Not that hard: Update on Land Records

Bound registers in the General Law Library, Land Victoria, Laverton

Bound registers in the General Law Library, Land Victoria, Laverton

My original blog on researching Victorian Land Memorials [old General Law titles] was posted back in February 2011.  Since then the Land Memorial registers have been moved to Land Victoria, Land Information Centre Archive at Laverton.  The Memorial registers have been joined by the Application Files, so it’s appropriate to not only update the method for finding a Victorian Land Memorial, but also include the Application Files.

This blog will guide you through the steps to find a Victorian Land Memorial as well as an Application File – follow these steps carefully as there is NO-ONE at Laverton who can help you.  Most importantly, don’t ask the other researchers in the library – many will be professional land searchers and to them, time is money.  It is NOT their job to help you, so you must do your homework in advance and understand what you’re doing there.

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

Land Information Centre 57 Cherry Lane Laverton

Land Information Centre
57 Cherry Lane
Laverton

WHERE:

Land Victoria
Land Information Centre
57 Cherry Lane
Laverton 3026

WHEN:

8.30 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday

Closed Public Holidays

CHECK THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE for current details.

ACCESS to General Law Library at Laverton – click on the image above right to view details.

  1. Driveway access to Land Information Centre at 57 Cherry Lane, Laverton.
  2. Visitor parking area.
  3. Entrance to reception desk.

ARRIVAL PROCEDURES:

  • Report to the Reception desk – the entrance to the left of pathway off the parking area.  There you will sign in and be given an access pass and directions to the General Law Library.
  • Back out through the doors to the Reception area and follow the path to the left.
  • Through two sets of double glass doors and the General Law Library is immediately on your right.
  • Before going to the library, particularly if you’ve had a long trip, the Ladies and Gents are further down the corridor on your left.
  • You will need your access pass on the card sensor to open the double doors for the General Law Library.  Important: when you leave, you need to press the exit button on the wall at the right of these doors.
  • Once through the double doors the General Law Library is through the doorway on the left.

GENERAL PROCEDURES:

  • DO NOT use pens / biros – use pencils only.
  • YOU MAY use your camera – avoid using your flash.
  • YOU MAY use the photocopier provided at the end of the room.
  • SHARE your time using things like the photocopier with other researchers.
  • There is no charge for photocopying but do NOT abuse this privilege.
  • SHARE your desktop space with other researchers.
  • SHARE your space with other researchers – don’t be too loud.
  • TAKE CARE handling documents / registers – these are original records and any damage you cause will impact all future researchers.
  • DO NOT ask other researchers for help – they are doing their own research and may be on paid jobs – your interruption will cost them money!
  • RESPECT your fellow and future researchers.

The GENERAL LAW LIBRARY contains:

  • 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.
  • Finding Aids for Memorials
  • Application Files – created by the Clerk
  • Application Files – created by the Examiner
  • Sundry card files / indexes.

LAYOUT:

  • Left side, in compactus shelves – Application Files [Clerk] in numerical order
  • Far wall on left – photocopier
  • Shelves on far end wall – two bound volumes A-K and L-Z index
  • Shelves on far end wall – numbered FIRST SERIES registers
  • Shelves on left wall – alphabetical volumes A-Z index
  • Shelves on left wall and both sides of cabinets in centre of room – numbered SECOND SERIES registers
  • Bottom shelves on left wall, bottom shelves on both sides of cabinets in centre of room, and compactus on the right near the entrance door – Application Files [Examiner] in numerical order.  BEWARE – you will need to get on the floor to check the bottom shelves of the cabinets in the centre of the room – these are often two deep and you won’t find the second row if you’re standing up!
  • Compactus shelves on right from back wall – Land Memorial Registers

HOMEWORK – BEFORE YOU ARRIVE:

  • Make sure you understand what you’re researching – a good starting point for background reading.
  • Be familiar with the County, Parish, Section, Allotment details and associated names – don’t work on the wrong records by not knowing WHAT and WHERE you should be looking!
  • Application File number – have your Application File number(s) with you.

Application Files - Examiner [stored two rows deep]

Application Files – Examiner [stored two rows deep]

APPLICATION FILES:

  • Application Files contain references to Memorial Book transactions to enable the property to be brought under New Title.  [Torrens Title] and confirm the legal owner of that property
  • There are two sets – one produced by the Clerk and the second by the Examiner.  A Certificate of Title could be created based on the results of the latter.  It is worth checking / copying both sets as there may be variations – remember that it is the Application File created by the Examiner that will enable a Certificate of Title to be created.  You will also find some handwriting easier to read than others!
  • Application Files are stored numerically so are easy to locate.
  • Take the bundle to the cabinet tops to undo the cloth tape and clip, ensuring that you don’t mess up the order of the files or damage them.
  • Make sure you carefully do up the bundle when you’re finished – ensuring that the bundle number range is clearly displayed.  Be careful that you replace the bundle in the correct location.
  • Remember to check the second row of bundles in the Examiner group of files.

