Specialised Finding Aids and Indexes

In addition to the two main systems of arrangement employed to order the collection as a whole, the State Records Office holds a number of specialised finding aids and indexes. Through the use of these specialised indexes it is possible to identify specific information relating to an individual or topic that might not otherwise be obvious through using the main file listings.

Staff at the Search Room Enquiry Desk can advise on the use of these specialised finding aids and indexes, which have been created to assist clients to more easily locate the information which they require.

The following list contains references to some of the most significant specialised indexes and finding aids available in the State Records Office Search Room.

  • Old State Archives Card Index
    The original card index of the State Archives is still available for use in the State Records Office Search Room. Although this subject based catalogue has been largely incorporated into the Archive Note and Series Registration Systems, it remains a useful tool for locating some of the earliest archival material contained within the collection. The majority of card entries refer to the relevant Archive Note for listings of items held.
  • Colonial Secretary's Office (CSO) Indexes
    These important indexes provide access to the inward and outward correspondence of the Colonial Secretary's Office spanning the period 1828-1973. Most of the original bound volumes are available for use in the Search Room, with microfiche copies of all registers and indexes also available from the Microforms Area.

For more information on the CSO indexes see the Guide Sheets or for general information on the CSO please see the SRO webpage dedicated to CSO records.

  • Colonial Secretary's Office (CSO) Card Index
    This alphabetical card index contains references to inward and outward correspondence (1828-1832), arranged by name of writer or official position of writer. Also indexed are references taken from the Swan River Papers and the Exploration Diaries (1827-1871), as well as articles from the Journal of the Western Australia Historical Society (1927-1945) and other publications.
  • Catalogue of Cancelled Public Plans of WA
    Also known as the "Mali Index" in honour of its creator Andre Mali. Cancelled Public Plans were in essence the working plans of the Lands & Surveys Department, containing continuously updated information on location divisions, leases, crown grants, reserves and other such land information. Volume 1 details a number of Cancelled Public Plan series for pastoral areas from throughout the State for the period 1865-1987, while Volume 2 contains an alphabetical listing of cancelled maps of townsites. The catalogue does not include exploration plans or original plans of townsites.
  • Chief Protector of Aborigines Files 1898-1908 Index
    A comprehensive listing of all the names of Aboriginal persons mentioned within the Chief Protector of Aborigines Files. References to the names and designations of settlers and officials who were directly connected to the events detailed within the files have also been listed, as have references to persons from non-English speaking nationalities.
  • Dead Names Index [microfiche]
    Created by the Lands & Surveys Department this valuable alphabetical index contains card entries for land owners of pastoral leases. Cards are arranged alphabetically by the surname of the owner and each card gives the owners name and details of all leases held, including relevant correspondence numbers.
  • Indexes to Land Records 1829-1933
    This guide has been compiled by State Records Office staff and contains references to the majority of land related records transferred to the State Records Office from the Department of Land Administration (and its predecessor agencies), including maps, lease records, surveyors field books and departmental correspondence. The guide includes a subject guide to all land records and an alphabetical index to towns, districts and agricultural areas.
  • Lands Card Index
    An alphabetical index arranged by name of writer or official position of writer containing references to Survey Office and Lands & Surveys Department inwards and outwards correspondence for the period 1829-1880. Includes both correspondence received from officials such as surveyors, assistant surveyors and Resident Magistrates, as well as correspondence sent from the Department to the Colonial Secretary.
  • Microforms Register
    The Microforms Register is a helpful tool created by the State Records Office for determining whether specific consignments of records are available for use in microform. The register is arranged sequentially by Accession/Consignment number and provides information such as format type, approximate date range, item numbers included on microform, and name of agency and description of records, where identified.
  • Passenger Indexes [microfiche]
    To assist in accessing information from the Inward and Outward Passenger Lists housed within the State Records Office, a number of indexes to passenger names have been created; details of which can be found on our Passenger Lists And Immigration Recordspage.
  • Probate (Wills) and Administration Indexes [microfiche]
    The SRO holds two indexes to wills and letters of administration, which are on microfiche in the State Records Office Microforms Area. The first index (Cons 3435) covers the period 1832-1939, while the second index (Cons 5269) covers the period 1900-1993. These indexes provide the will or letter of administration number, name of executor or administrator and date of death. More information on accessing probate and administration records can be found on our Grants of Probate (Wills) and Letters of Administration information sheet.
  • Railway Plans Card Index
    This alphabetical card index is arranged by locality and contains references to the majority of Western Australian Government Railways maps and plans held by the State Records Office. Most references are for Progress Plans relating to specific stations, sidings, bridges or sections of track, drawn from a number of different consignments.
  • Schools Card Index
    The index is ordered alphabetically by the name of the school with each card listing the types of records held for a particular school, the date range of those records and the consignment and item numbers required for their retrieval. The types of records indexed include buildings and works files, admission books, and journals.
  • Ships Index (All Ports), 1829-1890 [microfiche]
    Contains references to the arrivals of ships to WA for the period 1828-1890 (mainly at Fremantle and Albany). Information supplied includes; whether there is a passenger list or not (and in which records this information can be found), port of arrival, port of departure, date of arrival and date of departure.
  • WAGR Staff Index [microfiche]
    This microfiche index, compiled by Mrs R. Downing, lists railway employees noted in various Western Australian Government Railways Employment Registers for the period 1879-1905. Provides the name of the employee, date first employed, age or birthdate, where located and date records goes to.

There are numerous other finding aids available, many of which are mentioned in the more detailed Collection Guides.

Published Finding Aids

In addition to these indexes, there are also a number of published finding aids and guides which can help clients to better navigate the collections of the State Records Office. Some examples of published guides include:

  • Dead Reckoning: How to Find Your Way Through the Genealogical Jungle of Western Australia / compiled by Steve Howell (1997).
    Contains a comprehensive listing of resources available in the State Records Office and Battye Library relevant to those undertaking family history research.
  • Aboriginal Names of the Murchison District c. 1848-1890 / complied by Neville Green, (1997).
  • Aboriginal Names of the Pilbara, c1870-1890, the Gascoyne, c1880 - 1890, the Kimberley, c1880-1890 / compiled by Neville Green, (1993).
  • Aboriginal Names of the South West, c. 1841-1890 / compiled by Neville Green, (1993).
  • Archival Files Index for Western Australian Missions / compiled by Jennie Carter, (1988).
  • Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians pre-1829-1888 / compiled by Rica Erickson, (1988).
  • Convicts in Western Australia, 1850-1887 / Rica Erickson and Gillian O'Mara, (1994).
  • Convict Records of Western Australia : A Research Guide / by Gillian O'Mara, Friends of Battye Library Occasional Paper No 1, (1990).
  • Order in the Court: A Guide to the Records of the Supreme Court of Western Australia / State Archives of Western Australia, (1990).
  • Policing Our State: A History of Police Stations and Police Officers in Western Australia, 1829-1945 / by A.R. Don Pashley, (2000).
  • Warders and Gaolers: A Dictionary of Western Australian Prison Officers, 1829-1879 / compiled by David J. Barker, (2000).

Copies of these publications are available for use from the Reference Shelf in the State Records Office Search Room.

Some of these published finding aids and indexes are also available for purchase within the Alexander Library Building.

Further Information

There are numerous other specialised finding aids available to researchers in the State Records Office Search Room. Descriptions for some of these guides can be found in the Collection Guides.

State Records Office staff at the Enquiry Desk can provide additional information on the types of specialised findings aids and indexes available in the State Records Office Search Room. For more information contact us by telephone on (08) 9427 3600, via email at sro@sro.wa.gov.au or in person.