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Searching for an Australian Will to Research Your Family History

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 8 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Genealogy Australia Wills Western

For a genealogist, a will can be a treasure trove. It contains information about family, relationships, the way a person lived, and, obviously, what they owned. Wills help paint the larger picture of someone's life. In Australia there's no central repository of wills, sadly; you need to go through the individual states. It can be time-consuming, but the results can prove spectacular to anyone researching family history.

Australian Capital Territory - No Index of Wills

There's no index of wills to consult, making your task more difficult. You need to know a will was made there, and your application has to be made with an SSAE envelope. The reply will advise on both availability and request fee. You need to apply to:

Curator of Estates of Deceased Persons
4 Mort Street
Canberra ACT 2600

New South Wales Index of Wills

There's an index of wills, published from 1800-1985. To apply for a specific will, you'll need details from the index, and the fee varies according to the classification. Your application should be sent to:

Principal Registrar [Probate Division]
Supreme Court of New South Wales
GPO Box 3
Sydney NSW 2001

Norfolk Island - No Will Index

Like the ACT, Norfolk Island has no published index of wills. You can apply by name, with an SSAE envelope, and the reply will advise you of the availability of the will and the required fee. You should send your application to:

The Curator of Estates of Deceased Persons
Administration Offices
Kingston
Norfolk Island 2899

Northern Territories

There's an index of Northern Territory wills running from 1885-1941. To apply, you send an SSAE, and are advised on the availability and fee in the reply. Send to:

Registrar of Probates
Law Courts Building
Mitchell Street
Darwin NT 0800

Queensland - Will Index

Queensland has some of the best access to its will index. They're published from 1857-1900 and can be accessed online. For wills after 1970,application has to be made with SSAE envelope and the reply will advise on availability and request fee. Before 1970 applicant or agent will need to attend the State Archive Office at 435 Compton Road Runcorn QLD 4113. Otherwise, contact:

The Registrar
Supreme Court of Queensland [Southern]
George Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

The Registrar
Supreme Court of Queensland [Northern]
Walker Street
Townsville QLD 4810

The Registrar
Supreme Court of Queensland [Central]
East Street
Rockhampton QLD 4700

South Australia

The South Australia indexes are available on microfiche up to 1995, but in some cases the reproduction is very difficult to read. To apply for a specific will, send an SSAE and in the reply you'll be told whether it's available and how much it'll cost you. Send your request to:

Probate Registry
Supreme Court of South Australia
1 Gouger Street
Adelaide SA 5000

Tasmania

The index of Tasmanian wills can be searched at Tasmanian Archive's Office. The site includes instructions for applying for a specific will.

Victoria

The index of Victorian wills from 1841-1992 has been published. Those from before 1960 are available from the PROV. You can apply for a specific will with an SSAE or order from Victoria's Public Record Office once you have the reference number from the index.

Registrar of Probates
Supreme Court of Victoria
Level 2: 436 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Public Record Office Victoria
99 Shiel Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051

Western Australia - Battye Library and State Records Office

The indexes aren't published, but there is a microfiche running from 1832 to around 1939 at Battye Library and the State Records Office, as well as another microfiche from 1900-1993 at the State Records Office. To check the series, look at the State Record's Office and enter "probate." To apply for a specific will, send an SSAE. The reply will tell you about availability and fees.

Probate Office
14th floor 111 Georges Street
Perth WA 6000

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