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What you won't find @ State Records

We hold the records of the New South Wales government from 1788. While we do have a large selection of archives there are a number of records that we do not hold. We have listed these below and, where possible, included contact information for the relevant government agency.

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) hold a number of record series that may include people or institutions from New South Wales. Most of these records date from Federation (1901) onwards. Contact NAA for details about the following:

  • Passenger arrival and departure records post 1922
  • Naturalization records post 1903
  • Census records post 1901
  • Post Office records
  • Military dossiers from World War I and World War II
  • High Court of Australia
  • Federal government employment records


We generally do not hold records of:

Adoptions and State Wards

The Department of Community Services holds records relating to the fostering of children from 1924 onwards. All requests for information on adoptions and State wards should be directed to the Department of Community Services (02) 9716 2662.

Our information leaflet Archives in Brief 59 provides more information.

Bankruptcy post 1928

Bankruptcy became a Commonwealth matter after 1928. For access to post 1928 Bankruptcy records contact:

Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia
Telephone: 1300 364 785 (toll free)

We hold pre 1928 Insolvency and Bankruptcy records. Search the online index to Insolvency records and Bankruptcy records. See Archives in Brief 58 for more information.

Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates

Contact the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for copies of these certificates or questions relating to these records.

Change of name records

19th Century newspapers

State Library of NSW
Macquarie Street SYDNEY NSW 2000

1875 - April 1996 NSW Department of Lands
Queens Square SYDNEY NSW 2000
Telephone: 9228 6666
1996 ->
NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
35 Regent Street CHIPPENDALE NSW 2008
Telephone: 1300 655 236 Email:

See information leaflet Archives in Brief 35 for background information.

Divorce records from 1976

For records of divorce after 1976 contact:

The Family Court of Australia
National Enquiry Centre
Phone: 1300 352 000
Fax: 02 8892 8585
Family Law Courts
National Enquiry Centre
GPO Box 9991
Parramatta NSW 2124

For information relating to Divorce records held with us see Archives in Brief 77.

Electoral rolls post 1890

Each State Library holds a complete set of electoral rolls for every state/territory. A limited selection of electoral rolls has been digitised on Ancestry and you can access these free of charge in our reading room or at your local library.

See our information leaflet Archives in Brief 5 for information on pre 1890 electoral rolls held by State Records.

Foster Children

Our information leaflet Archives in Brief 59 provides more information on records.

Hospital [patient] records

In general we do not hold hospital or patient records (including time of birth records for babies). We do hold a number of records relating to Crown Street Women's Hospital.  Try contacting the records management department at the hospital in question.

Infirm and destitute asylum records

We do have some records relating to patients in asylums for the infirm and destitute.

Mental hospital records

We do have some records relating to patients in mental hospitals and a small number of records for State hospitals.

Inquests post 1963

For access to post 1963 inquest records:

If it was a Sydney Inquest contact:

Glebe Coroner's Court
44 Parramatta Road
Glebe   NSW 2037
Phone: (02) 8584 7777  Fax: (02) 9660 7594
Contact: Clerk of the Court

If the inquest was held in the country contact the Clerk of the Local Court in the district concerned.

We hold pre 1963 Inquest records for further information see Archives in Brief 4.

Certificates of land title

Land ownership records are administered by Land and Property Information (LPI).

We hold records relating to the first alienation of Crown Land. See AIB on Land grants prior to 1856, Commissioners of Crown Lands, Primary Application Packets and Conditional Purchase records.

Search kiosks for accessing selected land records are available in the reading room.


Miners' rights

We do not hold records relating to miners' rights but we hold a number of other archives relating to gold.


We do not hold original or copied newspapers apart from the Sydney Gazette (up to 1811 only).

A selection of digitised newspapers are available on Trove (National Library of Australia). A comprehensive set of newspapers can also be found in each State Library in Australia.

Private records of doctors, solicitors and lawyers

We do not hold private records of businesses in general or private practices of doctors, solicitors and lawyers.  In general, we do not hold the private records of individuals or families.  The State Library of NSW and the National Library of Australia hold many private papers.

Some private records are held in State Records' Regional Repositories.  Some business records can be located in the Noel Butlin Archives Centre.

Probate post 1976, except 1989

State Records holds probate packets Series 1-1 to Series 4-828673 (c.1817-1976) and 100001/1989-105663/1989 (1989).

For access to post 1976 (except 1989) probate records contact:

Supreme Court of NSW
Probate Division
PO Box 3 Sydney NSW 2001
Telephone: 1300 679 272

For further information about probate records see Archives in Brief 84.

Regimental and war diaries

The Research Centre at the Australian War Memorial "is the single most important resource for researching Australia's military history. It is the first point of contact for all public inquiries about Australian military history and the Memorial's collections."

School certificates and pupil reports

We do not hold pupil record cards, individual school reports or school certificates.

Copies of Leaving Certificates, Intermediate Certificates, School Certificates and High School Certificates may be obtained from the Board of Studies on (02) 9367 8111.

Our information leaflet Archives in Brief 76 provides information about pupil records.

We do not hold University student records. Check with the specific University concerned.

School class photos

We do not hold copies of school class photos that were usually taken every year by private photographers.

Some photos of (unnamed) pupils have survived as part of NRS 15051 which is the photograph collection of the History Unit of the Department of Education.  The Unit collected these photographs when preparing school histories, research for public relations, or for giving presentations.