Australia Census

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* New South Wales 1788
 
* New South Wales 1788
  
The 1841 State census is indexed by surname at:<br />http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/indexes/searchform.aspx?id=18
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The 1841 State census is indexed by surname at:<br>http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/indexes/searchform.aspx?id=18
  
 
* Northern Territory 1861
 
* Northern Territory 1861
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Vine Hall, Nick. ''Tracing your family history in Australia: a guide to sources''. Second Edition. Albert Park, Victoria, Australia: North Vine Hall, 1994. (Family History Library Call No. [http://webview/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=1043448&disp=Tracing+your+family+history+in+Australia&columns=*,180,0 994 D23v].)
 
Vine Hall, Nick. ''Tracing your family history in Australia: a guide to sources''. Second Edition. Albert Park, Victoria, Australia: North Vine Hall, 1994. (Family History Library Call No. [http://webview/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=1043448&disp=Tracing+your+family+history+in+Australia&columns=*,180,0 994 D23v].)
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[[Category:Australia]]

Revision as of 19:12, 23 January 2008

National censuses have been taken by the Australian government since 1911. However, to protect individual privacy, all national censuses were destroyed after statistical information was collected. Because of this policy, census usage in Australian research may vary greatly with census usage in other countries.

Typically a census is a count and description of the population. Where available, census records can provide an ancestor’s name, age, occupation, marital status prior to the marriage, 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.

Australian states have also taken censuses—mostly from the eighteenth century on. However, many of the censuses do not survive because they were taken primarily for population studies and taxation. See the listing below for dates of the initial censuses in each state:

  • New South Wales 1788

The 1841 State census is indexed by surname at:
http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/indexes/searchform.aspx?id=18

  • Northern Territory 1861
  • Queensland 1861
  • South Australia 1841
  • Tasmania 1803
  • Victoria 1836
  • Western Australia 1829

The first country-wide census was taken in 1881. For a list of existing census returns look under "Census" for each state in the following book:

Vine Hall, Nick. Tracing your family history in Australia: a guide to sources. Second Edition. Albert Park, Victoria, Australia: North Vine Hall, 1994. (Family History Library Call No. 994 D23v.)

Existing censuses have been published or microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library. Look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:

AUSTRALIA, [STATE] - CENSUS

AUSTRALIA, [STATE], [TOWN] - CENSUS

The following is a register of the census records available in the Family History Library:

Index to the Australian Census Records in the British Collection of the Family History Library. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Family History Library, 1991, 1985. (Family History Library Call No. 994 X22c 1991.)

Census Substitutes

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—See below.
  • Electoral roles—See the "Voting Registers" section of this outline.
  • Directories and almanacs—See the "Directories" section of this outline.
  • Emigration and immigration records—See the "Emigration and Immigration" section of this outline.
  • Depasturing licenses—See the "Land and Property" section of this outline.
  • Rate and valuation books—See the "Taxation" section of this outline.
  • Lists of convicts—See the "Convict Records" section of this outline.

Census substitutes can be found in most major archives and libraries in Australia. For a listing of these archives and libraries and their addresses, see the "Archives and Libraries" section of this outline.

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. For a list of surviving musters, look under the topic of "Census" for each state in the following book:

Vine Hall, Nick. Tracing your family history in Australia: a guide to sources. Second Edition. Albert Park, Victoria, Australia: North Vine Hall, 1994. (Family History Library Call No. 994 D23v.)