Series VPRS 515
Central Register of Male Prisoners
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1850 - 1948
  Series in Custody 1850 - 2011
  Contents 1850 - 1948
Public Access: Part Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical/Digital
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1855 - 1871 Chief Secretary's Department VA 475
1871 - 1948 Penal and Gaols Branch, Chief Secretary's Department VA 1464
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1992 - cont Department of Justice VA 3085
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    All records in this series which are open to public inspection or closed to inspection due to fragility have been digitised, and can be viewed online.

    Browse consignment P1, or search the entire series using a given name, surname or registration number of a prisoner as your search term.

    The register is arranged in prisoner number order. Prisoner numbers were allocated to prisoners on reception at the prison. To locate details of individual prisoners refer to VPRS 10867 Alphabetical Index to Central Register of Male Prisoners (1868 - 1947).

  • Function / Content
    This series commenced as a register of prisoners received at Melbourne area prisons, including the Collingwood, Carlton and Williamstown stockades, the Eastern Gaol, the Hulks and Pentridge. It is uncertain where the record was located from 1850 c.1860, possibly Melbourne Gaol.

    From c.1860 Pentridge became the central prison for the Melbourne area and unless the prisoner passed through Pentridge it is unlikely that there will be any reference to them in VPRS 515.

    From this date the series was likely to have been located at Pentridge but was part of the Chief Secretary's Department (and from 1871 the Penal and Gaols Branch) record keeping system and should not be considered a Pentridge record. It was created by the Department as part of its responsibility for the management of all prisons.

    In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was common practice for a prisoner to be sent from the court to the local prison, e.g., Ballarat, Beechworth and Geelong. Therefore it is very important for researchers to know where the trial took place. If the trial was in Melbourne the prisoner is likely to be registered in VPRS 515 but if the trial took place outside the metropolitan area the prisoner was most probably sent to the local prison. Researchers should check the records of local prisons, see PROV finding aids for details of PROV holdings of prison records.

    In the prison system there was no state-wide central registration of prisoners (both male and female) until the introduction of the computerised Prison Information Management System (PIMS) in 1985.

    The subsequent series is VPRS 11508 Male Prisoner Registration Cards (Sequential Number Series).

    Photos commenced c. 1872 for prisoners sentenced longer than 6 months. Prisoners sentenced for shorted terms were not photographed. Photos were routinely taken when the prisoner was first received by the prison and just before release.

    Details record in the Register include:
    - prisoner number
    - name
    - photo (if long term)
    - personal description (height, weight, hair colour)
    - sentence
    - date of conviction
    - offence
    - where and before whom tried
    - particular marks
    - previous history (e.g. whether married, known associates)
    - prison
    - when received
    - offences, sentences
    - extension to sentence.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Prisoners were registered sequentially within a single number system (i.e., 1, 2, 3, etc.) in the course of being sent to gaol. The numbers were allocated from the register. Prisoners retained their prisoner registration number and if re-sentenced the original entry in the register was updated.

More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide058 Prison Records
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1868 - 1947 Alphabetical Index to Central Register of Male Prisoners VPRS 10867
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
- 1948 Male Prisoner Registration Cards (Sequential Number Series), See VPRS 11510 VPRS 11508
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 1850 - 1948 Part Open 100
P0001 1850 - 1948 Open N/A
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
1868 - 1947 Alphabetical Index to Central Register of Male Prisoners VPRS 10867
More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide058 Prison Records