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Index to schools and related records, 1876-1979

Filed under:
The records include: applications for the establishment of schools; the schools progress and its physical provision; teachers; proposed schools and more.

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If you do not find a school in the index try a search in Archives Investigator. Schools listed in Archives Investigator are not necessarily listed in this index.

About the records

School files

Information in the NRS 3829 School Files, 1876-1939 includes:

Applications for the establishment of schools

Application forms contain details of prospective pupils, together with information relating to the proposed site and building. Letters from promoters of schools concern the site, building, teacher and a variety of other matters. Inspectors' reports deal with the prospects of the district and the viability of the proposed school, and contain recommendations relating to the site, the permanent building and if necessary the temporary building, teachers, etc.

The schools progress and its physical provision

Letters and memoranda deal with changes in the schools status, closures and re-openings, and the adequacy of the site and buildings (ranging from routine repairs to new buildings). Valuable information on the progress of the district and on conditions in the school is often included.


Amongst the maters dealt with are appointments, transfers and promotions, examinations, leave, complaints by parents and inspection reports. There were no teachers' personal files as such prior to 1940, papers relating to individual teachers being filed amongst the records of the school at which the teacher was currently employed. For information on teachers see Short Guide 10.


Relatively little correspondence deals with pupils or courses of study. Much can be gleaned, however, from letters dealing with a variety of aspects of the schools operations

Important!Please note: School files may contain hand drawn sketches through to professionally drawn architects plans. Plans which have been extracted from these files are listed in the online Schools and related records index. You can also find a listing of the plans in the Maps and Plans Index which is available in the reading room. These plans are of schools, classrooms and teachers' residences showing buildings, improvements and additions.

Post-1939 records are strictly administrative.

Related records

Admission registers

Some of the most useful details concerning pupils for this period are to be found in the admission registers. They usually record pupil's name, age, name of parents /guardian, address, occupation, date of admission, year and class grade and sometimes reason for leaving or next school to be attended.

Punishment books

These books give the name of the pupil who was punished, the date, the offence and punishment.

Punishment books are Closed to Public Access (CPA) for 50 years.

To gain permission to view these records contact the Records Management Unit of the Department of Education and Communities on (02) 8633 1044, Locked Bag 5068, Parramatta NSW  2124.

The punishment books are listed in Archives Investigator under the name of the school e.g. Punishment Book [Ardglen Public School].

Examination books

The contents of examination books vary. Some record pupils' examination results for each subject, total marks and place in grade. While others contain samples of examination questions.

Other records include

  • stock books
  • visitors books
  • staff meeting records, and
  • observation books.

They add to our significant collection of education records at the Western Sydney Records Centre, which includes photographs and records about schools, teachers and other aspects of education.

Important!Please note: Only a small percentage of admission registers, punishment books and examination books have survived. In some instances the school may still hold the registers.

Proposed school files

Most of the material in this series consists of unsuccessful applications for schools, as well as applications which were granted but did not come to fruition. There is also acquisitions and disposals of unused sites, and letters and reports relating to private schools subsidised by the department.

Most records which can be linked to schools which actually operated have been placed in the School Files. An example of this would be an unsuccessful application predating even by many years a successful application.

The Proposed Schools Files also contain application for schools in areas close to existing schools and declined for that reason, and these often throw light on schools which did operates.

Further reading

Accessing the records

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

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

Are copies available from this index?

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

Photographic Collection

See Archives Investigator NRS 15051 for a list of school photographs. The History Unit of the Dept of School Education collected these photographs when preparing school histories, research for public relations, or giving presentations.


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