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 many family history-related records. Their holdings are not organized by subject, but by the government agencies or individuals who created the records. There is no single subject index or catalogue that lists every item in the collection or one place to start that suits all research. Learn more about the genealogy records the hold.

The National Library 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. Most records date back to the 1901 Federation of Australia, but some are earlier.

Read Australian family history and genealogy: selected websites for brief descriptions about archives and libraries.

State and Territory Archives and 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 Concise Guide to the State Archives of New South Wales. No. 13 in the Guide to the State Archives of New South Wales series. Sydney, Australia: The Authority, 1969. (FHL book 994.4 A35g no. 13.)

Northern Territory


A guide is Provenance Catalogue. Queensland State Archives. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1981. (FHL film 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. (FHL book 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. (FHL book 994.6 D27w.)


A guide is Genealogical Sources. Victoria, Australia: Public Record Office, 1984. (FHL book 994.5/M1 D23g.)

Western Australia

Family and Local History Societies

Australia Institute of Genealogical Studies Inc. promotes and encourages the study of genealogy, heraldry, family history and allied subjects throughout Australia and to assist members and others in genealogical research.

Family History and Historical Societies in Australia lists family history organizations that are helpful to researchers.

General Guides to Archives

Printed guides may be helpful in locating family history material.

  • White, Olga, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, and Jennifer Nash, comp. Our Heritage. O’Connor, Australian Capital Territory, Australia: Australian Society of Archivists, 1983. (FHL book 994 J54w.)
  • Australian Archives. Relations in records: a Guide to Family History Sources in the Australian Archives. Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1988.  (FHL book 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. (FHL book 994 A3h.)

The Family History Library has other guides. Call numbers for these can be found in the library's catalog by using the  Place Search for: