The NSW State Archives Collection documents the daily work of the NSW Government and its agencies from 1788 to today. This vast collection records history as it happens, providing valuable and at times life-changing evidence of events and decisions that have shaped, and continue to shape, our history, communities and lives.

Online indexes, research guides & webinars are listed in Subjects A-Z. You can also search all the indexes at once via the catalogue.

About us

Browse all
Old books both upright and laying flat on shelving

How to use the State Archives Collection

The largest collection of records relating to the history of NSW and the lives of its people

NSW State Archives - Western Sydney Records Centre, 161 O'Connell Street, Kingswood, Sydney Open 2022

Plan your visit

State Archives Reading Room, Kingswood

Aboriginal Languages and Nations in NSW & ACT © Reconciliation NSW

First Nations Community Access to Archives

This project aims to improve access for First Nations people to important archival material about culture, kinship, stories, and languages within the State Archives Collection

Black and white photo of clerks working at desks in an office, surrounded by large ledgers and pigeon holes and paperwork

Ask an Archivist

We’re here to help you access and use our collection

Search for people & places

Browse all

Assisted Immigrants index 1839-1896

Passengers arriving in Sydney & Newcastle 1844-59, Moreton Bay 1848-59 & Port Phillip 1839-51

Early convict indent, 1791

Convicts index 1791-1873

140,000+ entries including certificates of freedom, bank accounts, & tickets of leave

1841 Census index

Records the population by police districts, counties & towns. The head of the household is recorded in the returns

Mugshot of Lottie May Little, 1917

Gaol inmates & prisoners photos index

Browse 50,000+ entries & download digitised photos from 1870 to 1930

Watch & learn

Browse all
c.1923 colour sketch of alternative cantilever Sydney Harbour Bridge

Discovering the State Archives Collection

Explore the State Archives Collection on the MHNSW website

A man and woman sit at the foot of the stairs of a homestead with a wrap around verandah. A dog sits between them

Researching your house and property

Learn how to find house and property records in the NSW State Archives Collection

A last will and testament from 1863

Probate packets

This webinar focuses on the sources for probate in the State Archives Collection and how to find them

1909 Passenger list for the ship Paloona

Unassisted passenger lists online

Unassisted passengers are those who paid their own way. This webinar explains how to search lists of unassisted passenger arrivals to NSW

What can you find?

Browse all
building plan from the Broken Hill Public School file

Schools: what the files can tell you

School files very strongly reflect the growth or decline of towns and are an excellent source for your local history research

digitised page from a bankruptcy file

Bankruptcy: what the files can tell you

Bankruptcy files contain lists of creditors that the bankrupt person owed money to and debtors that owed money to the bankrupt person

Directions for making a will, from a 1929 probate file

Probate packets: what the files can tell you

Probate packets hold the last will and testament, codicils, an inventory of assets of the estate, affidavits of death and other papers

Stories & articles

Browse all
A view of old Parliament House from the driveway

Canberra – the federal capital contest

This record series from the State Archives Collection sheds light on the proud efforts a number of towns, villages and other areas took to present their submissions to become the capital of the new Commonwealth

Threads in the archives

Non-paper materials are not common in the State Archives Collection and the wonderful details, colours and textures captured in these items are a beautiful sight to see

A crowd of people in a rotunda decorated with streamers

Celebrating federation

The Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed on 1 January 1901. The Federation Pavilion in Sydney’s Centennial Park was the focus of the inauguration ceremonies and a five mile procession through the decorated streets of Sydney was greeted by large crowds

A collection of old printed documents

Cummeragunja Walk Off

This page marks the 80th anniversary of the Cummeragunja Walk Off which began in February 1939 and ended nine months later in October/November.

A large group of men stand in front of a train carriage at the Eveleigh Workshops in 1917

Eveleigh Workshops during the 1917 railway strike

On 2 August 1917 the General Strike began. It started in the Randwick Rail Workshops & Eveleigh Carriage Workshops & quickly spread to other industries until about 100,000 workers were on strike

The Great White Fleet, 1908

On 20 August 1908 a round the world peace mission by the American fleet arrived in Port Jackson and marked the start of Fleet Week, a week-long celebration of events, parades and parties

'Lady Hopetoun' docked at Commissioners Steps in front of the Sydney Harbour Trust building

Maritime Services Board

A sample of the 4000+ digitised glass plate negatives from the Maritime Services Board


top half of a page from an inquest file
Latest News

Inquest index expanded

Over 9,100 new entries have been added by our volunteers to our inquest index and covers the years 1916–1963

View of limestone cave
Latest News

Jenolan Caves in the State Archives Collection

We are donning our speleological hard hats and highlighting digitised material relating to Jenolan Caves held in the State Archives Collection

Latest News

Volunteers document Liverpool State Hospital records

It's National Volunteer Week and we're highlighting the important work our volunteers do in helping to make the Collection more accessible. Our Collections Volunteers have successfully listed over 57,000 patient admission cards from Liverpool Hospital covering 1884 to 1959