The search function on ArchivesSearch works on most browsers, but to order records you must use Internet Explorer .

You will need to make changes to your Internet Explorer browser when using ArchivesSearch if:

  • the menu colours are dark blue with some orange boxes, instead of all orange
  • there is no “Request Unit” button when you are logged in and viewing a unit. 

Refer to access to ArchivesSearch using Windows Internet Explorer browsers for instructions on how to adjust Internet Explorer settings.

Further information about using the catalogue can be found on our guide to Using ArchivesSearch.

Passwords for user accounts on ArchivesSearch expire every three years. You don't need a password to search ArchivesSearch for public access records. You will need a password to log in to order records using Internet Explorer, for viewing at our Research Centre. If your password has expired contact State Records to reset your password.

Information about using the catalogue can also be found on our guide to Using ArchivesSearch.

State Records is working in partnership with FamilySearch to have many records of interest to family historians digitised and published.

See the records digitised so far on our Online Records webpage.

Selected images from the collection have also been published to Flickr, and Passenger Lists from 1845 - 1940 are available.

If you can't get to our Gepps Cross Research Centre to view records and can't arrange for someone to do this on your behalf,
these organisations may be able to help you:

Yes, there are several ways you can get copies of records. 

If you want to copy a record in our Research Centre you can:

  • photograph it with your own camera (without a flash)
  • copy it using one of the devices in our Research Centre
  • scan microform images (if available)
  • request to have the item copied through our in-house digitisation service

Images created with our copying equipment may be transferred onto your own flash drive (USB stick), or stored onto a flash drive which you can purchase from us.

If you can't get to the Research Centre, you can request an item to be copied through our in-house digitisation service.

You must provide precise archival references, including GRS/GRG/MRG numbers and any file, volume or folio numbers available.

In many instances, you can find these references by viewing our Indexes and Special Lists.

Yes. You (or a researcher on your behalf) can visit our Research Centre and copy hard copy or microform records using your own camera, or by using one of our copying devices.

You can store images created with our equipment onto your own flash drive (USB stick), or purchase a flash drive in our Research Centre at a cost.

Passenger lists for arrivals in South Australia from 1941 are held by the National Archives of Australia.

National Archives of Australia also hold passenger lists for all Australian ports from 1924.

Records relating to children in care are restricted from general public access for 100 years.

We have records of children in care, and a range of Health and Welfare records. 

You can also conduct name searches on ArchivesSearch

State Records holds records of children who were:

  • wards of the State
  • in another arrangement for State-based care
  • adopted.

Our collection includes (but is not limited to):

  • index cards relating to State wards (GRS 4472, c1900 - 1992)
  • registers of admissions to Industrial Schools and the Destitute Asylum (various references)
  • registers of children placed with licensed foster mothers (GRG27/18, 1902 - 1910)
  • mandates committing children to the custody of the Department (GRG29/121, 1875 - 1972)
  • ledgers of children boarded out (GRG27/5, c1862 - 1921)

To request permission to access a restricted record about either yourself or a family member, you will need to make a Freedom of Information
application to the Department for Child Protection:

Records relating to adoptions are restricted from general public access.

To request permission to access a restricted record either about yourself or a family member, please contact Past Adoption Services at the Department for Child Protection.

Public school records

Public school admission registers are permanent records, many are held by State Records.

They are also important records for individuals who need proof of their own education, for purposes such as applying for employment.

Individuals have a right of access to their own admission details, and admission registers which are older than 30 years old are publicly accessible within our Research Centre.

The Department for Education provide a service where they can inspect school records on your behalf in you are not able to visit the State Records Research Centre to inspect original records yourself. Contact the Department for Education Information Release Unit for further information on this service, call (08) 8226 3231 or email

Series containing school admission registers are listed on ArchivesSearch.

To find out if the records are held, use a Keyword Search with [school name] AND admission register* as the search phrase.

Our Schools page has more information about records:

  • further to admission registers which may also cover students and teachers
  • not held by State Records
  • records from Technical and Further Education (TAFE) or the
  • South Australian Certification of Education (SACE) Board

Private school records

State Records only holds records for government schools.

Records of private, independent or church schools may be held by the school or church archive.

Some larger private schools manage their own archive.

Others have transferred their records to the State Library of South Australia.

Hospital admission records are generally open to public access after a restricted period. Researchers may apply in writing directly to the hospital concerned, or to SA Health for permission to access information in these records during the restricted period.

For private hospital records, try the hospital itself or a corporate body to which the hospital belongs. Records of closed private hospitals may have been provided to the purchaser or managing corporation. Some historical information about private hospitals may be found in the catalogue of the State Library of South Australia.

For details of public hospital records that we hold, please refer to our hospitals fact sheet.

Medical practitioners

State Records does not receive records from private General Practitioner (GP) practices.  Your new practice may be able to trace the records of former practices or doctors through the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Please advise AHPRA that you have been referred from State Records of SA.

You can apply to ammend your personal information that SA Police (SAPOL) hold if you believe it's incomplete, incorrect, out-of-date or misleading.

Police services - Freedom of Information website

The most recent information available on an individual is likely to be restricted from general public access, whether it is held by State Records or still maintained by the agency that created it.

