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Index to bankruptcy records, 1888-1928

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Bankruptcy is a state in which a person is unable to pay creditors and is required to undergo a legal process that usually results in liquidation of his/her estate in order to meet expenses (at least in part). If a person is declared to be a bankrupt then he/she cannot operate a business for profit, enter a business contract or borrow money.

About the Index | Accessing the records | Historical Background | Feedback

Removing tar adhesive residueImportant!A proportion of State archives are fragile and for this reason we may withhold access to the original archive until it has received attention from our Conservation staff. Archives will be checked on a case by case basis as they are requested either in the Reading Room or for a copy order. If an archive requires conservation treatment there will be a delay in the archive being issued and/or copied. Conservation treatments can take up to six months to be completed.

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About the Index

This index covers the years 1888-1928, surnames A-Z. There are 28880 entries to search.

InformationA note to remember: Although a name may appear in the index, in some cases the Bankruptcy file may not have survived.

Bankruptcy is similar, but not identical to insolvency. Bankruptcy involves the sequestration of a person's assets when they are unable to meet the demands of creditors. 

Thank you Lynne!This index was compiled by staff and checked by volunteer Lynne Selden. We would like to thank Lynne for her contribution to making these records more accessible.

If you cannot find a name in the Index

If the name of a known bankruptcy does not appear in the index, researchers are advised to consult the NSW Government Gazette in the relevant timeframe to assist in locating the file reference.

References to files that have been used previously, and which do not appear in the website index, can still be used to retrieve the file.

Records series used to compile the Index

This index was compiled from:

NRS 13658, Supreme Court Bankruptcy Index, 1888-1928, Reel 39

It is not a comprehensive listing of the Bankruptcy files, 1888-1929. NRS13655 [10/22500-4400] and some names may have been omitted from the index.

Please fill out the feedback form below, or advise the reading room staff of any omissions so that the index can be updated.

Accessing the records

The original records are available to view in the reading room at the Western Sydney Records Centre (WSRC).

If you find an entry that you are interested in you can pre-order the record for viewing at the WSRC.

Are copies available from the index?

We do not offer a copy service from the index. Due to the physical size of the files copies can only be ordered in the reading room after viewing the records.

Historical Background

The jurisdiction of insolvency was recognised in New South Wales in 1823 with the Act to Provide for better Administration of Justice in New South Wales. The Act allowed the Supreme Court to examine the affairs of those unable to pay creditors.

The Act did not stop people continuing to be imprisoned for debt. In 1830 the two concepts of insolvency and bankruptcy were combined in the Act for the Relief of Debtors and for an Equal Distribution of their Estates and Effects amongst Creditors.

In 1887 the Bankruptcy jurisdiction of the Supreme Court was established under the Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to insolvency and bankruptcy.

This Act provided clear guidelines on the process from solvency to bankruptcy. That is, from the inability to meet creditors to the distribution of assets.

From 1888 insolvency records were combined with bankruptcy records.

QuestionsSequestration Order – The order made by the court giving the trustee control of the debtor’s property. The date of sequestration is the official date on which the debtor becomes bankrupt.


We would appreciate any feedback and suggestions you may have on using the Index.