This image is of Ocean Grove shows the main shopping strip – The Terrace – from the corner of Presidents Avenue near the bottom right up to the intersection with Hodgson Street at the top left. The building at the top left is the Corner Store on the south east corner of The Terrace.
When you’re at that stage in your research that you’re sure something should exist but you just can’t find it – sit back and think quietly and logically – and if you’re still stuck – ASK! I’m not simply talking about asking questions on Facebook – and don’t get me wrong I personally have had a lot of success on Facebook and hopefully helped many others with their questions.
I’m talking about asking experts – and sometimes more than one expert – two or more brains are often better than one!
I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog – Ask a librarian – it’s wonderful! And there have been many other occasions where the opportunity to ask a librarian has been an absolute gold-mine.
This time I was stuck with some land records from the Public Record Office Victoria – VPRS 460.
I also made a big MISTAKE – I didn’t read and understand the description for VPRS 460: Applications for Certificate of Title. I merely groaned and said … “Murphy’s Law – the ones I want aren’t there!”
I had quickly read the description that said …
Note that VPRS 460/P0 units 3213 to 30298 do not exist.
I had incorrectly presumed that the FILES I wanted weren’t there whereas the description stated that the UNITS weren’t there!
If you read the description now, you could be forgiven for saying I was silly not to read the next couple of sentences which were perfectly clear. BUT I wasn’t that silly, I’m just grateful that PROV have since updated the description in the catalogue so others don’t make the same mistake that I did.
After I ASKED for help, the verbal explanation made perfect sense … part way through the consignment [P0], they had changed the way the Application files were catalogued – initially UNITS equated to boxes which contained numerous FILES. From Application File Number 30299, each FILE was a UNIT.
The Application files EXIST – all the ones I’d grumbled about as “missing” were there! My big mistake – I didn’t read the Description properly and I didn’t ASK!
And why are these files so important? The contents can be amazing.
The ACTUAL Application files are currently in the Land Titles archives at Laverton – the General Law Library for the Registrar General Office documents. The SUPPORTING documents are at PROV. From the PROV description of VPRS 460:
If the researcher holds a certificate of title for the piece of land, then the application number may be marked on that certificate. If present, the number may be shown with the words, for example, “derived from application number 12345”.
This series consists of the files created to record the progress of applications to bring land alienated from the Crown prior to 2 October 1862 into the Torrens system of land registration.
VPRS 460 at PROV contains the details and background documents. At the beginning of this blog is an image of a death certificate. Why? In VPRS 460, together with a Statutory Declaration they were evidence as to why the family of the late John MACKEN / McKIE had no claim to the land. In fact the Stat Dec gave amazing details of John MACKEN’s life and work on the property in question.
portion of the said land has been and is now used as a cemetery
Not exactly what you expect to find but it had been claimed that two people were buried on the property. Other documents in the VPRS 460 file also refer to this private burial ground.
Now do you understand why I love finding VPRS 460 Application files?
And I am so glad that I ASKED!
I KNEW what I would find in a Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory! I had used so many over the years. I also knew how important it was to use the STREET directory part and not just the SURNAME part. I researched houses so often that it was crucial that I use the STREET directory part to ensure I didn’t miss anything important. So how could I have ignored the “blurb” on the back of the 1884 CD – especially when it featured a sketch of a house complete with floor-plan.
What did the “fine print” tell me – if I’d bothered to read it in the first place?
A fascinating feature is a Universal Building Societies Supplement which includes 15 pages of architectural house plans of the day – layouts and elevations – with the house price for each. These have estimated prices ranging from £150 for a basic wooden house to substantial brick dwellings for just over £1000 – with servants room included.
It was also a chance to learn about Building Societies and mortgages and how our ancestors may have purchased or built their home in 1884.
Billing had been an architect of interest for some time and even more so last year when I was researching a house associated with Swinburne University in Hawthorn. I had located the sewerage plans which gave the footprint of a “mystery house” until photos were uncovered to show the house in all it’s glory. Research showed that the house was possibly built or enlarged by the architect Nathaniel Billing.
The lesson? READ THE FINE PRINT and never presume you know what a publication really contains.
I had even ignored the Bookmarks contained in this Sands and McDougall’s CD – I confess I hadn’t click on the bookmark titled “Universal Building Society” – the bookmark was totally correct for the title in the Directory – it just didn’t jump out at me and I had never clicked on it.
Will I learn my lesson – I really hope so. In the meantime I’m sharing this with you to encourage you to read the fine print and click on “boring sounding” titles – you just never know what absolute gem is hidden there!
Back on 25 September 2016 I posted a blog with the above title minus the last bit … [ – WINNERS! ] .
The new title with its addition says it all – the Geelong Cemeteries Trust won the 2016 Premier’s Sustainability Award for the category of Environmental Protection.
Congratulations to the Geelong Cemeteries Trust. And for all of you family history researchers make sure you look at the GCT online searchable database for the large number of cemeteries that come under their care.
You’ll also find some very useful background information on their research page.
By “our” I mean Ocean Grove – a lovely corner of Paradise on the Bellarine Peninsula – right beside Bass Strait.
Because it’s unique in Australia, it really is wider than our “local” history so I’ve put it up on my Geelong and District Blog and decided it should also be here.
And there is no denying that the annual even drew the crowds – just look at the photo!
A VERY unique and important part of our history!
It’s not often that these words are all part of one story but they are! The Geelong Cemeteries Trust is a finalist in the Environmental Protection category of the 2016 Premier’s Sustainability Awards.
The Queenscliff Moonah Memorial Walk is a magical area in the Queenscliff Cemetery – read about this project of the Geelong Cemeteries Trust.
And while you’re looking at the Geelong Cemeteries Trust web site, have a look at the cemeteries managed by the Trust – then do a search for your ancestors as most of these cemeteries are indexed and mapped on the GCT Deceased Search site. Also read about researching burials during the early years of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.
Don’t forget to vote for the GCT Moonah Memorial Walk.