Records

The history of New South Wales since Colonisation is relatively recent, and a great many records survive from even the earliest days of the Colony.

The first white colonists to arrive were convicts and their keepers, beginning with the First Fleet in 1788 with 759 male and female convicts under Governor Phillip.

Convict records were kept from the beginning as part of the administration of the new colony, especially when it became necessary to distinguish between convict and free persons with the arrival of free immigrants and the completion of sentences of convicts.

Immigration of free persons became necessary to make the new colony viable. Records are scant in the early period of the Colony before 1828 and become increasingly detailed as the Government got involved in luring new colonists through various bounty schemes.

Land and property was a big issue from the earliest days of free settlement – it was the prospect of good farming and grazing land that brought so many out here. Land grant registers were kept from 1792 onwards and although the rules changed frequently the hunger for land did not.

The right to vote was initially tied to land ownership or occupation, and electoral rolls are available from 1842. With Federation electors were required to vote in State and Federal elections.

Death duty has been payable on a consistent basis since 1880, following the English model. A system was devised where probate could not be granted until the death duty was paid or exemption given.

Many other types of records were kept and are available for family history researchers. Please enquire if you do not see what you need here or in the menu at left.

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