SEARCH:

There are a couple of methods of identifying the Application File No [Application No.] – BEFORE you visit Laverton:

  • Certificates of Title – trace back through Certificates of Title, identifying the Parent of each.  The Parent Title will generally be found at the top of the second page.  It will be a Volume and Folio [Certificate of Title] number until you reach the FIRST Title, then it will be an Application Number.  This method is following the Land ownership back in time.
  • Register of Applications for Certificates of Title using the Index of Applications for Certificate of Title at PROV [Public Record Office Victoria] – VPRS 405, VPRS 16705 and VPRS 460.  This method is identifying the owner of the land when it was transferred from Old Title to New.

MEMORIALS:

SEARCH:

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.

STAGE 1:

  • First you must consult the index in the First Series Nominal or Name Index – at the end of the First Series books [below left]
  • Volume 1 A-K was searched for Edmond Buckley [below centre]
  • In the columns to the left for Edmond BUCKLEY: Book 44, Number 392 [below right]

02SeriesOneIndex

Stage One, First Series Index

[No 6] Stage One, First Series, volume 1, A-K

Stage One, First Series, volume 1, A-K

Stage One, Entry for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage One, Entry for Edmond BUCKLEY

STAGE 2:

  • Select Book 44 from the First Series books.  These white-cloth covered bound volumes are all labelled in black writing.  [below left]
  • These are the numerical indexes which give a page full of details of land transactions of a particular person.  [below centre]
  • There were three entries for Edmond BUCKLEY:  [below centre]
    • 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 1
  • Select relevant Memorial Book, First Series, from the compactus file.  [below right]

Stage One, First Series book

Stage One, First Series book

[No 10] Stage Two, entries for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Two, entries for Edmond BUCKLEY

[No 11] Stage Three, compactus files

Stage Two, Memorial Books from compactus files

STAGE 3:

  • Select appropriate Book 46 from the First Series Memorial books.  Take it to the cabinet bench top and open it at Page (or Folio) 614.  This shows that it is a Conveyance.  Edmond BUCKLEY and Patrick COADY are the two parties involved and the date is 10 March 1857.  There is also a witness name.  [below left]
  • Book 63, No 319 describes fully the land being conveyed – sometimes, if it is a hotel for instance, it may well state that the transaction contains the wood building of eight rooms known as the King’s Arms Hotel and the outbuildings and stables attached, or something similar.  Generally there is no description of buildings.  At the right is the amount of money paid by the one party to the other.  [below centre]
  • Select relevant Memorial Book, First Series, from the compactus file.  [below right]

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

SECOND SERIES SEARCH:

  • Follow the same procedure as for the FIRST SERIES but using the Indexes identified as SECOND SERIES  [below left] and the volumes for the SECOND SERIES  [below right]

Second Series Indexes

Second Series Indexes

Second Series books

Second Series books

NOTE:

The above guide was valid as at Tuesday 28 October 2014 – you should always check that procedures and/or rules have not changed in the meantime.  Information should be available from Land Victoria / Land Information Centre.

The contents of this Blog cannot be blamed on Land Victoria – it was compiled and published by a private individual to assist other researchers looking for items in the General Law Library, Laverton.

Update of Ocean Grove land titles

B041RAYs Store - now demolishedA lot of titles have been added to the Ocean Grove land titles database so it’s worth checking again.  A lot of new photos have also been added – links to these can be found in the PDF Section Plans.

In the meantime, it might help people understand the Sections that make up “Old Ocean Grove” as these can be confusing – especially as every section starts with Allotment number 1 ! 🙂

WARNING – hyperlinks to photos in PDF Section files may not work in some browsers – it is best to save the PDF file then open in Acrobat Reader – the links will then work fine.

IMPORTANT DETAILS re owners:

  • Owner does NOT mean occupier
  • There are usually more changes of ownership in recent years which are NOT shown in this database
  • Transactions in the last TEN years are NOT shown in this database
  • Although details for these more recent transactions are available they are suppressed in the online version.

Plans, Allotments, Address, Transactions, Photo links

  • Old Ocean Grove Section ASection A plans
    The boundaries of this Section are:

    • Tuckfield Street in the east
    • The Esplanade in the south
    • Eggleston Street in the west
    • Madeley Street in the north
    • SECTION A file with address, transactions and photo links
    • LP1854 [lodged plan number]
  • Section B [bottom] plans
    The boundaries of this Section are:

    • Eggleston Street in the east
    • The Esplanade in the south
    • Presidents Avenue in the west
    • The Avenue in the north
    • SECTION B file with address, transactions and photo links
    • LP1855 [lodged plan number]
  • Section B [top] plans
    The boundaries of this Section are:

    • Eggleston Street in the east
    • The Avenue in the south
    • Presidents Avenue in the west
    • Madeley Street in the north
    • SECTION B file with address, transactions and photo links
    • LP1855 [lodged plan number]
  • Section C [bottom] plans
    The boundaries of this Section are:

    • Presidents Avenue in the east
    • The Esplanade in the south
    • Field Street in the west
    • The Avenue in the north
    • SECTION C file with address, transactions and photo links
    • LP1856 [lodged plan number]
  • Section C [top] plans
    The boundaries of this Section are:

    • Presidents Avenue in the east
    • The Avenue in the south
    • Field Street in the west
    • Madeley Street in the north
    • SECTION C file with address, transactions and photo links
    • LP1856 [lodged plan number]
  • Section D [bottom] plans
    The boundaries of this Section are:

