Australia Census

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Australia Wiki Topics
Australia flag
Beginning Research
Record Types
Australia Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Online Census Records[edit | edit source]

New South Wales[edit | edit source]

South Australia[edit | edit source]

Northern Territory[edit | edit source]

Victoria[edit | edit source]

Western Australia[edit | edit source]

Substitute Records[edit | edit source]

Electoral Rolls/Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Population Musters[edit | edit source]

Finding Records[edit | edit source]

For an excellent analysis of extant records and where they can be found in Australia archives and libraries, see State Library of Victoria: Early Australian census records.

History[edit | edit source]

The first country-wide census was taken in 1881. National censuses have been regularly taken by the Australian government since 1911. However, to protect individual privacy, all national censuses were destroyed after statistical information was collected. Earlier, in 1882, a fire destroyed the New South Wales census records for 1846, 1851, 1856, 1861, 1871 and 1881, including the household forms from 1861, 1871 and 1881. Therefore, census usage in Australian research is different from census research in other countries.

No records of individuals exist for censuses after these dates:

  • Victoria: 1853
  • New South Wales: 1901
  • Northern Territory: 1921
  • Queensland: 1841
  • South Australia: 1841
  • Tasmania: 1857
  • Western Australia: 1837

Contents[edit | edit source]

Typically a census is a count and description of the population. Where available, census records can provide an ancestor’s name, age, occupation and/or employer, whether free or bond, religion, ship and date of arrival, marital status, birthplace, and family member relationships. Census returns can also provide clues that lead to other records. A census may list selected people or the whole population. The percentage of people listed depends on the purpose of the census and on how careful the enumerator was.

Census Substitutes[edit | edit source]

In Australian research, other records can be used in place of census records. They are referred to as "census substitutes," and they list individuals who lived in specific places. It is rare, however, to find an entire family listed. Usually these records list only the head of household’s name, date and place of residence, occupation, age, value of property, and sometimes ship of arrival.

Records that can be used as census substitutes are:

  • Population Musters
Because convicts were transported into Australia, the government found it necessary to survey the population at least annually. These surveys, known as musters, began in 1788. Information contained in the records might include an individual’s residence, status (convict, free, military), sex, name, ship of arrival, trial date, trial place, sentence, and remarks. Some early musters list children, wives, and servants.