Author: Government recordkeeping

Project background

In early 2017, Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) undertook a Physical Records Holding Survey to determine record quantities and archival significance of hardcopy records held by Victorian Government agencies. Participating agencies were asked to provide information on records within their custody, specifically regarding 19th century records and records created from 1900-1985.

A number of recommendations were made in the report, including that PROV should continue to investigate Victorian Public Sector record holdings, particularly in respect to 19th century records.

A 19th Century Records Follow-up Survey was developed to ascertain further information regarding historical records within agency custody. This survey was completed in early 2018.


Survey results

The survey identified that there are over 300 linear metres of 19th century records in agency custody, with the majority of these records being within the Local Government Sector.

Types of records predominately held by agencies include:

  • Minute books
  • Rate books
  • Annual reports
  • Financial management records
  • Land files 
  • Various maps and plans.

Almost 50% of respondents indicated that the records have been sentenced and in the majority of cases the records have been classed as permanent.


Key issues identified

Barriers faced by agencies in relation to transferring records to PROV include:

  • Resourcing
  • Lack of records knowledge
  • Location of records
  • Records still actively in use by agencies.



  • PROV should conduct further records surveys over the coming years to keep informed of the status of agency holdings.
  • Records should be assessed against a framework of high value high risk as a way to prioritise transfer of records to PROV.
  • Continuity of regular communications and encouragement of agencies to undertake transfers should be an ongoing priority.


Further information

Please see the Physical and digital records held across Vic Gov blog post for related information to this project.