Series VPRS 421
Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series By 1859 - 1985
  Series in Custody By 1859 - 1985
  Contents 1852 - 1993
Public Access: Part 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
1859 - 1871 Department of Railways I VA 2877
1871 - 1877 Department of Railways and Roads VA 2875
1877 - 1884 Department of Railways 2 VA 2965
1884 - 1983 Victorian Railways (also Victorian Railways Commissioners 1883-1973, Victorian Railways Board 1973-1983) VA 2876
1983 - 1985 Metropolitan Transit Authority VA 1044
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
2014 - cont Public Transport Victoria VA 4968
2015 - cont Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources VA 5034
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    The records in this series were created under an annual single number system. To access correspondence files from this series researchers need to get the correspondence registration number. How this is done depends on the date of the correspondence.

    From 1859 to 1921

    Consult the Card Index to Railways Correspondence and identify files of interest. If the file reference is shown as VR 1/123 or 1/123 or 123 the file may be located in VPRS 421 (this series). Consult the File Number / Unit Guide which precedes the Records Description List for the P000 consignment.

    Or

    From 1859 to 1872

    Refer to VPRS 12600 Name Index to Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System to search by name of the correspondent or to VPRS 12601Subject Index to Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System to search by subject of the letter. Take note of the folio number of the Register.

    Consult the Register from VPRS 422 Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I. Refer to the appropriate page of the Register and note the registration numbers of items of interest. Follow the subsequent file references to find the final location (i.e. top number) of the file.

    Refer to the Consignment Details for VPRS 421 (this series) Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System and identify the unit that holds the file.

    From 1872 to 1892

    If you are doing a search by subject or by name refer to Secretary's Self-Indexing Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I for the appropriate year from VPRS 12621 to get the top number under which the correspondence was filed.

    Note: If you know the registration number Consult VPRS 12602 Numerical Index to Secretary's Self-Indexing Register of Inward Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System. The Numerical Index provides the folio (page) number of the entry (for full registration details) in the Register (ie., VPRS 12621).

    1893

    If you are doing search by subject, name or location, refer to VPRS 12604 General Index and get the correspondence registration number.

    Refer to VPRS 12622 Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System II to find the highest registration number under which the correspondence was filed.

    Consult the Consignment Details for VPRS 421 Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System and identify the unit that holds the required file.

    From 1894 to 1963

    Consult VPRS 12623 Secretary's Self-Indexing Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System II. Note the registration numbers of items of interest.

    NB: As the self-indexed registers (VPRS 12623) do not record the top numbering of files refer to VPRS 12605 File Movement and Attachment Books (also known as Reference Index) to identify the final location, i.e., top number, and the disposal of the file.

    Once you identify the top number under which the letter was filed refer to the Consignment Details for VPRS 421 Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System and identify the unit that holds the file.

    From 1963 to 1983

    The correspondence files and the control records included the File Movement and Attachment Books (also known as Reference Index) VPRS 12605, Name Index Cards VPRS 16321 and Subject Index Cards VPRS 16322.

    Researchers may use the relevant card index to get the file reference number. As the card indices do not record the top number of files, refer to VPRS 12605, the attachment and file movement books to identify the top number/final location and the disposal of the file.

    Once you have the file number, refer to the consignment details to identify the unit that holds your file.

    Note: For the period 1963 to 1983 researchers can use the PROV online Catalogue for search for records by using "Search Within A Series" method.

    Note that records in R1 of this series were sentenced as temporary records, under Public Record Office Standard 07/01 Var 4, class 11.5.4 and are time expired. However, they were returned to Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources in 2017.

  • Function / Content
    This series consists of the inward and copies of outward correspondence of the Secretary of the Victorian Railways (VA 2876) and its predecessors. The correspondence documented a wide range of policy and routine administrative matters including the development of new railway lines and stations, rolling stock and locomotives, fares and freight rates, accidents, personnel, liaison with other branches of the railways (e.g., Traffic Branch, Way and Works Branch), and correspondence with private companies including contractors, municipalities, government departments and instrumentalities and Parliamentary Standing Committees and Inquiries.

    The first Department of Railways was established in 1857 following the establishment of the Board of Land and Works (VA 744). It assumed responsibility for the railways previously administered by the Trustees of the Melbourne, Mount Alexander and Murray River Railways. Prior to this, railway matters which essentially involved the survey of proposed lines of railway were administered by a Railways Branch of the Surveyor-General's Department (VA 2921) which subsequently became a branch of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538). As VPRS 421 includes a few items of correspondence dating from this time, the contents date range pre-dates the series date range.

