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17.05.12 >

Issue #1
May/June 2012

Reading Room News

A message from the Assistant Director, Access Services:

In the midst of the rush to provide services online in the 21st Century, is there still a need for a physical space where people can interact directly with original records?  We think there is, and our recent survey supports that view.  However the internet evolves, there will always be that iconic, personal or simply fascinating original record that we hold in our Collection that somebody wishes to have access to, in an space set up especially to provide a safe environment that's conducive to research and reflection.
We strive to provide just such a space, and we highly value the feedback that you give us on how we provide that space, and how we deliver the services supporting your research.  This newsletter is just one recognition of your overwhelming feedback requesting regular information from us on Reading Room services.  It's entirely for your benefit, so please tell us what you like, and what else you'd like to see, and we'll make sure future editions tailor the content to your needs.  Read on and enjoy!

Graeme Hairsine
Assistant Director, Access Services

Welcome to the first edition of the bi-monthly Reading Room newsletter where everything Reading Room-related will be communicated to you.

In this edition, we show you ‘What’s New’ in the Reading Room, and share with you the latest Visitor Satisfaction Survey results.  We have provided you with some fast facts about our Reading Room, we take you for a walk down sustainability drive and even introduce you to the Access Services team who work in the Reading Room each day.  We have included some key dates to put into your diaries regarding talks, seminars and events in the coming months.  And in each newsletter, we will also share with you some exciting records from our collection as showcased by our Access Services Officers.


Did you know...

Reading Room Hours and Locations
Our North Melbourne Reading Room is open Monday to Friday and the second and last Saturday of each month (excluding public holidays) from 10.00am to 4.30pm.
Our Ballarat Archives Centre Reading Room is open Monday and Tuesday from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
Check out our Plan Your Visit page
Reading Room Conditions - Victorian Archives Centre & Ballarat Archives Centre

Did you know that there are certain items which can and cannot enter our Reading Rooms.  For example, to protect our amazing original records, we do not allow pens to be brought into the reading room.
See the full list

What’s New

Finding your way around the reading room and the Victorian Archives Centre has never been easier with our new signage.

The Access Services Team

Ask us

Next time you are in the Reading Room in North Melbourne, be sure to say hello to our Access Services Officers: Charlie, Pam, Sash, Kat, Kim, Jelena, Robin, Kerry, Christine, Georgia and our fantastic team leader Sandra.
Their role is to support and assist you with your research of our Collection.  They are not trained Archivists however each officer has had experience in assisting many researchers over their time at Public Record Office Victoria.  Whilst the team can provide you with the basic support and assistance, with over 12 million individual items in our collection, they don’t know every record that we hold.  Each officer may know different aspects of the collection, and it may be necessary for them to ask that you wait a moment so that they can discuss your enquiry with their colleague.

Sometimes you, as a researcher, find records that have not been seen since being transferred to us from the agency.  These we like to call “Unexpected Discoveries” for you and Public Record Office Victoria.

In supporting you with your research, we have recently made some changes to our website which we hope you like.  Check out our new researcher landing page at

Our most searched topics have been created as links into our collection from this page.  Each topic has been represented with an image which you can click on to get you started.  If you have any feedback about the new researcher landing page, please let us know at

Sustainability Drive

Reducing our Carbon Footprint

We are doing our bit to reduce our carbon footprint at the Victorian Archives Centre.  We have introduced 2 digital cameras into the Reading Room enabling you to take images of records from our collection and saving them directly to a USB stick. 
We have also introduced the ability to save Microform records to USB stick and if you are on a computer within the Reading Room, you are now able to save any electronic records or images to your USB stick.

  This has been a massive 40% reduction in photocopying and a huge save on paper, toner and power.

Visitor Satisfaction Survey

Your feedback has been received

And what a survey!  We received an overwhelming 1,007 responses.  This is our biggest ever response to a survey at Public Record Office Victoria – THANK YOU.
We are currently examining over 4,000 written comments, taking each into consideration and undertaking changes to services where necessary.

The overall result of the survey was a fantastic 97% visitor satisfaction and here are some of the great comments that we received:
  • Very helpful and friendly staff, what a fantastic room
  • All of the staff are very helpful and understanding. 
  • I recently attended the PROV tour and Introduction to the PROV seminar - both were excellent.  I now have a better understanding of 'how it all works' & the excellent range of resources available.
Whilst we received some great feedback in this survey, we also must acknowledge that there is still some work to do in some of our service delivery areas and we wish to assure you that we are taking steps to address any concerns that have been raised in this survey.
Thank you once again for your feedback and congratulations to Keith Rees from Black Hill and Leonie Loveday from Abbotsford who both received a free Public Record Office Victoria publication for answering the survey.

If you have any feedback/suggestions/ideas, please email us at

What's On

Here is a snap shot of what's on at the Victorian Archives Centre in May and June.

Saturday 12 May
OPEN - Victorian Archives Centre

Thursday 17 May
Learning about education records
Victorian Archives Centre, North Melbourne

Friday 25 May
Free tour of the archives
Victorian Archives Centre, North Melbourne

Saturday 26 May
OPEN - Victorian Archives Centre

Friday 1 June
Tour of the Archives

Saturday 9 June
OPEN - Victorian Archives Centre

Friday 15 June
Tour of the Archives

Thursday 21 June
Researching Immigration Records

Saturday 30 June 2012
OPEN - Victorian Archives Centre

Exhibitions @ the Victorian Archives Centre

We saw the Queen

A special exhibition titled We saw the Queen showcases a range of Victorian records featuring the Queen including photographs, documents, objects and paraphernalia from the collection of Public Record Office Victoria.

Crowd favourites will be the unique scrapbook the children of Maribyrnong Primary School created following a visit from the Queen in 1980, and a series of menus highlighting the Queen and His Royal Highness Phillip’s favourite dishes (turtle soup anyone?)

On display from 12 June to 21 December 2012

Showcase Record

Record of War Service 1914-1919

Each month, one of our Access Services Officers researches a record within our collection which relates to that specific month in history.

The May Showcase Record, discovered by Jelena, is the Record of War Service 1914-1919, War Service Publications VPRS 14390/P1/1 from the Department of Education records within our Collection.

The Department of Education published the two items in the War Service Publications series (VPRS 14390) to commemorate the participation of its employees in the two World Wars.

The Record of War Service for the First World War, contains photographs and personal histories of those who served abroad and in Australia. Both 'The Men who Fell' and 'The Men who Returned' sections include a passage noting the men’s career and personal history, details of their service in the Great War and with those who died, the circumstances relating to their death.

This story and more images can be found in a display case in our Reading Room at North Melbourne or on our Facebook page.

Record of the Month

Dick and Jane Readers - Ministerial Library Textbook Collection VPRS 13554/P/0018, Unit 11

When I discovered the Primary School Teachers Aide, it brought back to me the memory of learning to read and the enjoyment and thrill of mastering new words before progressing onto the next reader. The characters were like familiar old friends that you think of with affection.

Kerry Harding - Access Services Officer

View the full story about these records on our wiki page at



Due to the need to undertake urgent unscheduled maintenance it is necessary for us to close the Ballarat Archives Centre Reading Room.  This closure will commence with immediate effect and is currently expected to follow through to Tuesday 22 May 2012.
An update on the situation will be issued no later than Wednesday 23 May 2012.  

Public Record Office Victoria apologises for any inconvenience experienced. 

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State Government of Victoria