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Government Records and the Family Historian: Police Gazettes

As a family historian, consider what information may be found in the Police, Education or Government Gazettes or hospital, electoral, probate, naturalisation or other government held records. This guide focuses mainly on South Australian resources.

What could I find?

The South Australian Police Gazette commenced publication in 1862.  Compiled to be distributed amongst the police force only, the South Australian Police Gazettes contain unique information and details unavailable elsewhere. Produced at regular intervals (usually once a week), it was intended to make information available to all in the police force throughout the state. 

The information contained in the Police Gazettes varies somewhat from year to year, but overall you will find details such as:

  • changes within the police force e.g promotions, demotions, discharges, resignations, deaths
  • house break-ins
  • robberies
  • arson
  • murders
  • deserted seamen
  • warrants
  • prisoners discharged
  • missing friends
  • lost and found items

Anyone researching their family tree may have a 'lost' family member or two! It is possible that they may be listed in the Police Gazettes, having found themselves on the wrong side of the law or possibly as a victim of a crime.  Or maybe they were in the police force and were transferred to another department or division. As well as names and age, you may discover the physical description of the person you are searching for e.g. height, hair colour, eye  colour, distinguishing features and even the colour of their clothing.

Far from being just a unique and extremely fascinating resource for local, family and social historians, these gazettes are useful for anyone with an interest in South Australia from the 1860s onwards.

RESTRICTIONS TO USE: Please be aware that there is an embargo on access to the South Australian Police Gazettes published in the last 60 years, including the current year. To access information within the restricted time period you will require written permission from Freedom of Information Office, SA Police Dept. Online FOI forms.  

Further information is available at

Indexes available at the State Library

Other law enforcement related records

The following historical records are available from State Records of South Australia:

  • Police Station records
  • Adelaide Local Court
  • Adelaide Police Court
  • Local Courts
  • Correctional Services Department
  • Supreme Court
  • Adelaide Gaol, Yatala Labour Prison, Gladstone Gaol, Mount Gambier Goal, Port Augusta Goal, Port Lincoln Gaol, Redruth (Burra Burra) Gaol, Wallaroo Gaol and Kyeema Prison Camp
  • Sheriff's Department correspondence

Available at the State Library

The South Australian Police Gazette commenced in 1862.  Due to RESTRICTIONS the public are not able to access the last 60 years of this publication, including the current year.* 

SA Ready Reference area

Indexes for 1868 - 1915 ONLY

Gazettes  1890, 1895, 1916-1952 ONLY

SA Archive Digital Books database

(available for onsite users only)

1862 - 1947

Ancestry database

(available for onsite use only)

1862 - 1947

Find My Past

(available for onsite use only)

1862 - 1947


Interstate Police Gazettes

Some interstate Police Gazettes are available at the State Library.

Family History area

Victoria 1910 -1939 (available on microfilm - fhrm 123)

Find My Past 

(for onsite use only)

New South Wales 1862 - 1900

Queensland 1864 - 1900

Queensland 1864 - 1874 Indexes

Tasmania 1884 - 1900

Victoria 1855 - 1900

Other items of interest

Other items held by the State Library that may be of interest include: