Series VPRS 384
General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System I (Roads and Bridges Branch 1877-c1888; Local Government Branch c1888-1958)
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1877 - 1965
  Series in Custody 1877 - 1965
  Contents 1858 - ? 1967
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
1877 - 1958 Public Works Department (previously the Department of the Commissioner of Public Works) VA 669
1958 - 1965 Local Government Department VA 601
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 Planning and Development VA 3094
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    How to Use this Series

    To gain access to the correspondence from 1877 to 1956 use VPRS 499 Registers of Inwards Correspondence. See the series text for VPRS 499 for more information. For the correspondence from 1957 to 1959 there are two access points. Firstly there is a alphabetical card index by municipality (VPRS 10170) where the register number and subject matter of a file is recorded. There is also a register card where subject matter was recorded under register number (See VPRS 5722). See the series texts for both these series for more information.

    It is more difficult to access the correspondence from 1959 to 1965. The PRO holds the numerical card register for this correspondence (see VPRS 5722). It likely that an alphabetical register of municipalities was also used, however no such record is in archival custody for this period. As such, it is necessary to search chronologically through the card register to find the subject matter required and relevant registration number before checking the records description lists.

    Function and Contents

    This series consists of the inwards and outwards correspondence of the Local Government Department and previous agencies. From 1877 to 1908 the files contain inwards correspondence only. From 1909 to 1965 inwards and copies of outward correspondence are placed on the files.

    This correspondence was created by the agencies responsible for the local government function:
    from 1877 to 1958 the Roads and Bridges Branch, subsequently the Local Government Branch of the Public Works Department (VA 744);
    from 1958 to 1965 the Local Government Department (VA 384)

    In the 19th century the Local Government function developed from the distribution of grants to municipal bodies. This responsibility was assumed by the Board of Land and Works upon its creation in 1857 and administered by the Public Works Department. As local government authorities developed throughout Victoria so did the need to centrally co-ordinate them. Apparently this was undertaken via the roads and bridges function in the first instance, as this provided an existing administrative framework in municipal districts.

    Although detailed research into the development of local government administration is yet to be undertaken, it is evident that the function encompassed the examination and review of municipal boundaries, the administration and review of local government legislation, the allocation of funds to local government authorities and the consideration of municipal by-laws.

    In the 20th century the local government function has encompassed:
    approval of statutory procedures such as by-laws submitted by municipalities
    review and amendment of legislation affecting local government
    examination and review of municipal boundaries.

    The Department provides consultancy and advisory services to local government bodies in relation to administrative, financial, electoral and legislative matters as well as entrepreneurial activities and joint ventures. It also has a monitoring role in relation to the operations of local government bodies and is empowered to conduct inquiries into complaints concerning local councils and officials. The Department also had an oversight role in relation to the building control activities of local councils.

    The subject matter of this series derives from the above functions and covers a variety of topics such as : petitions for the establishment of municipal authorities; applications for subsidies to carry out road, ground and drainage works; changes to municipal by-laws; audit reports; land valuations; and appeals against M.M.B.W. proposals.

    Series and Contents Date Range

    The registration of correspondence in this series commenced in September 1877 however earlier correspondence was requested and incorporated when required from the administration previously responsible for the local government function and as such some correspondence for the period 1858 to 1877 is found in this series.

    Consignment P These files cover the period 1858 - 1965.

    Consignment P1 These files cover the period 1961 - 1965. Although the contents contain correspondence to 1967.

    System of Arrangement/Control

    Annual Single Number
    (Chronological by year, then within each year numerically by file number.)

    Document Level Control and Top-Numbering

    Correspondence in this series was registered on receipt in registers (VPRS 499). Document level control was maintained from 1858 until the mid 1950s. Items of inward correspondence were individually registered within an annual single number system from 1858 to 1965. Until, it appears, the 1950s, files consist of individually registered documents, the files being identified and controlled by the number of the top (most recent) piece of correspondence to which earlier papers on the subject were attached. The registration numbers of both previous and subsequent correspondence were noted in the registers. See series text for VPRS 499 for more information.

    At some stage there was a change to file level control where only the first letter on a particular matter was recorded and subsequent correspondence was filed with the original letter. This change may have occurred during the mid 1950's. Examining the controlling registers (VPRS 499) supports this by showing that instead of every item of correspondence receiving its own register number several related items were assigned the same number.

    Format
    The earliest files do not have a file cover but are held together with a metal clip. The registration number was recorded directly on the letter received. Later files have a green P.W.D. slip attached which recorded the registration and a main heading, usually the shire, city, town or borough from which the correspondence was received. Occasionally the heading was the name of an organisation other than a municipality or of subject. Under this was recorded the subject matter of file.

    With the establishment of the Local Government Department in 1958 correspondence was kept in a file cover. On the file cover is a heading, which as for the previous green P.W.D. slips was usually the name of a shire, city, town or borough but occasionally another organisation or subject. Under this is written the particular subject matter of that file. In the top right hand corner of the file cover is the registration (file) number. File movement is recorded on the file cover as well as on the registration cards.

    With file level control the first item of correspondence, though registered, does not appear to have the register number written on it. The register number first appears on the reply to that letter and then on subsequent correspondence.

    Subsequent Series

    If the correspondence relating to a particular matter spanned a period of years a new file would sometimes be created and all previous correspondence would be placed on it ie. top numbered. This means that some correspondence originally created within this annual single number system may be found filed in the subsequent multiple number system (VPRS 5397).

    When files are top numbered in this way their new registration number is recorded in VPRS 5722: Card Register to General Correspondence Files (Annual Single Number).

  • Function / Content


  • Recordkeeping System


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Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1864 - 1900 Municipality Index to Correspondence VPRS 8775
1877 - 1956 Registers of Inward Correspondence (Roads and Bridges Branch 1877-1888; Local Government Branch c.1888-1956) VPRS 499
1956 - 1965 Card Register to General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System I (Local Government Branch 1956-1958) VPRS 5722
1957 - 1959 Card Index to General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System I (Local Government Branch) VPRS 10170
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
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
- 1965 General Correspondence Files, Multiple Number System VPRS 5397
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 1858 - ? 1967 Open 1536
P0001 1961 - ? 1967 Open 22
P0002 1889 - 1889 Open 1
P0003 1889 - 1889 Open 1
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
1864 - 1900 Municipality Index to Correspondence VPRS 8775
1877 - 1956 Registers of Inward Correspondence (Roads and Bridges Branch 1877-1888; Local Government Branch c.1888-1956) VPRS 499
1956 - 1965 Card Register to General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System I (Local Government Branch 1956-1958) VPRS 5722
1957 - 1959 Card Index to General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System I (Local Government Branch) VPRS 10170
More research resourcesMore research resources