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Now&Then 51 - August 2011

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Read about the latest online news, the new Scan Pro and digital camera facility, the Flickr and Blog update, have a go at the Census competition, read the Spotlight on Company records and much more!

Online News

The latest additions to online indexes and resources on our website include:

1. More probate packets listed in Archives Investigator

Over 300 000 individual (NRS 13660) Probate Packets are available in Archives Investigator! Listed so far are:
•    Series 1: April 1817 to c. May 1873
•    Series 2: 1873 to 1876
•    Series 3: 1876 to c.1890
•    The years 1928-54 from Series 4 - Series 4-152152 (probate granted June 1928) to Series 4-419994 (probate granted July 1954).

Probate Screenshot 1 of 3

To check if the details of your ancestor’s Probate Packet is now available online just go to Archives Investigator - Simple Search, key in the name of your ancestor followed by the word ‘death’ and click on the ‘Search’ button. If you locate a relevant result you then have the option to order a photocopy of the probate or preorder the probate packet to view in person at the Western Sydney Records Centre (WSRC).

2. Updated Immigration from Many lands page

We have recently updated the Resources For – Historians – Immigration – Immigration from Many Lands page. Updates include the Chinese on the Goldfields, Italian arrivals on the Saint Ludwina and Lebanese hawkers .

3. Online Gallery

Tilly Devine and the Razor Gang Wars

Tilly Devine & the Razor Gang Wars, 1927-31 was recently added to the digital gallery – just in time for the new Underbelly TV series. The suburbs of Darlinghurst, Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross in Sydney in the late 1920s and early 1930s was a world in turmoil with vicious ‘razor’ gangs battling for control of the criminal underworld.

Sydney Opera House – ‘Brown Book’ is now online

Commonly known as the “Brown Book”, this is the booklet for the conditions and programme for the International Competition for a National Opera House at Bennelong Point, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

4. Search many names with KeyName search

KeyName Search results

KeyName Search not only allows you to search across many indexes at once, it also allows you to find many names in one search. Simply enter each name into the search box separated by a comma e.g. Asquith,Howard,Brown. This handy feature allows you to find names quickly. Browse through the indexes that appear in the search results.

Order photocopies and save money

Order photocopies for a multi-name search in the one order. Tick the relevant entries as you go. You can order up to 10 entries in the one order and save money on additional administration fees and postage.

5. More photos of prisoners now available in the Gaol Photographs Index – Digitisation on Demand

Almost 500 additional photos can now be viewed in this popular online index. As copy orders are received, low res versions (suitable for viewing online) of these mug shots will be added to the index in due course.  This digitisation-on-demand-project makes more records accessible to those who cannot visit the reading rooms in person.


A new product from our Open Data project

State Records is trialling a new interface to Archives Investigator. You can try it here. For regular users, this new interface offers simple but powerful search, a richer search results page, a cleaner view of descriptive entities (e.g. series, agencies, items etc.) and their interrelationships, and integration with external tools such as Zotero .

Screen shot showing api AI search results

Search results screen for a search on 'women'. From the results screen it is possible to filter your results by date, items by series as well as view on the one screen Functions and activities, Agencies and people, Record series and items.

It is called an API because it isn't just built with human users in mind. APIs, or ‘application programming interfaces’, provide platforms for developers to write applications that connect with other services. If you’ve used a Twitter client or a custom Flickr application, you’ve indirectly benefited from the web APIs that both of those companies provide. State Records' new interface to Archives Investigator is a web API that external developers and services (such as federated search portals) can use to connect with the collection and create new applications on top of it such as mash-ups, visualisations, federated search, and mobile applications.

Changes to the City Reading Room Opening Hours


The reading room at Sydney Records Centre

Effective from 1 September 2011 the City reading room will no longer open on Saturdays.

Copies of the core of the State's historical records are available as apart of the Archives Resources Kit, which may be accessed at 40 community access points throughout country New South Wales. A number of other institutions and organisations around the State also hold parts of the kit and copies of State archives.
The last Saturday we will open at the Sydney Records Centre is 27 August.

