Victorian Genealogy

Finding People and Places in Victoria, Australia.

 


Land Records

 


CROWN LAND

Crown land is land that is held by the government.

Much of the Crown land in early Victoria was held under pastoral licences from the government. See Pastoral Runs.

From 1855 miner's rights which were required before mining operations could be undertaken. Historically these also gave the right to occupy up to four acres of Crown land. See Miner's Rights.

Selection of Crown land began in Victoria in 1860. See Land Selection and Occupation Records.

Once the land has been sold ie alienated it passes to private ownership. See Land Ownership Records.

Land that has not been alienated remains Crown land. Public schools, public universities and colleges, public hospitals, public mental asylums, public cemeteries, some churches, some abattoirs, some markets, municipal buildings and land, public roads, government railways, forestry reserves, national parks, parks, recreation reserves and racecourses may be located on Crown land.


PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - MICROFICHE CATALOGUE TO CROWN LAND AND SURVEY FILES

In order to find the unit number for files relating to Crown land either a file number (obtainable from the Parish or Township Plan see Parish Plans) is required or an allotment number, section number and name of township or parish. The VPRS and unit number can then be located in the Microfiche Catalogue to Crown Land and Survey Files. This is not online.

 


PASTORAL RUNS

Also see Pastoral Run Plans under Plans.

Also see Historic Plans Collection under Plans.

Pastoralists were also known as squatters. They held pastoral runs illegally or under licence.

Governor Darling of the colony of New South Wales created what is known as the 'limits of location', creating two areas within the colony by a Government Order on 5 September 1826. Settlers were only allowed to take up land within the ‘limits’. A further Government Order on 14 October 1829 increased this area of approved settlement to include an area called the Nineteen Counties; this included Sydney and the settled area surrounding it.

Governor Bourke of the colony of New South Wales sought to legalise and regulate squatting through legislation in 1836. The regulations consequent to the 1836 Act included issuing licences to settlers to depasture their stock on the vacant Crown lands beyond the limits of location, on application to the Colonial Secretary.

Lists of pastoral runs appear in government gazettes. See Government Gazettes.

Lists of pastoral runs appear in newspapers. See Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.

 

NEW SOUTH WALES RECORDS

 

NEW SOUTH WALES STATE ARCHIVES AND RECORDS - SQUATTERS AND GRAZIERS INDEX 1837-1849 (NRS 906, NRS 1391)

This is an index to holders of depasturing licences and others who were occupying Crown land beyond the Nineteen Counties, and who were visited by the Commissioners of Crown Lands.

https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/archives/collections-and-research/guides-and-indexes/squatters-and-graziers-index

 

ANCESTRY - NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, DEPASTURING LICENSES, 1837-1846

These records are provided in association with State Records Authority of NSW. This is a collection of depasturing licenses for individual squatters from the government of New South Wales. The licenses permitted settlers to graze stock on Crown lands. They allowed grazing to happen beyond the limits of location (the 19 counties that included Sydney and the settled area surrounding it) and were renewable and good for one year.

https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=1790

 

VICTORIAN RECORDS

 

ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, SELECTED TRIAL BRIEF AND CORRESPONDENCE REGISTERS AND OTHER IMAGES, 1837-1993

These are provided by Public Record Office Victoria. These records are not indexed but can be browsed by description and range. They are:

https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=60672

 

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA GENEALOGICAL INDEX OF NAMES - MARION BUTTON DEPASTURING LICENCES INDEX 1840-1851

These are extracted from Port Phillip Herald and The Argus.

https://www.gsv.org.au/article/our-collection

 

VICTORIAN PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS DATABASE - OCCUPANTS OF CROWN LANDS 1853

The database is searchable.

https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1853-54NoC4.pdf

 

VICTORIAN PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS DATABASE - CROWN LAND LICENSES 1856

The database is searchable.

https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1855-56NoC36.pdf


FINDMYPAST - CROWN LAND LICENCES VICTORIA 1851-1855

It lists the occupants of crown land licenses for the years 1851 to 1855. It is arranged by district, including: Gippsland, Murray, Portland Bay, Western Port and Wimmera. They are taken from publications presented to Parliament in 1853 and 1856. This is searchable by name.

https://search.findmypast.com.au/search-world-Records/crown-land-licences-victoria

 

FAMILYSEARCH - GELLIONS STATION,YARRAM. ACCOUNT BOOK 1868-1892

Original records in possession of the Port Albert Maritime Museum, Port Albert.

https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/59601?availability=Family%20History%20Library

 

MINER'S RIGHTS

From 1855 a miners' right is required before a mining claim could be occupied and mining operations undertaken. Historically these also gave the right to occupy a quarter acre of Crown land for a residence. Miner's rights needed to be renewed annually. In 1858 holders of miner's rights were also given the right to operate a business on Crown land (such as a shop or hotel), the right to fell timber on claims and the right to build races and dams on Crown lands for mining purposes. Miners' rights were obtainable from the local court. See Court Records. Various records relating to miners' rights are also held by Public Record Office Victoria. They are not online.