State Records is able to provide guidance about records that may be relevant to your research, but is unlikely to be able to provide you with access to the records.

You may wish to use the services of a family tracing agency such as:

If you have serious concerns for the safety and welfare of a person, and their whereabouts are unknown, you should report them missing to local police by filing a missing persons report.

Personnel files relating to public servants are not considered permanent records and are therefore not held by State Records.

Registers of employees were the usual method of keeping track of staff until the 1950s and are more likely to be held by State Records. 

Series of correspondence files can also contain details of departmental employees. 

If you know the employing department you can view the Series List for that department to identify any records on ArchivesSearch.

Lists of public servants were published in the South Australian Parliamentary Papers, well into the twentieth century,
these generally only give details of 'white' collar workers or supervisors of 'blue' collar operations.

The Parliamentary Papers are available to view at our Research Centre and at the State Library of South Australia.

We also have information about South Australian Railways employees and Teachers.

As a government archive, State Records’ holdings relating to private organisations are focussed on records collected where those organisations interacted with government agencies.

If you know of a department or council that would have had significant dealings with the company, our Reference Officers can help guide your research in the right direction.

Corporate records of private organisations are sometimes also collected by the State Library of South Australia

Search for these records using the State Library's catalogue or contact the State Library directly with your enquiry. 

For information about registered and cancelled business names, you can also search the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Business Name Register.

Defunct companies

Files of defunct companies (as collected by the Master of the Supreme Court / Companies Office) are one area where State Records hold records relating to private organisations.
The term 'defunct' refers to the Companies Act definition of the word rather than its common meaning.

If the private organisation is defunct, we may hold a record in the following series:

  • company indexes (GRS 518, collated in 1980 to 1985 but referring more broadly to records dating from c.1844)
  • lodged company documents of defunct companies (GRS 513, 1844 to 1986)
  • lodged company documents of defunct companies, continuous single number series (GRS 584, 1935 to 1974)
  • index to defunct companies (GRS 637, 1900 to 1937)

Many company names can be found through using the 'Search in a Series' Search function on ArchivesSearch, within GRS 513.

The index of GRS 518 is available on microfiche in our Research Centre.

State Records holds a wide range of records relating to public school teacher registrations.

The teachers fact sheet has more details about the series.

Records which include the personal information of teachers are restricted from general public access for up to 60 years.

To request access to a restricted record please contact the Department for Education and Child Development.

State Records holds a range of records relating to divorces. A selection of the most relevant series within our collection include:

  • matrimonial petitions, numerical series - Matrimonial Causes Jurisdiction, Supreme Court of South Australia (GRG36/51, 1859 - 1893). See Special List.
  • documents related to matrimonial petitions - Supreme Court of South Australia (GRG36/23, 1859-1894). See Special List.

Most records relating to divorce are subject to a 100-year access restriction.

Records dating over 100 years may be viewed at our Research Centre.

To request access to a divorce record, please contact the Supreme Court of South Australia if the divorce occurred before 1975.

If the divorce occurred after 1975, please contact the Family Law Court Registry.

See our Divorce in SA Special List or our Divorce Fact Sheet for further information on divorce records.

Some cemeteries are managed by government agencies and so State Records may hold records from the relevant place of burial. However, we do not hold comprehensive indexes for burials in South Australian cemeteries. A search would need to begin with the name of the cemetery.

Burials in Australia prior to 1954 may be identified through funeral notices posted in the digitised newspapers available on Trove. The Adelaide Cemeteries Authority also hosts an online search tool for burials at cemeteries.

State Records holds records for the following Cemetery authorities:

  • West Terrace Cemetery (GA771)
  • Magill Cemetery (GA2057, 1850-ct)
  • Centennial Park Cemetery Authority (GA1304, 1936-ct)
  • Enfield General Cemetery Trust (GA1892, 1944-2001), and
  • some local councils.

Genealogy SA volunteers have compiled indexes on cemeteries across the state.

To search those indexes please contact Genealogy SA.

Almanacs and directories are a valuable source of information about early residences and townships.

These resources act like a telephone book but in reverse, providing townships and streets and lists of residents. They were commercially produced, often centred on the Metropolitan area, and it was not compulsory to be included.

In some cases they include statistical snapshots of townships, mercantile and civic directories and advertising.

State Records holds items dating from the early years of the Colony, although they were more regular in their content by the 1860s. Their production ceased in 1973.

These volumes are held in the Search Area of our Research Centre and do not need to be ordered.

The State Library provides text-searchable access to a digitised collection from 1864 to 1973.

State Records holds an extensive collecion of records of local council meetings since 1840, although councils may have since merged or separated. 

Our staff are able to help identify predecessor or successor councils.

State Records does not hold agendas and minutes for the Adelaide City Council as they have their own Adelaide City Council municipal archives.

State Records may accept donations of official records of State Government departments and agencies or local councils.

If you hold records which were created by, or once belonged to, an agency or council then please get in touch with Archival Services or phone 7322 7077. Please give a detailed description the records, who created them (or who they belonged to), and their approximate age.

Please do not send donations of records to State Records, without first contacting us.

If you wish to make a donation of records which relate to private persons, businesses, companies or societies, contact the State Library of South Australia, a University, or local historical society.