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Immigration to South Australia: Naturalisation

This State Library of South Australia guide has information on passenger lists, newspaper indexes and immigration schemes. It includes some resources about immigration to other states.


In the 19th century only non-British people needed to be naturalised.

To be able to vote non-British residents needed to be naturalised. Technically they also needed to be nauturalised to buy land, but in reality land was often sold privately, for example from one German family to another. Often those with non-British backgrounds did not bother to become naturalised for many years, if at all.

When Britain (and therefore Australia) went to war with Germany in 1914, many people born in countries outside of the British empire felt they needed to become Australian citizens, even if they had spent their whole lives in Australia.

The State Library does not hold naturalisation records. These are held by the National Archives of Australia and can be searched on their website.

History of Naturalisation laws in South Australia

Naturalisation in South Australia before 1848 was granted under specific Acts which named the individual applicant. 

After that date legislation was passed which allowed naturalisation without a specific Act. Each state retained it's own naturalisation legislation until 1903 when the Commonwealth Government standardised naturalisation laws.

In South Australia before the 26 January 1949 naturalisation gave citizenship to Australia, but with the rights and privileges of a native-born British subject. After 26 January 1949 legislation changed so naturalised Australians became an Australian citizen with all the rights and privileges of a native-born Australian.

SA naturalisation indexes held at the State Library

Please note that the items listed below are indexes only. All naturalisation records for South Australia are held by the National Archives of Australia.

Naturalisations online

SA naturalisation indexes online