History of Titles Office

decorative staircaseIn 2001, after 125 years at 283 Queen Street, Melbourne, the titles office moved to 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

The titles office – or Land Use Victoria as it is now known – moved from a 19th century public building to a 21st century environment complete with modern facilities.

The former titles office, designed by J J Clark, a well-known Melbourne architect of the day was completed in 1877 at a cost of £30,772.

The facade is regarded as a masterpiece of conservative Italian classicism with unusually severe Doric-style architectural features and distinctive coupled arched window details. A stark contrast to the modern premises Land Use Victoria occupies today.

In its day 283 Queen Street represented solidity and strength in its design, which reassured Victoria's landowners that their titles were secure against theft and fire. The strong room with stone walls and doors, shuttered windows of iron and floors of thick brick and cement, created a fortress.

There is now no need for a fortress-like structure to secure Victoria's 2.9 million titles because today they are securely stored electronically in the Victorian Online Titles System (VOTS). When you conduct a transaction or dealing on a title you can do it online or visit the modern Land Information Centre. What once took weeks, can now take only a matter of minutes with the majority of transactions.

When you obtain a new property title these days you receive a computer-generated Certificate of Title. These new titles have special security features, which include watermarks, a hologram, a thermo-chromic icon and control number, making them even more secure. A very different look to the parchment titles of another era.

Page last reviewed on 31 October 2016

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