I visited Public Records Office Victoria today (more affectionately known as ‘prov’). It is more beautiful and modern than what I thought an archive site would look like, and it’s got a wonderfully lit reading room (with free access to ancestry.com on all its computers).
PROV has over 17 million records and to date has only digitised 1% of its collection. Digitising is a lengthy process and is commonly undertaken by volunteers. It is also getting records at a faster rate than it can digitise them.
Their records include things like:
- Prison records
- Health records
- Rate records
- Government documents
- Building plans
Finding things can be a bit tricky. I found an old plan for the Melbourne Town Hall (dated 1849), which is in a collection titled ‘Sydney’. Confusing huh? Turns out the records in this collection are all plans that were once sent to Sydney for approval.