State Records Home
Personal tools
You are here :: Home The State Archives Indexes Online Land records Squatters and Graziers 1837-49

Squatters and Graziers 1837-49

Filed under:
This index will be of interest to local and family historians researching land records during the period 1837-49. There are 9003 entries in this index.

Search the Index

Historical Background | Description of the records | About the Index | Further research | Feedback

We have titled this Index Squatters and Graziers to make it easier for researchers. It should be noted that the formal title is: Index to Itineraries and returns of Commissioners of Crown Lands, 1837-49

Thank you Kaye and Billie!This index was compiled by Mrs Kaye Vernon and Mrs Billie Jacobson (their website is The index is published on State Records' website with the permission of Mrs Vernon and Mrs Jacobson, who also retain the copyright. State Records wishes to acknowledge the contribution of Mrs Vernon and Mrs Jacobson in compiling this index.

Squatter: One who settled on Crown Land to run stock especially sheep, initially without Government permission but later with a lease or licence (Macquarie Dictionary, 2nd Edition).

Grazier: The owner of a rural property on which sheep or cattle are grazed (Macquarie ABC Dictionary, 2003, page 427).

Historical Background

There was some unauthorised occupation of Crown land from the earliest days of the colony. Governor Darling created what is known as the 'limits of location', creating two areas within the colony by a Government Order on 5 September 1826. Settlers were only allowed to take up land within the ‘limits’. A further Government Order on 14 October 1829 increased this area of approved settlement to include an area called the Nineteen Counties.

In 1833, in responses to extensive unauthorised occupation of Crown lands, ‘an Act for protecting the Crown Lands of the Colony from Encroachment, Intrusion and Trespass’ was passed. The Act authorised the Governor to appoint Commissioners of Crown lands. Although 13 Commissioners were appointed between the passing of the 1833 Act and the official extension of grazing to areas beyond the 19 counties, none were appointed in a full-time capacity.

As the 1833 Act appears to have had little or no impact on the unauthorised occupation of Crown Land and it was impossible to prevent the expansion of the squatters, Governor Bourke sought to legalise and regulate squatting through further legislation in 1836. The regulations consequent to the 1836 Act included issuing licences to settlers to depasture their stock on the vacant Crown lands beyond the limits of location, on application to the Colonial Secretary.

The 1836 Act also provided for the appointment of full-time Commissioners of Crown Lands to the districts beyond the limits of location. The Commissioners were required to report on the inspections they carried out in their land district.

Description of the records

The Commissioners of Crown Lands Itineraries and half- yearly returns provide a record of the inspections they carried out. The Itineraries were sent to the Colonial Secretary until the late 1840s, along with other returns, many of which are located in the annual bundles of ‘Commissioners of Crown Lands’ within the Colonial Secretary’s letters received. The itineraries have been extracted and bound separately.

Each itinerary records: the Commissioner’s name and district; the extent of each day’s journey – date, from, to, number of miles; name of each station visited; licencees; superintendents; number of residents; nature of the buildings on each station; number of acres in cultivation; stock – cattle, horses, sheep; if a dairy, estimated annual produce in butter and cheese; estimated extent of run commanded by each station; general quality of the soil and herbage [vegetation]; how watered; how wooded; distance from nearest adjoining station; and any additional remarks.

The half-yearly returns of population and livestock show names of station, owner and superintendent; extent and area of run; how watered; number of free and bonded persons on run; number of horses, cows and sheep; and amount of assessment.

About the Index

What you will find in the index

The index records the following: name of the licencee, name of the Superintendent and others on the property at the time (the remarks column lists other names), station name (sometimes this is the name of the locality), date, description (this is the title of the record ie "Itinerary of John James Allman, Counties of Bathurst & Wellington" [Commissioner of Crown Lands), and record citation.

Are copies available from this index?

We do not offer a copy service from this index at present. Some of the Itineraries and Population Returns have been have been microfilmed and are available to access in the reading room. The registers that have not been microfilmed are available to access from the Western Sydney reading room and copies will be available to order after viewing the records.

Record series used to compile the Index

The following records have been indexed:

