A South Australian telephone service began in a limited way in 1886. South Australian telephone directories are held by the Library for 1898, and from 1913/14 to the present. An incomplete set dating from 1933 to the present is available on open access in the Ready Reference Collection. Microfiche of telephone directories for the period 1971-1991 is available in the Family History area. A preservation set of the directories is available to be requested and used in the Somerville Reading Room.
At various times, a variety of directories have been published for specific professions. These include medical (doctors) directories, clerical (ministers of religion), legal and military. The State Library holds a number of these, for various dates, both for Australia and other countries. For example the Law List, Army List, and Crockford's Clerical Directory are British professional listings.
These are another useful source of information. See the separate guide on Electoral rolls.The earliest (incomplete) South Australian electoral roll is dated 1862. In 2012 the Electoral Office announced it would no longer make electoral rolls available to the public, including libraries. The last electoral roll held for South Australia is for 2009.
Street directories of SA can be found via our catalogue and viewed in the Somerville Reading Room. We have a digitised version of the 1936 Gregory's street directory of Adelaide
The British Who's who was first published in 1849. The Library holds copies dating from 1881.
The Library also has copies of Debrett's baronetage, knightage and companionage from 1897, listing the titled families of Britain. Burke's genealogical and heraldic history of the peerage, baronetage and knightage is an older version of Debrett's. The Library set of Burke's begins in 1859.
Burke's also published an Australian edition, A genealogical and heraldic history of the colonial gentry (Burke's colonial gentry) in two volumes for the years 1891-1895.
Who's who in Australia was first published between 1922 and 1935. The Library holds the complete set of these. The Adelaide journalist Fred Johns, compiled various local Who's who listings, including Fred Johns's annual (1914), Who's who in Australia (1927/28), and An Australian biographical dictionary (1934).
The State Library holds substantial runs of directories and telephone books for the other Australian states and territories, in a variety of formats. These principally consist of directories published by Sands and Kenny, and later Sands and McDougall, the Melbourne-based stationers, and date from the late 1850s onwards. However, earlier directories were published by a number of small printing firms.
The Library holds interstate directories in a variety of formats, including electronic, microfiche, and original copies. Full listings for each state or city can be found by a subject search of the catalogue, e.g. 'Victoria - directories'.
The New South Wales calendar and general post office directory 1832, is the oldest Australian directory held in the collection. Directories are also held for Victoria from 1836, Tasmania 1849, Western Australia 1842, Queensland 1859, the Northern Territory from 1885, and the A.C.T. from 1909.
The library holds a number of postal and business directories for a range of English counties. Once again, these are in a range of formats, including microfiche, hard copy and online database. Search the catalogue under the name of the county, for example: 'Suffolk (England) - Directories.'
The City of Sydney Archives has made the complete set of Sands Sydney & Country Commercial Directory 1858-1932 available and searchable online. Access is free.
The firm of John Sands Ltd (Printers and Stationers) published their directory each year from 1858–59 to 1932–33 (except for 1872, 1874, 1878 and 1881). The household and business information it contains has become a fundamental source for research into Sydney history, especially family history.
The navigation bar to the left of the site page contains the directory volumes grouped in different sections for easy downloading. A table of contents has been provided showing the information in each section to help you locate a specific year and section you might need, for example the Suburban Directory for Alexandria in 1901. You can also do a keyword search on the directory contents (the whole set, or a specified year or years). The keyword search is more than 98% accurate. City of Sydney Archives cannot guarantee 100% in all cases because the digital images are based on the microfiche, which was filmed from paper originals of variable print quality.