The Department of Crown Lands and Survey was responsible for the administration of survey and mapping and the sale, occupation and management of crown land throughout its existence. The Department was also responsible for closer settlement, soldier settlement, assisted immigration, unemployment assistance, land tax, agriculture, state forests and nurseries, the destruction of vermin and noxious weeds, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the National Herbarium, cemeteries and briefly, for Aborigines.
On the achievement of Responsible Government in Victoria in 1855, the Surveyor General became the Minister responsible for all matters concerning the administration of crown lands including survey, exploration, sale, occupation and use of public land. Previously these functions had been administered by the Surveyor General's Department (VA 2921) and the Crown Lands Department (VA 2878) which had been the responsibility of the Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands.
In 1857 the Board of Land and Works (VA 744) was established because it was considered that the administration of public lands and public works would be more effectually and economically managed if it were consolidated and placed under one head. By Letters Patent of 28 April 1857, the positions of Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey (previously Surveyor General) and Commissioner of Public Works were abolished and the powers previously exercised by the Commissioners were vested in the Board of Land and Works. The departments of the Civil Service previously under the Commissioners' control effectively became sub-departments of the Board. While there was clearly an intent to achieve consolidation, the extent to which the sub-departments were administratively integrated following the establishment of the Board in 1857 is uncertain and from late 1858 and the reappointment of a Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey and a Commissioner of Public Works, the sub-departments were clearly administratively separate.
Although a Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey had been reappointed to the Ministry in 1858, statutory authority for lands matters continued to be vested in the Board until its abolition in 1964. The Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey was President of the Board of Land and Works.
The Department of Crown Lands and Survey has been dated from the effective amalgamation of the Surveyor General's Department (VA 2921) and the Crown Lands Department (VA 2878) under the authority of the Board of Land and Works in 1857. The Department of Crown Lands and Survey remained a sub-department of the Board until its abolition in 1964. While legal and statutory authority was vested in the Board, the Department effectively exercised operational responsibility. From 1964 the Department of Crown Lands and Survey became a Department of State responsible to the Minister of Lands.
Responsibilities of the Department
The primary responsibilities of this Department were:
Survey and Mapping
The report of the Civil Service Commission of 1859/60, described the activities of the Field Branch of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. District Surveyors (see VRG 27) were responsible for the supervision of surveys within their districts; for supplying the Surveyor General with information relating to land proposed for sale; for recommending an upset price for such land and for determining sites which should be reserved for public purposes. They were also responsible for providing the public with information about surveyed lands and for the compilation of maps which were to be available for inspection at district survey offices. They were responsible for the work of the field surveyors who marked out land into allotments ready for sale; laid out roads and lines of telegraph; marked out sites to be reserved for public purposes such as schools, churches and cemeteries; laid out carriage and footways in municipal districts; occasionally determined the boundaries of electoral districts and took levels for sections and contour lines for other Departments. Some field surveyors were also exclusively employed on the geodetic survey under the direction of R. Ellery.
Clerks and draughtsmen employed at district survey offices were responsible for the compilation of plans, the preparation of tracings and the sale of lithographic plans of land proposed for sale.
The report of the Civil Service Commission also noted problems that had been encountered with the employment of contract surveyors and recommended that only licensed surveyors be employed. It noted too, the difficulty experienced by the survey department in meeting public demand for surveys required prior to the lease or purchase of land. The Commission recommended that the general survey of land for sale should be separated from the topographical survey of Victoria and expressed concern that there were parts of Victoria, the topographical features and geological formation of which were utterly unknown. At this time one surveyor was employed as Superintendent of the Observatory. In 1870, responsibility for the Observatory was transferred to the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475).
By 1855, the Geological Survey had been associated with the administration of public lands and in 1857, following the establishment of the Board of Land and Works (VA 744), this arrangement continued. By 1858 however responsibility for the geological survey had been transferred to the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475) where it remained until 1861, despite the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission of 1859-60 that it be transferred to the department of the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey. In 1861 responsibility for the geological survey was assumed by the Commissioner of Mines (VRG 30) and the newly established Department of Mines (VA 2719).
In 1862 when the Department of Mines became the responsibility of the Postmaster General, responsibility for both mining and geological surveyors was transferred to the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. In 1864 responsibility for mining surveyors was returned to the Department of Mines (VA 2719) and in 1867 that Department again assumed responsibility for the geological survey.
