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

Old books stored upright on shelving

About the State Archives Collection

The NSW State Archives Collection documents the daily work of the NSW Government and its agencies from 1788 to today

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

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

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

Plan your visit

State Archives Reading Room, Kingswood

Search for people & places

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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

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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?

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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

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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

Still from the film Rescue Breathing

Rescue Breathing, 1962

An instructional film demonstrating CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation techniques

Government Printing Office 2 - 29953 - Opera House from Unilever Building [Sydney Opera House (N.S.W.); building construction] [GPO original locations or series - unnumbered] [4/03/1966]

Sydney Opera House construction

We hold records relating to the construction of Sydney Opera House including the stages of construction, who was who, correspondence, plans, contracts, accounting records and more

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.

Marbling on page insert

Chaperone's diary of the 1857 Fitzjames voyage to Sydney

Matron Susan Austen, chaperone to 98 single females aboard the Fitzjames, kept a diary of the voyage, She recorded the dramas that unfolded: fights, theft, sea-sickness, tantrums & her own despair at their behaviour

Taronga Zoo

History of Taronga Zoo

Can you imagine Sydney Harbour without Taronga Zoo perched on Bradley’s Head at Mosman? For one hundred years families have been making the trip by ferry, tram and car to see the exotic and native animals at Taronga and get a picturesque view of the harbour

Oval shaped painting of Mary Reibey in what looks like her later years

Mary Reibey - convict and businesswoman

Mary Reibey is one of the most famous early convict women in the colony of New South Wales


Cover label Small debts registers [Newcastle Court of Petty Sessions]
Latest News

Archives for Everyone: community digitisation and indexing partnerships

We are looking to partner with groups or societies with an interest in history and in making the State Archives Collection more accessible

A defining image of the Reconciliation Bridge Walk in 2000 with the word ‘Sorry’ in skywriting above.
Latest News

National Apology

This week marks the anniversary of the National Apology. On 13 February 2008, the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, publicly apologised on behalf of the federal government to the Stolen Generations

Digitised top half of page with the subject line 'Protest against unjust dismissal from the service'
Latest News

Newly digitised archives – married women teachers' applications

The Married Women (Lecturers and Teachers) Act of 1932 restricted employment of married women in the Department of Public Instruction. We hold 693 declarations for exemption by married women teachers for the years 1932–35