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Series VPRS 5318
Court of Petty Sessions Index to Convictions
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Date Range: Series 1930 - 1958
  Series in Custody 1930 - 1958
  Contents 1930 - 1958
Public Access: Open
Location: Ballarat
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1930 - 1958 Beaufort Courts VA 996
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1930 - 1958 Melbourne Courts VA 518
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Court cases were entered in registers in chronological order. Use this Index if you do not know the date on which a petty sessions criminal case was heard. Look for the surname of the person convicted in the appropriate alphabetical section. Make a note of the date of the conviction and, if given, the case number. If the case was entered in a Commonwealth Register this will usually be indicated by the abbreviation "Cwth" or by an entry in red ink. Consult the series information for the relevant register.

  • Function / Content
    Indexes of Convictions were created in most Courts of Petty Sessions from the 1880's until the 1960's. Throughout this period, various circular instructions from the Law Department to Clerks of Court required them to keep an index by surname to all criminal convictions and orders made at their court. This index allowed clerks to find the entry for a particular case in the Court's register/s. Since the mid 1960's Clerks of Court have not been required to maintain such an index, although a few courts have continued informal indexing systems.

    Although specially printed index books were provided to all courts, the manner in which the index was kept varied from court to court. The Index usually includes the names and case details of all persons found guilty of a criminal charge under Victorian legislation. Sometimes the Index includes the names and case details of persons found guilty of a criminal charge under Commonwealth legislation. The Index does not usually include references to defendants in criminal matters who were found not guilty, or where the charges were struck out. After 1918 entries for convictions for truancy, non-vaccination, drunkenness and non-attendance at drill (under the Commonwealth Defence Act) were not required to be indexed.

    Each entry in the index gives details of the name of the convicted person, the date of their conviction and the particulars of the offence (often the name of the Act under which the charge was made is given). Some indexes also give a reference to the case number in the court register.

  • Recordkeeping System
    The records of convictions are always in chronological order by the date of hearing. The Index was created to provide access to the records by the surname of the convicted person. Within each of the alphabetical sections of the index, entries were made in order of the date of the conviction, hence, entries are not in strict lexicographical order. Researchers will need to scan the alphabetical section for the surname of the convicted person they are researching in order to find a reference to the date of the case and/or the case number.

    Convictions entered in the Commonwealth Register are usually distinguished in the Index by the use of red ink or by the inclusion of the abbreviation "Cwth".

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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0000 1930 - 1958 Open 1
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