New Scan Pro and Digital camera facility now available to use at WSRC

The new Scan Pro digital reader has been installed and it is fully operational in both the Rocks Reading Room and the Western Sydney Records Centre. You can now scan from microfilm, microfiche and aperture cards and download the image on to your memory stick. This is a free service. Remember to bring your USB with you when you visit – but if you forget we have USB’s available for sale for $10.00 each. Ask at the reading room desk.

Photocopies from the copying machines in the reading room are still available at $1.00 for A4 and $2.00 for A3 copies.

New digital camera facility available for use at the WSRC

You now have the option to take digital photographs of original records using our digital camera facility in the Western Sydney reading room. The images can be saved to your USB memory stick for free. There are printed instructions for you to follow when using the digital camera.
You are still welcome to bring your own digital camera with you to use.

The idea for this new service was initially flagged over on the Archives Outside blog last year and we thank you all for your feedback and suggestions on the possible pros and cons of introducing this new service!

History Week - EAT History 3-11 September

The theme for History Week 2011 is EAT History. History Week 2011 will bring to the table the Edible, Appetising and Tasty history of food. Who ate what and where in the past? How did we cook and where did our food come from? History Week 2011 will be a smorgasbord of delectable delights!

During History Week, community groups, local councils, libraries, archives, museums, universities, cultural institutions, professional and amateur historians across NSW open their doors to present the latest in today’s historical research - fascinating stories, artefacts and experiences about both our past and ourselves today.

We will be developing an online Gallery as part of History Week devoted to the ‘art of food’ drawing on the State archives collection  - Watch this space

The History Week Program can be viewed online via the History Council Website.

Census Records & Census Competition

Considering it is Census time we thought it was the perfect time to highlight the main Muster and Census records we hold.
For information on all Muster and Census records held by us see Short Guide 12 - Muster and Census records 1788-1901

1828 Census

The 1828 Census was the first census to be taken in NSW and is the only detailed census for NSW to survive in full. To the family and social researcher it is an invaluable resource. It provides great insight into the social structure of the time.

There are two different versions of the 1828 Census:

1. NRS 1273 1828 Census: Householders' returns

Household return forms were issued to each Bench of Magistrate on 18 September 1828 whose responsibility it was to ensure that one was completed for each household and returned to the Colonial Secretary. So how was it done? A district constable was accompanied to each household by a clerk who completed all the details on the form from verbal statements submitted by the householder or individuals questioned. If the householder was literate the form may have been completed by the householder.

The individual householder's form records district number, householder's name, residence, names of family and of servants and then for each individual person - age, class, ship, year of arrival, sentence, employment, residence, religion. On the other side of the form there is a land and stock return which records district where situated, name of farm, name of proprietor or tenant, total number of acres, acres cleared, acres cultivated, and livestock (horses, horned cattle, sheep).

2. The National Archives (TNA) version

The information in this version is not identical to the NRS 1273 Household returns. This volume set contains extra information for some of the entries. This is part of the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) Reels which can be viewed in at the WSRC as well as the NSW State and Mitchell Library. The following information is given: name, age, free or bond, ship and year, sentence, religion, employment, residence, district, total number of acres, acres cleared, acres cultivated, number of horses, horned cattle, sheep, and any additional observations. Pro Reels 67-69

TIP: Both versions of the 1828 Census are available to search and view on!

You have the option to search and view the 1828 Census in different formats:

Hard Copy Format

1828 Census (hardcopy version)

1828 Census publication by M. R. Sainty and K. A. Johnson available to view in both reading rooms as well as many local libraries draws on both versions of the Census (NRS 1273 Household returns and The National Archives UK version). It is also available on CD Rom. The interesting feature of this version is that Sainty and Johnson have included extra corrigenda and addenda which is not included in the other versions of the 1828 Census.

Electronic version

The electronic version allows you to conduct some interesting searches. You can search by Occupation e.g. bookbinder, bellringer, dancing master, night watchman, ship builder, to name a few. You have the option to search by Organisation e.g. Hyde Park Barracks, 57th Regiment, Female factory, Iron gangs, Road gangs and many more. The CD allows you to search by a single field e.g. surname, street/place or ship etc OR you have the option to search by up to 12 fields together e.g. occupation, district and age.

1841 Census

The 1841 Census of the New South Wales settlement is particularly significant because it collected more detailed information than the preceding census records (1828, 1833 and 1836) or the earlier population musters (1791-1825). In the 1841 Census, population was recorded in police districts, counties and towns and the tabulation of results shows age groups, conjugal condition (marital status), civil condition (work status) and religious denomination.