In 1857 responsibility for the survey of proposed lines of railway was transferred to the Department from the Surveyor General's Department (VA 2921). In 1858 responsibility for this function was assumed by the Department of Railways (VA 2877).
In 1887 responsibility for the Draughting Branch (Land Titles) was transferred from the Department of Crown Lands and Survey to the Office of the Registrar General and Office of Titles (VA 862). This branch was responsible for the preparation and verification of plans associated with certificates of title and applications lodged under the Transfer of Land Statute.
The Department of Crown Lands and Survey continued to be responsible for all forms of survey including geodetic and trigonometric surveys which formed the basis of all subsequent cadastral (property) and topographic (mapping) surveys. The Department also conducted surveys for the Housing Commission. The Topographic Survey Programme was carried out in close liaison with Commonwealth, Civil and Army organisations in conformity with the decisions of the National Mapping Council.
With the passing of the Survey Co-Ordination Act in 1940, the Department became responsible for the co-ordination of all survey and mapping carried out by government departments and statutory authorities in the State of Victoria. This responsibility extended to the co-ordination of the survey activities of survey organisations, as far as that could be accomplished by co-operation and in accordance with the requirements of the Act. A survey network was established to facilitate the direct inter-relation of all surveys and mapping in one basic survey system and copies of certain plans were to be lodged with the Surveyor General who was required to maintain a Central Plan Register. The Department also established a Central Plan Office from which copies of maps and plans and subsequently aerial photographs could be purchased.
By 1982, just prior to the establishment of the Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands (VA 1034), the Division of Survey and Mapping (VA 3021) was responsible for undertaking surveys and primary mapping for Departments, statutory and land authorities; the co-ordination of survey and mapping activities and the registration of plans with the Central Plan Office and the maintenance of the geodetic survey comprising co-ordinated ground marks for the control of survey, mapping and scientific activities. The Division also conducted cadastral surveys to establish property boundaries and maintained parish plans. It was responsible for state aerial photography, the sale of maps and photographs and the operation of the Central Microfilm Bureau. The Division also provided administrative support to the Surveyors Board and the Place Names Committee.
Sale, Occupation and Management of Crown Lands
Administration of crown lands including provision for their alienation and occupation and the provision and management of reserves was a major responsibility of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey from its establishment. The administration of this function has also been undertaken by a succession of local land authorities including Commissioners of Crown Lands, District Surveyors, Land Officers, Bailiffs of Crown Lands, Local Land Boards and District Land Offices. Information about the operations of these authorities which were responsible to the central Department of Crown Lands and Survey may be found in VRG 27, District Land Offices.
By 1859, responsibility for this function entailed making recommendations to the Board of Land and Works concerning the sale of crown lands by auction; conduct of land sales; granting of sites as reserves for public purposes such as schools, churches and cemeteries and for recreational purposes; issue of Deeds of Grant for lands sold and for reserves; consideration of applications for occupation licences, tenders for pastoral runs, applications for permission to exercise a pre-emptive right to purchase part of a pastoral run; collection of licence fees and revenue from the sale of land and prevention of unauthorised occupation of crown lands.
The Land Acts of 1860, 1862, 1865 and 1869 provided for the sale of crown lands and for the occupation of land for a variety of agricultural and pastoral purposes. Applicants were able to select land and apply for permission to occupy the land under the provisions of a variety of leases and licences, many of which subsequently afforded a right of purchase. The Department of Crown Lands and Survey was responsible for administering these and subsequent Land Acts.
The Department had also been responsible for the issue of mining leases for metals and minerals other than gold (subsequently known as mineral leases) and water right licences which authorised the construction and use of races, dams and reservoirs for mining purposes. In 1865 responsibility for these functions was transferred to the Department of Mines (VA 2719).
Although the provisions for alienation and tenure of crown land changed, the responsibilities of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey remained essentially the same. In summary it was responsible for the survey and subdivision of agricultural land; regulation of the alienation of crown land by auction and selection; settlement of disputes regarding alienation and occupation of crown land; issue of occupation licences and leases and ensuring compliance with the conditions of such licences and leases; issue of Deeds of Grant for alienated land and for reserves granted for public purposes; control and management of public parks, gardens, reserves and commons; issue of licences for pastoral occupation and determination of rents and prevention of the unauthorised use of crown lands. From 1928 the Department became responsible for the issue of licences authorizing the occupation of unused roads and water frontages which had previously been a responsibility of the Public Works Department (VA 669).