    • Field Street in the east
    • The Esplanade in the south
    • Sweetman Parade [now Wallington Road] in the west
    • The Terrace in the north
    • SECTION D file with address, transactions and photo links
    • LP1857 [lodged plan number]
  • Section D [top] plans
    The boundaries of this Section are:

    • Field Street in the east
    • The Terrace in the south
    • Newcomb Street in the west
    • Asbury Street in the north
    • SECTION D file with address, transactions and photo links
    • LP1857 [lodged plan number]
  • Section E plans
    The boundaries of this Section are:

    • McCutcheon Street and Sweetman Parade [now Wallington Road] in the north east and east
    • Orton Street in the south
    • The Barwon River in the west
    • Guthridge Street in the north
    • SECTION E file with address, transactions and photo links
    • LP1828 [lodged plan number]
  • Section F [left – west] plans
    The boundaries of this Section are:

    • Eggleston Street in the east
    • Madeley Street in the south
    • Field Street in the west
    • Thacker Street in the north
    • SECTION F file with address, transactions and photo links
    • LP1858 [lodged plan number]
  • Section F [right – east] plans
    The boundaries of this Section are:

    • Tuckfield Street in the east
    • Madeley Street in the south
    • Eggleston Street in the west
    • Thacker Street in the north
    • SECTION F file with address, transactions and photo links
    • LP1858 [lodged plan number]

Background information and original announcement …

Some things are worth waiting for!  Just over 10 years ago – 10 May 2004 – I purchased and downloaded a digital copy of a Certificate of Title Vol 1946 Fol 389059.  This was the largest of several early Titles for Ocean Grove and contained 82 pages.  It, together with the other titles, was an absolute gold-mine for anyone researching early land owners in Ocean Grove.

Ocean Grove began as a private subdivision containing more than 2,263 allotments – by the time land-owner details were given to the local council for rates & valuations, unravelling the puzzle of who owned which allotment was just too hard to contemplate.

Way back in 2004 I knew these Titles were the answer to this puzzle but it just seemed too daunting.  A recent week’s holiday when it was cold and wet was the perfect environment – turning those ideas into a workable database.  And it worked!  10 years might seem a long time but when you see the end result, the wait was definitely worth it!

The names of the Sellers and Purchasers have all been added to the Geelong & District database but the detail is what will help people with their research.   These links will take you to the Plans showing allotments from the original subdivision for Sections A, B, C, D, E & F.  Reports from the Ocean Grove land database are also available in text searchable PDF format for these six sections.  These reports will be updated periodically when more Certificates of Title have been added to the database.

Ocean Grove land titles

Old Ocean Grove Section ASome things are worth waiting for!  Just over 10 years ago – 10 May 2004 – I purchased and downloaded a digital copy of a Certificate of Title Vol 1946 Fol 389059.  This was the largest of several early Titles for Ocean Grove and contained 82 pages.  It, together with the other titles, was an absolute gold-mine for anyone researching early land owners in Ocean Grove.

Ocean Grove began as a private subdivision containing more than 2,263 allotments – by the time land-owner details were given to the local council for rates & valuations, unravelling the puzzle of who owned which allotment was just too hard to contemplate.

Way back in 2004 I knew these Titles were the answer to this puzzle but it just seemed too daunting.  A recent week’s holiday when it was cold and wet was the perfect environment – turning those ideas into a workable database.  And it worked!  10 years might seem a long time but when you see the end result, the wait was definitely worth it!

The names of the Sellers and Purchasers have now all been added to the Geelong & District database but the detail is what will help people with their research.   These links will take you to the Plans showing allotments from the original subdivision for Sections A, B, C, D, E & F.  Reports from the Ocean Grove land database are also available in text searchable PDF format for these six sections.  These reports will be updated periodically when more Certificates of Title have been added to the database.

Plans and allotments:

Details of address and transactions from database:

We now have 1,519,503 records in the Geelong and District database.  This is what’s been added since the last major update on 18 May 2014:

  • Old Ocean Grove land titles: sellers and purchasers – 1,180 entries
  • Names mentioned in the Geelong Advertiser – 57 entries
  • Geelong District: Nurses from the Victoria Government Gazette 1951 – 119 entries
  • Geelong Infirmary & Benevolent Asylum: Annual Report 1889 – 1,797 entries
  • Geelong and Portland Bay Immigration Society [1845-1846]: Inward migrants ex Tasmania – 769 entries

Details on these indexes can be found in the Geelong & District Potpourri pages.

And don’t forget to search again for your ancestors in the Geelong & District Database – they could have been in the last load of additions!

Farmland, Forest & Surf: Environmental History

New book index added to Geelong & District Database.

Farmland, Forest & Surf: Environmental History, prepared by Dr Carlotta Kellaway (1998), revised & updated by Dr David Rowe (2009) as part of the Surf Coast Shire Heritage Study Stage 2B (2009).  This publication of the Environmental History from the Heritage Study was produced by the Surf Coast Shire (2010).

Introduction: The Surf Coast Shire’s special landscape features and natural beauties have been identified over many decades as factors that have contributed to its popularity both as a holiday and resort place, and a desirable place to live and work.  Although close to Melbourne and to Geelong, Victoria’s second largest town, the Shire (an amalgam of parts of the former Shires of Barrabool, South Barwon and Winchelsea) is notable for its attractive natural features and relatively undeveloped condition.  It includes coastal holiday places along the Great Ocean Road, large areas of national park and forest reserves, and extensive pastoral landscapes.

