Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.

05.10.12 >

Issue #4

May 2012

POD News - May 2012

Your News

Welcome to the latest edition of POD News

Brrrrr.... It's getting cold outside!

It’s been busy couple of months here at the Public Record Office. As the leaves start to fall from the trees the cooler weather encourages researchers indoors to the comfortable surroundings of our Reading Room and out of the gloom and rain.

There are many exciting awards ceremonies coming up in the next few months, as well the usual range of workshops and tours. Be sure to check out the what’s on page and come and visit us at Public Record Office Victoria.  Take in a tour, see our new foyer exhibition Ravelling the world, and warm your hands around a piping mug of tea at Café 99.

May 1948 MT Buffalo Chalet under snow -
PTC Collection VPRS 12800 P1 142-100

Shake Your Family Tree Day!

In review: Shake your family tree day!

Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) welcomed 336 visitors to the 2012 Shake Your Family Tree Day   event held at the Victorian Archives Centre on the 31st   March 2012. Hosted in conjunction with the National Archives and various other archive related organisations, the day promised to be unforgettable with tours of the archives, talks and information sessions amongst a few of the drawcards.

And unforgettable it was!

Guests attended information sessions on PROVs collection, such as Will and probate records, Inquests and how to become a   Wiki-warrior!  A talk held by Ann Major of the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies: Roads less travelled, was received well by many and behind the scene’s     tours of the repository were filled with both mystery and laughter.  The PROV and NAA showbags were a popular treat as usual and the great food and refreshments from Café 99 helped keep the day flowing with energy.

The Special event highlight of the day was a talk by Kirrilly Brentnall, researcher for Who Do You Think You Are? The SBS tv program. Kirrilly discussed

how the team at Who Do You Think You Are go about their research, how they approach it from a documentary view point and how to make the stories more interesting. I’m sure there were many family history idea’s born from this discussion!
A very successful Shake Your Family Tree Day was had by all. Be sure to keep your ears peeled for next yeare date - you're not going to want to miss it!
(Please note, if you missed out on Ann Major’s talk, Road less travelled, you can see her at the Warrnambool Family History Group Inc, family history seminar held on Saturday 19th May, at Warrnambool College:

Just Digitise It! Online Resources

Practical advice for starting your own digitising project

Following the hugely successful Just Digitise It! workshop delivered at Geelong Heritage Centre in April this year,  Public Record Office Victoria has developed online resources to assist organisations get started with their own digitising projects. Visit the Just Digitise It! webpage to watch the video demonstration and download the training material. You'll be digitising you're photographic and paper records in no time!

What's On

Workshops, events, training, conferences, exhibitions

Public Record Office Victoria: Sir Rupert Hamer Awards Ceremony Queens Hall, Parliament House, Thursday 17 May, 5pm - 7pm.

Public Record Office Victoria: Researching   education Records Victorian Archives Centre, Thursday 17 May, 11am - 2pm (bookings essential!)

Public Record Office Victoria: Searching    immigration Records Victorian Archives Centre, Thursday 21 June, 11am - 2:30pm (bookings essential!)

Geelong Heritage Centre: Birds Eye View  photograph exhibition  National Wool Museum, 27 February  - 1 June 2012

Public Record Office Victoria: Tour of the archives and Introduction to our Catalogue Victorian Archives Centre, Friday 4 May, 11am-2pm (Bookings essential!)

Public Record Office Victoria: Tour of the archives and Introduction to our Catalogue Victorian Archives Centre, Saturday 9 June, 11am-2pm (Bookings essential)

Ballarat Heritage Centre: Ballarat Heritage Weekend   In and around Ballarat Town Centre, 12-13 May, 10am-5pm

Ararat and the Grampians information centre: Ararat Heritage Weekend  In and around Ararat, 26-27 May,
Applications for the 2012 Victorian Community History Awards will open shortly - STAY TUNED.

Other News

Free Boxes
Public Record Office has 300, A1 size boxes (width 180mm height x 270mm x 400mm depth) to give away. Please note that the boxes are NOT acid free and MUST be collected from the Victorian Archives Centre, 99 Shiel Street, North Melbourne. For more information contact Kathy McNamara (93485 644) or Ali Ymer (93485 637).

Bellarine Historical Society members have been very busy during the past few months, replacing an old kitchen with   a new kitchen/office space. Their Family History Research room was also decked out with new carpet etc,  making it much easier for visitors to access their  many resources. The society is part of the Geelong & District Historical Association and meets 4 times a year.
They have also been busy indexing many records (over 1.2 million local names!) and these are now available through Susie Zada's Geelong and District website.
During the winter months they shall be taking part in the local Lions Club Community Raffle as well as selling many of their publications. These local history book sales have been the basis of their income for some time now, along with new residents being made aware of their presence and promoting the Bellarine Historical society as a place of deposit for     records that may otherwise be thrown out. For more, see webpage

