Insolvency - The inability to satisfy creditors or discharge liabilities. Early legislation in NSW addressed insolvency rather than bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy - Bankruptcy is similar, but not identical to insolvency. Bankruptcy involves the sequestration of a...

Inquests are conducted by coroners and are held to investigate the manner and cause of death

The first Bench of Magistrates was convened in Sydney on 19 February 1788. By 1800 sittings were held regularly in Parramatta and the Hawkesbury district, and the use of magisterial proceedings had become widespread in the Colony by the 1820s. As settlement spread during the squatting era,...

Not digitised

The index lists criminal and civil cases heard before the Judge Advocate's Bench of Magistrates 19 Feb 1788-25 Nov 1820. It includes meetings of the Rose Hill (Parramatta) bench from 7 October 1789.

Arthur Astill, a 16 year old labourer from Orange in central west NSW, was photographed at Dubbo Gaol on 24 January 1893 while awaiting trial for murder.

Not digitised

Minutes of proceedings show date of sitting, members present, the nature of the action, and judgment of the Court. Arguments put forward by both parties are summarised. Where an action concerned a business document (eg. promissory note), tendered in evidence, a copy was normally entered up.


An overview of the Court of Claims and a list of the main records series in our collection. The Commissioners appointed in the court were empowered to hear the claims of all persons holding or claiming to hold lands where grants had been promised and claiming to have grants delivered to...

Not digitised

This index will be of interest to those researching early or disputed land ownership. It records: date of memorial to the Court of Claims, name of applicant, address, occupation, name of first possessor of land and case number.

The Letters Patent (or Charter of Justice) provided that the Court should be a Court of Record presided over by the Judge Advocate of the Colony, together with six naval or military officers appointed by the Governor, with the authority to try all criminal causes which were offences under the...

Not digitised

This is a valuable resource relating to the New South Wales colonial justice system and will be of benefit to those of you researching criminals, convicts and crimes committed during the early years of the Colony.


Includes criminal actions at country area Quarter Sessions relating to cases of a non-capital nature etc. The Index records: registration number, name of defendant, place and date of committal, offence and where committed for trial.

Not digitised
Example from the Criminal indictments records. Reel 1861 9-2634 p22

Includes criminal cases tried before the Supreme Court at Sydney and on the Circuit for the period 1863-1919. The Index records: trial number and where tried, name of defendant, offence, date of trial and Judge, verdict and sentence.


These records relate to children who were admitted to State care between 1883 and 1923. They record where the dependent children were placed (whether with foster parents or guardians). Some of the children were eventually adopted.

A brief overview of the major sources in our collection that relate to divorce and procedures for accessing Divorce Case Papers (Open to Public Access after 30 years).

Dr Charles Fattorini: Naturalisation Certificate NRS 1042 [4-1200]

Among the entries in the Port Macquarie Small Debts Register is one of Port Macquarie’s more notable residents - Dr Charles Lamonnerie Dictus Fattorini, rumoured to be the illegitimate son of Napoleon Bonaparte.


Not digitised

This index includes cases relating to the payment of debts on promissory notes or goods, services, or for slander. The quantity of papers for each case varies and in some cases very little information is given.

Not digitised

There are approximately 250 entries in the index from the period 1788-1838.

Justices of the Peace were authorised to keep the peace for the territory of New South Wales by being able to arrest, take bail, bind to good behaviour and to suppress and punish riots.

Example for the Metropolitan Childrens Court Register

The Metropolitan Children's Court was established by the Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Act, 1905. The role of the Court was to hear and determine cases of offences committed by or against children.

This index provides access to digital copies of correspondence relating to applications to take silk in NSW between 1892 and 1950. The index is searchable by name and year appointed silk.

This Small Debts Register was indexed by the members of the Port Macquarie & Districts Family History Society.

Fully digitised

Search by name and view/download the digitised entries. Infomration includes: names of plaintiff and defendant, cause of action, amount of claim, costs, judgment and amount of judgment. 

    Not digitised

    The case papers are numbered and arranged chronologically and usually include the name of the of the person tried, date, place, verdict and sentence. They generally contain the indictment which gives a statement of the crime and circumstances.

    The Quarter Sessions court was an intermediate court with greater powers than the local court or bench but not as great as the Supreme Court. It could hear all crimes and misdemeanours where the crime was not punishable by death.  It met three times a year at various locations...

    On the 27 January 1834 at the Sydney Quarter Sessions, Mary Maguire was convicted of stealing and sentenced to 12 calendar months at the Female Factory as a Third Class prisoner (less privileges). 

    Newcastle Court House. Digital ID 4481_a026_000535

    Bench of Magistrates, Courts of Petty Sessions and Local Courts records.


    As a result of the criticisms of the existing judicial arrangements in NSW by Commissioner Bigge, the existing Court of Criminal Jurisdiction and the Supreme Court of Civil Jurisdiction were abolished. The Supreme Court was established under the Third Charter of Justice (1823), operating with a...

    One of the earliest courts established in New South Wales, the Vice Admiralty Court was an Imperial Court whereby directives, instructions, imperial bills and acts changing its structure or procedures as well as rules, regulations and tables of fees were received via dispatches from the...

    Supreme Court, King Street, Sydney. NRS-4481-2-4-8603-408

    Records of the Higher Courts include the Court of Quarter Sessions, the District Court and the Supreme Court.

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