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Short Guide 1 - Electoral rolls

About this guide | Historical background | Sydney electoral district | Other electoral districts

About this guide

State Records' Short Guides are designed to provide easy reference to record series relating to a particular subject or area of research. This guide provides a list of the Electoral Rolls, 1842-64. It was previously published as Information Leaflet 3.

State Records holds a number of early manuscript and printed electoral rolls in the records of the Colonial Secretary's Office. This guide lists those known to be held, NRS 1199 Electoral Rolls, 1842-64. See also Electoral Rolls, 1843-90 listed in Appendix 1 (pp.241-243) of Guide to New South Wales State Archives relating to Responsible Government (Guide 3).

With the exception of Series 8, the electoral rolls listed in this guide have been reproduced on microfiche as a component of the Archives Resources Kit.

The Electoral Rolls, 1842-64 are open to public access.

Historical background

In 1823 the Legislative Council was established, and it consisted of five, six or seven members appointed by the Governor. The four official members of the Legislative Council also constituted the Executive Council which officiary came into existence on 20th December, 1825. On the 25th July, 1828 the provisions of the 1823 Act were amended and the membership of the Council was increased to between 10-15 members.

Representative government effectively began in 1843 when a Legislative Council of 36 members with 24 members elected by Colonists was constructed and first met in that year. The franchise was limited by a property qualification to men owning freehold property of a value exceeding £200 or leasing property with an annual value exceeding £20. However, in 1851 this was reduced to £100 and £10.

Responsible Government in New South Wales began in 1856 when the New South Wales Constitution Act of 1855 gave the Legislative Council the power to establish a bicameral legislature. The Upper House (Legislative Council) consisted of members nominated for life and The Lower House (Legislative Assembly) was modelled along the lines of House of Commons and its members were to be elected at a general election.

Those eligible to vote were:

  • Possessors of freehold estates of the clear value of £100/-/- within the electorate
  • Persons holding licences from the government to depasture lands within the electorate
  • Occupiers of houses of the clear annual value of £10/-/- in the electorate, and
  • Possessors of leasehold estates of the annual value of £10/-/-, the leases of which at the date of registration had not less than 3 years to run.

In 1858 the franchise was extended to all adult males who had lived in an electorate for the preceding six months and were either British citizens by birth or had been naturalised for five years and had lived in the colony for the preceding two. Police, serving members of the armed forces, paupers and prisoners were barred from voting. The property qualification was retained and allowed a man to vote in every electorate where he had the necessary property. In 1893 the property vote was abolished as well as the six month residence requirement, which in effect gave the vote to itinerant workers and shearers and, in 1902 the vote was given to women.

In 1934 the Legislative Council in New South Wales was replaced by a body indirectly elected by the members of the Lower House. Recently, further changes have taken place, and members of the Upper House are now elected at general elections along with members of the Lower House.

State Records holds only those early electoral rolls which we have identified and described in this Information Leaflet. Other records such as Directories (eg. Sands Directory) and Gazeteers (such as Bailliere's) are also valuable sources for genealogical research since they give particulars of individuals.

The Mitchell Library has a large collection of such material available for research. The State Library of New South Wales holds both State electoral rolls from the late 1860's and Commonwealth electoral rolls dating back to the beginning of this century.

Sydney electoral district

Electoral District Dates Fiche Reel Item

Bourke Ward

1842-43

1845-46

1848-49

1849-50

1850-51

1851-52

768

768

769

769

770

771

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

Brisbane Ward

1842-43

1845-46

1848-49

1849-50

1850-51

1851-52

768

768

769

769

770

772

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

(Revised)

1851-52

771

2244

SZ118

Cook Ward

1842-43

1845-46

1848-49

1849-50

1850-51

1851-52

768

768

769

770

770-771

771-772

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

(Revised)

1851-52

772

2244

SZ118

Gipps Ward

1842-43

1845-46

1848-49

1849-50

1850-51

1851-52

768

768

769

769

770

771

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

(Revised)

1851-52

771

2244

SZ118

Macquarie Ward

1842-43

1845-46

1848-49

1849-50

1850-51

1851-52

768

768

769

769-770

770

772

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

(Revised)

1851-52

771

2244

SZ118

Phillip Ward

1842-43

1845-46

1848-49

1849-50

1850-51

1851-52

1851-52

768

768-769

769

770

771

772

772

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

2244

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

SZ118

Sydney Hamlets in the Police District of Sydney

1853-54

776-777

2244

2/8239

Other electoral districts

Electoral District Dates Fiche Reel Item

Argyle

1863

774

2244

SZ118

Central Cumberland Electoral District

Revised List

1859-60

1861-62

773

773-774

2244

2244

SZ118

SZ118

County of Argyle

Freeholders/ Leaseholders/ Householders/ Salaried

1856

773

2244

SZ118

County of Cumberland

1851-52

772-773

2244

SZ118

County of Murray

Braidwood (Police District)

1856

773

2244

SZ118

Queanbeyan (Police District)

1856

773

2244

SZ118

Yass (Police District)

1856

773

2244

SZ118

County of Northumberland

1857-58

2685

X2093

Police District of Brisbane Water (Photocopy at State Records COD 244)

1843

2244

X878

X2093

Cumberland, Borough of Penrith

1858-59

2386

SZ119

Cumberland, Borough of Liverpool

1858-59

2386

SZ119

Cumberland, Campbelltown

1858-59

2386

SZ119

District of the United Counties of Phillip, Brisbane and Bligh in the Police District of Murrurundi

1857-58

779

2685

X2093

Durham in the Police District of Murrurundi

1857-58

2685

X2093

Eastern Division of the County of Camden

Electoral Lists for:

Kiama District

1855-56

773

2244

SZ118

Shoalhaven District

1855-56

773

2244

SZ118

Wollongong District

1855-56

773

2244

SZ118

Hawkesbury

1859-60

1860-61

2386

2386

SZ119

SZ119

Liverpool Plains and Gwydir in the Police District of Murrurundi

1857-58

2685

X2093

North Riding, Co. of Cumberland

1856

775

2386

SZ119

Police District of Windsor

1844

778

2244

9/2654

Port Phillip*

Revised List of Electors

1848-49

770

2244

SZ118

City of Melbourne - Gipps Ward/LaTrobe Ward/Bourke Ward/Lonsdale Ward

1848-49

770

2244

SZ118

* An electoral roll for Port Phillip, 1849 is also held in State Records (see Series 8).

It is not a State archive but a privately published work and thus does not form part of the series of electoral rolls in the Archives Resources Kit.

United Pastoral Districts of Wellington and Bligh

Dubbo (Police District)

1856

773

2244

SZ118

Molong (Police District)

1856

773

2244

SZ118

Wellington (Police District)

1856

773

2244

SZ118

Please note: A copy of a thesis by Albert H D Freeman entitled Using Electoral Rolls in Family History Studies is held in the Reference Library of State Records at 929.1072FRE.