This publication includes the following chapters: The Natural Environment; Arrival and Settlement; Economic Development in the Shire; Transport and Communications; Towns; Governing the Shire; Holidaying at Surf Coast; Community Life; Housing; and an extensive bibliography.

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

Bound Memorials

Bound registers in the Memorials Library, Melbourne

This blog has been totally updated as the Victorian Land Memorials have been moved from the Bourke Street Office.

For the new details [as at October 2014] visit the updated blog.

175 years ago – Boundaries of County of Grant

Gazetteer map of VictoriaFrom the Geelong Advertiser Saturday 17 July 1841 [175 years ago] …

BOUNDARIES OF THE COUNTY OF GRANT

The Province of Port Phillip was formerly divided into two districts Western Port and Portland Bay each having a Commissioner of Crown Lands.  These districts were also called the Counties of Bourke and Grant in all matters relating to the sale and registration of lands.  The boundaries of the counties were not then fixed upon; but left to be determined when the progress of the surveys – the opening of new townships – the increase of the population – and the alienation of land from the Crown – should render it expedient to subdivide the districts, and to increase the number of the counties.  When the township of Portland was opened, at a distance of 150 miles from the capital of the county of Grant, it was considered expedient to define the limits of that county, and to make the township of Portland the nucleus of another county to be named Normanby, the boundaries of which will remain undefined until some intervening township shall be opened.  At the commencement of this year, Lieutenant Addis was appointed Commissioner, of Crown Lands for the County of Grant, Captain Fyans still holding the appointment of Crown Commissioner for the District of Portland Bay.  A considerable degree of uncertainty has since existed with respect to the boundaries of the respective districts under the jurisdiction of these two commissioners, many supposing (our selves among the number) that their limits were not distinct and independent, and that they might clash with each other in the performance of their duties; no notification of any change in the boundaries having been published in the Government Gazette, and the Proclamation of the first of July 1840 still remaining uncontradicted.  It is with considerable gratification therefore, that we publish the following description of the boundary of the County of Grant, now for the first time made public.

“The Coast Line from the mouth of the Werriby, Port Phillip, round to a point bearing south of the sources of the Barwon.  An imaginary line from that point to the sources of the Barwon. The Barwon from its sources to its junction with the Native Hut Creek.  The Native Hut Creek from that junction to the Buninyong and Melbourne road. The line of that road to the Werriby, and The Werriby River to its mouth.”

Lest the above description should not be quite intelligible to the general reader, we shall subjoin a few explanatory particulars. The county is bounded on the east by the waters of Port Phillip, from the Werriby to Point Lonsdale; and on the south by the ocean, from Point Lonsdale to a point near Cape Otway.  The River Barwon rises in the high land near Cape Otway, and runs nearly 30 miles N.N.E., forming part of the western boundary of the county.  It is then joined by the River Lee and the Native Hut Creek, and turns to the eastward, running through the centre of the county. The remainder of the western boundary is formed by tracing up the Native Hut Creek, to the point where it is crossed by the road from Buninyong to Melbourne then along that road, on the northwestern side of Station Peak to the crossing place on the Werriby near Greeves’s Inn [see note below], the remainder of the boundary being the River Werriby.

It is difficult to give an idea of the extent of the county from its exceedingly irregular outline.  In size, it is smaller than the average of the nineteen counties of the Middle District.  Its extreme length from the Werriby to Cape Otway, is about 70 miles.  Its extreme breadth from the Native Hut Creek to Indented Head is about 40 miles; but its average breadth is little more than half that number.  The area of the county may be about 1500 square miles.  It is somewhat strange, that although the boundary has been thus definitely fixed, the land in the neighbourhood of Lake Colac which has been advertised for sale, is described as being in the county of Grant, although twenty miles beyond its boundary.  When the land comes to be registered in the Supreme Court, this will be found to be a rather awkward misnomer.  A new inland county will no doubt soon be named, which will include these lands and the whole district of Geelong will eventually become divided into six or seven counties.  Of the land which has been advertised as open for selection, only two of the parishes (Murghebolac and Carrungemurnong) are properly within the limits of this county, the remaining three (Parwan, Elliminyt, and Nalangil) are in counties not yet named.  In the account of the Census which appears in to-day’s paper, it must be borne in mind that the comparatively small number of inhabitants in the county of Grant as compared to the population of Normanby, is owing to the circumstance of the latter not having any fixed boundary, and spreading over the space of nine or ten counties, so that in one place it comes within fifteen miles of Corio, and at another within twenty miles of Melbourne.

The boundaries of the county of Bourke have also been defined, but no secondary county has yet been named.  A change in the Commissionership, similar to that which has taken place here, has also been made, Mr. Airey having been appointed Commissioner for the County of Bourke, while Mr. Powlett continues to hold his situation as Commissioner for the district of Western Port.

The map above is from the State Library of Victoria and titled Gazetteer map of Victoria, March 31, 1865 and shows ‘towns, counties, railways, telegraphs, gold mining areas and some pastoral stations. Relief shown by hachures and spot heights’.

