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Series VPRS 19
Inward Registered Correspondence
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1839 - 1851
  Series in Custody 1839 - 2012
  Contents 1839 - 1851
Public Access: Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical/Digital
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1839 - 1851 Superintendent, Port Phillip District VA 473
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1979 - 1992 Ministry for Police and Emergency Services VA 421
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    In a volunteer project commencing in early 2010, the records in VPRS 19 are being digitised, and data captured on the contents of each letter. The descriptions of the letters were derived from the original registers of correspondence (VPRS 18). Commencing in June 2012, the digital images are being gradually made available online and data is finalised.
    Researchers with a specific subject or searching for correspondence from a particular official or person should first consult the Index to Inward Registered Correspondence (see VPRS 2138 microfilm copy of the Index) to identify the registration number of the correspondence. Remember that the subject classifications used reflect 19th century ideas, values and attitudes and will not necessarily be analogous with current terminology.

    Having identified a relevant entry in the index note the correspondence registration number given. Refer to the Registers of Inwards Correspondence (see VPRS 2139 microfilm copy of the registers).

    Once the entry for that letter has been located in the register the final filing location (and therefore the registration number to search for in the Records Description List) should be identified by tracing any links to subsequent correspondence usually marked in the far right hand column of the registers.

    It is important to follow the chain of correspondence till no higher registration number is listed against the entry as correspondence was filed under its final or last registration number. Having followed the chain of correspondence and identified the last registration number the researcher should identify the unit in the Records Description List that corresponds with the registration number of the last letter within a top-numbered sequence.

  • Function / Content
    This series consists of the correspondence received by the Superintendent of the Port Phillip District.

    All local correspondence and returns intended for the Governor of New South Wales (of which the Port Phillip District was a part) were addressed to the Superintendent who then forwarded those letters or extracts from those which he thought necessary to the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales, often with comments or minutes. The Superintendent was entitled to communicate with the heads of departments in Sydney only in regard to the detail or fulfilment of instructions previously conveyed through the Colonial Secretary.

    The Superintendent was the immediate head of all civil officials in the District, those whose appointments were purely local received all their instructions through him. Those, like the Surveyor-in-Charge, who reported to officials in Sydney received separate instructions but were obliged to communicate the nature of their instructions and the measures they proposed to the Superintendent and to assist him in any way he required. In matters to do with the preservation of the peace or enforcement of convict discipline the Superintendent was entitled to call for assistance from the Military, but could not interfere in purely military matters.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Each inward letter was, on receipt and registration given a distinctive number for identification. This consisted of an annual single number, that is a sequential number prefixed by the last two figures of the year, with the numbering sequence recommencing at 1 at the start of each year. Thus the one-hundred and twenty-third item received in 1841 was given the number 41/123. The inward correspondence appears to have been arranged in annual single number order in pigeon-hole cabinets/presses.

    The annual single number was allocated from Registers (VPRS 18), which recorded the name and location of sender, date of receipt, and a precis of the letter. The registers also note the registration number of related outward correspondence. The correspondence was indexed alphabetically by general subject and by surname of " persons", the index also recording a precis of the letter, date received, and the registration number, see VPRS 17. No such index is extant for the period 1844 - 1851.

    Before being sent to action officers, correspondence would be folded lengthways with a blank page outside on which a precis of the letter, and the registration number is noted. Minutes and memos referring the correspondence between action officers are also noted on the docket.

    TOP NUMBERING

    While the annual single number registration of correspondence continued, the use of top-numbering of correspondence was developed. This meant the practice of grouping together items of inward correspondence which referred to the same transaction to create files. The method adopted was that of placing earlier correspondence under later ones. Thus if there were a later letter registered 41/725 on the same transaction as 41/123, that earlier letter would be filed with the later one and there would in fact be no correspondence filed under 41/123.

    RELATED SERIES

    Some correspondence registered in this registry system is located in VPRS 1226 Supplementary Inward Correspondence:

    1841-1848 correspondence re. Henty's land at Portland Bay, unit 94

    1841 returns from Melbourne Gaol, unit 97

    1842-1854 correspondence re. execution of bonds of civil servants, unit 93

    1849 correspondence re. Native Police Corp. (missing since 1982) unit 92

    1850-1851 estimates, unit 95

    PREVIOUS SERIES

    See VPRS 4 Inward Registered Correspondence.

    SUBSEQUENT SERIES

    All letters received by the Superintendent's Office were entered in one register until October 1847 when a separate Land Registry which registered correspondence relating to lands and immigration matters was maintained, see VPRS 2877 and VPRS 47.

    After the establishment of the Colonial Secretary's Office a new registry system was begun, see VPRS 1189 Inward Registered Correspondence.

More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide057 Convict Records
    PROVguide052 Immigration Records
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1839 - 1843 Index to Inward Registered Correspondence [Refer to Microfilm Copy VPRS 2138] VPRS 17
1839 - 1851 Registers of Inward Correspondence [Refer to Microfilm Copy VPRS 2139] VPRS 18
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
0 - 1839 Inward Registered Correspondence (Refer to Microfilm Copy, VPRS 4729) VPRS 4
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
0 - 1851 Chief Secretary's Registered, Inward Correspondence Relating To Aboriginal Affairs Transferred to The Department Of Crown Lands And Survey (Refer to Microfilm Copy, VPRS 4467) VPRS 4415
- 1847 Inward Registered Correspondence I [Land Branch] VPRS 2877
1847 - 1851 Inward Registered Correspondence I VPRS 1189
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
P0000 1839 - 1851 Open 152
P0001 1839 - 1851 Open N/A
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
1839 - 1843 Index to Inward Registered Correspondence [Refer to Microfilm Copy VPRS 2138] VPRS 17
1839 - 1851 Registers of Inward Correspondence [Refer to Microfilm Copy VPRS 2139] VPRS 18
More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide057 Convict Records
    PROVguide052 Immigration Records

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