Not that hard: Victorian Land Memorials [old General Law titles]

Bound Memorials

Bound registers in the Memorials Library, Melbourne

This blog will guide you through the steps to find a Victorian Land Memorial – follow the footsteps of your guide – Joan Hunt – who kindly took the photographs and demonstrated this procedure to the Geelong & District Historical Association quarterly meeting – February 12, 2011.

This guide is the start of a series called “Not that hard!” – hopefully it will help you realise that it’s not that hard to find a Memorial at the Registrar-General’s Office in Melbourne.

Of course there is no guarantee that you will find a Memorial for YOUR ancestor, but if it’s there, this guide should help you find it.


Memorials Library at Marland House
10th Floor
570 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000


General Law Titles – some background information


Take the lift to the tenth floor.  On leaving the lift note that there are glass doors both to the left and to the right.  Note the glass door with “Registrar-General’s Office” marked on it and enter.

You will pay $2.00 per hour per person. [Fee applicable Feb 2011 - obviously this amount could change in the future.]

At the counter ask for a pass into the Memorials Library, and also ask for a photocopying card.  You will use the card to access the photocopy machine but not pay until the end of your visit.

Return past the lifts and enter the opposite glass doors.  Immediately through the doors on your left is a door labelled Memorials Library – use your pass to gain entry.

In the Memorials Library you will find the bound Memorials of the conveyance (or lease or other Instrument) of land under the General or Old Law, relating to land granted by the Crown between 1838 and 1862.  The Torrens System of land registration was introduced on 2 October 1862.

NOTE: Numbers in [brackets] refer to images in the image gallery below.


Walk ahead to the compactus and note the photocopier against the wall to your right [No 2], and to your left benches along the middle of the room stretching the full extent of the row of compactus [Nos 3, 8 & 9].

Behind the benches in shelves against the wall are volumes bound in brown cloth, hardcovers, alphabetically labelled, and clearly designated Second Series. [Nos 4 & 5]

At the end of them, next to the Z volume, there are two white-cloth covered bound volumes A-K and L-A which are labelled First Series. [Nos 5 & 6]


The search is in three stages.  Our example is a search for Edmond BUCKLEY who had land interests on the coast near Cobden in the 1850s, hence we will search the FIRST SERIES.

FIRST SERIES: covers the years 1838 to 1859
SECOND SERIES: covers later years with some overlap


First you must consult the indexes in the wall shelves. [No 5]
In Series One Nominal or Name Index, Volume 1 A-K was searched for Edmond BUCKLEY [No 6].
In the columns to the left for Edmond BUCKLEY:
Book 44, Number 392. [No 7]
NOTE: If you can’t read the details there are “reserve” copies of these volumes – you made need to ask for them.


Consult the Series One volumes under the benches using the Book and Number found in STAGE 1. [Nos 8 & 9]
These white-cloth covered bound volumes are all labelled in black writing.  These are the numerical indexes which give a page full of details of land transactions of a particular person – in this case we select Book 44 and Folio or Page Number 392. [No 10]

There were three entries for Edmond BUCKLEY: [No 10]

  • Book 46, No 614 – Patrick COADY – Woranga part por 15
  • Book 63, No 319 – Patrick COADY – Woranga pt sec 15
  • Book 64, No 267 – J A GOOLD – Woranga pt sec 16

In this case the first entry is chosen to view the Memorial of the Transaction (or Instrument as it is usually known).


Go to the compactus for Series One – they are arranged in numerical order – select Book 46.
Take the Memorial Book to the bench and open it at Page (or Folio) 614. [No 11]

The Memorial (Book 46, No 614) shows that it is a Conveyance. [No 12]
Edmond BUCKLEY and Patrick COADY are the two parties involved and the date is 10 March 1857.
There is also a witness name.

The right hand side of the document describes fully the land being conveyed – sometimes, if it is a hotel for instance, it may well state that the transaction contains the wooden building of eight rooms known as the King’s Arms Hotel and the outbuildings and stables attached, or something similar.  General there is no description of buildings.
At the right is the amount of money paid by the one party to the other. [No 13]

At the lower left of the Memorial is Edmond BUCKLEY’s signature. [No 14] 


Follow the same procedure as for FIRST SERIES but using the volumes identified as SECOND SERIES.



Joan learnt these procedures some years ago when she attended a Summer School run by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.  Check to see if societies in your area run similar programs or courses.

The above guide was valid as at 12 Feb 2011 – you should always check that procedures and/or rules have not changed in the meantime.  Information should be available from the Land Titles Office.

2 Responses to Not that hard: Victorian Land Memorials [old General Law titles]

  1. Pam Jennings says:

    A wonderful visual tour of what you are looking for that makes it so much easier to understand! There are many other land records in this room that perhaps someone knows how to access and research?

  2. Patsy Daly says:

    Visiting has been free the last few times I have visited (including yesterday). Photocopying is free too. With the push to convert from Old to New titles many also have comprehensive Search Notes too. Well worth a visit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 345 other followers

%d bloggers like this: