Looking through last Will and Testament documents are a good source of information on descendants, property and locations. At some stage almost all Wills must pass through the Australia Court system and thus become an official court record to be stored in perpetuity. Where no Will has been left (intestate estates) usually next of kin apply for estate administration, documents of which also complement the official records. Many early Wills are now online in index of full document form. Also, this list has links to inquest documents and coroners reports.
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- Northern Territory
- Inquests 1859-1897
- Trustees files 1889-1929 - Papers include information about land ownership, rental properties, relatives, disbursement of funds, details of children, school fees and employees and wages lists. The date and place of death are given in the records if stated.
- Wills 1857-1940
- Instruments of renunciation 1915-1983 Renunciations are where the Executor/Executrix no longer wishes to administer the will
- Deceased Estate Files, 1880-1923
- Inquests - Coroners', 1796-1824
- Intestate Estate Case Papers - covers the years 1821-1908
- Probate - early records
- Will and Probate Records 1841 – 2007 - Search for people who may have had estates that went through the probate process in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Online index to Wills, Probate and Administration Records to locate, view digitised records between 1841 and 1925, and order to view the original records for 1926 to 2007.
- Supreme Court of Victoria - Probate Registers - Application Index Search
- Supreme Court of Victoria - Probate Registers - Caveat Index Search
- Supreme Court of Victoria - Probate Registers - Wills Index Search
- Probate Online Advertising System - From September 2009, advertisements of an applicant's intention to apply for Probate and Administration must be published on this website.
- State Trustees - there are no online records to search here, however you can call them to enquire as to whether they are administering a deceased estate.
- Inquest documents -
Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds records of inquests and other kinds of coronial investigations held in Victoria from 1840 – 1985 - See more at: http://prov.vic.gov.au/research/inquests#sthash.Ew41hopf.dpufPublic Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds records of inquests and other kinds of coronial investigations held in Victoria from 1840 – 1985
State Records Office of Western Australia - AEON archives Official State records are held by the State Records Office of Western Australia however indexes are not available online as yet. The State is looking to implement a more user friendly way of searching the archives, however in the interim you can search the "AEON" system for records. They do have a copying service - email or call them for details and costs.
- The Manning Index of South Australian History The Index contains many thousands of references to South Australian newspaper and magazine stories for the years 1837 to 1937. It also includes extensive selected text from the indexed publications, other primary and secondary sources and numerous extracts from Mr Manning's own writings.
The Nothern Territory Department of Arts and Museums is responsible for the Northern Territory Archives. A list of collections in the archive is available for download in PDF format (warning: 250+ pages) which can then be searched offline. The archives can also be searced online using the "Archives Navigator" service although it is not straight forward and no indexes are available. Read the Wills Information Leaflet for information using the service to access Wills, Probate and letters of Administration.