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What do I need to know?
Below you can search locations or subjects of interest, such as name of ports or ships, or types of facilities, and optionally, apply approximate dates relating you are researching.
Note that there are separate searches specifically for:
How do I search?
Enter a keyword and / or a date range into the search below.
For a more exact search use inverted commas on multi-word search terms, for example, "Victoria Dock", "Portland aerodrome" or "HMS Repulse".
On the search results page, use the filter toggle arrows to the left of the page to narrow the results either by date, series or government department that created the records.
About these records
Various Victorian government departments and agencies have been responsible for ports, harbours, shipping and airports. The records they created as a result of this work documents the circulation of goods and people around Victoria, interstate and internationally, and also provide a rich source of information about Victoria's built environment and infrastructure. These records mainly relate to commercial and civilian shipping and aviation rather than military ships and planes. Some aspects of the administration and regulation of Victoria's ports and airports, particularly in relation to major airports, are regulated by the Australian Government and therefore records will be held by the National Archives of Australia.
Who created these records?
The records that you will find from this search are more than likely going to be from one of the government agencies listed below (although some results may be from other agencies):
- Department of Trade and Customs, 1851-1901 (VA 606)
- Port Phillip Sea Pilots (Port Phillip Pilot Service), 1854-cont. (VA 4180)
- Public Works Department, 1855-1987 (VA 669)
- Melbourne Harbor Trust Commissioners, 1877-1978 (VA 2799)
- Marine Board of Victoria, 1888-cont. (VA 1424)
- Port of Geelong Authority, 1905-1997 (VA 1425)
- Royal Commission on the Geelong Harbour Trust, 1912-1912 (VA 5163)
- Warrnambool Harbour Board, 1928-1936 (VA 2836)
- Transport Regulation Board, 1933-1983 (VA 2738)
- Select Committee on the Airport, 1935-1935 (VA 4896)
- Port of Portland Authority, 1951-1996 (VA 1427)
- Port Phillip Authority, 1966-1984 (VA 1102)
- Port of Melbourne Authority, 1978-1996 (VA 1426)
- Melbourne Port Corporation, 1996-2003 (VA 4837)
- Port of Melbourne Corporation, 2003-cont. (VA 4028)
Order the records of interest and view in our Reading Room. Some records are digital records and can be accessed directly online.
What are in these records?
Because this search covers a number of agencies relating to ports, ships and airports in Victoria, the records you will be exploring are of diverse types and purposes. You can expect to find records that are:
- images (negatives, slides and photographs)
- plans and drawings
- committee records
- inquiry transcripts
- employee records
- contract and financial records
- survey and journal records
There may be some digitised images relating to ports, ships and airports in your results, to see these at the top of your search results select the Digital option in the View Record filter toggle arrows on the left of the screen. You can also use these to explore only results from particular series or created by particular agencies.
The Log of Logs and transcripts of Release Book Ships Crew, volumes 1 and 2 (original volumes closed to public access due to fragility) can be requested from reading room staff at the Victorian Archives Centre. The Log of Logs can be used to find the names of ships and where information about these ships is held.