The acquisition of land for the purpose of closer settlement was first authorised under the provisions of the Land Act 1898 (No.1602). The object of this and subsequent legislation had been to transform large estates into closely settled communities engaged in agriculture.
The Board of Land and Works (VA 744) was authorised to acquire land and then make it available as farm allotments, agricultural labourers' allotments and workmen's home allotments under the terms of conditional purchase leases. Certain residence and improvements conditions applied, initially for the first six years, after which time lessees were at liberty to mortgage, transfer or sublet with consent and, on payment of the balance of the purchase money, to obtain a crown grant. Subsequently lessees were also eligible to apply for advances to assist them to erect dwellings and outbuildings and for other approved purposes. Operational responsibility was exercised by the Closer Settlement Branch of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538) until 1904.
Establishment of Lands Purchase and Management Board, subsequently Closer Settlement Board (VA 2266)
In 1905, under the provisions of the Closer Settlement Act 1904 (No.1962) the Lands Purchase and Management Board was established and closer settlement powers previously vested in the Board of Land and Works were transferred to the new Board. In 1913 under the provisions of the Closer Settlement Act 1912 (No.2438), certain powers of the Lands Purchase and Management Board were transferred to the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (VA 723) which was authorised to acquire and dispose of land for closer settlement purposes in areas considered suitable for closer settlement under irrigation conditions, provided the land was situated in an Irrigation and Water Supply District as defined by the Water Act 1905.
In 1918, under the provisions of the Closer Settlement Act (No.1987) the Lands Purchase and Management Board was replaced by the Closer Settlement Board. Although the Act made changes to requirements concerning acquisition of land, valuation of land, the granting of advances, the issue of leases and administration of the Closer Settlement Fund, the responsibilities of the Closer Settlement Board were essentially the same as those of its predecessor. Subsequently under the provisions of the Empire Settlement Act 1922 and subject to the Commonwealth and State Agreement of 21 September 1922 (see schedule to British Migrants Agreement Act 1933, No.4143), the Board became responsible for the settlement of British immigrants on the land.
Relationship of Board to Department of Crown Lands and Survey
Prior to 1905, the officers of the Closer Settlement Branch had been responsible to the Secretary for Lands but following the establishment of the Lands Purchase and Management Board, subsequently the Closer Settlement Board, the officers were to have been responsible to the Board whose Secretary was appointed by the Governor-in-Council, subject to the provisions of the Public Service Act. The officers of the Board however remained subject to the head of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey in relation to promotions and matters of general discipline and their salaries were paid from the Department's salary vote.
In 1913, following concern expressed by the Minister and the Secretary of the Department that the Closer Settlement Branch was not working effectively, it was agreed that a large part of the work of the Branch should be amalgamated with similar land settlement work being undertaken within the Department and divided control of the function was thus established. This change in administration is also reflected in the Appropriation Acts from this time.
The administrative difficulties continued however and the Royal Commission on Closer Settlement of 1914 was very critical of the Board's failure to organise its office properly and reported that "...the Board does not appear to have taken charge of the officers at all. Throughout, the Department has controlled the Board."
Establishment of Closer Settlement Commission (VA 2268) and its relationship to the Department
The Closer Settlement Commission was established in 1933 under the provisions of the Closer Settlement Act 1932 (No.4091). Its establishment represented a consolidation of the administration of closer settlement and soldier settlement and powers previously vested in the Closer Settlement Board (VA 2266) and the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (VA 723) were vested in the new Commission. The Act also conferred on the Commission responsibility for the administration of the Land Act in so far as it related to lessees and licensees who had received advances under the Closer Settlement Act and for the administration of the Seed Advances Acts, Fallowing Advances Acts, Cultivation Advances Act and part 1 of the Wire Netting Act 1928.
The Commission, with the approval of the Minister, could make use of the services of any of the officers and employees of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. Staff previously employed under the Closer Settlement Acts were deemed to have been appointed to temporary office in the Department and officers of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (VA 723) who had previously been engaged in the administration of closer settlement were transferred to the Public Service as officers of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey.
