Looking through last Will and Testament documents are a good source of information on descendants, property and locations. At some stage almost all Wills must pass through the Australia Court system and thus become an official court record to be stored in perpetuity. Where no Will has been left (intestate estates) usually next of kin apply for estate administration, documents of which also complement the official records. Many early Wills are now online in index of full document form. Also, this list has links to inquest documents and coroners reports.
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- Northern Territory
Queensland Archives has compiled indexes of their archival records. Use these links to get to the page and search the index database by name.
- Divorces 1861-1894
- Equity files 1857-1899
- Inquests 1859-1902
- Instruments of renunciation 1915-1983
- Justices of the Peace 1857-1957
- Naturalisations 1851-1908
- Register of court fees 1885-1908
- Trustee files 1889-1929
- Wills 1857-1940
Once you get to the Queensland Archives page, here's how to use it:
- Scroll down to "Index Categories"
- Click on the appropriate radio button for the type of records you are looking for - this will then expand to show what record sets are available.
- Click on the appropriate radio button for the records you are looking for - this will then expand (below the list) to show a search area where you can input names etc.
You may also be able to download the full index using a link that will appear on the top right of the page or below the search box (depending on what device you are using, eg: desktop, iPad etc).
- Deceased Estate Files, 1880-1923
- Inquests - Coroners', 1796-1824
- Intestate Estate Case Papers - covers the years 1821-1908
- Probate - early records
- Will and Probate Records 1841 – 2007 - Search for people who may have had estates that went through the probate process in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Online index to Wills, Probate and Administration Records to locate, view digitised records between 1841 and 1925, and order to view the original records for 1926 to 2007.
- Supreme Court of Victoria - Probate Registers - Application Index Search
- Supreme Court of Victoria - Probate Registers - Caveat Index Search
- Supreme Court of Victoria - Probate Registers - Wills Index Search
- Probate Online Advertising System - From September 2009, advertisements of an applicant's intention to apply for Probate and Administration must be published on this website.
- State Trustees - there are no online records to search here, however you can call them to enquire as to whether they are administering a deceased estate.
- Inquest documents -
Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds records of inquests and other kinds of coronial investigations held in Victoria from 1840 – 1985 - See more at: http://prov.vic.gov.au/research/inquests#sthash.Ew41hopf.dpufPublic Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds records of inquests and other kinds of coronial investigations held in Victoria from 1840 – 1985
State Records Office of Western Australia - AEON archives Official State records are held by the State Records Office of Western Australia however indexes are not available online as yet. The State is looking to implement a more user friendly way of searching the archives, however in the interim you can search the "AEON" system for records. They do have a copying service - email or call them for details and costs.
- The Manning Index of South Australian History The Index contains many thousands of references to South Australian newspaper and magazine stories for the years 1837 to 1937. It also includes extensive selected text from the indexed publications, other primary and secondary sources and numerous extracts from Mr Manning's own writings.
The Nothern Territory Department of Arts and Museums is responsible for the Northern Territory Archives. A list of collections in the archive is available for download in PDF format (warning: 250+ pages) which can then be searched offline. The archives can also be searced online using the "Archives Navigator" service although it is not straight forward and no indexes are available. Read the Wills Information Leaflet for information using the service to access Wills, Probate and letters of Administration.
Last update October 2017