  • Recordkeeping System
    The general correspondence record keeping system of the agency comprised the following series:

    - VPRS 421 Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System

    - VPRS 422 Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I (1859 to 1871).

    - VPRS 12621 Secretary's Self-Indexing Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I (1872 to 1892)

    - VPRS 12622 Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System II (1893)

    - VPRS 12623 Secretary's Self-Indexing Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System II (1894 to 1962)

    - VPRS 12600 Name Index to Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I (1859 to 1871)

    - VPRS 12601 Subject Index to Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I (by 1859 to 1871)

    - VPRS 12602 Numerical Index to Secretary's Self-Indexing Inward Correspondence Register I (1872 to 1892)

    - VPRS 12604 General Index to Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register II (1893)

    - VPRS 12605 File Movement and Attachment Books (also known as Reference Index) (1892 to 1985).

    - Name and Subject Index Cards (1963 to 1983) VPRS 16321 and VPRS 16322

    - VPRS 12599 Outward Letter Book (1858 to 1859)

    The exact date of commencement of this series (VPRS 421) is uncertain. The first unit of the P0000 consignment commences with registration number 312 allocated in March 1859.

    From 1859 to 1871

    All inward correspondence was registered in VPRS 422 Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I upon receipt with an annual single number. The register was numerical by registration number and documented where the file was put away, that is, it recorded the registration numbers of subsequent correspondence and the officers or branches to whom it was referred for advice or action.

    After registration in VPRS 422 correspondence was indexed by subject in VPRS 12601 or by name of the sender in VPRS 12600. All correspondence was then arranged and filed in registration number order in VPRS 421 Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System.

    Outward correspondence appears to have been filed separately. Subject to research, it might have been filed in VPRS 12599.

    From 1872 to 1892

    From 1 January 1872 the register became self-indexing by name of correspondent. At that time the Department of Railways I and the Department of Roads and Bridges became jointly administered. The Department of Roads and Bridges had maintained a self-indexing register of inward correspondence up to that time (see VPRS 1113 Register of Inward Correspondence).

    From 1889 a separate volume for the registration of correspondence from other government departments, municipalities and other branches of the Victorian Railways (e.g. Traffic Branch, Way and Works Branch) was maintained.

    Correspondence was allocated the next available registration number from VPRS 12602 Numerical Index to Secretary's Inward Correspondence, Annual Single Number System. The registration number and details about the correspondence were then entered in the self-indexed register, VPRS 12621 Secretary's Self-Indexing Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I under the source of the correspondent (e.g. Department, municipality etc.).

    The file movement record was maintained in VPRS 12605 File Movement and Attachment Books (also known as Reference Index).

    1893

    1893 was a year of turmoil in the Railways and a new system was apparently introduced.

    The register for 1893 was called the "Reference Index". Two volumes were used in rotation. There was a Monday, Wednesday, Friday Register and another for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The entries in each were made in a single sequence, rather than within alphabetical sections by name of correspondent. The register continued to record information on top numbering.

    All Correspondence was registered in VPRS 12622 Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System II upon receipt with an annual single number. The register was numerical by registration number and documented where the file was put away, that is, they recorded the registration numbers of subsequent correspondence and the officers or branches to whom it was referred for advice or action.

    After registration the correspondence was indexed by subject, name or location in VPRS 12604 General Index to Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System. All correspondence was then filed in VPRS 421 Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System.

    From1894 to 1962

    The use of self-indexed register resumed in 1894.

    From 1894 the registers VPRS 12623 Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System II no longer documented the top numbering of files. The File Movement and Attachment Books (also known as Reference Index Books) VPRS 12605 recorded the post-action location of correspondence and the folio (page) number of the entry in the Register located in VPRS 12623.

    From 1963 to 1983

    The agency ceased to create Inward Correspondence Registers. Instead a card system Name and Subject Index were created during this period. Correspondence was allocated the next available registration number from VPRS 12605 File Movement and Attachment Books (also known as Reference Index Books). The registration details about the correspondence were then entered in the Name and Subject Index Cards under appropriate subject headings or under the name of the sender/organisation. The File Movement and Attachment Books (also called Reference Index Books) recorded the Primary Group/Section number, eg 3 for Administration and the Secondary Number eg number 1 for Allowances, number 2 for Accommodation.