Return of responsibility to the Department
In 1938, under the provisions of the Closer Settlement Act (No.4596), the Closer Settlement Commission (VA 2268) was abolished and the Department of Crown Lands and Survey became responsible for the administration of the Act. Statutory responsibility was returned to the Board of Land and Works (VA 744). No provision was made for the further acquisition of land and new closer settlement leases were issued to existing settlers. All leases were to be registered with Registrar of Titles and the Secretary for Lands was to advise the Registrar of all existing mortgages and charges arising from various Acts including the Advances to Settlers Act 1923, Wire Netting Act 1928, Vermin and Noxious Weeds Act 1928 and Land Tax Acts.
In 1964 the Public Lands and Works Act (No.7288) transferred the powers and duties of the Board of Land and Works (VA 744) under the Closer Settlement Act (No.4597) 1938 to the Minister of Lands. By the late 1960's the main activities of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538) in relation to closer settlement were the collection of instalments, dealings involving conversion to freehold, applications for consent to transfer, mortgage and sub-let, dealings involving appropriations and acquisitions for channels, roads and easements of various kinds and the disposal of odd lots of remaining closer settlement land. In 1973-4 the Department still had responsibility for the administration of the 389 remaining purchase leases instituted under closer settlement legislation.
The Closer Settlement (Winding-up) Act 1982 (No.9798) provided for the repeal of all legislation relating to closer settlement and of all legislation authorising advances to farmers.
In 1917, under the provisions of the Discharged Soldiers' Settlement Act (No.2916), the Lands Purchase and Management Board, subsequently the Closer Settlement Board (VA 2266), became responsible for the settlement of discharged soldiers. Under the provisions of the Closer Settlement Act 1915 (No.2629), land was to be set aside exclusively for discharged soldiers and the Board was empowered to make special provisions for their settlement. The State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (VA 723) was responsible for their settlement on irrigable land within defined Irrigation and Water Supply Districts.
In the mid 1920's the closer settlement programmes, particularly the soldier settlement schemes became the subject of a number of inquiries including a Royal Commission in 1925 and Boards of Inquiry in 1926 and 1927. In 1927 the Commonwealth Government appointed Mr Justice Pike to inquire into soldier settlement in all states. (See VPRS 7291, Report and Working Papers, Royal Commission on Soldier Settlement.) These inquiries subsequently led to the abolition of the Closer Settlement Board (VA 2266) and the establishment of the Closer Settlement Commission (VA 2268) under the provisions of the Closer Settlement Act 1932 (No.4091).
The Closer Settlement Commission assumed responsibility for all functions previously administered by the Closer Settlement Board (VA 2266) and the closer settlement responsibilities of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (VA 723). For a description of the relationship of the closer settlement authorities to the Department of Crown Lands and Survey, please see preceding section on Closer Settlement.
With the abolition of the Closer Settlement Commission in 1938, direct responsibility for the administration of soldier settlement was transferred to the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. In 1946 the Soldier Settlement Commission (VA 2270) was established under the provisions of the Soldier Settlement Act 1945 (No.5107). This Act ratified a Commonwealth/State Agreement (see schedule to the Act). The Commission assumed responsibility for powers previously vested in the Board of Land and Works (VA 744) and for the administration of soldier settlement, (see also Soldier Settlement Act 1946 (No.5179)).
The Commission was empowered to appoint its own employees who were not subject to the provisions of the Public Service Act. However a link to the Department of Crown Lands and Survey was retained as the Commission was authorised to make use of the services of the officers of that Department. When this occurred, departmental expenditure was recouped from the Soldier Settlement Account (see Annual Report 1966).
Assisted immigration to Victoria, previously the responsibility of the Department of Trade and Customs (VA 606), had been negligible in the period 1873-1882 and non existent from 1883 until 1906 when, under the provisions of the Closer Settlement Act, portions of estates could be reserved exclusively for applicants from Great Britain, Ireland or any other country. Applications were lodged with the Agent-General in London and through this office assistance was provided to immigrants.
Assisted immigration was frequently associated with land settlement in Victoria and by 1906 the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey had become responsible for immigration in connection with land settlement and the augmenting of the labour force. By 1912 an Immigration and Labour Bureau had been established within the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. The immigration responsibilities of the Department entailed administration of the nomination scheme, the provision of reception, initial settlement and employment services for immigrants and co-ordination of overseas promotion and emigration assistance. In 1918 responsibility for these functions was assumed by the Department of Labour I (VA 2874).
