A guide to the Library's electoral roll resources

Electoral rolls list people who are registered and eligible to vote at federal, state, territory and local government elections and referenda. Before Federation and for some years afterwards, there were separate rolls for Commonwealth and for state elections. The Commonwealth Electoral Commission now produces these rolls for each state. A separate state roll is still maintained by Western Australia.

The Library holds fairly comprehensive runs of the Commonwealth electoral rolls dating from 1903.

What information can I find on electoral rolls?

Australian electoral rolls contain the following details on each registered voter:

  • name
  • address
  • occupation (omitted after 1983)
  • gender

Electoral rolls can be of great value to family historians and other researchers as they help to locate the residential address of a known person in a particular year or over a period of years as well as changes of address over time. They can also help identify other adult family members living at the same address. In this way they can be used as a substitute for census records.

How are electoral rolls arranged?

Since 1990, the microfilmed electoral rolls list voters in a single alphabetical list according to surname and first names within each State or Territory.

Prior to 1990, the rolls list voters in alphabetical order by surname and first names within each Sub-division of an electoral Division of each State or Territory.

If you do not know the name of the electorate (Division) or Sub-division but know the name of a city, town or locality then the Commonwealth of Australia, 1901-1988, electoral redistributions [atlas] accessible in the Newspapers and Microforms Reading Room will help to identify the location.

Alternatively you can use the Alphabetical List of Polling Places [by state] to identify locations. These Alphabetical Lists are on open access in the Newspapers and Microforms Reading Room adjacent to the electoral rolls in microfiche drawer labelled 'Electoral Rolls 1'.

NB: There is a gap between 1985 and 1987 for all State and Territories when the rolls were not published in print format and the Library received no microfiche copies. No rolls on microfiche have been received since January 2008 or printed rolls since 2009.

Australian Electoral Commission

The website of the Australian Electoral Commission provides information on Australian electoral history, past federal electoral events, referenda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissions' elections and more.