Following the proclamation of Transfer of Land Statute on 1 August 1866, 29 Vic., No.301, the Office of Titles was established to carry out the provisions of the Act which further amended the Real Property Act 1862, 25 Vic., No.140. Under the provisions of the latter act a major reform in the transfer and registration of land titles had been instituted. The new system was colloquially known as the Torrens System. All functions previously administered by the Commissioner of Titles Office (VA 2926) were transferred to the Office of Titles (Victoria), and the positions of Examiner of Titles (who were also solicitors) and Registrar of Titles were created.
The Office was divided into two branches, with the Professional Branch under the control of the Commissioner of Titles and the non-professional Branch under the control of the Registrar of Titles (Blue Book 1866, p.28 of Civil Establishment section).
Within the Office of Titles, the Commissioner had legal responsibility for proving land titles on receipt of the Examiner's report and for liaising with applicants and solicitors. The Registrar of Titles had the power to take statutory declarations, correct errors in registration, lodge caveats on behalf of the government or individuals when necessary and apply to the Supreme Court to issue a summons to anyone considered to have wrongfully gained title to land.
Functions of the Office of Titles also included the registration of all land under the Act whether Crown, public or and land set aside for easements and sub-division plans. Provision was made in the Act for land alienated prior to 2 October 1862 to be registered also. Under the Act, the Office of Titles exercised power in relation to such matters as land mortgages, insolvent estates, the placement of caveats on land titles, powers of attorney and married women and widows' entitlement to land. The Office was also responsible for guaranteeing and issuing titles and leases, providing sworn valuations and collecting conveyancing and search fees.
By July 1873 a new agency, the Office of the Registrar-General and Office of Titles (VA 862), had assumed responsibility for the functions previously undertaken separately by the Registrar-General's Department (VA 2889) and the Office of Titles, both of which had been located within the Law Department (VA 2825). The Registrar-General became the Chief Officer of the new agency which remained within the Law Department.
NOTE: For more detail about the "Torrens System", see VA 862.
Location of Records
See also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, section 3.18.2