The content of historical birth, death and marriage certificates can vary between each State and Territory. The details contained on certificates also depends on the knowledge of the person who originally provided the information. Historical certificates are those available outside the embargoed periods to the general public.

Marriage of Aboriginal natives, Corranderk c. 1873?

Most Australian States and Territories provide online indexes to 'historic' births, deaths and marriages registered in their respective jurisdictions. Our Australian birth, death and marriage records research guide has information on how to access these indexes.

The following resources may also be useful when searching for births, deaths and marriages:

Newspapers & Magazines

The Library holds many Australian newspapers in which you can search for birth, death, funeral or marriage notices. 

  • Trove digitised newspapers
    Trove contains Australian digitised newspapers from 1803 to 1954 and some beyond. You can type in the name of the person you are searching for to find out if there were any notices published about them.
  • Dawn and New Dawn magazines
    Dawn and New Dawn were magazines published between 1952-1975 by the New South Wales Aborigines Welfare Board, with the aim of providing interesting information and an exchange of news and views. The Dawn and New Dawn also served as a way for people to keep in contact. Today the magazines are a valuable source of family history information as they include details of births, deaths, marriages and baptisms, as well as hundreds of photographs. They also contain articles about the conditions and activities on reserves, stations, homes and schools throughout New South Wales. During its time of publication the magazines were also used to highlight the work of the Aboriginal Welfare Board.

Births, Deaths and Marriage notices or announcements were also published in the relevant church mission or Aboriginal reserve magazines or newspapers. Search the name of the magazine or newspaper via the Library's catalogue.

Church baptism, marriages and burials records

The Library holds various parish records which can can be useful in the absence of official birth, death or marriage registrations. Parish records may contain additional information beyond what is typically available on civil registration certificates.

The following links lead to lists of church and parish registers from each respective State and Territory which are held at the Library:

Dawn and New Dawn 1952-1975

The Dawn and New Dawn were magazines published between 1952 and 1975 by the New South Wales Aborigines Welfare Board. They are a valuable source of family history information as they include details of births, deaths, marriages and baptisms, as well as hundreds of photographs.

Not sure where to start?