Series VPRS 3994
Register of Inward Correspondence III
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1884 - ? 1963
  Series in Custody 1884 - 1963
  Contents 1884 - 1963
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
1884 - 1963 Chief Secretary's Department VA 475
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
    Researchers with a specific subject or searching for correspondence from a particular official or person should first consult the Index to Inwards Registered Correspondence (see VPRS 1411) for the appropriate year to identify the registration number of the correspondence. Letters from " persons", ie. members of the public, were indexed alphabetically by surname and were grouped together at the end of the appropriate alphabetic section within the index. Letters from rural officials were listed under the name of the locality. Letters from other government officials were listed under the name of the department or the position ie. Auditor General or Penal and Goals. Remember that some of 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 eg. 95M/943. Refer to the registers of inward correspondence (this series). The reference 95M/943 would refer to the 943rd letter (and entry) in register M for the year 1895.

    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 of VPRS 3992 Inward Registered Correspondence III) 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 under which it was filed, identify the unit in the Records Description List which contains the registration number of the last letter within a top-numbered sequence.

    Remember to check VPRS 1226 Supplementary Inward Registered Correspondence, VPRS 4723 Inward Registered Correspondence IV and also, VPRS 1192 Petitions for any correspondence which cannot be located in VPRS 3992 Inward Registered Correspondence III.

  • Function / Content
    This series consists of registers of inward correspondence received by the Chief Secretary's Department. For more information regarding the registry system these registers are a part of refer to the series description for VPRS 3992 Inward Registered Correspondence III

    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. 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.

    eg. the one-hundred and twenty-third letter received in 1892 was given the number 92/123.

    The inward correspondence appears to have been filed in annual single number order in pigeon-hole cabinets/presses.

    The registers record in a column format:

    the registration number,
    "previous folio", the registration number of any related previous correspondence
    the day and month received
    the name/position and address of sender,
    the date sent
    "nature of application and representation"
    the registration number of related outward correspondence.
    "action taken, to whom referred and when" ie. to which official the letter was referred to action, date referred to official and when returned.
    "Result of Application", or "How Disposed Of". This records the registration number of any related subsequent correspondence received on the same matter or the P.A (put away) or a subject classification which indicate that the letter has been filed and its location.

    Introduction of File Level Registration

    The practice of registering "General Files" at the start of each year appears to have been in use from at least the mid 1950s. At the start of each year files would be raised, allocating the earliest annual single numbers from the registers, for commonly recurring documents, ie. office memos/instructions to staff, employment forms, insurance claims etc. As these documents were received during the rest of the year they would not be registered individually, merely placed on the General File.

    Top Numbering

    A later registration number written in the right-hand column means the letter has been top-numbered. This involved 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 95/725 on the same transaction as 95/123, that earlier letter would be filed with the later one and there would in fact be no correspondence filed under 95/123.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Each register was identified by the year of use. Alternate registers were used, sometimes up to four per year, identified within the year by an alphabetical symbol. It would seem that a register would be used for one day, and then indexed on the next while another register was in use. The registration number of the letter included the alpha symbol of the register, eg. 92 A/786 meaning the seven-hundred and eighty-sixth letter registered in volume A for 1892.

    Entries for each letter were made chronologically by date of receipt, being allocated a sequential registration number in this order.

    Related Records

    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 1411.

    All outward correspondence was registered and a copy retained, see VPRS 1187.

    Subsequent Series

    It is believed that the Department's registry system was updated around 1963 and this system of correspondence registers, indexes and annual single number document level control was superseded by a system of file level creation controlled by a card register. This card register is believed to be in the custody of the Ministry of Police and Emergency Services as at October 1992. Some correspondence from post 1963 is located in VPRS 4723.

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Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1884 - 1893 Petitions VPRS 1192
1884 - 1963 Supplementary Inward Registered Correspondence VPRS 1226
1884 - 1963 Inward Registered Correspondence III VPRS 3992
1884 - 1963 Inward Registered Correspondence IV VPRS 4723
Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
- 1884 Register of Inward Correspondence II VPRS 3993
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 1884 - 1963 Open 164
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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