January 2016

Personal Victorian histories revealed in newly opened archives

Hundreds of records have been made public for the first time

As of the 1st of January, hundreds of records relating to Victoria’s history have been made public as part of our annual opening of officially closed records.

These records will be of particular interest to those of you waiting on files that mention members of your family tree.

Under Section 9 of the Public Records Act 1973 files of a personal or private nature are closed for up to 99 years to prevent the violation of personal privacy. 

Included in this year’s openings is the capital case file of murderer Morris Ansell whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on the 10th of April 1940. 

The Head Nurse’s Daily Report Book from Kew Mental Hospital’s Female Wards is also an interesting record detailing activities within the mental hospital from the year 1940. 

View the full list of newly opened files here...

Dr Cade in 'Lithium and Lost Souls'

Have you read the latest issue of Provenance yet?

Dr John Frederick Joseph Cade AO began his tenure at Bundoora Repatriation Mental Hospital in 1939 as a medical officer. Having served in the Militia, Cade was appointed captain of the Australian Army Medical Corps in July 1940 and posted to the 2nd/9th Field Ambulance. From 1942 to 1945 he suffered the privations of a prisoner of war in the Changi camp. Demobilised in January 1946, Cade returned to the mental hygiene branch becoming medical superintendent and psychiatrist at Bundoora.

In 1947, Dr Cade pursued his suspicion that some mental illnesses were caused by metabolic disturbance. He experimented with lithium carbonate as a mood stabiliser, initially on guinea pigs and himself, before administering it to a selection of patients. The methods he pioneered revolutionised the management of psychosis around the world. 

Learn more about the staff and patients of Bundoora in Cassie May's Provenance article. 

Meet some of our wonderful volunteers

Our volunteers work closely with historic records from our collection

    We are lucky at Public Record Office Victoria to work with an amazing team of volunteers. Our volunteers work closely with historic records from our collection. Our volunteers are currently working on approximately 10 projects, focusing on areas of the collection such as inquest depositions, land selection documents and public works plans. All our projects have the aim of preserving our collection and making its contents accessible to researchers.  

    Here, two of our longest serving volunteers share their experiences of volunteering with us...

    Working on the land

    Check out this interview from our soldier settlement exhibition...

    "You start off in the summer and you are flat out with the harvest, and this goes on for about ten weeks. You don’t get a minute’s break – the women are busy feeding everybody and the men are flat out picking. They start at daylight and they finish when the last ray of the sun drops."

    Click on the video on the left to discover what it was like to work on a soldier settlement block before seeing the exhibition, Soldier On: WW1 Soldier Settler Stories, at Old Treasury Building.

    Frequently Asked Question:

    I've returned my records at the Reading Room counter but they're still on my orders list!

    Your record will still appear in your orders list until it is physically returned to its home location within the archive repository.

    If this is impeding your ability to order more records, speak to the Reading Room staff - they will be able to temporarily raise your order limit.

    A reminder: order limits have recently been reverted back to their original levels of 8 records per delivery with a maximum 24 records loaned out per person at any one time. 

    Upcoming Events

    What's coming up this month?

    From 11 January,
    Monday to Friday 10am-4.30pm
    NAA 'National History Challenge' exhibit
    Victorian Archives Centre Foyer
    North Melbourne, 99 Shiel Street
    Learn more

    Sunday to Friday 10am-4pm
    'Soldier On: WW1 Soldier Settler Stories'
    Old Treasury Building
    Melbourne, Spring Street

    Connect with us!

    Saturday 9 January 10am-4.30pm
    Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room
    North Melbourne, 99 Shiel Street
    Open Saturday

    Friday 29 January 10am-1pm
    How to Write a Non Boring Family History
    Victorian Archives Centre
    North Melbourne, 99 Shiel Street
    Bookings required

    Saturday 30 January 10am-4.30pm
    Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room
    North Melbourne, 99 Shiel Street
    Open Saturday 

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