During the 1790s plans to establish an orphan asylum in Sydney gathered pace as the number of neglected and destitute children increased. The first Female Orphan School, championed by Governor Philip King and Reverend Samuel Marsden, opened in 1801. Initially boys were apprenticed out rather...

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). 

Portraits of the Executive Commissioners for the International Exhibition, Melbourne 1888 along with photographs of the exhibits and exhibition.

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Chinese migration and settlement in New South Wales has a long history. Early musters and census include Chinese and although Chinese migration was being considered as a solution to the labour shortage in the Colony as early as 1828, the numbers remained low until the middle of the...

These photos are of pit-tops and loading and transport facilities of northern NSW coal mines & include: Australian Agricultural Company's pits at Glebe and the Sea-pit, Burwood No.1 and 3 and Burwood Extended, Cardiff, Co-operative, Duckenfield, Dudley, Durham, East Greta, Ferndale,...

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Convict life on Norfolk Island was severe and often brutal. This page is a snapshot of one convict, John Walsh, who spent ten years on Norfolk Island from 1834 to 1844. 

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Divorce files can be a detailed source of information for the family historian, providing extra details which may not have been discussed or known within the family. And official records can often give a more impartial account than a family story. Researchers have been known to...

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A brief list of records relating to Dutch arrivals.

Photo albums of Mr L.G. Watt, NSW Board of Fire Commissioners. These photos are a visual account of the Commissioners' travels around New South Wales and parts of Victoria, Queensland and South Australia covering 1928-1935. To some extent the photos capture the route the...

In 1915 the NSW Police Department advertised for two female special constable positions. Around 400 women applied, with the successful applicants being Maude Rhodes (an inspector for the State Children Relief Department) and Lillian Armfield (a nurse at Callan Park Mental Hospital). At the time...

On 30 March 1816 Francis Greenway was appointed as Civil Architect and Assistant Engineer by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. He had arrived in Australia as a convict in 1814 after being found guilty of forging a document. The original sentence of death was commuted to transportation for 14...

Part of this collection of lantern slides was shown at the Franco-British Exhibition in London, 1908. Many of the slides are of typical country scenes such as saw mills, dairy farms, mining, and timber felling and hauling.

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The earliest records held by State Records relating to the French are contained in the Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825.  Included are letters that relate to a number of French vessels visiting Sydney, such as the Surprize asking for permission to go sealing in 1802...

A number of Germans, such as Augustus Alt (appointed the first Surveyor of Lands on May 1787), the astronomer Carl Ludwig Rümker and Phillip Schaffer who established one of the earliest vineyards in Australia, played key roles in the early development of New South Wales.

(NRS 4481) Photography was a major activity of the Government Printing Office from the late 19th Century until well into the 20th, resulting in an extensive and diverse collection of photographs of life in New South Wales.

The earliest records held by State Records relating to Greek people arriving in NSW are the convict indents for seven sailors from Hydra convicted at Malta in 1828 for piracy and transported for various terms.

This page was created thanks to a researcher who was looking the records of education and schools for deaf children in NSW.

Few Indians arrived and settled in the colony of NSW in the first half of the 19th century. Most were labourers who returned to India once they had completed their contracts.  A small number of convicts were transported to NSW from India, including David Cusshon, who was tried at...

Every now and then rare we find rare examples of collection items which may be described as 'treasures'. One example is the intestate estate file for a Mr Patrick Birmingham who died in 1907. Most of the records on this page are not typically found in intestate estate...

The first time the number of Italian born immigrants in NSW was reported was in the 1871 Census, when 772 Italians were recorded. 

In the Police Service Registers John Vance Blain is listed as a Foot Police officer (not Mounted Police), born in Ireland in 1850. He was 5 feet 11 and a half inches tall with blue eyes, fair hair, and a fair complexion. 

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Lebanese migration and settlement in Australia commenced around 1880. There is a breakdown of the occupations of the ‘Syrian’ males in NSW at the time of the 1901 Census. These included: drapers (10); merchants (10); storekeeper, shopkeeper and relative assisting (16); hawker and relative...

We hope that this local history studty of the town of Dalgety will give you some tips and tactics for your own local history project.

Records relating to Maltese migration to New South Wales.

