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Government Records and the Family Historian: School records

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.

Compulsory education was introduced in South Australia in 1875.

Records for state (government) schools are held either at State Records of South Australia, or with the individual schools.

Service histories of S.A. state teachers. 1852-1960 compiled by Brian Condon is a quick way of searching for basic information about early South Australian state schools. It is available via the UniSA Library catalogue.

See also the South Australian history: education guide.

Information about private schools can be difficult to locate.

The major private schools still in existence usually hold their own records, including historic records.

Before the commencement of compulsory education in South Australia in 1875, all schools were privately run. However teachers in 'licensed' (officially approved) schools were able to receive a small allowance from District Councils, on top of the weekly fees paid by the children's parents.

State Records of South Australia hold records for the early South Australian Education Board.

The Education Board reports were generally printed in the newspapers of the day, which can be searched on the Trove website.

The State Library has extensive holdings of school publications, particularly school magazines, for both state and private schools.

These can be searched by the Library catalogue, or by contacting or visiting the Library.

South Australian education gazette

The Education Gazette, South Australia was published monthly from 1885 to 1992. 

This contains information about government schools and teachers, as well as details of curriculum.

The State Library holds a full set of this publication and the the University of Melbourne has digitised the following volumes which can be accessed online via their website.
Volume 72, no.834 to Volume 88, no.1024 (1956-1972) and Volume 1, no. 1 to Volume 15, no. 26 (1973-1987).
Volumes 4,5 and 6 (1976-1978) were not available and are not included in this collection.

The Library also holds copies of education gazettes for other states.

Information for private schools held in the State Library

The State Library collects the published magazines and other material printed by private schools in South Australia. To search for this material, type the school name into the Library catalogue.

The major private school whose records are held in the State Library is Way College, a Methodist (Bible Christian) boys' school which previously occupied the buildings now used by Annesley College.

As well as numerous publications of the school, the Library has digitised the admissions register of Way College, which can be viewed by visiting the Library.

Education gazettes online

A number of Australian education gazettes can be searched on the Find My Past website.