Key 5: The Registrar


As the chief administrative officer of the University and secretary to the Council the Registrar and the various departments created under his control as the University grew attended to all matters related to the governance, finance, buildings and grounds, staff and students and adherence to statutory regulations. The Registrar’s voluminous correspondence files alone are a rich and varied source of information and history pertaining to every facet of university life and much of the life of the Victorian community as well.

John Frederic James, Registrar
John Frederic James, Registrar, 1856-1864
[Source: University of Melbourne Archives Image Catalogue, UMA-I-1229]

Major Colin Campbell was the Honorary Secretary to the Council from May 1853 until October, when the first Secretary and Registrar, Edward Graves Mayne, was appointed. After his resignation in June 1855, the work was done by an associate of Redmond Barry’s until John Frederick James, in office from May 1856 till his death in 1864, soon after which Edward Fitzhayley a’Beckett began, and would see out the century (1864-1902).

In the early years, the Registrar was also the Librarian.

Officers of the University, 1894
E.F. a'Beckett (middle front) with Officers of the University, 1894
[Source: University of Melbourne Archives Image Catalogue, UMA-I-1292]

Until recent times, the Registrar also had the use of a residence in the University grounds.

Registrar's House, 1892
Registrar's House, 1892
[Source: University of Melbourne Archives Image Catalogue, UMA-I-2086]