Colonial Period 1788 to 1900

The major official sources of Australian colonial statistics are available on microform. The Colonial Microfiche is available in the Newspaper and Microform Reading Room and in some State Library collections.

The Colonial microfiche covers (among other subjects):

  • Aborigines
  • Agriculture
  • Birthplace
  • Census records
  • Domestic conditions
  • Immigration
  • Law and crime
  • Occupations
  • Population

When requesting access, you can first consult the Catalogue of Australian Statistical Publications 1804 to 1901 to see exactly what is available on the microfiche. You can also download the catalogue at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website.

A Statistical Account of the Seven Colonies of Australasia by T.A. Coghlan is also included in the Colonial Microfiche, and is available for download at the ABS website.

From 1901

The Historical microfiche series contains publications released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) since 1901 and publications issued by the State offices since 1984. An index to the microfiche series is also available.

Some titles from the series have been digitised and are available online at the ABS website

Useful titles, by State:

Many of these publications are available online at the ABS website.

Case Study

Prices in 1970

I am compiling a book for my 40th Class Reunion and would like to include some statistics of prices of food, houses, cars, fuel in Queensland in 1969-70 and the wages and salaries of both male and female workers in those years. Can you help me find this information?

We will need to consult different sources to find historical prices and wages:

  • We may also be able to find information from newspapers of the time, as advertisements will give some prices. The National Library and State Libraries have archived newspapers on microfilm, e.g. The Courier-Mail

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Year Books also have some information on prices around Australia, although these may not be for specific items. For 1970 we can try these downloads:

  • 1301.0 - Chapter 9 - Housing and Building: gives the value of new buildings approved, commenced, completed and under constrcution, as well as other relevant information.
  • 1301.0 - Chapter 10 - Labour, Wages and Prices: shows weekly wage rates by industry groups.