See the bottom of this page for reading room locations, visiting hours, and upcoming closures. Our contact information can be found under the heading General enquiries, complaints or feedback below.
I'm a researcher
Yes, once you have made a record selection, or multiple, you can go to your selections page and request to view the record at our Reading Room or to receive a paper copy or a digital copy. If you request a paper copy you will also be sent a digital link. There are costs involved in the digitising process and they will be calculated when you complete your order. You won't need to pay until you have seen the cost at the checkout, or after a quote has been emailed to you. View this short video on the ordering process. For more detailed information on average costs, read this page.
You don’t need an account with Public Record Office Victoria to search our catalogue or view and download digitised records from our website. However, if you’d like to request a digital or paper copy of a record, or view an original record in the Reading Room, you’ll need to login first. Create an account by clicking on the Login button at the top right of the screen, and change your password via your My Account page. If you don't have an account with us you can login using your Google or Facebook account.
Creating an account
You'll find the search bar at the top of each page of our website. To the left of the search bar you can choose between our catalogue (collection) or content on our website (instructional blog posts, articles and web pages) so try both. Once you land on the catalogue results page you can then filter your search in various ways. See the video below on how to filter.
- Try searching on popular subjects via the Topic Search page.
- Try looking at our FAQ page for common questions.
- View the How To videos on our Getting Started page.
How to search and filter
To find Will and Probate records, you can search by name on our subject based Will and Probate records search guide. This page can be found on the Explore Archives by Topic page. You can then order a digital copy of a will or probate record on the item page by creating an account, adding it to Your Selections, and then requesting a digital copy be sent to your email account.
How to order a copy
Viewing records, whether online or in our Reading Room, is free. If there is a small thumbnail then it has been digitised and you can download it. If there's no thumbnail then you will need to order it and view the record in our Reading Room, or request a copy be sent to you (see here for information on our copy service). Simply click 'Select record +' and that item or multiple items, or a whole box, will be added to your selections page. For more details view the video below.
How to order a record or box of records
After you have made your online order, the date and time the records will be available to view at the Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room in North Melbourne will be displayed on your order screen, most records ordered before 8am will be delivered Monday through to Friday at 10.30am.
Records must be ordered before:
- 8.00am to make the 10.30am collection time.
- Users wishing to view records on open Saturdays will also need to pre-order their records by 8.00am Friday at the latest.
Records in cold storage (such as photographic prints or negatives) require an additional 24 hours or more to be delivered. You can order 24 records at a time, but a limit of 8 records per delivery apply. Records are held for you for a maximum of 5 working days and you can return to the Reading Room over several days to view them.
Regional Reading Rooms have different opening hours, see our Contact us page for details. Only records held at Bendigo can be ordered using PROV's catalogue. Records at Ballarat can be ordered via the Access the Collection page. Visit the Geelong Heritage Centre website for details on ordering records.
Some records have been recently relocated to Ballarat, commencing in late 2022, and cannot be ordered online. It is expected that all Ballarat records will be orderable via our current catalogue by early 2023. Contact us if you have any problems ordering records.
Search on the specific Topic Search Page for inquests to easily find the inquest record you want copied. Then select the record (you will need an account to do this) to request a digital copy from your My Selections page. You can request for a digital copy to be emailed or a paper copy to be mailed to you. There is a cost for this service.
How to order a copy
You don’t need an account with Public Record Office Victoria to search our catalogue or view and download digitised records from our website.
To change your password click on the Forgot My Password link on the login page and a reset link will be sent to the email address attached to your existing account so you can update your password. If you don't have an account with us you can create one or login using your Google or Facebook account. If those email addresses were already linked to your existing account your previous order history will be maintained.
How to log in
You can provide feedback via our quarterly visitor satisfaction survey. These survey results help us improve our services in the Reading Room and online. The survey only takes five minutes to complete. Fill out the survey.
We welcome your feedback!
You can provide any feedback or corrections to the data in our collection by completing this form. Please provide as much detail as possible, including the URL of the page you are providing feedback on.
I'm from a government agency
If you are from a government agency you must:
- Create an account using your government email address.
- Send us a completed security form signed by your manager (below).
- If you know the list of records you wish to order, view the short video below on how to complete a Direct Entry order.
When you next log on you will see all open records, and any closed records you have permission to access. When you order records you will also have the additional option to have them sent to your agency. View this page for more information about ordering records as a government user.
Gaining permission and access
Have you looked at our A-Z of recordkeeping topics?
Have you searched for PROV Standards and Retention and Disposal Authorities in our Document Library?
If you can’t find the information you require on our website please contact us via our online enquiry form.
You can keep up to date with the latest PROV government recordkeeping news by:
PROV also regularly hosts a Records Management Network (RMN) forum event for records professionals across the Victorian Public Sector.
Subscribe to the RMN mailing list here.
