Victorian Genealogy

Finding People and Places in Victoria, Australia.

 


Inquest and Coronial Records

 

OVERVIEW

Inquests and coronial inquiries are legal inquiries to establish the exact cause of death of a person. These are carried out where there was a sudden or unnatural death. Prior to 1970, a body or body part must have been recovered for an inquest to occur. The date and place of inquests in Victoria are included on Victorian death certificates. See Death Registration Records under Death Records.

Magisterial inquiries were held into sudden or unnatural deaths from 1836 until 1840. In 1840 a coroner was appointed.

For the period 1840 to 1986 inquests were mandatory if a person died in a government institution such as a prison or a lunatic asylum/ mental hospital; defective/retarded children were excluded from 1939 to 1959. Inquests were also carried out on executed prisoners from 1864 to 1975 and infants who were wards of the state in a registered house and who had died under suspicious circumstances from 1883 to 1890 or regardless of suspicion from 1890 to 1907.

After 1986 inquests were held when a person died in a suspected homicide or was of unknown identity or was immediately before death under the control of the police force, Community Services institutions (youth training centres etc), Office of Corrections institutions (prisons, attendance centres), assessment / treatment centres registered under Alcoholics and Drug Dependent Persons Act or mental health institutions.

In the 19th century, jury members were listed in inquest files.

 

MAGISTERIAL INQUIRIES 1836-1840

 

ANCESTRY - NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, REGISTERS OF CORONERS' INQUESTS, 1821-1937

These include Victorian magisterial inquiries for 1836 and May 1838 to 1840. These may be browsed and they are searchable.

https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=1785

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - MELBOURNE POLICE COURT DEPOSITION BOOKS OCTOBER 1836-DECEMBER 1838 (VPRS 51 P0 UNIT 1)

These are not online. They are transcribed in `Historical Records of Victoria' Volume 1. Edited by Michael Cannon; this is indexed.

 

INQUESTS INTO DEATHS 1840-PRESENT

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - INQUESTS INTO DEATHS (DEPOSITIONS) FILES 1840-2003 (VPRS 24)

Inquests into deaths from 1840 to 1925 have been digitized and are indexed through the Public Record Office Victoria catalogue. The inquest files are not online from 1925 to 1985. Inquests from 1923 to 1961 and from 1972 to 1985 are indexed through the catalogue on the Public Record Office Victoria website. Up to 1950, these records do not include inquests which led to criminal charges; these are included in criminal trial briefs.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/inquests-and-other-coronial-records/inquests-deaths-deposition

Inquests from 1986 to 2003 are closed to public access and a request to the Victorian Coroners Court will need to be made to access these records.

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

 

FAMILYSEARCH - AUSTRALIA, VICTORIA, INQUEST DEPOSITION FILES, 1840-1925

Inquest Deposition Files created by the Coroners Court of Victoria. The original records are located in Public Record Office Victoria.

https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1805122

 

ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, CORONER INQUEST DEPOSITION FILES, 1840-1925

Inquest Deposition Files created by the Coroners Court of Victoria. The original records are located in Public Record Office Victoria.

https://www.ancestry.com.au/search/collections/61863/

 

VICTORIAN CORONERS COURT - INQUEST FILES 2003-Present

The Victorian Coroners Court holds inquest files from 2003 to the present. To access these records you will need to make a request to the Victorian Coroners Court with the following exceptions: from 2009 there is a legal requirement that all inquest findings with recommendations be published on the internet unless otherwise ordered by a coroner. The Austlii website below holds records relating to the Victorian Coroners Court; these appear to be incomplete until 2010. Some inquests for the last 365 days may be viewed at the Victorian Coroners Court website.

https://www.coronerscourt.vic.gov.au/inquests-findings/findings


AUSTLII - CORONERS COURT OF VICTORIA 2002-Present

The Austlii website holds records relating to the Victorian Coroners Court; these appear to be incomplete until 2010.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/cases/vic/VicCorC/

 

POST MORTEM INVESTIGATION RECORDS 1959-1985

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - POST- MORTEM INVESTIGATION RECORDS (BODY CARDS) 1959-1985 (VPRS 10010)

Post Mortem Investigation Records (Body Cards) from the Melbourne Coroner 1959-1985 are related to investigations into sudden or unnatural death but where no inquest was carried out. These records are indexed through the catalogue on the Public Record Office Victoria website.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/inquests-and-other-coronial-records/post-mortem-investigation

 

 

INQUESTS INTO FIRES


Fire inquest deposition files are created during fire inquests conducted by the Victorian Coroner's Court into the cause and origin of fires. Each investigation relates solely to the cause and origin of a fire and not into any deaths caused by a fire. These records do not include fire inquests which led to criminal charges. These are included in criminal trial briefs.


PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - FIRE INQUEST DEPOSITION FILES 1858-1985

Fire Inquest Deposition Files from 1858 to 1940 (VPRS 407) are indexed through the catalogue on the Public Record Office Victoria website.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/inquests-and-other-coronial-records/fire-inquest-records-1858-1940

Fire Inquest Deposition Files from 1940 to 1958 are included with Inquests Into Deaths (VPRS 24) or have not been located depending on which section of the Public Record Office Victoria website one reads. Fire Inquest Deposition Files from 1959 to 1985 are included with Post Mortem Investigation Records (VPRS 10010).

 

VICTORIAN CORONERS COURT - FIRE INQUEST FILES 2003-Present

The Victorian Coroners Court holds fire inquest files from 2003 to the present. To access these records you will need to make a request to the Victorian Coroners Court with the following exceptions: from 2009 there is a legal requirement that all inquest findings with recommendations be published on the internet unless otherwise ordered by a coroner. The Austlii website below holds records relating to the Victorian Coroners Court; these appear to be incomplete until 2010. Some inquests for the last 365 days may be viewed at the Victorian Coroners Court website.

https://www.coronerscourt.vic.gov.au/inquests-findings/findings

 

AUSTLII - CORONERS COURT OF VICTORIA 2002-Present

The Austlii website holds records relating to the Victorian Coroners Court; these appear to be incomplete until 2010.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/cases/vic/VicCorC/

 

 

NEWSPAPER INQUEST ARTICLES

Inquests are reported in newspapers. For these, see Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.

 

 

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