Western Australia

Perth from Mt Eliza, 1876 [001333D]
Perth from Mt Eliza, 1876 [001333D]

The J S Battye Library of West Australian History, located on the 3rd floor of the State Library, is a huge repository of both current and historical Western Australian material. Here, you will find sources such as biographies, birth, marriage and death indexes, electoral rolls, directories, passenger lists and newspapers to help you discover your family history.

Only a few of the key resources are listed on this page. For more detail on specific areas, please use Dead Reckoning and the links on the left of this page as well as the information under WA Collections and WA Resources.

Key Family History Resources

Dead Reckoning on Ipad
Dead Reckoning is freely available
on our website

Dead Reckoning: how to find your way through the Genealogical Jungle of Western Australia
This is a key work for those tracing Western Australian ancestors. It has recently been extensively revised and is available on our website.
Western Australian Post Office Directories
The Post Office Directories are an invaluable source of information for anyone doing family history research in Western Australia. Directories for the period 1893-1949 have been digitised.
Police Gazettes of Western Australia

The Police Gazette of Western Australia is a valuable resource for researching police and criminals in Western Australia. Issues from 1876-1900 have been digitised. Later editions may be requested through the Library's retrieval system and viewed in the Leah Jane Cohen Reading Room on the 3rd floor.
Bicentennial dictionary of Western Australians

Biographical dictionary consisting of:
Vol 1. A-C
Vol 2. D-J
Vol 3. K-Q
Vol 4. R-Z
Vol 5. Asian immigrants to Western Australia, 1829-1901
Vol 6. Aborigines of the Albany region, 1821-1898
Vol 7. Aborigines of New Norcia, 1845-1914
Vol 8. Aborigines of the southwest region, 1829-1840
Dictionary of Western Australians, 1829-1914

Biographical dictionary consisting of:
Vol 1. Early settlers, 1829-1850
Vol 2. Bond, 1850-1868
Vol 3. Free, 1850-1868
Vol 4. The challenging years, 1868-1888
Vol 5. The golden years, 1889-1914
Vol 9. Convicts in Western Australia, 1850-1887
Vol 10. Far from home, Aboriginal prisoners of Rottnest Island, 1838-1931


Use our SLWA Family History Bookmarks to find websites for Western Australia recommended by the Family History Subject Specialists. Simply click on any heading of interest e.g. western.australia-convicts to see a list of websites relating to this topic. The larger the tag, the more websites appear on the list.


State Records Office
The State Records Office, located in the same building as the State Library, holds State government records including Colonial Secretary's Office correspondence, convict records, court records, immigration records and more. See their Family History page for more information on what is available. Much of the material relating to family history is also described in Dead Reckoning.
AEON is the State Records Office catalogue and includes some individual names e.g. for wills and probate records.
National Archives of Australia
The National Archives houses Commonwealth government records such as military, immigration and naturalisation papers. Records date from Federation in 1901 although, for some government departments, earlier material dating back to the mid-1850s is held. Over 18 million documents have been digitised and are searchable by selecting Search the collection from their home page. Other material can be viewed in their State and Territory Reading rooms.


Western Australian Genealogical Society Inc.
Visit the website of the Western Australian Genealogical Society Inc. (also known as WAGS) for information about the society and its affiliated societies throughout Western Australia. The site includes WA shipping arrivals, WA surnames list, links to hundreds of websites and more.
Perth Dead Persons' Society

This site has information on pioneers, convicts, military research, cemeteries and more.
Royal Western Australian Historical Society Inc.

Information on the Royal Western Australian Historical Society located in Nedlands.


The following journals are available in the Genealogy Centre and/or the Battye Library:
Western Ancestor: journal of Western Australian Genealogical Society
Western Ancestor index
Volumes 1-8 (1979-2002) have been indexed and are available on CD-ROM.
Early days / Royal Western Australian Historical Society

We hold a range of other Western Australian genealogy journals, including those published by the WAGS special interest groups and affiliated societies. Try searching our catalogue using the keywords western australia genealogy periodicals for a complete list.

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Page last updated: Wednesday 2 December 2015

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