I have a media inquiry
I'm teaching archival research
Our website and YouTube channel include resources which you can share with your students, such as Where to start and Explore archives by topic, as well as the videos Understanding and researching the public record collection, Introduction to Researching Place and Introduction to Crime Research. For tertiary groups we can also offer tours of the Victorian Archives Centre and presentations about how to research at PROV. For more information, email us at email@example.com with "Education outreach program" in the subject.
I'm a student
Our website and YouTube channel include helpful resources, such as Where to start and Explore archives by topic, as well as the videos Understanding and researching the public record collection, Introduction to Researching Place and Introduction to Crime Research. Our Reading Room staff can also help with any questions you may have (see the bottom of this page for information on our three Reading Rooms) or email us via this online contact form. Note that our staff can help guide you towards the right resources and offer advice on how to get started, but they cannot undertake your research for you.
Reading Rooms in Victoria
Researchers who have ordered records can make photographic copies of those records using their own digital cameras or our cameras accessible in the Reading Room. Information on copyright for researchers can be found here.
Note: The use of personal equipment such as USB drives and external hard disk drives on IT systems and resources (including computers, digital cameras and scanners) provided for public use in the Reading Room is undertaken entirely at the user’s own risk. PROV does not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage or data corruption incurred as a result of the use of its IT systems or resources.
Media producers who wish to take photos of the Reading Room as a whole, or film in the space, must contact our communications team via firstname.lastname@example.org outlining their photography/filming request. Note: we don't allow shoots during Reading Room hours as this would disturb researchers who may not want to be photographed/filmed. However out of hours arrangements can be made to accommodate most requests.
When you visit one of our Reading Rooms you will be asked to sign in and place your belongings in a locker (secure lockers are available at our reading rooms)
- The following items can be brought into the reading room; pencils, loose leaf paper, laptops, cameras.
- The following are not permitted in the reading room: pens, folders, clipboards or plastic sleeves, bags, containers of any kind, food or drink.
Copyright and publication of public records
If you wish to publish a public record that is copyright protected, either in hardcopy (e.g. a book) or digital format (including online), then permission must be sought from the copyright owner/s.
Due to the age of the collection, the copyright protection period has expired in much of this material. Be aware however, that files may contain copyright material which is either administered by other government agencies or is privately owned. It is your ultimate responsibility to determine the current copyright status of collection material.
Public Record Office Victoria can grant permission to publish Crown copyright material. To seek permission by PROV to publish records, please submit a Request for permission to re-use a record. You must include details about the citation of each record you want to publish (series, unit and item) and as best you can identify the government authority (department, statutory authority etc) who created the record. You will be informed if PROV cannot grant permission because the records are not Crown copyright. However PROV cannot undertake to find copyright owners on your behalf.
For further information about copyright and our collection see Copyright for researchers.
If you wish to publish, exhibit or provide references to records in our collection, there are specific ways to reference the citation of the record. Please ensure accurate citations of public records are used in all publication. Here is how to write them.
Copyright law applies to Aboriginal records in the same way as other records in the collection. However due to the possible personal and cultural content contained within the records relating to Aboriginal people, researchers should make reasonable efforts, and act in good faith to ensure that any disclosure of information or images contained in these records is consistent with the sensitivities and views of relevant Aboriginal individuals and communities.
For further information please contact the Koorie Records Unit.
If you'd like to borrow items from PROV's collection to put on display in an exhibition, the first step is to send us an expression of interest to email@example.com - and include the dates of the exhibition, the location and the items you'd like to borrow. We'll get in touch with you to start the process of making a formal application to borrow the records. To learn more about that process go to our page on exhibition loans.
General enquiries, complaints or feedback
We aim to deliver services to the public based on our service charter.
If you have a question, complaint or would like to provide us with your feedback, please email us your enquiry using this online contact form before contacting us by phone.
T: +61 3 9348 5600
P: PO Box 2100, North Melbourne, VIC 3051
The hearing and speech impaired can reach us through the National Relay Service relayservice.com.au
TTY users: 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 657 452.
Speak and Listen users: 1800 555 727 then ask for 1800 657 452.
Internet relay users: www.iprelay.com.au/call/index.aspx then ask for 1900 657 452.
To contact one of our regional centres visit the bottom of the Contact Us page.
Visit our Reading Rooms
Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) has Reading Room locations at North Melbourne and Ballarat, and we support regional archives which hold public records - in particular at Bendigo and Geelong. In most cases it may be faster to visit a local Reading Room and ask our staff for assistance in researching our online catalogue and retrieving physical records to view.
Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) 10am to 4:30pm and every second and last Saturday of the month.
Upcoming closures: Closed for Christmas/New Year period from 12.30pm Friday 22 December reopening 10am Tuesday 2 January 2024.
Information on building accessibility can be found here.
Ballarat Archives Centre
Eureka Centre, 102 Stawell Street South, Ballarat Central
251-259 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo
Upcoming closures: Wednesday 27 December and Thursday 28 December 2023.
51 Little Malop Street, Geelong
Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm
Closed weekends, Mondays and public holidays.
Upcoming closures: Closed from Monday 25 December, reopening Tuesday 2 January.
Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.
PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples