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Archives - Details

Reserve
Access Application
Record ID
HKRS684
Title
General Correspondence Files
Date
1930 - 1986
Level
Series
Archival History
The file records comprising this series were passed from each creating agency to its successor and maintained in custody until transfer to the PRO.
Creating Agency
(1) Secretariat for Chinese Affairs (2) Secretariat for Home Affairs (3) Home Affairs Department (4) City and New Territories Administration
Transferring Agency
Hong Kong and Kowloon Regional Headquarters, City and New Territories Administration
Administrative / Biographical History
(1) Under the Registrar General (Change of Name) Ordinance 1913, the Registrar General's Department became known as the Secretariat for Chinese Affairs (SCA). It comprised two sub-departments: Interpretation and Emigration. The SCA's functions included the protection of women and girls, permits, registration of books and marriages,emigration, plague hospitals, temples, cemeteries and Chinese clubs and societies. Responsibility for the supervision of student interpreters was passed to the Education Department in June 1913. On 1.1.1922 the SCA acquired the functions of protector of child labour and inspector of factories and an Industrial sub-department was established to administer these. The SCA became responsible for the protection of 'mui tsai' or female domestic servants in 1923 under Ordinance No 1 of 1923. Marriage registration was transferred to the Land Office in 1926. After the Second World War, the SCA was re-established on the resumption of civil administration in 1946 and continued its pre-war role, including liaison between the Chinese population and the Government and advising on Chinese law, customs and opinion. A Social Welfare Office was created within the SCA in September 1947. This was separated to form the Social Welfare Department on 1.1.1958. A Public Enquiry Service Division was formed in November 1960. Following the 1966-67 riots, the City District Office scheme was introduced on 24.1.1968. (2) The Secretariat for Chinese Affairs was retitled Secretariat for Home Affairs (SHA) on 28.2.1969. The name change was prompted by the introduction of the City District Office scheme in 1968. The SHA was organised into four Divisions (General and Traditional; Lands; Narcotics; Public Relations), two Sections (Trust Funds; Liquor Licensing), Tenancy Inquiries Bureaux and the City District Commissioners and District Offices for Hong Kong and Kowloon. In March 1972 a Chinese Language Branch was established to administer the official languages policy and provide translation services. Also in 1972 a Television and Films Division was created from the Television Authority Secretariat and Film Censorship Unit transferred from the Information Services Department. In 1973 the liquor licensing function was moved to the Urban Services Department and the Narcotics Division to the Security Branch, Colonial Secretariat. (3) Following a reorganisation of the Colonial Secretariat, the Secretariat for Home Affairs was retitled as the Home Affairs Department (HAD) in September 1973. The Department's primary role was maintaining communication between the Chinese population and the Government. It was organised into four Divisions (General and Traditional, Lands, Information, Television and Film), a Trust Funds Section, Chinese Language Branch, Public Relations Unit, Tenancy Enquiry Bureaux, and Offices of the City District Commissioners and District Offices for Hong Kong and Kowloon. In 1974, the Television and Film Division was separated to form an independent. Television and Film Authority; the Tenancy Enquiry Bureaux were transferred to the Rating and Valuation Department; and the HAD was reorganised into a Community Services Branch and a Language and Tradition Branch and the City District Offices. in 1975 its functions included city district administration, public enquiry service, lands and housing matters, Chinese language authority, Chinese customs and liaison with local organisations. (4) On 1.12.1981 the New Territories Administration was merged with the Home Affairs Department to form the City and New Territories Administration. The new department took over the functions of its antecedent agencies, except for disposal and survey of land in the New Territories which was transferred to the Lands Department, and acquired new responsibilities for the District Management Committees and District Boards. The structure of the CNTA comprised a Headquarters, four Divisions (District Administration, Departmental Administration and Finance, Information and Public Relations, and Public Enquiry Service), a Works Section and the Hong Kong and Kowloon Regions and their District Offices. Certain traditional and community related matters including temples, Chinese customs and marriages, cemeteries and opinion surveys, were transferred to the CNTA on 1.4.1985 from the Home Affairs Branch, Government Secretariat. Responsibility for community centres was also acquired from the Social Welfare Department in 1985. By 1988, CNTA had added a Special Duties Division. This was followed by a Youth Division in 1992. On 1.12.1994 the CNTA was reorganised into a Home Affairs Branch in Government Secretariat and a Home Affairs Department.
Scope and Content
The series relates to the general administration and business of the departments. The subjects covered include Chinese recreation ground, boat squatters at Aldrich Bay in Shau Ke Wan, Justices of the Peace, Hong Kong and Kowloon Residents Association, illegal immigration, Chinese marriages, Urban Council elections, Buddhism in Hong Kong, visit of the Pope 1970, pollution, the Mass Transit Railway and old Stanley Police Station. The files contain minutes, memoranda, maps, sketch plans, letters, press-cuttings, reports, minutes of meetings, petitions, Executive Council memoranda, and articles of association.
Physical Description
Soft and hard cover folders, 34-35 x 23 x 0.5-9 cm. Papers are fastened using Treasury tags.
Arrangement System
The series appears to have employed two file control systems. (1) A modified year and single number system with one of the following letter prefixes: 'SCA' (Secretariat for Chinese Affairs), 'SHA' (Secretariat for Home Affairs), 'HAD' (Home Affairs Department) or 'CNTA(L)' (City and New Territories Administration (Land)). The ranges of control symbols are: SCA 59/701/46 - SCA 347/56; SHA 444/69 - SHA 4/833/70; HAD 31/45 II - HAD 2/32/81; CNTA(L) 6/92/61 - CNTA(L) 6/398/78. (2) A modified single number system with a 'CNTA CB' (City and New Territories Administration - Community Building) or 'CNTA MTR' (Mass Transit Railway) prefix. Ranges of control symbols are: CNTA/CB/2/16, and CNTA MTR 2/3 III - CNTA MTS 6/22 III.
Conditions Governing Access
Public Records (Access) Rules 1996
Language and Scripts
English and Chinese