1891 Census

This was the first census to survive in substance after the 1841 Census. Records of the intervening censuses are believed to have been destroyed in the Garden Palace fire on 22 September 1882.

The 1891 Census was taken on 5 April 1891.There are 100 districts in the 1891 Census Collectors' Books. Details recorded in the Collector’s Books include: locality (name of street, road, gully etc. in town, the number of the house); name of householder; number of householder's schedule; total number of persons in each schedule (male and female); number of Chinese or Aboriginal people included (male and female) and remarks.

1901 Census

The final census in the custody of State Records is the 1901 Census, taken on 31 March of that year. Act No. 65 of 5 December 1900 made provision for: "the taking of a census of New South Wales in 1901, and for obtaining certain statistics and certain particulars relating to livestock and crops, and the occupations for the said and subsequent years; and for purposes incidental to or consequent on the aforesaid objects."

The Collectors' Books are arranged alphabetically by census district. Householders are listed. Each subdistrict is allocated a number or letter and is arranged chronologically within the census district. Many of the subdistricts include a map and a brief description of the area boundaries; all identify the collector responsible for the area. A useful feature of the 1901 Census is the maps and districts.

TIP: The census records are available to view and search on Ancestry is free to use in both reading room.

Census Competition

Test your knowledge and have a go at the Census Competition! For your chance to win one years free subscription to Inside History all you need to do is email your answer to the following question relating to the upcoming census.

Inside History Magazine

The first correct entry will receive one year’s free subscription to Inside History magazine!
The two runners up will each receive a copy of Peter Tylers’ new book State Records NSW 1788-2011.

Question: Why will question 60 be asked in the upcoming census?

The competition is now closed. Thank you to all who participated. The correct answer will feature in the October Issue of Now&Then.
For further information about the Inside History magazine go to the Inside History website.

Flickr Update

The latest additions include:

Snow ploughing, Mount Kosciusko
Snow ploughing, Mount Kosciusko
Sydney tram, c.1885
Sydney tram, c.1885
Residential view at Rushcutters Bay
[Residential view at Rushcutters Bay]
Tram rerailing truck
Tram rerailing truck
Landing – Sydney Harbour Bridge Stairs
Arched Openings on Landing - Bridge Stairs
Making way for the new Sydney Railway Station
Break through of old platforms for opening of the new Sydney Railway Station
HMS Royal Arthur
HMS Royal Arthur docked in Sutherland Dock Cockatoo Island Sydney NSW
Lance Playground / Kindergarten
[Lance Playground / Kindergarten, Millers Point, Sydney, NSW]
Eveleigh Workshops - 1917 railway strike

If you don't have a Flickr account you can still browse these photos, many of which are also available on Photo Investigator.

Archives Outside Blog Update

It's been a busy couple of months for Archives Outside and we have some wonderful highlights to share with you!

Staff Picks from State Records' Director [Caption Moonlight]

We went straight to the top for this staff pick and asked our Director, Alan Ventress, to select his favourite archive. Alan has chosen a group of archives relating to the gentleman bushranger, Captain Moonlight some of which are quite poignant.

Q&Archives [Manager, Public Access; Christine Yeats]

Christine Yeats the Manager Public Access has led the way becoming the first interview subject for our new interview series Q&Archives. The aim of this series is to interview State Records staff about their jobs and professional background. We covered a broad range of subjects with Christine including community engagement and the impact of documents online.

Moments in Time

This month Anna Gray joined the Archives Outside team with some contributions to the Moments in Time series. Welcome Anna! The last few months have featured some sterling efforts from our Archives Outside/Flickr sleuths. Have you had a chance to check them out?
•    Unidentified Coastal Landscape
•    Hyde Park, Sydney
•    Randwick Racecourse
•    Kosciusko National Park

Uncovering Hidden Treasures – NRS4481 The Government Printing Office Collection

The series NRS 4481 Glass Negatives [Government Printing Office] is one of the jewels in the crown in State Records’ collection. It is a treasure trove of images that cover a broad range of subjects including public buildings, lighthouses, railways and tramways, roads and bridges, military works before 1901, public watering places, buildings damaged by Government construction or on land resumed by the Government, and more. The images span a more than 50 year period in the development of the State of NSW (c.1870s to 1929). Jenny Sloggett, one of our Archives Control Archivists, shares insights about this collection's complex history.