If the land held under miner's right was purchased, the miner's right needed to be surrendered and may be found in the land purchase records. See Land Ownership Records.

 


LAND SELECTION AND OCCUPATION RECORDS

See Parish and Township Plans under Plans.

See Put Away Plans under Plans.

Selection began in Victoria in 1860. There were various schemes where people could select land and pay it off over many years or they could just hold the land under licence for a number of years. There were various Acts of Parliament detailing these schemes; the Section under which people took up the land, laid the conditions for their possession of the land.

Public Record Office Victoria holds land selection and occupation files. Some of these can be accessed through the catalogue under the name of selector. All World War 1 Soldier Settlement Scheme records are included.

Parish and Township Plans detail the Crown grantees of the land. The Crown grantees may have selected the land prior to purchase. The number on the Parish or Township Plan is the application number. The lower numbers are the Section numbers under which the land was selected. These numbers may be required in order to find the file at Public Record Office Victoria.

Put Away Plans are earlier versions of Parish Plans which may show earlier landholdings; these may either be earlier Crown grants (the land has been since subdivided) or selections where the occupier failed to purchase the land.

Certificates of Lease are searchable at Public Record Office Victoria. A volume and folio number is required to find the correct certificate. These may be found in private documents, probate records or land selection records.

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - LAND SELECTION AND CORRESPONDENCE FILES C.1856-C.1984 (VPRS 5357)

This series is partly open. It may be accessed through the catalogue under the name of selector.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/

 

FAMILYSEARCH - GEELONG LAND DISTRICT. APPLICATIONS FOR ALLOTMENTS 1886-1950

Original records held at the Geelong Historical Records Centre, Geelong.

https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/551220?availability=Family%20History%20Library


PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - WORLD WAR 1 SOLDIER SETTEMENT SCHEME 1917-1935

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/researching-land-and-property/soldier-settlement-scheme


PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - BATTLE TO FARM, WW1 SOLDIER SETTLEMENT RECORDS IN VICTORIA

Soldier settlements were land settlement schemes where soldiers who had returned from the war were able to lease or buy land. They are searchable.

http://soldiersettlement.prov.vic.gov.au/

 

ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, BATTLE TO FARM, 1919-1935

Soldier settlements were land settlement schemes where soldiers who had returned from World War 1 were able to lease or buy land. They are searchable.

https://www.ancestry.com.au/search/collections/61864/


FINDMYPAST - VICTORIA, WORLD WAR ONE SOLDIER SETTLERS INDEX

Soldier Settlements were land settlement schemes where soldiers who had returned from the war were able to lease land. The original records are held by Public Record Office Victoria. The index is searchable.

https://search.findmypast.com.au/search-world-Records/victoria-world-war-one-soldier-settlers

 

PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS

 

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA GENEALOGICAL INDEX OF NAMES - VICTORIAN PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS

This includes the following name index:

https://www.gsv.org.au/article/our-collection

 

GOVERNMENT GAZETTES

Government gazettes may record an application for a licence or lease. Once an application has been successful, the application number is usually given. This is needed in order to find the file at Public Record Office Victoria. Government gazettes may also record an application to transfer the license or lease or the forfeiture of a licence or lease. See Government Gazettes.

 

NEWSPAPERS

Newspapers may report an application for a licence or lease or an application to transfer the license or lease or the forfeiture of a licence or lease. See Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.


LAND OWNERSHIP RECORDS

The land transfer system in Victoria operates under two systems:

 

GENERAL LAW 1837-1862

The documents relating to General Law are to be found in the General Law Library at Laverton.

From 31 December 1998 every time a land transfer takes place under General Law there is a requirement that the land be converted from the General Law system to the Torrens Law system.


CROWN GRANTS

When the land was alienated before 2 October 1862 the crown grant documents can be found in General Law Library. Crown grants may be seen on Parish and Township Plans. See under Plans. There is a computer surname index to Crown Grants made under General Law at the General Law Library.


