What a wonderful world we live in! The Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV) has now digitized and made available VPRS 19, the inward correspondence to Charles La Trobe, the Superintendent and later Lieutenant-Governor of Port Phillip.
To see an interactive introduction to the letters, see PROV’s site here.
“What would I want with La Trobe’s Inward Correspondence?” you may ask. Well- there’s just so much here. There’s reports from civil servants, letters of complaint, petitions, queries- in effect, anything formal that the people of Port Phillip wanted to convey to Governor Gipps in Sydney had to go through La Trobe here in Melbourne. Although La Trobe had very little scope and authority to act independently, all requests had to go through him. Family historians might find letters by or about their forebears; the plans for the newly-established organizations and buildings for the new Melbourne settlement are all here; the debates and controversies in the public sphere are funnelled through here as well. It’s an incredibly rich resource.
I really can’t start to describe how excited I am that these letters have been digitized and made available in this way. Oh that they had been available five years ago when I was spending hours at PROV, although I think back on that stage as my favourite time in writing my thesis. You still have to dig around to find what you want (and I must confess that it’s taken some fiddling for me to find the transcripts) but oh! this is fantastic! Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic! [You probably gather that I’m rather excited….]
Thanks to Lenore Frost who has alerted me to an index to VPRS 19 which can be found on the Royal Historical Society of Victoria website under its ‘Collections‘ link. You can get directly to the index here.