Biographical Database of Australia

BDA 6th release 15 July 2018, 11 NEW datasets, nearly 1,600,000 records now online

15 July 2018


11 NEW datasets, nearly 1,600,000 records now online


Highlights are:


  • Court records for 5,000 people, NSW Bench of Magistrates 1788-1820
  • Details of 12,700 people in the Australian Dictionary of Biography 1788-1850 (all states)
  • More NSW parish registers, new Norfolk Island & Tasmanian records 1788-1831
  • NSW convict indents complete to 1842
  • Biographical details of 57th & 63rd regiments NSW, TAS, QLD, NT, WA 1825-1833


Search or subscribe today (still only $30pa) to explore these NEW datasets just added:


Convict Indents / ship musters NSW: 1830, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842

BDA now contains all NSW convict indents (based on musters conducted on convict ships on arrival) for 1788-1842. The transportation of convicts to the NSW mainland ceased in 1840, but some continued to be sent to Norfolk Island, administered by NSW, after 1840.


NSW Church Registers: 1824-1888

NSW Castlereagh Christ Church CE  – Burials 1832-1875
NSW Castlereagh Christ Church CE  – Marriage banns 1829-1842
NSW Castlereagh Christ Church CE  – Marriages 1833-1856
NSW Liverpool St Luke CE  – Marriages 1832-1856

NSW Parramatta St John CE  – Burials 1832-1839

NSW Parramatta St Patrick RC  – Baptisms 1836-1839
NSW Parramatta St Patrick RC  – Burials 1840-1888
NSW Richmond St Peter CE  – Baptisms 1835-1839
NSW Sydney St James CE  – Baptisms 1842-1856
NSW Sydney St James CE  – Marriage banns 1824-1832
NSW Sydney St Philip CE  – Baptisms 1841-1856
NSW Windsor St Matthew RC  – Burials 1835-1855


Australian Dictionary of Biography 1788-1850: indexed details of 12,700 people from all states

In 1991, the Library of Australian History published Index to the Australian Dictionary of Biography Volumes 1 & 2 (A to Z – 1788-1850) compiled and edited by Malcolm R Sainty and Michael C Flynn. The index was based on the first two volumes of the biographical dictionary first published by Melbourne University Press in 1966 and 1967. The index now added to BDA records every person mentioned in a biography, not just the subject person. BDA’s new index contains other details such as spouses, children, ship of arrival, date and place of birth, marriage, death, occupation and more. The index covers 1,117 subject persons and with all others mentioned it comprises 12,703 entries, covering most of the more prominent individuals & their families & associates in colonial Australia to 1850, also broadening the national scope of BDA. The full text of the original biographies is now available online at:


Court records for 5,000 people, NSW Bench of Magistrates 1788-1820 from State Records NSW

This index to manuscript minutes of NSW lower court proceedings at Sydney and Parramatta for the period 19 February 1788 to 25 November 1820 was created by State Records New South Wales. The index records a full name in most cases, the occupation of many individuals and the ship of arrival of a few. It gives the date of the case and in the Remarks field a brief abstract of the subject of the hearing or charge.


Biographical details for 57th Regiment 1825-1832 & 63rd Regiment 1830-1833:
These British regiments served as colonial garrisons in NSW, TAS, QLD, NT & WA. The datasets contain a biographical summary for each member of the regiment serving in Australia, usually including full name, rank, previous occupation and previous residence (if recorded), enlistment date and place, length of service contracted, birthplace, ship and date of arrival in NSW, (generally added by the editors), dates and places of desertion, illness and discharge, if noted. Military history buffs note: most British soldiers serving in all Australian colonies 1788-1833 are now on BDA.


Norfolk Island Residents 1788-1814: Reg Wright’s biographical database:
This biographical database compiled by Reg Wright, author of the book The Forgotten Generation of Norfolk Island and Van Diemen’s Land (1986), was first published as an appendix in Raymond Nobbs’ book Norfolk Island and its first settlement 1788-1814 (1988). It lists all persons known to have lived on Norfolk Island during the first settlement period 1788-1814 with dates of arrival and departure.


Biographical index to Stamp sellers NSW 1862-1875, many of them local shopkeepers:
The listing, extracted from NSW Parliamentary Papers by Dr Carol Liston, gives the full name of the person in most cases, their address (often a street name and number if in Sydney), in many cases their employment and the year of the licence to sell stamps.


Tasmania, Landholder & stock musters 1803-1804, 1807, 1809: transcripts by Garry Wilson:
These documents extracted from government records list persons holding land and stock in the years 1803, 1804, 1807 and 1809 in the new settlements around Hobart and Port Dalrymple, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). They name the owners and renters of land and itemize their crops and stock (farm animals). The more detailed 1807 and 1809 documents record the numbers of wives and children and the number of servants (employees) of each landholder is itemized in 1807. Starting with just four individuals in 1803, a total of 151 settlers are listed for the Hobart, Port Dalrymple and South Esk Districts by 1809.


Tasmania: Passengers departing the colony 1817: transcript by Garry Wilson:
Harbour regulations required departing ships to supply customs officials with lists of crew and passengers. This dataset is a transcript of the first year of register entries for ships departing Hobart (3 May-31 December 1817). Later years (1818-1833) will be added in the future. The listing gives the name of the person, the departing ship name and date, port of departure, port of destination and status as passenger or crew. It contains 367 entries and with two cross referenced names added totals 369 entries.


Tasmania: Permissions to marry-1829-1831: transcripts by Garry Wilson :
This dataset is an extract of requests for government permission to marry in Van Diemen’s and (Tasmania) during 1829-1831 where one or both of a couple was a convict at the time. The listing give the names of the potential brides and grooms, in most cases their ship of arrival if a convict, their current status if free, the date of the application and source reference


Consult these under the Sources Tab for full details.


Search or subscribe today (still only $30pa) to explore the NEW datasets just added