Australia, Western Australia, Records of the Supreme Court, 1829-1989 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Western Australia, Australia
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Location of Western Australia, Australia
Record Description
Record Type Supreme Court
Collection years 1829-1989
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
State Library of Western Australia

What is in This Collection?

This collection includes records from 1829 to 1989.

These records include rate books, probate, land, and divorce records from the Supreme Court of Western Australia. The original records are located in the J.S. Battye Library of Western Australian History, Perth, WA, Australia.

Probate records are court records that describe the distribution of an individual’s estate after he or she dies. Wills or other probate records were kept by each state in Australia, beginning in the 1800s. If the deceased had property in another country, the will may have been probated in the other country.

Land records are used to learn where and when an individual lived in a specific area. They often reveal other family information, such as the individual’s spouse, heirs, other relatives, or neighbors.

Taxation records for Australia consist of rate and assessment books. Rate and assessment books have been kept from the late 1850s through the present. They are arranged by districts or shires and alphabetically list names of the residents.

Divorce records before 1976 are usually found in the Supreme Court record or archival repository of the relevant State. After 1976 the Family Court of Australia is generally responsible for divorce records. Access to divorce records may be restricted.

Collection Content

Sample Images

Probate records may contain the following information:

  • Death date
  • Names of heirs and guardians
  • Relationships
  • Residences
  • An inventory of the estate
  • Names of witnesses

Land records may contain the following information:

  • Name of ancestor
  • Name of spouse
  • Name of heirs and relatives
  • Last residence of deceased
  • Occupation

Taxation records may contain the following information:

  • Name of owner
  • Name of occupier
  • Residence of the occupier
  • Description of property
  • Value
  • Date of payment

Divorce records may contain the following information:

  • Name of spouse
  • Names of children
  • Marriage certificate
  • Disposition of assets
  • Correspondence

How Do I Search the Collection?

As you begin your search in the records, it is helpful to know the following:

  • Name of ancestor
  • Approximate age of your ancestor
  • Approximate year and place of event
  • Residence of your ancestor
  • Other family names

To browse by image select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒ Select the appropriate 'Record Type'
⇒ Select the appropriate 'Record Description' which takes you to the images.

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

  • Use the estimated age of your ancestor to calculate a birth date
  • Take note of others mentioned in the record to determine family relationships
  • Be sure and look for dates in the records that can lead you to other records, such as marriage or death records

Tips to Keep in mind

  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community.

General Information About These Records

Until 1832 there were no legal means of dealing with the estates of deceased persons in Western Australia. The estates of those who died in the colony between 1829 and 1831 were administered in Britain, were settled informally, or were vested in the newly established Civil Court of Western Australia and in 1861 the jurisdiction was transferred to the Supreme Court.

One of the most important laws which affected the administration of estates was the English Wills Act, of 1837, which was enacted in the colony in 1839. This Act, remained in place until 1970, and stipulated that all wills had to be made in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

“Australia, Western Australia, Records of the Supreme Court, 1829-1989.” Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Citing J.S. Battye Library of Western Australian History, Perth.

Image Citation:

The image citation will be available once the collection is published.