General Correspondence Files (Mental Health)
||? 1952 - 1983
||Series in Custody
||1952 - 1983
||1900 - 1983
|Format of Records:
|Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series|
|Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series|
|Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series|
- How to use the Records
Researchers wishing to locate files within this series will need to consult VPRS 8787 Alphabetical Subject Card Index to General Correspondence Files (Mental Health), to establish the number of the file on the subject in which they are interested. The index is arranged in alphabetical order by subject (e.g. Administration, Committees, Property and so on). The subject is written at the top of each card, then files raised relating to that subject are listed underneath with the file number (annual/single number system e.g. 83/1), and the file title.
There are two separate Records Description Lists for this series, one for each of the two consignments. The details included on the Lists are not identical. Both Records Description Lists for the series should be consulted as the index gives no indication as to the consignment in which the files may be located. Parts of a file may have been transferred in each consignment. It may be easier to browse through these lists rather than the Alphabetical Subject Card Index to identify the particular file required.
For the P consignment: There is a list of file titles and a Records Description List which should be used in conjunction with each other. The first lists the file numbers and file titles in file number order and the second lists the file numbers and the units (boxes) in which they are stored in the Repository. The unit number should be noted for retrieval.
For the P1 consignment: The Records Description List contains the file numbers, titles, and the numbers of the units in which they are housed. The files are listed in file number order. In this way the user is directed to the particular box of files required. The unit (box) number should be noted for retrieval.
If the file does not appear on either of the item lists (or in the box requested), then the researcher should refer to VPRS 8788 Card Register of General Correspondence Files (Mental Health). This register was used as the file registration system from which the next available annual/single number was allocated. It is arranged in file-number order. Alongside the file number is the file title, and on some cards an annotation to indicate that the file has been removed to a subsequent filing system, or transferred to the Public Record Office in the first consignment.
- Function / Content
This series contains records created by the central agencies responsible for the administration of the Mental Hygiene Act 1958 (No.6314), the Mental Health Act 1959 (No.6605) and the Mental Deficiency Act 1958 (No.6313) between 1952 and 1983.
The purpose of this series was to collate the inwards and outwards correspondence, memos, minutes of meetings and reports of the central administration of the Mental Health Division into various subject files for ease of retrieval.
Files relate to administration, policy, staffing and the development of psychiatric services within Victoria, including services provided by psychiatric and mental hospitals, clinics, child and adolescent centres, community mental health centres, domiciliary service, day hospitals and outpatient services and services for alcoholics and drug dependent persons.
- Recordkeeping System
Files in this series were registered in an annual single number sequence. When a new file was raised it was registered and allocated the next file number by using file registration cards, VPRS 8788 Card Register to General Correspondence Files (Mental Health). New files were also indexed by subject in the Alphabetical Subject Card Index to General Correspondence Files (Mental Health), VPRS 8787. Files in the series were arranged sequentially by annual single number.The contents of each file were arranged chronologically by placement of folios upon files.
There is some doubt about the exact date when this series commenced. Judging by the annual single numbering system on the file covers, this series commenced in 1952 and continued until 1983.
Within the files for 1952 the first (base) folio on each file is a sheet of brown paper. On this is another annual single number. For example file 52/2 (Sewerage and Drainage Mont Park Area) shows the number 52/67 on the brown paper sheet inside the file cover. (This brown paper sheet probably constituted the file cover in the previous filing system.) It would appear that this file when it was 52/67 had been top-numbered up from another filing system as the file contains correspondence dating from 1945 (to 1973). There are a number of files that have been top-numbered in this way. (In the process of top-numbering, files were given new numbers.)
Close examination of some of the files in the series indicates that many files were re-registered into this series in 1970. Nothing is known (in 1994) of the previous record-keeping system as a complete entity, i.e., before files were re-registered and top-numbered into this series of general correspondence files. There appears to have been extensive culling (or, dispersal?) of the files when they were brought into this series, i.e., from over 600 files in 1952 to 7 files in the new system.
Some folios on these files have numbers that indicate they were registered in other earlier correspondence registry systems, with control at document level. The number M/74, for example, was from a centralised filing system which was later decentralised.
This series has been transferred to the Public Record Office in two consignments. Many of the files have numerous parts, some of which were transferred in the first consingment and others in the second.
When the Mental Retardation Division (VA 2577) was formed in 1981, some files were removed from this series (VPRS 6344), to become part of General Correspondence Files (Mental Retardation) VPRS 6352.
The psychiatric services section of the Mental Health Division instituted a new record keeping system in 1983. Some files from the general correspondence series were top-numbered into this subsequent system which comprised two series VPRS 8827 and VPRS 8828. The remainder of the files have been transferred to the Public Record Office as the second consignment of this series (VPRS 6344/P1).
Endnote: The following files were held back from transfer to the Public Record Office at the time of the transfer of the first consignment of the series:
56/11 Bendigo Psychiatric Centre - General File Part 1 1965-1972;
56/11 Bendigo Psychiatric Centre - General File Part 2 1973-1976;
56/11 Bendigo Psychiatric Centre - General File Part 3 1977-1979;
67/139 Dandenong Psychiatric Centre - General File Part 1 1961-1970; and,
67/139 Dandenong Psychiatric Centre - General File Part 2 1971-1973.
The files were found in 1994 during a clean-out of the compactus storage units in a box with the number 229. As the files were stored in file number order in their active life, they were transferred to the PRO in May 1994 and inter-sorted into VPRS 6344/P.
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