Selection And Correspondence Files VPRS 5357
By 1885 - 1896 Correspondence Files, Land Sales Branch VPRS 1003
Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
0 - 1876 Register of Inward Correspondence, Occupation Branch VPRS 621
- 1876 Registers of Inward Correspondence (Refer to Microfilm Copy, VPRS 227) VPRS 70
- 1876 Index to Inward Registered Correspondence [Refer to Microfilm Copy, VPRS 226] VPRS 5522
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
0 - 1896 Register of Inward Correspondence, Lands VPRS 620
0 - 1896 Register of Inward Correspondence, Numerical System, Secretary VPRS 3217
0 - 1896 Register of Inward Correspondence, 'H' Series VPRS 14306
0 - 1896 Register of Inward Correspondence, 'T' Series VPRS 14308
0 - 1896 Register of Inward Correspondence, Land Sales Branch VPRS 14319
0 - 1896 Register of Inward Correspondence, Mallee Division VPRS 14320
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 1876 - 1896 Open 160
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
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