Spotlight on Company records

If you know one of your ancestors worked for or owned a company then you may be in luck because we hold some records that may assist you in finding out more about them. Just be warned not everything has survived and your search may be unsuccessful.

Company packets


NRS 12951 Company packets - Miss Muffett Jam Company [17/8767 no 12123]

When beginning your research it is a good idea to start by checking to see if we hold a company packet (if you know the name of the company). The packets cover companies that were registered after 1875 and ceased trading by 1977. Records include company packets, NRS 12951, NRS 16382, and NRS 16383.

NRS 12951 Documents lodged under Companies Acts 1875-1975
This series consists of packets of documents relating to companies incorporated in New South Wales. There is one packet for each company with a contents list on the outside. Each packet contains information required for submission under the various Companies Acts; memorandum and articles of association; annual list and summary of shareholders; registered address of company; agreements; mortgages and details of liquidation. There is also included a history sheet of administrative action taken in respect of each company.

Some examples of the company’s listed in this series include:

Animated Signs Ltd no.8819 1924-33, Antiques Ltd 3870 1911-36, Ansett Airways Pty Ltd no. 23345 1946-66, Angus and Robertson Pty Ltd no. 62312 1960-64, Arts and Frivolities Pty Ltd no 25724 1947-56, Australia Magazines Ltd no. 16285 1935-51, Australia Plays no. 6762 1920-33, Blue Mountains Amusement Co Pty Ltd no. 10473, Ezy Pak Carry Bag Co Pty Ltd no. 23013, Frock Shop no. 14354 1932-38, Miss Muffett Jam Co Ltd no. 12123.

NRS 12951 Company packets - Miss Muffett Jam Company, contents [17/8767 no 12123]

The Miss Muffett Jam Co Ltd.  no. 12123 [17/8767]

We maintain an internal finding aid which lists the Documents lodged under the Companies Acts 1875-1975 alphabetically.

Regsiters of Companies

Where there is no company packet, check the Dead Companies Index Pre-1969. This index is available in both reading rooms and gives: registration number; company name; incorporation date and dissolution date. If you locate the name of a relevant company make a note of the Registration number (next to the company name). This index corresponds with NRS 12949 Registers of Companies 1874-1937 which is referenced in Archives Investigator. The information recorded in this series varies slightly over time, but the following information can be found in the register: company name; company number; capital; date of registration; memorandum of association; articles; agreement; increase of capital; list of shareholders; special resolutions; registered office; name of secretary or manager; winding up; judge’s orders; appointment of liquidator and liquidators report.

Grand Central Coffee Palace Co Ltd Registration number 000369

Grand Central Coffee Palace Co Ltd Registration number 000369 Incorporation date 31/12/1920 Dissolution date: 31/12/1936

Registers of Firms

The registration of companies, according to the Companies Act, 1899, was undertaken by such registrars, assistant-registrars, clerks and servants as the Governor thought necessary. Between 1899 and 1955, the function of company registration was administered by the Companies and Firms Division of the Deeds Branch of Registrar General's Department. In conjunction with administering the Companies Act this Branch was also responsible for legislation concerning the registration of business names - firstly, the Registration of Firms Act, No. 100.1902 and secondly the Business Names Act, No 50, 1934.

NRS 12961 Registers of firms under the Registration of Firms Act of 1902 [2/8526-53] The registers record the name of the firm; nature of business; packet number of papers; place of business; statement number; date or registration; and details of persons carrying on the business. It should be noted this is an index of the register entries only and that packet numbers of firms recorded in these registers have not survived. Therefore only the name of individuals operating the firm and the name of the firm may be located.

Further Information

More information on these records can be found in Archives Investigator under Agency No. 24, Registrar General. See also records of Agency No. 78, the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Bankruptcy records may also include business and company information. Check the online indexes to Insolvency and Bankruptcy records. See Archives in Brief 58. Commercial directories such as Sands should also be checked for information on businesses.
For access to more recent company records refer to the Australian Security and Investments Commission. The contact details are:

Australian Securities Investments Commission
Level 8, 55 Market Street
Sydney 2000 NSW
Phone: (02) 9911 2500


In Living Memory logo

You can still see the In Living Memory NSW exhibition at State Records Gallery in The Rocks.

