Series VPRS 499
Registers of Inward Correspondence (Roads and Bridges Branch 1877-1888; Local Government Branch c.1888-1956)
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1877 - 1956
  Series in Custody 1877 - 1956
  Contents 1877 - 1956
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 - 1956 Public Works Department (previously the Department of the Commissioner of Public Works) VA 669
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
    This series registers inward correspondence in VPRS 384 General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System I. Summary details of letters received were recorded in the registers. Each letter was allocated an annual single number. Entries in the registers were grouped in categories by source, eg. All letters from Alberton municipality were registered in one folio of the A section of the register.

    Content of Registers

    Though there are slight variations in the column-headings the registers provide essentially the same information

    Registration number of the letter
    Any previous correspondence/papers (The registration number is indicated.)
    Date of the letter
    Name of Sender, whether person, organisation or municipality
    A precis of the subject matter of the letter
    To whom the letter was referred
    Date the letter was returned
    Any subsequent correspondence to which the letter was attached with the registration number and the folio number of the page of the register on which the registration entry can be found.

    Each item of inward correspondence was registered separately until around the 1950's. From then the same register number may have been assigned to several items of correspondence if they dealt with similar matters. For example under Moorabbin City in 1953 the letter registration number is used twice, once in relation to parking by-law 186 and once in relation to parking by-law 179. Both documents are placed on the same file.

    How to use the Series

    It is easiest to search for correspondence under the name of the municipality, organisation or person within the appropriate year. Turn to the appropriate alphabetic section within the register.

    It is very important to follow the chain of correspondence until the most recent registration is identified as all correspondence on the matter concerned will have been filed under the registration number of the last letter in the file (top numbered).

    To do this check the final column for the letter you have selected. If there is a registration number noted you will need to look up those registration details.
    For example:

    Letter number 76/34 may have a subsequent entry noted in its final column, 77/511.

    This means go to the register for 1877, turn to folio (page) number 256 and check letter number 511. If no year is indicated the subsequent correspondence will be found in the same register but on a different page. If no year or folio number is indicated then the subsequent letter will be found on the same page.

    Occasionally the space allocated for a particular municipal listing proved to be insufficient and it was continued later in the alphabetical section.

    System of Arrangement/Control

    With the exception of units 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the P consignment which each register the correspondence of a single year, one register is used for every two or three years. However the annual single number sequence re-starts at the beginning of each year.

    In some volumes there is also a 'general' category for each alphabetical listing. This is a list of people or organisations (other than municipalities) from which correspondence has been received.

    Series Date Range

    This series commenced on the 1 September 1877 with the amalgamation of the Roads and Bridges Branch within the Public Works Department (VA 669). Previously administration of the Local Government Act and the construction and maintenance of works under it, was undertaken by the Roads and Bridges Branch within the Department of Railways and Roads (VA 2875).

    A circular was sent to all local government bodies advising them that from September onwards all correspondence was to be addressed to the Minister for Public Works. A decision was also made that the "old correspondence" (any prior to 1877) would be forwarded to the Public Works Department building as required "in order ... that the space in your office may not be needlessly occupied." This would account for the pre-September 1877 correspondence located in VPRS 384. It seems clear that the Roads and Bridges Branch's correspondence was from the start maintained separately from the central correspondence of the Public Words Department: "for the greater convenience of the Branch a separate registration book of papers and press letter copy book is to be kept." [VPRS 384/P unit 1, file no. 77.8/3802]

    Other records within this recordkeeping system

    It would seem likely that this system would also have contained a numerical register from which the annual single numbers would have been allocated. Units 1 and 2 of the P consignment of this series have slim numerical registers that record which folio the letter has been registered in. It is possible the numerical registers for rest of the registers in this consignment are not extant or that a separate sequence was used after 1880 which has not been transferred to archival custody.

    It is also possible that some form of subject index was also used in order to provide references to correspondence on a subject/topic that contained letters received from different people/organisations. No such subject index has been identified in archival custody.

    File Note

    Though it has been dated in the Summary Guide 1990 that the Local Government Branch took over the local government function from the Roads and Bridges Branch in 1888 volumes in this series up to 1913 record 'Road and Bridges' on their covers. The volume 1914-16 is the first to record 'Local Government Branch' on its cover.

    Link between VPRS 499 to VPRS 1113.

    While there are some indications that there may be some link between these series without further investigation the link appears tenuous. It is possible these 1871 registration numbers located in VPRS 499 may refer to Department of Railways and Roads Correspondence (especially as many seem to have "Rails" written above the registration number).

    Within the 1877 - 1878 register are references to previous papers in 1871. (only few references found). Checking back to the 1871 register located in VPRS 1113 reference to only one of four letters noted could be located.

    Found - Under 'B' category in 1877 to 1888 register Paper 265 was found to have previous papers 71/3382. This was found under Buninyong Shire in 1871 register.

    This entry was followed through subsequent references to 1880/121. When correspondence was checked all had been top numbered under 80/121 with the exception of the 1871 letter. This letter can not be found in the correspondence of 384.

    Other references to 1871 in the 1877 register could not be found in 1871 register (currently VPRS 1113).

    Examples checked in '77 register were
    - Under 'G' 1005 refers to 71/4790. - could not be found.

    - Under 'M' 1720 refers to 71/5111 - could not be found.

    - 'M' 2140 refers to 66/661 (from Mines Dept). On checking 1866 register of VPRS 1113 - no letter could be found under 'M'.

  • Function / Content

  • Recordkeeping System

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Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1877 - 1956 General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System I (Roads and Bridges Branch 1877-c1888; Local Government Branch c1888-1958) VPRS 384
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
- 1956 Card Register to General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System I (Local Government Branch 1956-1958) VPRS 5722
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 1877 - 1956 Open 34
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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