Navy Historical Records files – Fact sheet 137
Navy administrative records held in Melbourne cover the period from Federation in 1901 until 1959. The records are held in series described as 'correspondence files' or 'correspondence series' which in general cover the wide range of naval policy, operational and administrative issues dealt with by the Department or service arm.
Until 1911 when the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) was formed, naval matters were included in the Department of Defence general correspondence series. From April 1911, when a separate Department of the Navy was created, naval matters were handled on Navy recordkeeping systems and will only be located in Defence series if the matter was referred to the Department of Defence.
The table below lists the main series of Navy administrative records held by the Melbourne office.
Using the records
Most of the series listed in the table are controlled by a three number multiple numbering system similar to that used by for Army administrative records.
It is often possible to identify individual record items from these series by using the control records such as index cards and registers that were created with the records. Several of the subject indexes to the Navy series are available in the reading room of the Victorian Archives Centre. These records can be difficult to use for those unfamiliar with them, and working with them is usually time consuming.
Some of the records listed in the table have the term 'personnel file' or 'personnel matters' included in the description. Despite this description, the files relate mainly to administrative matters (such as conditions of service, staffing or industrial matters) and are not individual personnel files in the usual understanding of this term. While these records may provide information about individuals, it is recommended that genealogical researchers commence their research by consulting the records listed in Fact Sheets relating to Navy service. These are listed below.