Inward Registered Correspondence I [Land Branch]
||1847 - 1851
||Series in Custody
||1847 - 1851
||1847 - 1851
|Format of Records:
|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|
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This series consists of inward correspondence received by the Land Branch of the office of the Superintendent of the Port Phillip District. From 1847 till March 1849, and again from April 1852 until October 1852, correspondence regarding immigration matters was registered in the Land Branch registry system.
Correspondence from persons
Much of the correspondence registered by the Land Branch till late 1848 concerns applications for leases and claims for pre-emption of runs, resulting directly from the 1848 Order-in-Council, including enquiries concerning the transfer of licences to new runs and conditions governing the issue of licences, (eg. the effect of the dissolution of partnerships on tenure), the laying of caveats against rival applicants, boundary descriptions and boundary disputes.
Very little of this correspondence is actually located in this series, the contents of which was transferred from the Chief Secretary's Department in the 1950s. Correspondence which was originally registered in this system appears to have been transferred to the Department of Crown Lands, perhaps in the late 1850s when the "lands" function was transferred to the responsibility of the newly formed separate administration. Therefore correspondence may also be located in VPRS 44 Registered and Unregistered Correspondence of the Lands Department (See Registry System 1 and 2 in the Microfiche Catalogue to VPRS 44). Correspondence originally registered in this system may also be located in correspondence of the Surveyor-in-Charge (VPRS 97) to whom correspondence was often referred by the Superintendent/Colonial Secretary for opinion or action.
Increasingly after 1848, correspondence included applications for allotments of land from religious denominations for churches and schools and from local officials for Pounds and Town Commons etc.
Correspondence from other Government officials regarding land matters were also dealt with by the Land Branch registry: from the Colonial Secretary in Sydney including notices of land regulations and proclamation of surveyed roads; from the Surveyor-in-Charge regarding district surveys; from Crown Lands Commissioners forwarding applications for leases, listing defaulting licensees, and increasingly after 1848, forwarding applications for timber cutting licences on Crown Lands, reports on trespassing and unauthorised occupation of Crown Lands, and reports on occupied runs.
Increasingly as time went by all matter of lands business was dealt with by the registry, including immigration matters, (because assisted immigration schemes were financed directly from the proceeds of land sales), and also business relating to the goldfields.
Formation of Separate Land Branch Registry System
The Land Branch was formed within the Superintendent's Office in October 1847 to deal with the increased amount of business arising from the new Regulations governing leasing of Crown Lands, introduced by the 1847 Order-in-Council followed by the supplementary regulations of January and March 1848.
The bulk of the letters received to the end of 1848 concern applications for leases, and boundary disputes resulting from conflicting applications. After 1848 the nature of the correspondence becomes more diverse reflecting the occupation of Crown Land for more varied purposes than just grazing, eg. surveys for townships etc.
The registry system of the Land Branch comprised:
Registers of Inward Correspondence
[VPRS 47 (1847 - 1851) and VPRS 2879 (1851 - 1852)]
Inward Registered Correspondence
[VPRS 2877 (1847 - 1851) and VPRS 2878 (1851 - 1852)]
Outward Letter Books
With the increase of business from September 1851 and the discovery of gold in Victoria, letters concerning goldfields business were registered in the Land Branch registry system. In fact, correspondence regarding goldfields business became the main component of the Land Branch registry. By October 1852, when the separate Land Branch and General Branch registries of the Colonial Secretary's Office were merged into one the work of the Land Branch was mainly to do with goldfields business and correspondence, although lands business continued. This was probably the reason for the amalgamation of the two registries.
Correspondence Regarding Immigration Matters and Relationship with the Immigration Branch Registry System
Until March 1849 inward correspondence regarding immigration matters was registered by the Land Branch, therefore pre March 1849 immigration correspondence is located in this series. During March 1849 a separate Immigration registry system was established and a new annual single number sequence commenced specifically for immigration correspondence. This correspondence is located in VPRS 115 Inward Registered Correspondence I [Immigration Branch]
In April 1852 immigration correspondence was again registered within the Land Branch registry system, see VPRS 2878 Inward Registered Correspondence II [Land Branch].
System of Arrangement/Control
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 1847 was given the number 47/123. The inward correspondence appears to have been arranged in annual single number order in pigeon-hole cabinets/presses. The correspondence was folded lengthways and precis (summary) of the letter written in red ink on the cover. The registration number was noted in black ink in the top left hand corner. The majority of letters in this series were stamped "Orders-in-Council. Land. Port Phillip", except those concerning immigration.
The annual single number was allocated from Registers (VPRS 47), which record 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. It appears that no index to the correspondence was created as part of the registry system.
Prior to October 1847 lands and immigration matters directed to the Superintendent were registered within the general registry system, see VPRS 19 Inward Registered Correspondence and VPRS 18 Registers of Inward Correspondence.
After the establishment of the Colonial Secretary's Office in June 1851 a new annual single number sequence was commenced indicating the start of a new Land Branch series, see VPRS 2878 Inward Registered Correspondence II [Land Branch].
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