In Living Memory exhibition
State Records Gallery
Sydney Records Centre
2 Globe Street (off George Street)
The Rocks NSW 2000
9am - 5pm, Mon - Fri
10 am - 4pm, Sat
Closed public holidays
Exhibition Talks & Tours are available for small groups of 5-20 people, weekdays between 10 am and 4 pm ph: (02) 8247 8609

How you can stay up-to-date with State Records News

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If you like to tweet or just read tweets follow us here [!/srnsw] where we post news items and links of interest to genealogy and archival resources.

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We have also added some in-house videos such as “The Criminal Underworld of Sydney in the 1840s” and “Family History at State Records NSW” []

Upcoming Talks and Tours

Family History Week – Searching NSW State archives on

Gail Davis will discuss the digital copies of the records that are currently available online via Ancestry, offering search tips and tactics for making the best use of these resources.
3 August 2:00pm-3:00pm
Bowen Library 669-673 Anzac Parade, Maroubra
Contact: Georgina Keep
Phone: 02 9314 4845

Family History Week – Crew lists and mariners

Locating records about crew and mariners has often been a challenge for researchers. Lindsay Allen will explore some of the recently indexed and digitised records that are now available.
3 August 10:00am-12:30pm
Tuggerah Library, Westfield Tuggerah, Wyong Road
Contact: Michelle Goldsmith
Phone: 4353 5666

Resources available through State Records website

Presentation about new indexes, digital galleries and services through the State Records website.
5 August 10:00am-12:00pm
Cooma Library, 61 Vale Street Cooma
Contact: Cooma Library
Phone: 6455 1730

What’s new at State Records

Gail Davis will be presenting ‘What’s new at State Records’ as part of the Central Coast Family History Society Open Day.
13 August 11:30am-12:30pm
Lions Hall 8 Russell Drysdale Street, East Gosford
Contact: Central Coast Family History Society
Phone: 43 245164

A Canvas Seachange – Camping on the beach in mid-twentieth century Sydney

Dr Caroline Ford will present a talk on her project undertaken as part of her NSW Archival Research Fellowship. Alan Ventress will also give some background on the Fellowship, which requires entrants to make substantial use of the records collection of State Records.
18 August 10:00am-12:00pm
History House, 133 Macquarie Street
Contact: PHA NSW Secretary
Phone: 9252 9437

SAG Spring Special – Breaking Down Brick Walls

The SAG annual free seminar is on again! This year the seminar will focus on looking at ways to break down the brick walls in your research – the day will be aimed at beginners and those who are ‘stuck’ and need that bit of inspiration!
20 August 9:45am-4:00pm
Conference Room, Western Sydney Records Centre, 143 O’Connell Street Kingswood
Contact: SAG
Phone: 9247 3953

History Week 3-11 September – EAT History

During History Week, community groups, local councils, libraries, archives, museums, universities, cultural institutions, professional and amateur historians across NSW open their doors to present the latest in today’s historical research - fascinating stories, artefacts and experiences about both our past and ourselves today.

We will be developing an online Gallery as part of History Week devoted to the ‘art of food’ drawing on the State archives collection  - Watch this space

History Week – Popular entertainment in the Colony

This presentation by Janette Pelosi will showcase the Letters received requesting approval for entertainments and performances from the Colonial Secretary.
3 September 1:30pm-3:00pm
Coach House, Hambledon Cottage, 63 Hassall Street Parramatta
Website: Parramatta & District Historical Society

Squatters, graziers and others – Land records in the NSW State archives

The theme for the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies 2011 Conference is Pioneering the Country. Christine Yeats will be speaking on the 18 September at 8:45am.
17-18 September 9:00am-4:00pm
Inverell Family History Society
Contact: Ann Hodgens
Phone: 6721 1427 or 0427 211 485

Kingswood Open Day

There will be a number of talks on popular family history and research topics and behind the scenes tours.
28 October 10:00am-3:00pm
Western Sydney Records Centre 143 O’Connell Street Kingswood

For further information check the online events program or ring Lindsay Allen on (02) 9673 1788.