The photographing of prisoners was introduced into New South Wales gaols in 1871. This 1875...

On the early morning of 17 April 1816 at least 14 people of the Dharawal tribe were killed when James Wallis’ detachment encountered a camp at Appin near the banks of the Cataract River.

This register is not dissimilar to the modern day television program Missing Persons Unit. Just like today, people did go missing during the early days of the colony. With limited resources, investigations on missing persons were carried out and this register is a record of the process.

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The State of New South Wales is fortunate in having in its archives an extensive collection of records documenting the 'careers' of over 80,000 Imperial convicts transported between 1788 and 1842 (plus the 'convict exiles' from the later 1840s and 1850s)...A better understanding of the Convict...

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This photographic series includes internal and external views of the baby clinics, mothers and babies in waiting rooms, babies receiving attention and possibly mothers holding babies being instructed by the nurses.

In the management of female convicts the governors of NSW faced many problems and the female factory was seen as a solution to the 'problem' of protecting women and harnessing their economic power.

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These photographs were collected by the NSW Board of Pharmacists and associated with the Board's roll in keeping records relating to people registering as Pharmacists in NSW.

A small number of Polish-born convicts were transported to New South Wales.

This series by the Government Architect's office includes but is not limited to: departmental buildings such as the Lands Office Sydney and Government House, court houses, general hospitals, post offices, post and telegraph offices, police stations, police barracks, psychiatric...

The photo series here include: Reference Print Collection, c.1850 onwards; Photos displayed in NSW trains, c.1930s-c.1960s; Eveleigh Workshops during the 1917 Railway Strike; Glass plate negatives of North Shore, Sydney Harbour and general subjects, c.1908.

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The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney celebrated its bicentenary on 13 June 2016. A selection of records are discussed in context in celebration of this milestone being reached.

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This series consists principally of photographs of the Royal National Park including flora and fauna. Many images relate to the recreational facilities around Audley and include photographs of people boating, playing sports, bushwalking, picnicking and participating in ceremonies.

These photographs illustrate the farm property and buildings, the training programs and aspects of daily life of the people working at Scheyville (near Windsor). Scheyville was a training farm for young men selected from the Sydney area, and those arriving under various British immigration...

These photographs include children being vaccinated; medical staff; and the interior of the Dental Clinic. The photographs bear no captions and although undated they appear to date from 1914 - the year that the School Travelling Hospital was instituted.

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Personnel record books 1884-1955 (NRS 510) detail the career of each fire fighter and include personal information such as date of birth, marital status, number of children and height. Professional information such as...

Sentenced beyond the Seas project revealed tales of convict fraud, the origins of Australia’s love of beer, executions and more. In this podcast and presentation from Open Day 2013 Janette Pelosi tells tales of some of our earliest convicts from 1788 to 1801.

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The Soldier Settlement website: A Land Fit For Heroes? contains 195 case studies using a variety of sources including those held by us and the returned soldiers’...

This volume shows returned soldiers clearing the land, constructing houses, and carrying out farming activities on soldier settlements established following World War 1. The photos also feature their families and cottages in which they lived.

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We are connecting related stories to our research guides. Read stories as you browse the guides and indexes or follow the tag "Stories" to find all stories added to the website.

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This series contains 14 albums of c.2000 photographs documenting the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the turning of the first sod to the final steps of construction, the official opening and the early use of the bridge by the public. 

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One of the highlights of the State archives collection for the 20th Century is a highly significant set of documents relating to the iconic Sydney Opera House. They include the 1955 booklet setting out the conditions for the architectural competition, the original set of competition drawings...

These photos of prisoners were accompanied by the following details: name, aliases, date when portrait was taken, native place, year of birth, arrived in colony - ship and year, trade or occupation, religion, degree of education, height, weight (on committal, on discharge), colour of...

Watermen were boatmen licenced to ferry passengers. With watermen working on New South Wales waterways these could be an untapped source for family and maritime history.

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The wreck of the Dunbar, with the loss of 121 passengers and crew, is one of Australia's worst maritime disasters in peacetime.

A sample of photos of Sydney Harbour Trust staff killed in action in World War I. The oval shaped portraits are printed on thick card and have been cut out of an album or display board. The name of the person has been written in pencil on the back of the prints. 

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