Did your ancestor have any dealings before the Court of Petty Sessions in Victoria? Discover if your ancestor was a plaintiff or a defendant and what issue was brought before the court.
The Court of Petty Sessions was created to hear minor criminal cases such as those involving drunkenness and theft. These cases, brought before a magistrate, would usually not involve a jury.
Each result will provide you with a transcript and an image of the original court register. The original records are kept at Public Records Office Victoria in North Melbourne, Australia. The registers for the years 1854 to 1985 are included in this collection, totaling more than three million records.
Transcripts of records from the Court of Petty Sessions may include the following information:
Role (plaintiff, defendant, etc.)
Cause or reason
Images may provide additional details such as
How an individual was brought before the court – arrest on view, warrant, or summons
Decision, memo of conviction, or order
The details found in such documents may hint at further insight into your ancestor regarding rank, status, property ownership, or occupation.
Dating back to colonial days, the Court of Petty Sessions first convened in 1838 in Melbourne. Such courts were additionally spread across Victoria; by 1880, there were 235 locations. There were usually two or more Justices of the Peace needed for a Court of Petty Sessions.
Minor criminal matters and committal proceedings were brought before the court. Complaints regarding money were originally limited to sums not exceeding £20. Today, the Magistrates’ Court addresses issues that would have been brought before the Court of Petty Sessions.
There are 74 courts included in these records.
Alberton Courts (1900-1902), totaling 234 records
Alexandra Courts (1888-1910), totaling 6,223 records
Amherst Courts (1859-1868), totaling 3,065 records
Bacchus Marsh Courts (1863-1888), totaling 9,787 records
Bannockburn Courts (1864-1909), totaling 5,919 records
Bealiba Courts (1864-1888), totaling 2,542 records
Bendigo and Eaglehawk Courts (1858-1965), totaling 24,989 records
Bendigo Courts (1860-1873), totaling 71,805 records
Branxholme Courts (1869-1929), totaling 5,427 records
Brighton Courts (1888-1985), totaling 387,069 records
Broadford Courts (1891-1975), totaling 33,750 records
Carlton Courts (1878-1888), totaling 21,011 records
Castlemaine Courts (1862-1958), totaling 92,359 records
Chewton Courts (1865-1915), totaling 7,771 records
Colac Courts (1858-1950), totaling 172,119 records
Dargo Courts (1888-1897), totaling 492 records
Dunolly Courts (1859-1888), totaling 16,353 records
Eaglehawk Courts (1861-1972), totaling 92,745 records
El Dorado Courts (1869-1885), totaling 4,316 records
Flemington and Kensington Courts (1916-1952), totaling 57,081 records
Footscray Courts (1860-1955), totaling 317,030 records
Fryerstown Courts (1858-1890), totaling 10,662 records
Gaffneys Creek Courts (1888-1891), totaling 149 records
Geelong Courts (1809-1962), totaling 275,303 records
Geelong West Courts (1889-1938), totaling 27,911 records
Gisborne Courts (1862-1930), totaling 5,772 records
Healesville Courts (1888-1956), totaling 24,652 records
Heathcote Courts (1888-1941), totaling 24,234 records
Heidelberg Courts (1888-1976), totaling 139,092 records
Heywood Courts (1800-1927), totaling 7,455 records
Huntly Courts (1879-1915), totaling 2,106 records
Indigo Courts (1860-1871), totaling 6,750 records
Inglewood Courts (1863-1888), totaling 10,662 records
Jericho Courts (1873-1885), totaling 949 records
Keilor Courts (1869-1887), totaling 651 records
Kensington Courts (1888-1921), totaling 46,628 records
Koroit Courts (1868-1877), totaling 4,815 records
Kyneton Courts (1863-1960), totaling 55,474 records
Lilydale Courts (1875-1976), totaling 89,991 records
Longwood Courts (1864-1868), totaling 724 records
Majorca Courts (1864-1888), totaling 6,940 records
Maldon Courts (1862-1890), totaling 16,897 records
Malmsbury Courts (1861-1947), totaling 19,655 records
Maryborough Courts (1861-1888), totaling 24,562 records
Moe Courts (1888-1981), totaling 131,303 records
Mortlake Courts (1861-1956), totaling 22,064 records
Mount Moriac Court (1862-1894), totaling 3,409 records
Newstead Courts (1863-1890), totaling 3,897 records
North Melbourne Courts (1860-1887), totaling 39,369 records
Northcote Courts (1888-1978), totaling 270,494 records
Oakleigh Courts (1888-1976), totaling 42,230 records
Oxley Courts (1874-1904), totaling 3,011 records
Portland Courts (1877-1878), totaling 858 records
Prahran Courts (1856-1888), totaling 66,851 records
Pyramid Hill Courts (1885-1963), totaling 13,826 records
Queenscliff Courts (1858-1964), totaling 21,071 records
Raywood Courts (1865-1938), totaling 10,501 records
Rokewood Courts (1888-1967), totaling 5,382 records
Romsey Courts (1868-1909), totaling 10,744 records
Sale Courts (1862-1888), totaling 29,040 records
South Barwon Courts (1859-1899), totaling 6,300 records
Steiglitz Courts (1853-1899), totaling 9,938 records
Swan Hill Courts (1862-1969), totaling 14,159 records
Tarnagulla Courts (1860-1888), totaling 6,417 records
Tylden Courts (1865-1872), totaling 1,324 records
Wahgunyah Courts (1860-1916), totaling 7,826 records
Wangaratta Courts (1854-1871), totaling 5,659 records
Warrnambool Courts (1852-1888), totaling 39,614 records
Wedderburn Courts (1859-1889), totaling 7,479 records
Williamstown Courts (1869-1958), totaling 98,639 records
Winchelsea Courts (1865-1944), totaling 7,829 records
Woodend Courts (1871-1963), totaling 24,925 records
Yandoit Courts (1888-1905), totaling 1,694 records
Yarrawonga Courts (1888-1975), totaling 54,923 records
Try searching by name only and then adding in additional information to narrow your results.
Occasionally, names were not spelled in full. If your searches are returning expected results, try searching by the first initial of your ancestor’s first name.
If you know which court your ancestor would have gone to, search by that court by selecting its name in the ‘browse court’ field.
You can use the previous and next buttons in the image viewer to see the entries surrounding your ancestor’s entry.