Good morning boys and girls!

This phrase is so familiar and reminiscent of our school years and it is an excellent beginning title for a talk about Victorian teacher records.

At the 13th Annual Family History Feast held on Monday 8 August at the State Library Victoria, Jack Martin, Coordinator, Collection Management at Public Record Office Victoria (PROV), presented his informative talk, ‘Good morning boys and girls: a guide to finding teacher records at PROV’.


While we have all been pupils, many of us have not been teachers or have teachers in our family tree but for those who have, the researcher is well served for available records. For those who don’t have a teacher in their family tree, the talk was valuable in that it informed us about the Victorian Education Department’s administrative processes and record keeping.

Jack advised that in the early stages of researching teacher records ‘the question the researcher initially asks will determine what records they will be guided to’. Amongst the available records that document aspects of Victorian education are those generated and maintained by the Department of Education (and the Education Department).

First off, Jack spoke about the ‘Teacher record books, 1863-1959’, the most commonly used resource which contain a page about every teacher and their service. These records are a rich resource. You can access the Database index to Teacher Record Books, 1863-1959 on the PROV website.

The next most commonly used records are the ‘Central Inward Primary Schools Correspondence’, the ‘School Building files’ and the records that were sent to the PROV from individual schools after the school had closed. The key to accessing these records is to know the name of the school.

Prior to the establishment of the Department of Education in 1873, the ‘Pre-1873 teacher records’ can contain detailed information, however, in the early years there was much less regulation. For records after 1873, the advice was to go directly to the ‘Teacher record books’ mentioned above.

Detailed information about PROV’s education and teacher records can be found in their online PROVguides: ‘Education, Health and Welfare-Education Records’, ‘Education and teachers’  and ‘FAQ Education’.

Jack explained that while the Victorian government regulates private schools, their teacher and pupil records are not held at PROV.

At the time of the talk, the PROV’s website was undergoing dramatic changes and Jack gave some insight into the much improved functionality of the website. The PROV’s new and improved website can be found here.

If you have a research interest in Victorian teacher records I highly recommend viewing Jack’s talk through the State Library Victoria’s website. The suite of Family History Feast talks can be found here.

The Victorian State Government’s Department of Education and Training has a website entitled, ‘Accessing Victorian Government School Records, FAQ’ which is another useful portal.

Class dismissed!

Grant Hamston

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