Biographical Information

Information about Western Australians may be found in many sources in the Battye Library and the State Records Office. This guide is intended to show some starting points for research. For a specifically genealogical guide, see: Dead reckoning: how to find your way through the genealogical jungle of Western Australia (016.92939 HOW)

Where To Look

Online catalogue – for biographies, ephemera, oral histories, private archives, maps and serials, such as newsletters and annual reports, which may list members or employees (e.g. school magazines). Biographical articles indexed from newspapers and serials from 1984 can also be found.

Biographical Index (Battye) – on microfiche – for newspaper and serial articles, and books relating to people, covering material indexed up to 1984. These references may be transferred to the online catalogue (see above). 

Pictorial Collection Indexes – cards – for photographs and illustrations (photographs are being progressively scanned and will be available on the online database).

Some Subject Headings to Search Under 

  • Names of people
  • Ethnic origin e.g. Italians
  • Occupation e.g. Nursing
  • Place of residence e.g. Moora
  • Group Settlement
  • Military history
  • Names of Battalions e.g. 11th Battalion

How to Obtain an Item

Material can now be requested on-line. When you find an item in the catalogue, press request and follow the instructions. From the Biographical Index note the reference (e.g. WA 25/6/1983 p4) and staff will help you locate the item.


Browsing the shelves is another useful way of finding information. Biographies are shelved at the end of the Dewey number sequence and are prefixed by a B (e.g. B/MOL).

Using Heritage Material

Not all material is on the Reading Room shelves and you may need to request it on-line or complete a call slip to request it from stack. Some heritage material may only be viewed on the 4th floor of the Battye Library. It is necessary to register as a researcher to use heritage material. This can be done in a few minutes and simply requires proof of identity (e.g. driver’s licence).

Births, Marriages and Deaths

See our information guide: Births, Marriages & Deaths.


See our information guide: Passenger lists. Check the on-line catalogue under NATURALIS(Z)ATION, also see State Records Office Accessions 1157* & 1293* (on microfilm).


The following are some useful lists of people:

Please note: Material marked with an *asterisk is available in the State Records Office Search Room on the ground floor of the State Library of Western Australia.

In Other Institutions

See: Relations in records: a guide to family history sources in the Australian Archives (016.92939 AUS)

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Page last updated: Tuesday 26 February 2013

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