Under the provisions of the Empire Settlement Act 1922 a number of agreements were made between the Imperial, Commonwealth and State Governments to encourage British residents to migrate to Victoria. Although a Minister of Immigration was appointed in 1923, it was the Department of Crown Lands and Survey that became responsible for the administration of the State's obligations under these agreements. The Department thus became responsible for administration of the nomination scheme whereby residents of the State could nominate British residents for migration; determination of the numbers and categories of migrants required by the State and provision of reception and settlement services for migrants. In 1927 responsibility for these functions was transferred to the Public Works Department (VA 669).
The Government Labour Bureau was established within the Department of Crown Lands and Survey as part of the Immigration and Labour Bureau in 1912. The Labour Bureau assisted the unemployed to find work. In 1917 it was reported that most were engaged for railway construction and maintenance and for other public works, but the Bureau was also responsible for supplying farm and other labour to employers in country districts. Railway fares were advanced to those engaged for employment and to those who had secured employment in country districts for themselves. In 1918, responsibility for this function was transferred to the Department of Labour I (VA 2874).
In 1856 responsibility for the Guardian of Aborigines (VA 513) had been transferred from the Chief Secretary (VRG 26) to the Surveyor General. This responsibility was assumed by the Board of Land and Works (VA 744) on its establishment in 1857. The Guardian of Aborigines had been appointed in 1849 and was solely responsible for providing so called protection to Aborigines. Commissioners of Crown Lands who were responsible to the Department of Crown Lands and Survey from 1857, had previously been appointed as honorary protectors, their duties being to visit reserves to report on the condition of Aborigines and in cases of extreme emergency to supply them with food and clothing. The Commissioners were also responsible for the prevention of clashes between the Aborigines and white settlers.
Following a report by a Select Committee established to Inquire into Aboriginal Welfare, the Central Board for the Protection of Aborigines (VA 514) was established in 1860. This Board was located within the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475) which thus resumed responsibility for the "protection " of Aborigines from this time.
Under the provisions of the Land Tax Act 1877, owners of landed estates (which were then defined as a parcel of land of upwards of six hundred and forty acres and valued for the purposes of the Act at upwards of two thousand five hundred pounds) were required to pay land tax. Commissioners of Land Tax were appointed and on the basis of its estimated grazing capability, land was to be classified in one of four classes. Each class of land was deemed to be of a certain value per acre and thus the land tax payable was determined. The Act also required that a Registrar of Land Tax be appointed.
Although the Secretary of Lands acted as the Registrar of Land Tax from 1877, responsibility for the administration of land tax was exercised by the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475) until 1884 when responsibility was transferred to the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. In 1903 responsibility for this function was assumed by the Department of the Treasurer (VA 865).
In 1872 a Minister of Agriculture was appointed and a Department of Agriculture (VA 618) was established as a sub-department of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. This arrangement continued until 1882 when the Department of Agriculture became a Department of State in its own right. At that time the chief responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture were concerned with the control of stock diseases; the eradication of vegetation and vine diseases; the power to destroy infected stock and to grant compensation to the owners and with the management of state forests and nurseries.
State Forests and Nurseries
Prior to the establishment of a separate Department of State Forests (Forests Commission) (VA 534) in 1908, the management of state forests and nurseries had been the responsibility of a number of Departments of State. The Department of Crown Lands and Survey was responsible for this function prior to 1875; from 1890-1891 and from 1893-1903. Departments responsible for the administration of the function prior to 1908 were:
Prior to 1875 Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538)
1875 to 1890 Department of Agriculture (VA 618)
1890 to 1891 Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538)
1891 to 1893 Department of Mines (VA 2719)
1893 to 1903 Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538)
1903 to 1904 Department of Agriculture (VA 618)
1904 to 1908 Department of Mines and Water Supply (VA 2720)
Destruction of Vermin and Noxious Weeds
With the passing of the Rabbit Suppression Act in 1880, the Department of Crown Lands and Survey, together with municipal councils became responsible for the extermination of rabbits. Subsequently the Department became responsible for the control of proclaimed vermin including rabbits, hares, wombats, foxes, dingoes, wild pigs, sparrows, starlings and in some districts wedge tailed eagles, and for the control and destruction of proclaimed noxious weeds. By 1940 an Inspection Branch had been established and in addition to Inspectors of Vermin and Noxious Weeds, it included staff who were also appointed as Inspectors of Land Settlement and as Crown Land Bailiffs. In these latter capacities they were responsible for reporting on the unauthorized use or occupation of crown lands including the removal of materials and the depositing of rubbish and for monitoring compliance with the conditions of occupation leases and licences.