Greeves Inn: according to Les Blake’s Tales from Old Geelong

La Trobe had special interests in other parts of this district.  He and Fenwick delighted in camping and fishing by the mouth of the Barwon River where, in company with Major Mercer and Mr Learmonth, the Superintendent caught and cooked his first snapper over a campfire.  To expedite his journey from East Melbourne to Geelong he sent a relay horse in advance to Greeves Inn by the Werribee River; next morning he would ride twenty miles from home to have breakfast at the Inn, change horses there and reach Geelong by 11 o’clock; on more than one occasion he made the entire return journey in one day.

Another great article from 175 years ago.

Geelong Heritage Centre – in the beginning …

1961 proposed Sound Shell in NewtownSometimes we’re not very good at recording the history of our societies / organisations.  Consequently, I thought it was about time that I gathered various published references to the beginning of the Geelong Heritage Centre which of course wasn’t called that when it began!

Back on 30 May 1961, the Geelong Advertiser reported on the status of the Geelong Sound Shell – it reappeared in Peter Begg’s ‘Geelong – the first 150 years’ with this image of Newtown Council’s sound shell concept in the Windmill Quarry.

Sound Shell?  What does the Geelong Heritage Centre have to do with a Sound Shell?

We actually need to go back even further … between 1952 and 1954 a fund of £13,606 was raised for the mayor of Geelong’s appeal.  The object of the appeal was “the erection of a permanent feature to mark the centenary of separation [1 July 1851] and the jubilee of Federation [1 January 1901].”

In 1955 the Age reported under the heading ‘Geelong Sound Shell: Ex-Mayor Refuses to Hand Over Fund Papers’, that “Councillor B E Purnell, a former Mayor of Geelong, who is chairman of the Centenary Jubilee Commemoration Fund has refused to vacate the office of chairman and hand over the minutes. “  The committee had been appointed in 1951.

Solicitors Crawcour and Hollyhoke agreed with Cr Purnell and his co-trustees that he, Cr Purnell, was chairman of the of the fund and it was not the Mayor of the Geelong Council who was chairman of the fund.  This article also stated that “the trust funds [were for] the express purpose of providing a sound shell”.  It went on to state that “The only authority was the Attorney-General, with the Crown Law office behind him” and certainly not the local council.

The type of structure was the next item to be questioned – a sound shell seems have emerged as part of the original agreement, however in 1960 the Attorney-General and then Mr Justice Dean of the Supreme Court became involved.  The outcome was the appointment of new trustees.  The new trustees were Cr Bervin Ellis Purnell [former mayor], of Meakin Street, Geelong; Mr John Mackie Kenning, of Church Street, Rosevale via Geelong; Mr Douglas Gordon Munro, of High Street, Belmont; Cr Leonard Myer Jacobs, Prospect Road, Newtown, and Captain William George Harrison, of the Fire Brigade Station, Geelong.

Mr Justice Dean ordered that “the £13,606 in the fund should be held in trust until the citizens of Geelong had decided what form of permanent feature should be erected”.  Consequently, the Town Clerk invited members of the original 1851 Committee, “successors in office, and others including Cr Purnell to a meeting”.  Five of the seven municipalities supported erection of a sound shell and the other two said they would not object.

Of course there was no consensus: The Geelong City Council proposed a site in Eastern Park, above Hearne Parade.  “An agreement between the council and the sound shell trustees, who were holding the money in trust, was finally drawn up in 1965.”

“But when the trustees rejected one of the conditions of the agreement, the Geelong City Council withdrew its offer of the Eastern Park site.”

The Shire of Corio proposed a site at Rippleside Park and the City of Newtown proposed the one at the Windmill quarry.  A new committee was formed and called to vote on three different proposals:

  • A sound shell
  • An historic records centre
  • A new wing at Grace McKellar House

2007 Geelong Historic Records CentreThe Geelong Advertiser said that “the committee which consisted of representatives of the local chamber of commerce, trades hall council, the hospital committee of management, RSL, law association, architects’ institute, and the historical society, as well as the local councils, voted in favour of the historic record centre.”

This however wasn’t the end of it as the Investigator quoting the speech made by Sir Roy Fidge in 1979, at the opening of the Geelong Historical Records Centre, stated that “Eventually the matter was referred to the Supreme Court by the Attorney General and, after two litigation hearings, Mr Justice Lush in September, 1970 ordered that the Jubilee Funds be applied towards the construction of an Historical Records Centre in the form of a first floor addition to the Geelong Regional Library.”

2007 Geelong Historic Records CentreBy this stage the fund had grown to $55,000 which was insufficient for the centre.  Appeals to the State Government resulted in a total of $195,000 with contributions of $120.000 from the government and $20,000 from the City of Geelong.  This wasn’t enough to provide all that was desired however the architect Geoff Drinnan provided a design to match the funds, and the building was constructed by E J Lyons & Sons.

Harry Nunn, Keeper of Public Records was keen for the Public Record Office to be involved in the management and operations of the Centre which would require an amendment of the Supreme Court Order.  Norman Houghton, archivist, was appointed before the official opening and is probably in the best position to document the details and behind the scenes activities.  Joanne McKenzie was the other staff member of the centre – called the Geelong Historical Records Centre.

