Establishment and Functions
In 1909 the Mines Department (also known as the Department of Mines and the Mining Department) inherited responsibility for the administration of mining from the Department of Mines and Water Supply (VA 2720).
The major responsibilities of the Department were:
* regulation and licensing of mining activity
* superintendence of the activities of Mining Surveyors, Registrars and Wardens (see also VRG 25 Mining Districts)
* investigation of the State's geological structure, mineral wealth and underground water resources
* development of the mining industry through the provision of technical services and financial assistance
* supervision of the safe working of mines, machinery and quarries.
The Department was also briefly responsible for the State Coal Mine (VA 720) from 1909 to 1911 prior to responsibility for the Mine being assumed by the Victorian Railways (VA 2876).
With the development of oil exploration in the 1930's and the development of the off-shore oil and natural gas industries in the 1960's, the Department became responsible for the issuing of Petroleum Prospecting Licences, Petroleum Mineral Leases and Petroleum Exploration Permits and later for the regulation of pipelines, onshore and offshore petroleum installations and for the transportation and storage of inflammable liquids and liquefied gases.
In 1938 the Department assumed responsibility for the issuing of gold buyers licences from the Treasury (VA 865) and in 1965 the Explosives and Gas Examining Branch was transferred from the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475) to the Mines Department. In 1962 responsibility for the inspection of industrial boilers was transferred to the Department of Labour and Industry (VA 1027). With the passing of the Environment Protection Act in 1970, the Mines Department became an investigating agency of the Environment Protection Authority in matters relating to groundwater.
State Forests and Nurseries
Responsibility for this function was shared by a number of portfolios until 1909 when the Minister of Forests assumed responsibility for the Department of State Forests (VA 534). Until that time, responsibility had been exercised by:
Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey prior to 1875
Minister for Agriculture (VRG 34) 1875-1890
Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey (VRG 18) 1890-1891
Minister of Mines (VRG 30) 1891-1893
Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey 1893-1899
Minister for Forests (VRG 41) 1890-1900
Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey 1900-1903
Minister of Agriculture (VRG 34) 1903-1904
Minister of Mines and Forests (VRG 30) 1904-1909.
For convenience each of the Ministers responsible for forests from 1900 to 1909 has been placed in the Forests Group (VRG 41) for the period of their responsibility for this function.
Until 1908 the Departments of Agriculture (VA 618), Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538), Mines (VA 2719) and Mines and Water Supply (VA 2720) were at various times responsible for State Forests. In 1908 the Department of State Forests (VA 534) was established. Until it became a department of state in its own right in 1981, it functioned as a sub-department of the Mines and Water Supply Department (VA 2720) until 1909 and thereafter of the Mines Department (VA 612). The Department of State Forests (VA 534) has therefore been included in both Mines (VRG 30) and Forests (VRG 41) for the period 1908 to 1918. The Department of Mines and Water Supply (VA 2720) and the Mines Department (VA 612) have also been included in the Forests Group (VRG 41).
In 1977 the Mines Department and the Ministry of Fuel and Power (VA 627) were amalgamated to form the Department of Minerals and Energy (VA 611).
Location of Records
Holdings at the Public Record Office are patchy, but include long runs of mining title records. See also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, section 3.13.2.