Balarat Heritage Weekeend – Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 May 2012
Daily 10am – 5pm
Revisit your 'Childhood Memories' this Mothers Day weekend, Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 May from 10am to 5pm.   Pedal cars, tin toys, rocking horses, carousels and puppet shows are   all part of the fun and excitement as you experience Ballarat from the 1930s onwards. Wind your way through Ballarat's historic venues. Make sure you join a tour or collect trail sheets on feature heritage buildings and learn about the intriguing architectural features, mysteries and stories of these buildings.
To view or download a copy of the event program please, click here.
Ararat Heritage Festival - Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 May 2012
The recently formed Ararat Heritage Group  are presenting their first heritage weekend on the 26 and 27 May 2012! Some of the highlights include a grizzly cemetery tour, Rail Tales - stories from the Ararat Railways, Grampians Vintage Vehicle Display and even a night time tour of J WARD! Inclusive weekend festival tickets available @ $30 Adult / $15 Child / $75 Family Pass (up to 2 adults and 3 children). Please contact the Ararat and Grampians Visitor Information Centre for further details Phone 1800 657 158 or Email

Ballan Shire Historical Society Inc - The Future Looks Good for the Ballan Old Courthouse!

Rick Biden, Secretary - Ballan Shire Historical Society Inc

The Ballan Courthouse was built in 1873 by   Thomas Watts and served as the seat of local   justice until its closure on 1 January 1983. Today it is one of the   few heritage buildings remaining in Ballan.
In 1987 the Ballan Shire Council was appointed as Committee of Management with a 20 year lease and the building was restored and refurbished. The Courthouse re-opened as the Local History Records and Resource Centre on 28 July 1990, with the Ballan Shire Historical Society Inc being the sole occupier.

Over the years Moorabool Shire Council, with DSE and Heritage Victoria have undertaken repairs and modifications to the building. Unfortunately the   recent drought caused severe damage to the building.

Repair and restoration works were estimated at $218,000 and as DSE had no funds to repair the building, it looked like the Historical Society might be homeless as we could not take on the responsibility as Committee of Management, or raise the funds necessary to repair the Courthouse.

Recently my wife and I attended a seminar at the Courthouse in Beaufort and discovered that Mint Inc had become involved in the restoration of the building.

We welcome this involvement as this means the Ballan Old Courthouse will not be allowed to fall into disrepair and will be saved for the future use of the Ballan community.  For more on Mint Inc see
The Ballan Courthouse built in 1873 by Thomas Watts.
(Above-Ballan Courthouse 1963)
Today it is one of the few remaining heritage buildings in Ballan.

Victorian Railways Williamstown Workshops 1861 - 1866

Ian Jenkin, Australian Railway Historical Society - Victorian Division Inc

In the Australian Railway Historical Society Victorian Division Archives there are in excess of 50,000 images. Two are of particular interest as they show the Williamstown Workshops in 1861, two years after the opening of the line to Melbourne.  A third image was taken in 1866. All are taken from the top of the Time Ball Tower.

The period 1857 to 1862 was a busy period for the Victorian Railways. The lines from Melbourne to Bendigo and Geelong to Ballarat were under construction; along with the Williamstown Branch, which formed a link with the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Co.

The first image is labelled The Railway Workshops Williamstown, and is signed W. Haigh 1861.
In the left foreground are the stone buildings associated with the Time Ball. On the lower right is the original station for Williamstown Pier.
In the middle are the workshop buildings, with two partially assembled saddle tank locomotives, outside the main building. To their right are two of the saddle tanks awaiting fitting and additional wheel sets for another locomotive. On the track to their right is a wheel mounted crane. In the area near the running tracks are a number of objects covered by tarpaulins, these may be locomotives awaiting assembly. Beyond the Time Ball buildings are railway sleepers and additional locomotive parts.

The second image is taken some months later. A building is under construction to extend the main workshop, one of the tank locomotives is complete and in steam. A new stone building has been erected beyond the store sheds. In the upper right you can see Williamstown Station, part of which still stands.
The locomotive in the foreground is one of two G&MRCo small tank engines “Oberon”, later numbered 36 by the Victorian Railways. Photographs of G&MRCo locomotives in original condition are extremely rare and this is significant as it is actually doing something.

The third image is a closer view of the Workshops. This has been published previously, usually mis-dated as being in 1870. The locomotive in the foreground is in pristine condition; and as it went in to traffic in October 1866, this is the more likely date. A number of buildings have been added to the workshops. The small building with the tall chimney and the large coal pile is probably a boiler house. Two large building have been added at the extreme right of the photo. A long building has been added to No1 shop, behind the louvered building on the left. At the extreme right of the image, you can get a better view of the 1859 crane.
There has been an increase in the number of houses to the south of the railway, which has resulted in the original vegetation being removed.

Thank You!

For contributing....

Lee Hooper, Public Record Office Victoria
Rick Biden, Ballan Shire Historical Society Inc
Ian Jenkin, Australia Railway Historical Society
Pam Jenning, Bellarine Historical Society
If you would like to contribute to the July POD newsletter, please email your content to

Copyright © 2012
Government of Victoria | Disclaimer | Privacy | Accessibility | Contact Us
to unsubscribe click here

State Government of Victoria