The Centre began with donations of items from various commercial and private organisations as well as a “substantial set of back issues of the Geelong Advertiser from the Geelong City Council and the Regional Library”.  There were also a number of items included in the archives which came from the Geelong Historical Society or were collected by them for the Centre.  No records centre or archive can function without historical items, and the large contribution by the Geelong Historical Society obviously encouraged other organisations and individuals to contribute to this amazing institution.

In addition to records for the Geelong Archives, the Historical Society donated many reference books for the Reading Room / Library and the Geelong Family History Group also contributed to the library shelves [see below].  I was going to add a few examples of the records provided by the Geelong Historical Society, then I was going to add a few more, then I added a lot!

Some of the records attributed to the Geelong Historical Society include:

  • Band of Hope Union: minutes, accounts, attendance book etc. [1905-2002]
  • Ernest Barnes: manuscript and Novel ‘Tuftowool’ on sheep raising & wool growing. [undated]
  • Barwon Grange residence: correspondence, plans & drawings and miscellaneous records. [1969-1971]
  • Barwon Jaycees: miscellaneous and copious records. [1925-1987]
  • Belcher & Co, Estate Agency: commission sales books, Alfred Belcher cuttings, insurance agents’ premiums books. [1907-1947]
  • Eunice McLeod: manuscripts – life on the Bellarine Peninsula. [1850-1950]
  • Berry Bank Pty Ltd: accounts, correspondence, wages, cash books, estate of HE & J Mack, minutes, diaries etc. [1862-1979]
  • Berry Bank Station: Joseph Mack’s diaries. [1862-1926]
  • W Berthon: Weatherboard Station journals. [1864-1875]
  • Roy & Muriel Birdsey: Gilbert & Sullivan Society scrapbooks, photos, calendars etc. [1830-1981]
  • Herbert A Boardman: personal papers. [1865-1988]
  • S R Boardman, fuel merchant: trading and P&L accounts. [1950-1955]
  • Bow Truss Building: articles, correspondence and reports. [1980-1990s]
  • Richard Bowman: diary of a sea voyage on Shalimar from England. [1854-1855]
  • Bright & Hitchcock: photographic archive and news clippings. [1875-1970]
  • British ex-service Legion of Australia: council minutes & membership items. [1965-1996]
  • J C Brown, engineer: ledgers, photo etc. [1907-1938]
  • Buckland’s Paddock Estate: sale notices book [1888- ]
  • Chilwell Library: Accession Register [1945-1969]
  • Clyde Company Wool Scour: accounts, journals, brand book, greasy wool books, shares, tannery plans, trading and auction books, shipping books, wages books etc. [1882-1970]
  • Cobb & Co agency Meredith & Steiglitz: general ledger [1898-1918]
  • Commercial Bank, Geelong: letters to head office [1905-1909]
  • Allan Cooke collection: correspondence, manuscripts local history [1962-1968]
  • Cooperative Housing Society: annual reports, journals etc. [1944-1971]
  • Corangamite Weights & Measures Union: minute books [1948-1976]
  • Dennys, Lascelles Ltd: accounts, annual wool report, construction of wool store Portland, minutes etc. [1912-1983]
  • Norman Endacott: Maps, reports etc. [1899-2001]
  • Miss D Francis: Belgian Costume
  • Geelong & District Soldiers’ Welfare Committee: miscellaneous records [1940-1945]
  • Geelong & District United Friendly Societies: minutes [1936-1975]
  • Geelong & Western District Ladies Benevolent Association: accounts, annual reports, correspondence, registers, valuations, minutes [1860-1992]
  • Geelong Archaeological Society: minutes, correspondence, membership etc. [1968-1977]
  • Geelong Automatic Telephone Exchange: mementos, books, artefacts and photographs [1912-1914]
  • Geelong Bar Committee: minutes re removal of sand bar – Corio Bay entry [1853-1860]
  • Geelong Bell Ringers’ Club: sundry records [1876-1885]
  • Geelong Bike Plan: records [1977-1981]
  • Geelong Decorating Co: ledgers [1875-1928]
  • Geelong Diary: 1850s auctioneer’s assistant [1856-1857]
  • Geelong Freeway Opposition Group: records, posters, newspaper cuttings [1973- ]
  • Geelong Garden Club: newsletters [1983-1994]
  • Geelong Girls’ Unity Club: minutes, constitution – formerly Geelong Blue Triangle Assoc. [1924-1965]
  • Geelong Historical Society: minutes & financial records [1920-1994]
  • Geelong Housewives’ Social Club: minutes, accounts etc. [1974-1994]
  • Geelong Master Printers’ Association: minutes [1912-1926]
  • Geelong Musical Society: scores, records, correspondence, accounts etc. [1846-1921]
  • Geelong Rowing Association: minutes, accounts, records etc. [1876-1967]
  • Geelong Sacred Harmonic Society: minutes and accounts [1854-1899]
  • Geelong Sea Bathing Company Ltd: capital structure records [1871-1934]
  • Geelong Shakespeare Society: minutes [1905-1908]
  • Geelong Shipping Agents’ Association: minutes [1928-1941]
  • Geelong Transportation Study: scrapbook compiled by P F B Alsop [1970-1973]
  • Geelong Volunteer Rifle Regiment: civil staff minutes [1861-1908]
  • Grovedale Progress Association: minute book [1965-1984]
  • William Harris: papers relating to Standard Oil Co [1922-1960]
  • James Harrison: biographical source notes [1816-1982]
  • Hawkes Brothers Pty Ltd: minutes, journal, ledger, photos, correspondence etc. [1853-1977]
  • W & W Higgins, solicitors: case files – crime, debt, land transactions, will, correspondence etc. [1845-1900]
  • Hirst Family Album [1935-1966]
  • Howard Hitchcock: mayoral newspaper cuttings [1917-1926]
  • Roy Holden collection – newspaper cuttings [1830-1970]
  • A P Hornsey: cutting book [1928-1932]
  • Huddart & Parker: letters, accounts etc. [1850-1880]
  • Institute of Municipal Management: members, constitution, miscellaneous documents etc. [1959-1996]
  • Inverleigh Bridge: flood reports etc. [1962-1980]
  • Joseph Scammel, ship: memorabilia.
  • W G Kendall: shipping books. [1913-1925]
  • Lucy Kerley: railway collection. [1964-1983]
  • Leopold Free Library: minutes, cash, visitors. [1882-1989]
  • Lodge – Manchester Unity IOOF: minutes, rules, membership etc. [1861-1979]
  • Lodge – Phoenix Lodge No 63 IOOF: membership records, minute books, night book, correspondence etc. [1868-1959]
  • Lodge – United Ancient Order of Druids Lodge 208: Corio Lodge minutes, records etc. [1900-1969]
  • Martin Collection: personal artifacts, books etc. [1878-1960]
  • Martin Family mementos: photos, medals, papers. [undated]
  • Peter Martin, architect: drawings and personal items [1946-1960]
  • Stewart McAdam Collection: football records, historical notes – Barrabool Hills etc. [c1840-1996]
  • Robert Norm McDonald Collection: cuttings book, Geelong Cycling Club etc. [1916-1919]
  • Geelong Mechanics’ Institute: Annual Reports, financial statements, correspondence, minutes, reports etc. [1846-1962]
  • Memorials to Geelong citizens: photograph album. [1924- ]
  • Returned Soldiers’ Woollen & Worsted Co-op: various records, members etc. [1932-1974]
  • Murphy, Ashby draper & tailor: accounting papers. [1877-1884]
  • Rhind Family: china (cups, saucers etc.). [c1790+ ]
  • Rix Family collection: books, mementos etc. [undated]
  • Roadknight & Co Estate Agency: Alfred, Frank and Gladys Roadknight private papers, ledgers, journals, Puebla Estate Co records, sales contracts, sales reports, etc. [1853-1970]
  • Sasse Papers; outward letters, photos, biographies etc. [1858-1970]
  • Silver Star Monthly: schoolboy paper. [1935-1936]
  • H L Spendlove: military training notebook. [1916- ]
  • Television introduction: cuttings etc. [1956- ]
  • Gail Thomas collection: plans, receipts etc. [undated]
  • Trait Family, soft drink and cordial makers: mementos. [1885-1963]
  • Try Boys Brigade: annual reports. [1926-1972]
  • Victorian Forage Pressing Co: wages book. [1908-1909]