NRS 906; Colonial Secretary: Commissioners of Crown Lands - Itineraries
William Colburn Mayne, 15 Dec 1846 - 17 Apr 1847, 9 Sep 1847 - 8 Sep 1848 [X817], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
Graham D Hunter, 8-23 Aug 1839, 6 Dec 1839 - 14 Jan 1840, 1 Mar - 20 Nov 1843, 22 May - 6 Jun 1844, 16 Oct 1845 - 7 Jan 1846, 10 Jul - 6 Nov 1847 [X814], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
Clarence River
Oliver Fry, 7 Jan 1844 - 14 Nov 1845 [X813], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
Darling Downs
Christopher Rolleston, 10-24 Nov 1843, 24 May - 18 Jun 1844, 2 Jan - 25 Feb 1845, 8‑14 Apr 1846, 1 Jan - 26 Apr 1847, 10 Apr - 19 May 1848, 16 Oct - 9 Nov 1848 [X817], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
Charles James Tyers, 29 Jan 1844 - 31 Dec 1845 (duplicates),  [X818], microfilm copy SR Reel 2749
Edgar Beckham, 27 Nov - 16 Dec 1841, 17 Apr 1843 - 10 Jan 1846, 10 Apr 1847 - 20 Feb 1849 [X811], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
Henry Cosby, 22 Sep - 13 Oct 1839, 1 Jan - 26 Feb 1840. Half yearly return of population and livestock in the Lachlan district from 1 Jan 1840 [X813], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
Liverpool Plains
Roderick Mitchell, 5 Apr - 6 May 1844 [X817], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
McLeay River
Robert George Massie. Inclusive dates not noted. Itineraries dated 10 Jul 1844, 4 Feb 1845, 14 Feb 1846, 30 Mar 1847 [X816], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
John Lambie, 29 Jul 1839 - 24 Nov 1840 [X815], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748, 31 Aug 1843 - 26 Apr 1844 [4/10803.2], 3 Jun 1845 - 29 Feb 1848 and Return of stations in Monaroo district, Mar 1848 [X815], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
Moreton Bay
Stephen Simpson, 7 May - 17 Jun 1844, 8 Dec 1844 - 1 Mar 1845, 13 Dec 1848 - 2 Mar 1849 [X818], microfilm copy SR Reel 2749
Henry Bingham, 10 Jul - Nov 1839, Aug 1843, Jul 1844, Mar - Nov 1845, Apr - Jun 1847 [X812], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
Evelyn Pitfield Shirley Sturt, 10‑24 Jun 1837, [X818], microfilm copy SR Reel 2749
Henry Wilson Hutchinson Smythe, 25 Sep 1843 - 3 Apr 1846 [X818], microfilm copy SR Reel 2749
New England
George James MacDonald, 16 Jul - 20 Sep 1839, 1 Jan 1840 - 30 Apr 1841, 1 Jan 1844 - 31 Dec 1845 [X816], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
Port Macquarie
Henry Oakes, 7-28 Mar 1837, 13 Oct - 2 Nov 1837, 16 Jul - 19 Aug 1839, 14 Feb - 24 Sep 1840, 1 Jan - 30 May 1841 [X817], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
Port Phillip
Henry Fysche Gisborne, 30 Aug - 26 Dec 1839 [4/10803.3], 11-27 Jan 1840 [X814], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748, 28 Jan - 18 Feb 1840 [4/10803.4]
Portland Bay
Foster Fyans, 1 Jan - 31 Dec 1842, 1 Jul - 31 Dec 1845. Half yearly returns of population and livestock from 1 Jul 1842 and 1 Jul 1845 [X814], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748. (see also NRS 1391, Fyans' Itineraries 1844, Jan - Jun 1846; and Returns of population and livestock, Jan 1844 - Jan 1846 at [X690-91], microfilm copy SR Reel 2756
Lawrence Vance Dulhunty, 17-30 Sep 1839 [X813], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
William Colburn Mayne, 15 Dec 1846 - 17 Apr 1847, 9 Sep 1847 - 8 Sep 1848 [X817], microfilm copy SR Reel 2748
William Henry Wright, 28 Aug - 13 Nov 1843, 10 Apr 1844 - 26 Jan 1846 [X818], microfilm copy SR Reel 2749
John James Allman, 20 Jul - 3 Aug 1840 [4/10803.1]
Western Port (Victoria)
Frederick Armand Powlett, 1 Feb - 31 Jul 1842, 1 Jan 1844 - 28 Feb 1846 [X817] microfilm copy SR Reel 2748

NRS 1391, Itineraries of Commissioner Foster Fyans, 1844, Jan-Jun 1846; and Returns of population and livestock, Jan 1844-Jan 1846 [X690-91; Reel 2756].

Further research

It is possible that additional information may be found by searching the following series:


NRS 14363, Registers of depasturing licenses, 1837-46, 1851 [4/91-108, 4/112] *ARK
Reels 5067-5081

NRS 14364, Annual returns of depasturing licenses, 1850-54 [X721-24] Reels 3121-3123

Index to the certificates for depasturing licences, 1837-46, 1851. The index was compiled by Mrs Janice Brooks and the late Mrs Valerie Moses. It is published on the website with the permission of Mrs Brooks, who also retains the copyright. Each certificate shows a registered number, date, name and residence of licensee, situation (whether north, west, south, etc.), district, period of licence, amount of fee.

Colonial Secretary

NRS 907, Colonial Secretary: Letters from individuals re Land, 1826-56

NRS 944, Copies of letters to individuals, organizations etc. re land, 2 January 1827 - 17 November 1856 ([4/3555-92]; microfilm copy SR Reels 2298-2313)

NRS 958, Copies of letters to Commissioners of Crown Lands, 28 April 1834 - 11 February 1847 ([4/6188 part, 4/3659-61]; microfilm copy SR Reel 2996)

Letters sent by the various Commissioners of Crown Lands (see Archives Investigator for details).


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