Land ownership in Western Australia falls into two broad categories: leasehold land leased from the Crown and registered at the Office of Titles; and freehold land which has been granted to individuals and registered at the Office of Titles under the ‘Torrens System’ including the Strata Titles Act, or under the previous ‘Deeds’ system of registration.
The Battye Library and the State Records Office may be able to provide descriptions of leases taken up to the early 1900s. For leases taken up after this period and details of freehold land, it is advisable to also consult the Office of Titles.
The Office of Titles
The Office of Titles is part of the Department of Land Information (Landgate). The Office can provide the ownership history of land in Western Australia. Where the Certificate of Title number is unknown any search will be expedited if the lot number is known. The Office does maintain a nominal index of current ownership.
1 Midland Square
Midland WA 6056
Telephone:(08) 9273 7373
Fees: Details of fees can be obtained from Landgate.
The Battye Library and the State Records Office
Lot numbers/description/ownership of land may be found through various sources held by the Battye Library and the State Records Office.
Please note: Items marked with an *asterisk are available in the State Records Office Search Room on the ground floor of the Alexander Library Building.
Cadastral Maps and Plans
- Townsite series c1890-1960 (211C) check online catalogue under town name.
- Rural series c1890s (45/9-16, ex-298C) see listing at CN9 and index map. These maps are being digitised and will be available online.
- Chain series c1900-1960s see CN107 and index map.
- Catalogue of cancelled public plans of Western Australia, 1865-1987 edited by Andre Mali.
A listing of archival working cadastral plans. Please check with the State Records Office Search Room staff to establish holdings details.
Applications for LandCons 5000* is a listing of records of the Lands and Surveys Dept held by the State Records Office. These records include applications for and descriptions of land up to the early 1900s. Please note that the Office of Titles has retained records of transfers of freehold titles, made under the Torrens System (post 1876), subsequent to the original grant.
Memorials of Deeds and Encumbrance Books*
Prior to the introduction of the Torrens System (1876) of land registration all dealings in land granted by the Crown were recorded in the Deeds Register. For more details consult the following indexes and registers on microfilm or the Guide to Land Memorials held in the State Records Office.
Rate Books*These are useful for establishing ownership and dates of ownership of property. See the Agency Index for Government Agencies to establish Archive Note or Series Registration System numbers for listings of the records of various municipal councils held in the State Records Office or check in their AEON database.
Pastoral Leases*An alphabetical index to Lands and Surveys Department files concerning pastoral leases is available in Archives listing AN3. It is arranged by property name but is not a complete record of pastoral lease files. To view files not covered by the index, a thorough search of AN3* listings or the AEON database is necessary.
Lands IndexA microfiche index providing access to correspondence about land (from settlers, surveyors, Resident Magistrates and officials of the Lands and Surveys Department) and surveyors’ records (such as plans and field books) up to about 1880. For detailed directions in their use see sheet 15 of the Guide to indexes and catalogues.
Electoral Rolls (Legislative Council)
These are on microfiche and they were first published in 1904 and thereafter in each election or census year. See our guide Electoral Rolls for details. Legislative Council rolls up to 1962 included many land ownership details such as rural location numbers.
Post Office DirectoriesPost Office Directories (1893-1947, 1949) are available online and on microfilm They list postal addresses alphabetically by town and by personal name. They include group settlements and pastoral stations.
Local HistoriesMany local histories include details of land ownership in the district and may provide a short cut in your research.
For More Information Check:
- Online Catalogue – for books, pamphlets, oral histories, maps and private archive material.
- General Index (Battye) – Microfiche – for general newspaper and serial articles indexed prior to 1984.
Pictorial Collection Indexes – Card and online – for photographs.
Some Subject Headings to Search Under:
- Names of Pastoral Properties
- Place Name
- Place Name – Name of Property
Page last updated: Thursday 1 September 2011