Overview

We hold a growing collection of public school admission registers, which document children's school attendance from the 1870s to the 1990s. A current archiving project is gathering more records from schools and a current digitisation project is capturing these records for online access.

We also hold other records relating to the establishment of public schools and some elements of their administration.

We rarely hold school photographs or year books. Try the State Library of South Australia for published works produced by schools.

We also hold information about Teachers.

Industrial schools are a type of orphanage or residential care facility - see information about Children in State based care.

Access conditions

School admission registers are typically open for general public access after 30 years.

Individuals seeking their own details can have access prior to the 30 years.

School journals and disciplinary matters may be open after 60 years.

Seeking access to your own records

We are able to help you access records of your own school attendance, even if the records are not yet 30 years old.

If you left school within the last 15 years, contact your school in the first instance.

It may be necessary to locate information about your attendance at school, to prove dates of admission or length of time enrolled, for the following reasons:

  • obtaining a job
  • entry into TAFE, University or the defence forces
  • immigration purposes, or
  • establishing pension rights.

Start with a search of our catalogue ArchivesSearch to see if we hold the records from your school. Use a Keyword Search for the name of the school and "AND school". For example, to find records of Port Augusta primary or high schools type: Augusta AND school

You can then visit our Research Centre to order and make a copy of the records. In some cases the records may have been digitised.

Contact us if you cannot find the school on our catalogue, or if you need us to send you a copy of a specific record.

If you cannot find the school on our catalogue, we may refer you to the Records Management Unit in the Department for Education.

Requirements for Nursing study and registration

If applying for a Diploma of Nursing at TAFE SA, first clarify requirements for the application by contacting TAFE SA on (08) 8417 0501.

If you are applying for nursing registrations complete the TELG-40 form on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) website, rather than sourcing school admission information.

Student reports and results

We do not hold student reports or results. These records may be held by the school. If the school has closed contact the Records Management Unit at the Department for Education.

The SACE Board of South Australia can assist with access to:

  • SACE certificates
  • Senior Secondary Certificates
  • Matriculation
  • Leaving
  • Leaving Honours and
  • Intermediate Certificates.

To obtain past TAFE SA results and qualifications see www.tafesa.edu.au, or call 1800 882 661.

Researching the records

To find school admission registers for a particular school, start with a search of our catalogue ArchivesSearch to see if we hold the records.

Use a Keyword Search for the name of the school and "AND school". For example, to find records of Port Augusta primary or high schools type: Augusta AND school

You can then visit our Research Centre to order and make a copy of the records. In some cases the records may have been digitised.

Contact us if you cannot find the school on our catalogue, or if you need us to send you a copy of a specific record.

If you cannot find the school on our catalogue, we may refer you to the Records Management Unit in the Department for Education.

We also hold microfiche copies of some admission registers for which we do not hold the original registers. You can access microform records at our Research Centre.

Indexes and special lists

FamilySearch volunteers are currently engaged in digitising and indexing a range of our school admission registers.

You can search by name within the collection: Australia, South Australia, School Admission Registers, 1873-1985.

Digitised records

FamilySearch volunteers are currently engaged in digitising and indexing a range of our school admission registers. FamilySearch also hosts a range of other copies of school admission registers taken from microfilm.

You can search by name within the collection: Australia, South Australia, School Admission Registers, 1873-1985.

Not all images of the school admission registers have been released for display but you can either view the original or ask us for a digital copy through our Copying and Digitisation Services.

More information about the arrangement with FamilySearch is provided on our Online Records page.

Types of records

Among the most useful records that State Records holds for family and social history are the school admission registers created by government schools.GRS 14775/1, unit 1, Admission Register, Gordon School, Departmetn for Education and Child Development

These registers follow a standard format and contain some or all of the following information:

  • date of admission of student;
  • date of birth of student;
  • name of parent or guardian;
  • home address of student;
  • name and dates of previous school/s attended; and
  • date and reason for leaving the current school.

Not all admission registers created by government primary and secondary schools are in State Records’ custody.

A current archiving project is gathering more records from schools.

Some may still be held by schools, by local history groups, or may not have survived to the current day.

Records held

Most records relating to schools were created by the:

  • Colonial Secretary’s Office (GRG24)
  • Central Board of Education (GRG50)
  • Education Department (GRG18) and
  • individual schools (various government agencies).

Key facts

Photograph - GRG18/169 unit 2 item 7 Directors of EducationEarly schools 1836 - 1847

The South Australian School Society (the Society) was formed in 1836, to promote occupational training and higher branches of learning.

Frustrated by poor economic conditions, the Society ceased operations in 1843.

Other early schools included Miss Nihill's Ladies' School and a school established by the Rev. T. Q. Stow, first Minister of the Congregational Church. 

Lutheran missionaries from Dresden started the first school for Aboriginal children in 1839.

Public education 1847 onwards

In 1847 an Ordinance was passed which authorised a government salary per pupil to teachers whose schools had at least twenty pupils enrolled.

Parents were still required to pay school fees.

The Education Act 1851 aimed to promote education by the payment of salaries to teachers, the erection of school buildings, the establishment of a book depot and the inspection of assisted schools.

No records of pupil admissions appear to have survived from this period, although the Central Board of Education minutes and correspondence provide evidence of teachers and other school matters.

The modern system of compulsory school attendance and the payment of teacher’s salaries by the State began in 1875.

Regulations introduced in 1885 required head teachers to keep records including:

  • admission registers
  • roll books
  • inspectors’ registers
  • programmes of studies
  • visitors’ books, and
  • punishment books.

Inspectors' registers and admission registers have survived in the greatest quantities.