Discovering Links: 15 FREE Links for Australian Genealogy and History

Here’s another of my “Discovering Links” post. These posts consist of a collection of links that I have discovered, or found useful, and want to share with others. But rather than simply giving you a whole batch of random links each time, I am grouping them by Australian state, country or topic. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here.

For this one I’ve decided to share my Australian (meaning Australia-wide) links. It is not intended to be an exhaustive collection (not by a long shot), but they are simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you may not have known about.

And while many people think that genealogy costs a lot of money, let me tell you that all of the links below are free. Personally I find that it’s often a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that.


Containing almost 30,000 monuments so far, the Monument Australia website is a site which records the “public monuments and memorials in all Australian States and Territories under various themes”.  Divided into conflict, culture, disaster, government, landscape, people and technology, you can search this site, and find transcriptions and photographs of most of the monuments listed. The work of volunteers, they are to be commended for their efforts.

The Aus BDM Exhange site is a “free resource for genealogists to share information from Australian and New Zealand vital records”. If you have BDM records you can enter their details in so others can find them. And you can search to see if anyone has already entered details for those you are researching. Their stats show that currently the have about 38,000 Australian records, and 8000 New Zealand one.

The AMPI database provides biographical information on over 4500 doctors who lived in Australia or visited Australian shores in a medical capacity in colonial days (up to the year 1875). General practitioners and specialists are included, along with doctors in the army, the navy, and the colonial (civil) service. There are also records for doctors working in other (non-medical) occupations such as farming.

Created by the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Welcome Wall is one that is dedicated to “all those who have migrated from around the world to live in Australia.” If you, other family members, or even your ancestors further back were the first immigrant to Australia, you can add those details in short biographies and stories to the Welcome Wall. While the ANMM has an actual physical wall with thousands and thousands of names on it, they also have a ‘virtual’ one as well. At present the online one is currently being updated, so it cannot be searched, so be sure to check back later, as I’m sure that function will be back in due course.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography is Australia’s dictionary of biographies, and it contains the biographies of over 12,000 significant and representative persons in Australian history. Th men and women come from all walks of life — from prime ministers, governors-general and premiers, generals and bishops, artists, actors and authors, engineers and schoolteachers, to prostitutes, thieves and murderers — providing a cross-section of Australian society. Originally produced as an 18 volume book set, this important work is now all available online and free.

I can’t have a listing of free Australian genealogy-related websites without listing the Ryerson Index. This is a free index to death notices appearing in Australian newspapers. The date range covered extends from the Sydney Gazette of 1803 up to newspapers published within the last week or so. The Index also includes many funeral notices, and some probate notices and obituaries. Updated monthly this website currently has over 5.7 million entries listed, so be sure to check it out!

Obituaries Australia is a “digital repository of obituaries about Australians, and those who have made an impact on Australian history.” Reproducing obits from the earliest times right through to the present, you can help out by submitting details of obits of your Australian ancestors as long as it fits their criteria (ie. its been published in a newspaper, journal, magazine or bulletin).

I’m sure you’ve all come across places in your search that you’ve never heard of, and wonder where on earth they are. That’s where a good gazetteer comes in. Geoscience Australia has created a website to search for Australian places. Currently the single search option is currently unavailable, but they have provided links to each state so you will just have to search them individually at present. Details can include town, parish, county, mountain, river and more.

This site is nothing to do with Australia Post, or even the Australian military, rather it is a website to place death and funeral notices online for free, not to mention tributes for loved ones who’ve passed too. A recent site, the earliest date i found was 2009 – so it’s not old in the historical sense, but still useful if you’re looking for someone who died relatively recently.

If you have anyone remotely connected with football, or who is a total footy nut – this is one for them as it is totally choc-a-block with history of players, clubs, coaches, teams, stats, on this day in football history, photos, the leagues (state ones and Australia wide) and so much more!!

Created by ‘The Australian’ (newspaper), this is an interactive website which gets you to enter your birthdate (or any other date), and puts it in a timelime with numerous historical events that happened before and after. It does make for interesting viewing seeing it in that context.

“Masters, crew, a stowaway or two; passengers, cabin, saloon and steerage; births at sea, deaths at sea; deserters; vessels with one crew and one passenger and those with 70 crew and hundreds of passengers; simple single sail boats, barques, brigs, large steam ships; whaling voyages, regular coastal passenger trips, voyages from other Australian ports, London, San Francisco, China and other exotic ports – you will find them all here. ” The information on this site has been transcribed from records held at the State Records Authority of NSW, and records are updated weekly.

This website contains and alphabetical index of women who either became nuns in Australia, or who arrived in Australia as nuns. The index consists of approximately 14,000 entries and is the result of contributions from more than fifty Religious Orders or Congregations.

This is a new site, but certainly one to keep an eye on if you have German heritage. “Whether you are tracing your own family for the love of it, studying at school or university, undertaking academic research, or are just interested in German-Australian heritage and history, we hope to bring the combined knowledge and resources of our field together.”This is a collaborative effort between German and Australian archives, genealogy societies, and historical groups. i look forward to seeing more of this as it’s developed.

Women Australia is as you would expect a website all about the women of Australia. And initiative of the National Centre of Biography at the Australian National University, it contains biographical information on women that is published on the NCB’s websites: Australian Dictionary of Biography; Obituaries Australia; Labour Australia as well as biographical register entries. Compiled together on the one website, it makes it quicker and easier to search.

Happy researching 🙂


4 Responses to “Discovering Links: 15 FREE Links for Australian Genealogy and History”

  1. Mary-Anne Yeo says:

    Thanks very much for going to the trouble of putting this information together for your fellow genealogy researchers ! .. I have now made my list and will be using it on a very regular basis – you’re right, I hadn’t heard of some of the sites .. many thanks

  2. Anne Bonner says:

    Your Ryerson Index link takes you to a website selling android phones. Anne

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