From 1924, under the provisions of the Wire Netting Act, wire netting for the purpose of making fences vermin proof could be obtained by landowners on either a cash basis or by advances repayable by annual instalments over a period of ten years. Responsibility for administering this scheme was transferred to Department of Crown Lands and Survey from the Department of Public Works (VA 669) in 1928.
In 1932 the Department of State Forests (Forests Commission) (VA 534) became responsible for vermin destruction in forests and by 1943 responsibility for the destruction of noxious weeds in forests had also been assumed by that Department.
By 1948 the Department was responsible for the provision of subsidies to municipalities, the payment of wages and expenses to workmen and the purchase of material and equipment to ensure the control of vermin and noxious weeds. In addition to inspection and eradication responsibilities, this Branch of the Department also conducted scientific research work to assist with the control of vermin and noxious weeds. In 1959 a Vermin and Noxious Weed Destruction Board (VA 1376) was established.
By 1982 the major functions of the Division of Inspection and Vermin and Noxious Weeds Destruction were to investigate, promote and carry out preventative and remedial measures; conduct scientific research work and by instruction of land holders and inspection in the field, to ensure that proclaimed vermin and noxious weeds were properly controlled. The Division was responsible for implementing the policies of the Vermin and Noxious Weeds Destruction Board (VA 1376) and for the administration of the Keith Turnbull Research Institute.
Royal Botanic Gardens/National Herbarium
The Department of Crown Lands and Survey was also responsible for the management of the Royal Botanic Gardens and the National Herbarium and for the management of Alpine Resorts and the Buchan Caves Reserve.
Responsibility for the Royal Botanic Gardens and the National Herbarium had been shared by a number of departments and the administration of this function may be summarised as:
Government Botanist/National Herbarium
1855 to 1867 Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475)
1868 to 1869 Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538)
1870 to 1872 Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475)
1873 to 1873 Department of Agriculture (VA 618)
1874 to 1902 Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475)
1903 to 1912 Department of Agriculture (VA 618)
1913 to 1924 Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475)
1925 to 1983 Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538)
Royal Botanic Gardens
Prior to 1867 Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475)
1868 to 1869 Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538)
1870 to 1872 Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475)
1873 to 1873 Department of Agriculture (VA 618)
1874 to 1983 Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538)
Under the provisions of the Cemeteries Act trustees of public cemeteries were to be appointed by the Governor-in-Council. The Trustees were responsible for the establishment and management of public cemeteries, the collection of fees, expenditure of government subsidies including fencing grants and the making of rules and regulations for the administration of cemeteries.
By 1864 and until August 1873, the Commissioner of Public Works (VRG 28) and the Public Works Department (VA 669) were responsible for the administration of cemeteries including the appointment of trustees and approval of regulations and fees. From 1873 until 1888 the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey (VRG 18) and the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538) were responsible and in 1888 the Chief Secretary (VRG 26) and the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475) assumed responsibility. The Public Works Department (VA 669) however continued to be responsible for the allocation of fencing grants.
In 1890, under the provisions of the Public Health Act 1889 (No.1044), the Minister of Health (VRG 29) and the Department of Public Health (VA 2904) became responsible for the management of cemeteries and responsibility has remained within the Health portfolio.
Establishment of Department of Conservation Forests and Lands
In 1983 the Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands (VA 1034) was established. The establishment of this Department reflected the Government's intention to consolidate the administration of all public lands matters in the one Department; to co-ordinate the use of land resources; to rationalise the many different local land management systems and authorities and to better co-ordinate the management of public lands with conservation requirements.
The new department assumed responsibility for all matters relating to survey and mapping, crown lands administration and the Royal Botanic Gardens and National Herbarium from the Department of Crown Lands and Survey.
Location of Records
The PRO has substantial holdings of lands records for the period 1851-1904 and patchy or very poor holdings for later periods. Many records remain out of custody.
For records of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey see also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985 sections 3.6.2. (Central Department of Crown Lands and Survey); 3.6.3-3.6.7 (regional branches of the Department); 3.6.21 (closer settlement). For records of local land authorities see VRG 27 District Land Offices and the List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, section 4.0.0.