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South Australian History: Home

This guide covers a range of topics relating to the history of South Australia, including the South Australian Company, researching Aboriginal history in South Australia, mines and mining, and the South Australian experience of religion and education

Documenting a Democracy

The Museum of Australian Democracy and National Archives Australia have produced a website which contains digital access to key documents associated with the foundation of Australia. South Australian documents included on the website are the South Australia Acts of 1834 and 1842 and the Constitution (Female Suffrage) Act 1895 (SA) - the first Act in the world to give voting rights to women.

Documenting a Democracy - South Australia documents

Online resources

Aboriginal history in South Australia. (State Library of South Australia)

Advance Australia: South Australia and Federation. (State Library of South Australia)

Colonial History of South Australia timeline. (State Library of South Australia)

South Australia in the twentieth century timeline (State Library of South Australia)

SA History Hub. Stories of South Australia's people, places and events. (History Trust SA)

Centre of Democracy educational resources. (History Trust SA) Includes the themes of Governance in the early Colony, Social Movements in South Australia and Suffrage 125

South Australian Aboriginal history timeline (SA Health)

South Australian legislation and Protector's reports relating to Aboriginal people (AIATSIS)

Grey's Wallaby

Grey's Wallaby by John Gould, 1863. The mammals of Australia, vol. 2, plate 19 View more information about this image here. You may order a high quality photographic copy. No known Copyright restrictions - Conditions of use.


This is a guide to sources relating to aspects of South Australian history held in the State Library of South Australia or accessible on the internet. The guide comprises selected books, pamphlets, journal and newspaper articles and online resources held by or available through the State Library. Further research material can be found in the library catalogue or in various electronic resources. Not all of the material listed here is on open access shelving and some material will need to be retrieved from storage.

Background reading

Colonialism and its aftermath : a history of Aboriginal South Australia. Edited by Peggy Brock and Tom Gara. Mile End, South Australia : Wakefield Press, 2017..

The cyclopedia of South Australia in two volumes: an historical and commercial review, descriptive and biographical facts, figures and illustrations: an epitome of progress. Edited by H.T. Burgess. Hampstead Gardens, S.A.:Austaprint, 1978 

Foundational fictions in South Australian history.  Edited by Carolyn Collins and Paul Sendziuk. Mile End, South Australia : Wakefield Press, 2018.

Gibbs, R. M. Under the Burning Sun: a history of colonial South Australia, 1836-1900, Adelaide: Peacock Publications for Southern Heritage, 2013

Gibbs, R.M. A History of South Australia: from colonial days to the present, Mitcham, S. A.: Southern Heritage, 1999

Morrison, Frederic.W. The Aldine history of South Australia, illustrated: embracing sketches and portraits of her noted people: the rise and progress of her varied enterprises: and illustrations of her boundless wealth: together with maps of latest survey. Sydney; Adelaide: The Aldine Publishing Company, 1890.

Sendziuk, Paul and Foster, Robert. A history of South Australia, Port Melbourne, Vic. : Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Survival in our own land : "Aboriginal" experiences in "South Australia" since 1836 / told by Nungas and others ; edited and researched by Christobel Mattingley ; co-edited by Ken Hampton.  Adelaide, S. Aust. : Wakefield Press, 1988

Turning points: chapters in South Australian history, edited by Robert Foster and Paul Sendziuk. Kent Town, S. Aust.: Wakefield Press, 2012

The Wakefield companion to South Australian history. Editor, Wilfrid Prest. Kent Town, S. Aust.:Wakefield Press, 2001

More material can be found by searching the library catalogue. A search on 'South Australia history' will lead to many results so try narrowing your search by subject using relevant words such as 'South Australia history 1836 1900; or South Australia history 20th century, for example.

Bound for South Australia

2011 marked 175 years since the establishment of South Australia as a colony. The Bound for South Australia 1836 website has a Chronology of Events from 1829 to 1836 leading to the establishment of the province. The website also contains details of the first nine ships which left England bound for South Australia.