About historical searching

Searching historical land records

The history of a block of land can be accessed through the register book. This book contains certificates of title and other information about property. These searches are often used to research family history and are free to the general public but if you want a copy of a record a fee is payable.

Historical information available includes: 

  • name indexes for Real Property Act records from 1858 to 1975 which include names of crown lessees from the mid 1880's 
  • Real Property Act records - eg certificates of title and transfers 
  • survey plans 
  • some crown leases 
  • historical maps showing land tenure.

Most historical information is only available in hard copy and can't be accessed online. These records are kept at the Land Services Group (LSG) office in Adelaide and are available to the public Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. LSG can't conduct searches on your behalf but can provide general assistance.

To conduct a search you will need: 

  • the name of the property owner or crown lessee 
  • historical or pastoral name of the property - eg Mount Eba 
  • the time period in which the property may have been bought 
  • the property location - eg address, section number, hundred name.

Other sources of historical information include: 

Torrens Automated Title System (TATS) historical searches

This system provides a chronological history of dealings recorded on a computerised title with the most recent transactions displayed first. Searches on this system can be accessed online through PropertyAssist by account customers, or over the counter at LSG office in Adelaide.

The information provided through TATS includes: 

  • title reference and date of issue 
  • the title edition number 
  • parent title reference 
  • details of documents and numbers 
  • date of lodgement and completion.  

Old systems section records

Records located at the old systems section, also called the general registry office, that are available to the public include: 

  • alphabetical indices of records from 1842 to the present for land that doesn't fall under the Real Property Act 1886 
  • an historical name index of records dating back to 1842 are available to the public.

The general registry office holds deeds and records of land that were freehold between 1837 and 1858. The office is open to the public from Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 4.00 pm. A name-based index is available, but not all records are available to the public as certain records may need permission from the owner.

Related information

On this site

Searching and purchasing data
Glossary of property terms
Contract terms and conditions
Certificates of title
Land Service Group accounts


Historical Searching fact sheet- for an alternative version of this document contact the Land Services Group

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Page last updated: 1st May 2014