Australian designs, Victorian designs, British designs, American designs

Design Classes

Victorian Design Classes 1869 

Listed in the Victorian Copyright Act of 1869 on the Austlii website. . 

Locarno Design Classes 1982

The current edition of the Locarno Classification is on their website Locarno Classification 

The microfiche collection containing nineteenth century Victorian patents is organised by the Locarno Classification system. See details on this guide. 

Victorian registered designs

Victorian registered designs - 1869-1906

The registration of designs in Victoria began on 1st December 1869, under the Victorian Copyright Act of 1869, for “any new and original design for any article of manufacture or art”.

This system had 14 classes  under which designs were registered. The classes are listed in the act of 1869. The period of registration was 3 years for articles in Classes 1 to 5, and 2 years for articles in Classes 6 to 14.

On 1st July 1907 the Australian Designs Act of 1906 (No. 4 of 1906) came into force, and the function of registering designs in Australia was transferred from the state governments (including Victoria), to the Commonwealth government , Some of the  design classes were changed - see the 1907 design classes in this guide. 

Microfiche copies of designs

The collection of Australian registered designs  at call number MF495 was provided  to the State Library of Victoria  by the Patent, Trade Marks and Designs Offices (Canberra). It  consists of microfilmed copies of  nineteenth century  colonial and  twentieth century Australian designs registered  up to 30th September 1998.

If you are searching for an Australian design registered from 1907 onwards,  first  use the print and online resources and indexes listed on this guide under the heading Australian Designs and Australian Design indexes. 

If you are looking for a microfiche MF 495 Victorian design registered in the nineteenth or twentieth century before 1907, first check  the  Locarno Design Classes index, as the microfiche indexes are organised by classes 1 to 99 according to  the Locarno classification system which was adopted by Australia in 1982. (This does not apply to the designs in print format - the Designs Act 1906  class numbers apply to print designs)..  

The microfiche are held in drawers in two major sequences:

Microfiche sequence: Australia Registered designs 1906 to 6 March 1984.

Despite the 1906 date given in the title, these designs include nineteenth century Victorian design registrations registered from the 1860s up to 1906,  when the Australian Designs Act became law.  Other states (or colonies as they were before Federation) are included. The microfiche collection is  arranged  in drawers  by Locarno class number  and sub-class, not by year.  For retrieval purposes, you need to know the class number.

When you view the microfiche, you will see that they are organised  by Class number followed by design  number order (it's not necessary to know the sub-=class number). The designs are then listed chronologically under each class/ sub class - for example 25/ 02.  Pre 1907 designs will appear frist under each class and sub-class and are listed alphabetically by state (colony) and then number (so for example VIC 20 will be listed after SA21 or QLD 23) 

Australian Registered Designs Updates 7 March 1984 to 30 September 1998

These are Australian designs which  were registered between the dates given.  Organised  in drawers by Locarno class and sub-class number.

Within the fiche collection, the designs are organised by Class number and design number.

For staff requesting the microfiche

Title on catalogue:

Australia registered designs: 1906-6 March 1984

The microfiche are listed on the catalogue under the following sequences:

Class 01-01 to 99.00  (Years 1906 to 6 March 1984). These include the Victorian nineteenth century designs, re-classified into the Locarno class numbers.

Updates (for years)  7.3.84 to 30.9.95 and 1.10.95 to 30.9.98. 

Library patrons cannot request the microfiche with their library membership  number: a librarian can do this with a staff login. Staff  select the appropriate sequence and type in the class numbers required, and sub-class if this information is available.

These microfiche will be delivered to the Heritage Collections Reading Room, to be consulted there.

Library patrons can  click on Ask a librarian  on our web page to complete the online inquiry form to request the class number and preferably the sub-class number  and  the year required.  You can also make this request at an information desk. 

Alternatively, if you know the class number and the subject of the Victorian or state design, it may be possible for a librarian to search the microfiche, if it is not possible to find the design in other sources. Complete the Ask a librarian form in this case.

National Archives of Australia

You may prefer to search the National Archives of Australia collection for nineteenth century designs. The National Archives of Australia  in Canberra holds the Victorian designs paper publications from 1 Jan. 1870 to 31 Dec. 1898.  They were published by the Patents Office, Victoria. See the National Archives box for details.

Designs for a cap from 1969.


Design for peaked rimless cap by Peter Auden, Box Hill South.

Class 10, Millinery and wearing apparel.. Australian design number 53962.

Date of application: 20 January 1969.


MF 495 collection. Example of a Victorian design reclassified under the Locarno system

Design for a cricket or hockey ball registered 7 January 1930. Applicant: C.D. Sherrin. Design number 7982.

Registered under the Australian design index in class number 6, which relates to leather articles.

This design appears in the microfiche collection at  MF495, re-classified under the Locarno index class number 21, which relates  to games, toys, tents and sports goods. It is filed at 21.02.

Note that if you are searching the print indexes, the design class follows the original Australian class number.

Victorian designs at the National Archives of Australia (NAA)

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) in Canberra holds copies of Victorian design applications, together with registers and indexes, as noted in the series listed below. The designs were published by the Patents Office, Victoria. To find the catalogue records on the National Archives web catalogue, go to the National Archives of Australia website.  Type the words designs applications in the search  box to see a listing of designs held. 

The Victorian designs are listed on the RecordSearch database  under the entries: 

Series A1192


Register of applications for Designs 1870 to 1873 - numbers 1 - 100

Register of applications for Designs 1873 to 1878 - numbers 101 - 200

Register of applications for Designs 1896 to 1898 - numbers 801 - 950

These nineteenth century registers of print designs are held in the Canberra office of the National Archives.

Design indexes held at NAA are:

NAA Series A1189 - Classification index to designs (1870-1903)

NAA Series A1190 - Subject index to design classification (1879-1906)

NAA Series A1191 - Register of copyright of designs (1870-1888)

NAA Series A1192 - Specimens of designs under Copyright Act (book A) (1870-1899)

You can request copies of designs from the NAA. If you know the relevant NAA Series number, also quote this in your request. Contact details are on the NAA's "Ask us a question" page.

Individual design applicants

You can search RecordSearch by individual family name, using the surname of the designer and selecting the category  Copyright,patents, trademarks, which gives you a date range option. Not all design applicants may be found this way, but it is worth  searching. You can  then order a copy of the design, if it has not already been digitised.

Design for a sandal from 1968.

Design for a sandal by F.L. Charters & Co Pty Ltd, South Brisbane.

Class 10,  Millinery and wearing apparel, including boots and shoes

Australian design number: 52468

Date of application: 27 March 1968.