Series VPRS 22
Customs, Shipping and Immigration Records
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1839 - 1898
  Series in Custody 1839 - 1898
  Contents 1839 - 1898
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
1839 - 1851 Superintendent, Port Phillip District VA 473
1851 - 1898 Department of Trade and Customs VA 606
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1983 - 1996 Department of Transport (known as Ministry of Transport 1951 to 1992) VA 673
1992 - cont Department of the Premier and Cabinet VA 1039
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Refer to the Records Description List to identify the required unit.

  • Function / Content
    This series comprises an accumulation of various records relating to the functions of immigration and customs control, particularly with respect to the movement of ships in and out of Victorian ports

    Prior to 1851 the Superintendent of the Port Phillip District (VA 473) was responsible for trade and customs control, ports and harbours and the immigration function. Operational responsibilities rested with the Sub-Collector of Customs for Port Phillip District, the Harbour Master and the Immigration Agent.

    The Department of Trade and Customs (VA 606) was established in 1851 and comprised Collectors and Sub-Collectors of Customs (located at Melbourne, Geelong, Portland, Port Fairy, and Port Albert) and Harbour Masters (located at Melbourne, Portland). Immigration and Assistant Immigration Agents (located at Melbourne, Geelong) became part of the Department from 1855. The Harbour Masters and Immigration Agents were part of what became known as the Ports and Harbours Branch of the Department. In 1877 the ports and harbours responsibilities of the Department which related to the Port of Melbourne were transferred to the newly established Melbourne Harbour Trust Commissioners (VA 2799).

    The records in this series were originally accessioned as books by the Public Library of Victoria. The records were transferred in two consignments, the first from the Ports and Harbours Branch of the Public Works Department (VA 669) in 1928 (refer to E.R.Pitts report dated 4 April 1928) and the second from the Commonwealth Department of Trade and Customs, Customs and Excise Office, Geelong in 1954. The records were retrospectively accessioned as records against Accession Numbers 28/1 and 55/34. It is not known when the various records comprising the series were grouped together.

    The records mostly date from 1839 to 1898 although there is one record that ends in 1948. The records include:


    Shipping Registers

    Shipping registers were created to document the arrival and departure of vessels arriving at Victorian ports. Some of the registers can be identified as having been maintained at specific ports such as Williamstown, Geelong, Portland and Port Fairy. For many of the registers it is not known where they were maintained.

    In many cases it is not certain whether the registers were maintained by customs officers, immigration officials or harbour masters. All of these officials were concerned with monitoring the movement of ships for different purposes. Further research is required to determine the precise purpose and context of the various records.


    Passenger Arrivals and Departures

    Records of the arrival and departure of passenger ships which appear to have been maintained for statistical purposes (numbers of passengers only are recorded). Records relating to the administration of assisted immigration including immigrants remittances and payments to immigrants from the Immigration Officer.


    Shipping Masters and Seamen

    Records of the engagement of seamen, monthly salaries and wages and a shipping master's diary.


    Customs

    Correspondence and cash books of collectors and sub-collectors of customs.

  • Recordkeeping System


More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide052 Immigration Records
    PROVguide049 Ships' Crew
    PROVguide054 Ships and Shipping Movements
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
P0000 1839 - 1898 Open 30
P0001 1864 - 1893 Open 6
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide052 Immigration Records
    PROVguide049 Ships' Crew
    PROVguide054 Ships and Shipping Movements