This list is just some of the records / archives provided by the Geelong Historical Society to begin filling the shelves and archives of the Geelong Historical Records Centre.  They also supplied a huge number of photographs to the new collection.

The Geelong Family History Group also contributed in a very significant way – their volunteers set about indexing many of the items in the collection.  This was in the days of typewriters and carbon paper with copies being put on the shelves of the Geelong Historical Records Centre as well as the Family History Group’s library.  Fortunately the committee of the Geelong Family History Group gave permission for their indexed lists from their own library to be transcribed and added to the Geelong & District Database – an ongoing process with literally hundreds of indexes produced by their members.

 

In 2003 the name of the centre was changed from the Geelong Historical Records Centre to the Geelong Heritage Centre.  The Centre remained in that location until 2013 when their temporary home was on the top floor of the National Wool Museum while the old library and centre was being demolished.  Late in 2015 the magnificent new centre was opened.

2013Demolished

2013 – demolition

NatWoolMuseum

2013-2015 – Temporary home – National Wool Museum

Geelong Library and Heritage Centre Building

November 2015 – Geelong Library & Heritage Centre opened

Sources used for this article:

  • Age, 27 April 1955
  • Age, 16 November 1960
  • Geelong Advertiser, 30 May 1961
  • Peter Begg, Geelong – the first 150 years, Geelong Advertiser, 1990
  • ‘Historic Opening November 16, 1979’, Investigator, journal of the Geelong Historical Society, Vol. 15, No. 1, Issue 58, March 1980
  • GRS Archives Catalogue, Geelong Heritage Centre, April 2014 [PDF files for download]
  • ‘History of the Geelong Heritage Centre’ web site.

