This Subjects A–Z listing directs you to guides, indexes, articles and webinars on popular research topics. You can search individual indexes related to a topic here. Search all the indexes at once in the State Archives catalogue.

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Aboriginal People

Access to the records

This covers a variety of topics including information on open and closed periods and where copies of our records are held in our community access points and regional archives centres



The NSW Anzac Centenary website highlights records from the State archives relating to key events and historical themes associated with NSW and World War I

Architecture & design

Records from the Colonial (Government) Architect; photos of public buildings in NSW, hospital buildings records relating to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House

See also:

Assisted immigrants


Inmate records for the Infirm and Destitute Asylums and where to find them


Bankruptcy & insolvency

Insolvency - inability to satisfy creditors or discharge liabilities Bankruptcy - similar but also involves the sequestration of a person's assets when they are unable to meet the demands of creditors

Bench of Magistrates

Births, deaths & marriages

Please visit the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages website for copies of birth, death and marriage certificates registered in NSW and NSW historical BDM indexes.

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Blue Books

Population statistics and returns

Bubonic plague

A record of the Bubonic Plague that hit in Sydney of the early 20th century

Business & company records


Cabinet documents

Public release of NSW cabinet papers

Care leavers

Records relating to orphans, foster care, State wards, adoption and other out-of-home care

Cemeteries & burials

At the first establishment of the colony for a long time no piece of ground was set apart for a Burial place

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Census & musters

Population muster and census records, 1788-1901

Child care & protection

Records and indexes relating to child care and protection; child / youth migration from the UK; Randwick Asylum; Scheyville Training Farm

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Citing & publishing

Information on how to request permission to publish and how to cite records accurately

Colonial Secretary

The correspondence of the Colonial Secretary is one of the most valuable sources of information on all aspects of the history of the Colony and the State of NSW

Community access points

Conditional purchase

The Conditional Purchase scheme, also known as 'free selection before survey', ran from 1862 to 1951

Conservation & preservation

Conservation treatments and tips, including caring for your family photos


How do you know if there was a convict in your family? Find out where to start and how to research our vast selection of convict resources including transportation records, assignment, tickets of leave, pardons & more

Courts (Higher)

Court of Quarter Sessions, the District Court and Supreme Court

Courts (Lower)

Bench of Magistrates, Governors Court, Justices of the Peace, Vice Admiralty Court

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Deceased estates

Sources in our collection that relate to divorce and procedures for accessing Divorce Case Papers

Donating records

Estrays are official, government records that have somehow been moved out of official custody. These records often end up in local museums, historical societies, libraries or in private hands. We are pleased to accept donations of estray records for inclusion in the State archives collection



Family history

It is always easier to work from the present to the past when tracing your family history. Find out more in our Guide for Family Historians


The federation of the six Australian colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia took over fifty years from its beginnings in the 1840s

Female factory

A brief historical overview of the Female Factory and a list of the main record series

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First fleet

First Nations

Resources to help you access archives relating to First Nations people


Gaol inmates & prisoners
Getting started

Find out where to start your online research using the NSW State archives and and how to prepare for a visit to the reading room.

Government publications

Including Government Gazettes and Police Gazettes



Immigration & shipping

Find the key records and indexes for passengers 1788-1922

Inquests & coronial inquiries

Inquests are conducted by coroners and are held to investigate the manner and cause of death, fires



Justices of the Peace


Local history

We have number of resources to help you trace the history of a place (rather than focusing on individuals)


Maps & plans

Government Architect, Surveyors, Land Grants, Crown Land, Conditional Purchase


Records of migration from China, France, Holland, India, Lebanon, Malta, Poland, Russia

Military & war


Naturalisation & citizenship

Naturalisation records are a good source of information for tracing details of an immigrant's arrival and native place. The key records in our collection relating to naturalisation cover 1834-1903.

New Zealand

A look at the relationship between New South Wales and New Zealand from the early 1800s to Federation.

Norfolk Island
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Nurses & midwives






Includes applications for registration c.1947-1973


Primary applications

A system whereby owners could convert land granted prior to 1863 to Real Property Act title

Probates and wills

Records in a Probate packet include the last will and testament


Quarter Sessions


Railways & railway workers

Access railway records, including employment, locomotives, photos, plans

Record series list

Follow this subject for item lists of selected record series

Regional Archives Centres

Responsible government

Responsible government shifted responsibility from the Imperial Parliament and its colonial representatives to local decision making


Schools & education

Our guarantees of services

Special bundles

Special Bundles contain correspondence and papers on particular matters or subjects which because of their significance or the quantity of correspondence generated were usually extracted from an agency's main correspondence series and treated separately

Squatters & graziers
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Students & pupils

Education records in NSW 1788-c.1979 plus the main records, indexes, photos, teachers

Surveyor general
Sydney Opera House

Records cover all aspects of the Sydney Opera House, from design and planning, construction, contracts and specifications, the official opening and later productions, and the management of the House


Taronga Zoo

A brief overview of the major sources in our collection relating to the opening and operation of Taronga Zoo at Mosman




At the direction of the Colonial Secretary, in 1866, the Inspector General of Police was asked to report on persons out of employment in Sydney


Van Diemen's Land

Vessels arriving


Water Board

Detail Sheets created by the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board (MWS&DB) c.1904-1945 and how to access them

Women in the records

Highlighting several areas, or 'gateways', for researching on women in the State archives

World War II