Electoral rolls are Australia's census substitute and are an extremely useful genealogy tool for local, family, and social historians. Discover your ancestor in the electoral rolls from Australia.
This collection comprises transcripts and images of electoral rolls from Australia; at present, the collection includes records from the following states and territories:
New South Wales (state electoral rolls for the years 1903 and 1913 and commonwealth electoral rolls for 1935) – 100% have images
Northern Territory (for the years 1895, 1906, 1922, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1937, and 1940) – 0% have images
Western Australia (commonwealth electoral rolls for the years 1939, 1943, and 1949) – 100% have images
Queensland (for the years 1860-1884 and 1895-1915 for state electoral records and 1903, 1906, 1913, 1922, 1934, 1941, 1949, and 1959 for commonwealth electoral rolls) – 45% have images
Tasmania (commonwealth electoral rolls for the years 1916, 1934, and 1943) – 66% have images
South Australia (commonwealth electoral rolls for the years 1939, 1941, and 1943) – 100% have images
Each contains thousands of names of those who were living in that state at the time and were eligible to vote. Women are included in these rolls; women received the right to vote in the Commonwealth of Australia in 1902. Prior to that, South Australia had enfranchised women in 1895 and in Western Australia in 1899. Australia was the second country in the world to grant the vote to women.
Additional transcripts from other states and territories will be added as we acquire them. We currently have Victoria electoral rolls as a browse-only set, which can be found in the Useful links and resources section. In that section, you will also find links to the browse-only versions of the state electoral rolls where you can browse the high-quality scanned images of the original electoral rolls.
Electoral rolls can provide you with significant information for your family research. Most transcripts will contain a combination of the following fields:
From the search screen, you can search by name, birth year, event year, occupation, place, street, sub-district, district, state, and other household member. You can also search by address alone, using the Address tab at the top of the search screen. The address search is most useful when you have a specific street name you’d like to search by. Scroll down to Search tips to learn more about how to use these search tools.
Electoral rolls are extremely useful when researching your Australian family history as they act as census substitutes.
While there was no formal policy in place, most censuses prior to 1971 were destroyed as a course of action due to lack of storage space. However, privacy concerns have been at the forefront of policymaking regarding the storing of census material in recent history. As such, from 1971 to 1996, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which manages the census, destroyed all census records, in both their original and electronic forms. It is only recently that it was deemed necessary to keep on file names and addresses to ensure the accuracy of the data compiled. In 2001, the census offered the option to have the National Archives of Australia store their personal data, to be released to the public in 99 years. At that time, 54% agreed to do so.
With early censuses destroyed, electoral rolls become an even more significant research tool for those interested in local, family, and social history in Australia.
Name of person – Use the first name(s) and last name fields to search for your ancestor by name. Check the name variants box to include those results that have slightly different spellings.
Other household member – If you have an idea of who would have lived in the same household as your ancestor, you can include an additional name with your search by using member’s first name(s) and member’s last name. As with first name(s) and last name search, you can select name variants when searching other household members.
Address – If you would like to search by address instead of a name, you can click on the Address tab at the top of the search page. This search is of most use when you know a street name you’d like to search by. Here you can search by year, street, place, sub-district, district, and state. The street name alone will bring back all the houses on that street.
Occupation – You can search by occupations using this field. If you are interested in doing general research on a particular profession, you can search by that occupation alone, without entering a name.