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. This system was introduced by the Real Property Act 1862 (25 VIC., No.140). That Act, and subsequent legislation, provides that a proprietor of "old law" land may make application to have the land incorporated into the Torrens System of Land Registration. Successful applications result in a certificate of title being issued for the land applied for. Under current legislation application can be made either under section 9 or section 26 of the Transfer of Land Act. (For more information about the "Torrens System", refer to the entry for VA 862 Office of the Registrar General and the Office of Titles.)
Section 9 Applications
Section 9 applications require the applicant to submit:
- an application and schedule of documents in support of the application;
- the documents referred to in the schedule, such as original crown grant, deeds, mortgages etc;
- a plan of survey and surveyor's field notes.
The survey material is examined by the Survey branch to determine "mathematical harmony" of the survey and the Legal Examiners examine the application to assess legal validity of the application. When all survey and legal requirements are met a certificate of title can be issued.
The contents of these files may include: the application, schedule and documents listed on the schedule; surveyor's report; Legal Examiner's requisition and report; correspondence; plans of survey (up to application number 18,000) or photocopies of plans; other deeds and statutory declarations; search of title; draft certificate of title.
Section 26 Applications
Section 26 conversion schemes introduced by the Transfer of Land (Conversion) Act No.128 of 1986 came into operation on 1 March 1988. Each scheme has in common that the applicant must lodge with the Registrar of Titles:
- a solicitor's certificate in the appropriate form in a schedule to the Act;
- deeds in the person's possession, and those not in the person's possession but which another person can be compelled to produce (except deeds deposited with the Registrar-General under the Property Law Act), that relate to the title to the land;
- a search of title.
For each conversion scheme, if the provisions of the Act are complied with, and if the deeds lodged show good root of title which is at least 30 years old, the Registrar may issue either an ordinary title or a qualified title of the kind the Registrar considers appropriate.
Applications under other sections
Applications made under other sections of the Act include:
Section 60: vesting orders by which applicants in possession of properties apply to have properties put in their own names (as is often the case with farming properties passed on by wills, deeds, etc.);
Section 72: applications made to include an easement on a title;
Section 73: applications made to remove an easement from a title;
Section 99: applications to amend boundaries on a title; and
Section 103: applications to amend errors on a title.
Applicants under both section 9 and section 26 schemes may withdraw the application at any time before the registration of a title. Application forms, solicitor's certificates and documents submitted in support of the application are returned to applicant when an application is withdrawn. The Act also provides that the Registrar may reject applications or declare them abandoned and essential documents are, similarly, returned to the applicant.
When there was an encumbrance (a matter or thing which effects clear title) to title, such as a mortgage, caveat or easement on the property, a separate encumbrance file envelope was created which was also controlled by the application number. These were kept separately from the application files until such time as the encumbrance ceased to have effect and were then placed into the application file. In some instances applications for which an encumbrance existed have been transferred into archival custody without the encumbrance envelope. Such encumbrances files will be transferred into custody as a separate series.
For section 9 and some section 26 applications plans of survey, surveyors field notes and survey related correspondence are maintained in a separate file controlled by the application number. These files are retained in the Office's survey section for ongoing reference.
An additional file, known as "search and sketch notes", is created by the Applications Clerk during the processing of applications. These are also controlled by the application number and are retained for ongoing reference in the Registrar General's Office applications area.
Variations to File Contents
When an application proceeded smoothly the contents of the file should be as noted above. Where variation to the procedures occurred, such as for rejected, abandoned and withdrawn applications or where encumbrances existed, the contents of the file may vary.
For rejected, abandoned and withdrawn applications the file may have little or no contents, the significant documents having been returned to the applicant. In some instances where documents are not found in an application file they may be located within the separate encumbrance file. Documents may also have been removed from such files and included with a subsequent application for the same piece of land. The file envelope will generally be marked with previous, subsequent or related applications numbers.