    Arrangement of the files prior to the establishment of the Public Record Office

    In 1973, following the transfer of substantial quantities of railways records to the former Archives Division of the State Library of Victoria during the late 1960's and early 1970's and prior to the introduction of the Series system, archives staff divided the records into classes and numbered each class, eg., the Secretary's correspondence was class VR 1 and the registers were VR 2, while the Railway Construction Board contract records were RCB 8. The files were then allocated an item number and indexed, e.g. a file on the supply and scrapping of locomotives became VR 1/477. The top document on the file was then annotated with this number.

    A card index was compiled at this time. It consists of cards relating to three series:

    If the file reference was in the form of VR 1/123 or 1/123 or 123, the file was in VR class 1, which is now VPRS 421.

    If the reference number was similar to 17/546, the file was in VR class 17, which is now VPRS 10706 Commissioner's Special Office Policy Files.

    If the reference included RCB 8, the file was in the eighth class of Railway Construction Board Records, which is now VPRS 419 Contract Books.

    Des Jowett, a researcher, has checked units 1 to 138 of VPRS 421 and prepared a guide to the location of the files that were numbered as VR class 1. There were 882 such files. This guide precedes the records description list for VPRS 421/P0000.

More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide062 Public Transport - Railways
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
? 1885 - ? 1980 Supplementary Index to Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System VPRS 12603
1859 - 1871 Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I VPRS 422
1872 - 1892 Numerical Index to Secretary's Self-Indexing Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I VPRS 12602
1872 - 1892 Self-Indexing Register of Secretary's General Correspondence, Annual Single Number System I VPRS 12621
1892 - 1985 File Movement and Attachment Books (known as Reference Index) to Secretary's Inward Correspondence, Annual Single Number System VPRS 12605
1893 - 1893 General Index to Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System VPRS 12604
1893 - 1893 Secretary's General Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System II VPRS 12622
1894 - 1962 Self-Indexing Register of Secretary's General Correspondence, Annual Single Number System II VPRS 12623
1963 - 1983 Name Index Cards to Secretary's Correspondence, VPRS 421 VPRS 16321
1963 - 1983 Subject Index Cards to Secretary's Correspondence, VPRS 421 VPRS 16322
By 1859 - 1871 Name Index to Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System VPRS 12600
By 1859 - 1871 Subject Index to Secretary's Inward Corespondence, Annual Single Number System VPRS 12601
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
- 1983 General Correspondence Files, Multiple Number System VPRS 12638
List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
Displaying 1 to 20 of 21  Go To First Page Of List Go To Previous Page Of List of 2 Go To Next Page Of List Go To Last Page Of List 
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0000 1852 - 1962 Part Open 1357
P0001 1883 - 1894 Open 1
P0002 1927 - 1956 Open 1
P0003 1914 - 1931 Open 1
P0004 1909 - 1959 Open 6
P0005 1956 - 1959 Open 1
P0006 1963 - 1980 Open 45
P0007 1969 - 1984 Open 29
P0008 1935 - 1983 Open 12
P0009 1947 - 1984 Open 23
P0010 1922 - 1984 Open 34
P0011 1930 - 1983 Open 40
P0012 1980 - 1984 Open 6
P0013 1970 - 1982 Open 18
P0014 1972 - 1985 Open 10
P0015 1942 - 1983 Open 6
P0016 1905 - 1993 Open 11
P0017 1954 - 1954 Open 1
P0018 1928 - 1983 Closed 99
P0019 1928 - 1986 Closed 14
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
? 1885 - ? 1980 Supplementary Index to Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System VPRS 12603
1859 - 1871 Secretary's Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I VPRS 422
1872 - 1892 Numerical Index to Secretary's Self-Indexing Inward Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System I VPRS 12602
1872 - 1892 Self-Indexing Register of Secretary's General Correspondence, Annual Single Number System I VPRS 12621
1892 - 1985 File Movement and Attachment Books (known as Reference Index) to Secretary's Inward Correspondence, Annual Single Number System VPRS 12605
1893 - 1893 General Index to Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence, Annual Single Number System VPRS 12604
1893 - 1893 Secretary's General Correspondence Register, Annual Single Number System II VPRS 12622
1894 - 1962 Self-Indexing Register of Secretary's General Correspondence, Annual Single Number System II VPRS 12623
1963 - 1983 Name Index Cards to Secretary's Correspondence, VPRS 421 VPRS 16321
1963 - 1983 Subject Index Cards to Secretary's Correspondence, VPRS 421 VPRS 16322
By 1859 - 1871 Name Index to Secretary's Inward Registered Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System VPRS 12600
By 1859 - 1871 Subject Index to Secretary's Inward Corespondence, Annual Single Number System VPRS 12601
More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide062 Public Transport - Railways