MEMORIALS

Memorials may be registered when land was transferred, mortgaged or leased; these can be found in General Law Library. It was not compulsory to register memorials though it was usually done. Memorials are indexed by vendor.


APPLICATIONS FOR CERTIFICATES OF TITLE

When an application was made to convert to the Torrens Law system; ie obtain a certificate of title, a file of the application and all the associated legal documents was kept. These may include all the conveyance and mortgage documents since the crown grant. The applications for certificate of title can be seen at Public Record Office Victoria (VPRS 460). An application number is required to find the correct file; these are the green AP numbers shown on the maps on the Land and Survey Spatial Information (LASSI) website.

https://maps.land.vic.gov.au/lassi/


SEARCH NOTES

When an application was made to convert to the Torrens Law; ie a certificate of title, a search was made of the history of land transactions relating to the land. The Search Notes are filed in the General Law Library under the same application number as the application for the certificate of title (see above).


TORRENS LAW 1862-Present

CROWN GRANTS

When the land was alienated after 2 October 1862 the first certificate of title issued is the Crown grant. Crown grants may be seen on Parish and Township Plans. See under Plans. There are microfiche in the General Law Library that state the volume and folio numbers for Crown Grants after 1862.

CERTIFICATES OF TITLE

Up to 1999-2002, these are searchable at Public Record Office Victoria; this is before they became computerized. They are also viewable at the General Law Library, Laverton. A volume and folio number is required to find the correct certificate. These may be found in private documents, probate records or the application for certificate of title file if the land was alienated before 1862. There are microfiche in the General Law Library that state the volume and folio numbers for Crown Grants after 1862.

The certificates of title are searchable backwards and forwards in time as the volume and folio numbers for previous (provided it is not a Crown Grant) and successive certificates of title are given on the certificate of title. Mortgages and caveats may be listed on the certificates of title. Certificates of title are downloadable on the Landata website.

https://www.landata.vic.gov.au/

 

OTHER LAND PURCHASE RECORDS


CROWN GRANTS

FAMILY HISTORY CONNECTIONS - VICTORIAN CROWN GRANTEE INDEX

This may be viewed online at the Family History Connections website. For members only.

https://www.familyhistoryconnections.org.au/index.php/resources

 

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT GAZETTES

The land that was being put up for sale by the government may be “gazetted” ie a notice was placed in the government gazette some months prior to the auction date. Once the sale has gone ahead and the title deeds were ready for collection a notice may have been placed in the government gazette. See Government Gazettes.


NEWSPAPER REPORTS

The government may have advertised the auction sales in newspapers. Once the sale has gone ahead, newspapers may report details of the auction and the purchasers and the prices paid. Once the title deeds were ready for collection a notice may have been placed in the government gazette. Some newspapers then reported notices in the government gazette which related to their district. See Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.


RECORDS OF SALES MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT

The government kept registers of the purchasers of land. These include the details of the land, names and addresses of purchasers and the date of purchase. If land was reserved for special purposes such a church or school this was also recorded. These records are held by the Public Record Office Victoria.

The government kept reports of land sales by public auction. These include the date of purchase, the details of the land, the reserve price, names of purchasers, the deposit paid, the balance paid and the total paid. These records are held by the Public Record Office Victoria.

Sale Contract Books were kept by the Government for the sale of Government land. These may include the details of the land, signatures, names and addresses of purchasers or their agents, the date of purchase and the amount of deposit and the total amount paid. These records are held by the Public Record Office Victoria.

Registers of Deeds were kept by the Government for the sale of Government land. These include the details of the land, names of purchasers, the date of the deeds, the date the deeds were received, the date the deeds were issued, the fee paid by the purchasers as well as a signature of the purchasers (or their agent). These records are held by the Public Record Office Victoria.


REAL ESTATE SALES

A property may have been advertised for sale in newspapers the way real estate is sold today. Once the sale has gone ahead, newspapers may report details of the auction and the purchasers and the price/s paid. See Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.

Also see Real Estate Agents and Auctioneers.

 

LAND TAXATION RECORDS

See Rate Records.

Also see Rate Records (A-Z).


FINDMYPAST - LAND TAX REGISTER AND VALUATION VICTORIA 1888

The Victorian Land Tax Register and Valuation was a supplement to the 7 December issue of the Victorian Government Gazette 1888. It is searchable.

https://search.findmypast.com.au/search-world-Records/land-tax-register-and-valuation-victoria

 

 

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