old parliament house logo
A.C.T Electoral Rolls 1916 — 1967
Last name
First name
Present-day Locality

1916 1917 1928
1935 1943 1949
1955 1959 1967

Select All / None
help iconDatabase Search tips  Show/Hide
Regular Expression tips   Show/Hide
Scenario Description Examples Address field Present-day Locality field
Suburb still exists Canberra's most stable suburbs, same name in same location Ainslie, Forrest, Reid, Red Hill, Acton Building name / Street name / House number/ Block and section Suburb name
Suburb or settlement changed name or no longer exists Surburb undergone name change or settlement dismantled Eastlake, Westlake, Westridge, Fyshwick, Pialligo Building name / House number / Former suburb or settlement name Presentday location usually suburb
Rural homestead still exists The ACT's rural legacy. Still working property, changed purpose or threatened 'Gold Creek', 'Wells Station', 'Rose Cottage' Location if any listed in electoral roll Presentday location, suburb or nearest gazetted road
Homestead or business no longer exists Homestead demolished in face of urban development. Homesteads 'Fernhill', 'Springvale', 'Charnwood', 'Narrabundah', 'Woden' Location if any listed in electoral roll Presentday location, suburb or nearest gazetted road.

Recommmended search strategies.To retrieve all of the entries for a former settlement, say the Russell Hill Settlement, type the phrase into the Address field. In a small number of cases, the exact location of a particular rural property or business could not be established so the general locality 'ACT' was used instead. Where rural homesteads such as 'Springbank' have been subsumed into Lake Burley Griffin, use the last suburb in which they appeared. 'Springbank' is listed under Acton. We have added the prefix ?via? to a number of 1916 entries to indicate likely references to personal mail collections from the Queanbeyan or Ainslie Post Offices.
Operator Matches Suggested uses Example Results
^ Beginning of the search string To exactly match the leftmost characters in your search string ^smith 'smith', 'smithers' & 'smith-roberts'
Doesn't match 'arrowsmith'
$ End of your search string To exactly match the rightmost characters in your search string smith$ 'smith' ,'arrowsmith' & 'berry-smith'
Doesn't match 'smithers'
^ and $ Beginning and end of the search string Exact match of the search term ^smith$ 'smith' only
. (dot) Any character but not a space. A wildcard sm.th
'smith' & 'smyth'
'donnolly' & 'donnelly'
(exp)? Zero or more instances of the preceding character Find all McDonalds whether spelt 'Mc' or 'Mac' ^ma?cdonald 'McDonald' & 'MacDonald'
(exp)+ One or more instances of the preceding character Find a letter repetition sim+s 'Sims' & 'Simms'

Search the database by entering as few as 3 characters into any of the freetext fields (ie First name, Last name, Occupation or Address). If you wish to narrow your search to a particular suburb or location, select a locality from the dropdown list. Refer to the Search Tips above for further instructions or click here.

Advanced Search

A feature called Regular Expressions (regex) can be a time-saver. A regex is a search term that contains special syntax including wildcards. In fact think of regular expressions as wildcards on steroids that can enable you, for example, to search for all surnames that begin 'Mc' or 'Mac'. The Regex implementation included with this database is non-case sensitive, consequently a search will return identical results regardlessly of whether you enter your search term as smith, Smith, SMITH or SmItH. Refer to the Regular Expression Tips for further instructions or click here.

Technical stuff

Viewing this site relies on the technologies Javascript, CSS 2 and AJAX. The following browsers/versions are a minimum requirement and only on the priviso that Javascript is enabled.

IE version 5 or later
Firefox version 1.0 or later.
Safari version 1.0 or later.
Netscape version 4 or later.
Opera version 6 or later.

Collectively, the Electoral rolls for the years 1916, 1917, 1928, 1935, 1943, 1949, 1955, 1959 and 1967 constitute a unique window on the first 50 years of the Federal Capital Territory (now the A.C.T). The electoral records reflect a wide range of variables that made the ACT such a melting pot during its formative years.

These regular snapshots capture the details of Canberra's suburbs and households as well as the individuals that built the National Capital. For much of this period, half the territory’s population resided in the city’s rural hinterland or numerous camps dotted in and around the bush capital. The rolls list public (civil) servants alongside labourers, tradesmen, businessmen, farmers, tenant farmers and village folk.

So what of the elections themselves?

During the national capital’s early decades, a number of issues were put to the vote in the territory — the abolition of alcohol prohibition and military conscription for WW1 being but two. Ironically, the residents of Canberra, the heart of Australian democracy, had to wait until 1948 before they attained full voting rights.


This database contains 122,694 electoral records. While reasonable efforts have been taken to ensure the accuracy of the transcriptions, there is a small percentage of errors. Researchers are encouraged to check the microfiche records held by the National Library of Australia.

Home | Contact | Links | Print version