Download the full Geelong Series Catalogue [as at April 2014]:

http://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/heritage/about/article/item/8cdb5f30dcfecde.aspx

175 years ago – Geelong Harbour and Corio Bay

Hotel at Point HenryFrom the Geelong Advertiser Saturday 26 June 1841 [175 years ago] …

About 15 miles up the bay [Port Phillip], the high shores of Indented Head bend towards the westward, and the arm of Port Phillip which stretches inland nearly 20 miles, is deep, capacious, and well sheltered.  The whole of this extent is available as a shipping port, and between Indented Head and Point Henry bears the name of

GEELONG HARBOUR

The anchorage at present frequented by merchantmen is near Point Henry, about 4 miles from the town of Corio.  It is there that the wool ships take in their cargoes.  Point Henry is a peninsula about two miles long and half a mile broad, which separates Outer Geelong Harbour from the Inner, or

CORIO BAY,

across the entrance to which a bar exists, which cannot be passed by any vessel drawing more than eleven feet; the mud and shells, however, which choak [sic] up the channel could be very easily cleared away; the mud, in fact, can be sounded to the depth of eighteen feet: if the channel were deepened for about a hundred yards, the largest class of merchantmen could enter the compact basin of Corio Bay, and anchor within a ship’s length of the Jetty at the township.  The bay is nearly land-locked from the outer harbour, and is about 3 miles in diameter, the area of the anchorage (the depth varying from 3 to 6 fathoms) is about four square miles.  At present, the largest of the Van Diemen’s Land traders can cross the bar, discharge their cargoes of timber at the township, and return with a cargo of fat wethers for the Launceston and Hobart Town markets.  The rise and fall of the tide is less than in any other part of Port Phillip.

Of course history shows us that for some decades the Geelong Town Council had the channel dredged however each episode took so long that by the time the dredging was “completed” the overseas ships had doubled or trebled in size and could not fit through the newly deepened channel!  Back to the drawing board!  It was 1893 before the Hopetoun Channel was completed and opened – more than 50 years after this article!  More can be read about the history of Point Henry.

This article in the Geelong Advertiser is even more interesting as it is a LONG article titled “Descriptive remarks on the harbours of Australia Felix” and in addition to Geelong Harbour and Corio Bay it includes:

  • Moruya Bay
  • Twofold Bay
  • Corner Inlet, Port Albert and Shallow Inlet
  • Sealers’ Cove
  • Western Port
  • Port Phillip
  • Port King
  • Hobson’s Bay
  • Melbourne
  • Port Fairy
  • Portland Bay

… a truly wonderful group of descriptions of the harbours around Victoria.

The sketch above is from The Building and Engineering Journal, December 27, 1890 and shows ‘Sketches at the new summer resort: Bellarine Gardens, Point Henry’.

Another great article from 175 years ago.

Victorian Equity Case Files

Old Supreme Court of VictoriaMany people won’t know of or understand Supreme Court of Victoria Equity Case Files, BUT once they do, they will definitely want to access them!  The old Supreme Court can be seen in the photo – it was on the corner of La Trobe and Russell Streets and was built in 1842.  The image is from the LaTrobe Collection, State Library of Victoria Ref H8305.  It was replaced by the current complex known as the Melbourne Law Courts in William Street, Melbourne.  The “new” building was built between 1874 and 1882.

So why am I writing about the Victorian Equity Case Files on my Geelong & District Blog?  Because they are part of a number of indexes which will be added to the Geelong & District Database shortly.

We are indebted to Ada Ackerly for making a number of her important indexes available for all to search free online.  Obviously these are relevant to all of Victoria and not just Geelong & District but that shouldn’t stop me from making them available for everyone.  And I can reassure those researching in Geelong & District that many of these entries relate to our region.  Some refer to a location but many do not.

An example: I hesitated when I was checking some (future) entries – there was a surname of SICHLAN.  I recognised the name so checked the Geelong & District Database and confirmed that it was a “local” family variously spelt SICHLAN and SICHLAU.

You’ll have to wait before those entries are online but in the meantime I have just uploaded:

  • Supreme Court of Victoria Equity Case Files 1852-1886 Index – 569 entries.

To understand the value of these records and the files at PROV they will lead you to, read the information provided by Ada for these entries which include Companies, Property and Trustees Statutes with MANY relating to children and their guardianship.

Another gem: the BECK infants – Guardian appointed father John in New Zealand !  How useful is that for researchers?

And what about: Jane DONALDSON – nee GUTHRIE of Falkirk UK ?

And for a real local: Queenscliff Fishing Co Ltd – winding up petition in 1874.

Enjoy!

Geelong database – latest additions

Ocean Grove Certificate of TitleI love original documents and there is nothing better than Victorian Certificates of Title – a real work of art and so full of information.  Sometimes people are dazzled by the front page and miss the massive amount of information on the reverse and subsequent pages.  To date, 17,036 transactions for land in “Old” Ocean Grove have been added to the Ocean Grove Land database together with a growing number of photographs for different properties.  These have been consolidated for the Geelong and District Database down to a total of 7,560 entries so far.

Since the last major update on 25 October, there are now 1,628,809 entries in the Geelong and District Database.  Latest additions include:

  • Geelong Infirmary & Benevolent Asylum: Annual Report 1882 – 1,300 entries
  • Geelong and District: Geelong Football Club players missing photographs – 209 entries
  • Surnames of Interest entries – 15 new entries [1,133 submitters in total]
  • Old Ocean Grove land titles: sellers and purchasers – 3,856 entries

Details on these indexes can be found in the Geelong & District Potpourri pages.

And don’t forget to search again for your ancestors in the Geelong & District Database – they could have been in the last load of additions!