Australia Archives and Libraries

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Archives collect and preserve original documents from organizations such as churches or governments. Libraries generally collect published sources such as books and maps. This article describes the major archives and libraries in Australia that hold genealogical and historical information.

Many of these archives and libraries have Web sites listing their e-mail address and services.  Most archives have catalogs  describing their records and how to use them. Some catalogs are online.

National Archives

The National Archives of Australia holds the records of the Commonwealth government. State Archives hold the records of government for each state. Some Archive web sites include indexes to the material held in that archive eg. immigration, convict records, census, court records, hospitals, divorce, land, patents etc.

National Library of Australia

Most records date back to the 1901 Federation of Australia, but some date back even earlier.

Catalogs, inventories, and periodicals available at the Family History Library are listed at AUSTRALIA - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS.

Additional listings are available by a Place Search (Locality) by entering an Australian State as part of Australia: "AUSTRALIA, [STATE] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS"

The following guide to the National Library is available at the Family History Library:Burmester, C. A., comp. National Library of Australia guide to the collections. Canberra, Australia: National Library of Australia, 1974. (Family History Library Call No. 994 A5ca.) A Concise Guide to the State Archives of New South Wales.Numbers 1–30. Sydney, Australia: Archives Authority, 1971–. (Family History Library Call No. 994.4 A35gc.)

State and Territory Libraries

State and Territory Libraries hold family history collections specialising in resources for their state and a selection of material relating to other areas of Australia and Overseas. Contact information for other libraries in Australia may be found at the Australian Libraries Gateway

Australia Capitol Territory

New South Wales

A guide is Guide to the State Archives of New South Wales. 'Number 13, Concise Guide to the State Archives of New South Wales'. Sydney, Australia: The Authority, 1969. (Family History Library Call No. 994.4 A35g no. 13.) New South Wales

Northern Territory


A guide is Provenance Catalogue. Queensland State Archives. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1981. (Family History Library microfilm 12391221239123

South Australia

A guide is
Ancestors in archives: a guide to family history sources in the official records of South Australia. Adelaide, South Australia, Australia: Government of South Australia, 1991. (Family History Library Call Number 994.23 A37a.)


A guide is Watson, Lilian, and Neil Chick. The Archives office of Tasmania. Research Note Series Number 7. Tasmania: Genealogical Society of Tasmania, 1986. (Family History Library Call No. 994.6 D27w)


A guide is Genealogical sources. Victoria, Australia: Public Record Office, 1984. (Family History Library Call No. 994.5/M1 D23g.)

Western Australia

General Guides

The following is an older general guide to the archives and libraries in Australia:

White, Olga, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, and Jennifer Nash, comp. Our Heritage. O’Connor, Australian Capital Territory, Australia: Australian Society of Archivists, 1983. (Family History Library Call No. 994 J54w.)

Another guide to the collection:

Australian Archives. Relations in records: a Guide to Family History Sources in the Australian Archives. Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1988.  (Family History Library Call No. 994 A3r.) The following book contains a listing of indexes that are available in Australian libraries:

Henty, Margaret, and Rachel Jakimow. Indexes in Australian libraries. Canberra, Australia: National Library of Australia, 1995. (Family History Library Call No. 994 A3h.)