Family history resources

Resources to research your family history

Looking to trace your family tree? Looking to find out more about your ancestors? Randwick City Library offers a variety resources to assist you to research your family history and heritage including:

In-library resources

Lionel Bowen Library has a dedicated collection of resources to assist you to undertake your family history research. The collection includes books, serials, the NSW State Archives Genealogy Kit, newspapers, telephone directories, maps, photographs and microfilmed resources.

Additionally, we have a collection of CD-ROMs, gazettes and cemetery records, detailed below:


New South Wales

  • NSW Pioneer Index 1788-1888
  • NSW Between the Wars Index 1919-1945
  • The First Title Holders of Land in the Counties of Cumberland and Northumberland
  • NSW Telephone Exchanges List of Subscribers 1913
  • NSW Public Service List (Teachers) 1925
  • NSW Public Service List 1934
  • Unassisted Arrivals (NSW) Index 1842-1856
  • Bounty Immigrations NSW 1828-1842
  • Palmdale Lawn Cemetery and Memorial Park transcriptions
  • A History of The Coast and The Prince Henry Hospital
  • Malabar Headland - Beach To Summit
  • Immigration Deposit Indexes NSW
  • New South Wales Government Gazette 1832-1863


  • Pioneer IndexVictoria 1836-1888
  • Federation IndexVictoria 1889-1901
  • Edwardian IndexVictoria 1902-1913
  • Death IndexVictoria 1921-1985

South Australia

  • South Australian Births Registrations 1842-1906
  • South Australian Marriages Registrations 1842-1916
  • South Australian Deaths Registrations 1842-1915
  • South Australian Marriages Registrations 1917-1937

Western Australia

  • WA Pioneers Index 1841-1905


  • Queensland Pioneers Index 1829-1889


  • Tasmanian Pioneer Index 1803-1899


  • Commonwealth Public Service List 1920
  • Early Australian Electoral Rolls - Vol. 1.
  • British, Australians and New Zealanders in the 1910 Census
  • Australasian Genealogical Computer Index
  • Cemetery Transcriptions. Monumental Inscriptions from 258 Cemeteries
  • Voices from a War (Oral Histories from WWII)


  • Census Records: United Kingdom 1851
  • New Zealand Directory 1866-67
  • The Army Index 1787
  • The William Smith O'Brien Exhibition 1848
  • Alumni Dublinenses 1924


  • Police Gazette - NSW 19th Century Set 1862-1900
  • NSW Government Gazette 1875
  • NSW Educational Gazette Jun 1893-May 1895
  • NSW Government Gazette 2001 to the present

Cemetery records 

Randwick General Cemetery

  • Adams, Warwick: Randwick General Cemetery: burials from 10 September 1874 to 22 November 1983
  • Adams, Warwick: Randwick General Cemetery: transcripts of monumental inscriptions
  • Cripps, Ian Thomas: A guide to the historical significance of Randwick General Cemetery
  • Randwick Cemetery registers on microfiche 1874-1983
  • History of Randwick Cemetery

St Jude's Cemetery

  • Randwick and District Historical Society, St Jude's Cemetery Randwick
  • Waugh, Joseph: The living among the dead: tales from St Jude's Cemetery
  • Coast Hospital Cemetery
  • Cape Banks Family History Society: Monumental transcription of headstones at the Prince Henry (Coast) Hospital Cemetery, Little Bay
  • Waugh, Joseph: Deaths at the Coast Hospital and Burials at Little Bay: 1881 - 1952

Botany Cemetery

  • Cape Banks Family History Society, Botany Cemetery: transcripts of Catholic inscriptions
  • Cape Banks Family History Society, Botany Cemetery: transcripts of Congregational, Presbyterian, children, Jewish transcriptions
  • Cape Banks Family History Society, Botany Cemetery: transcripts of Church of England section
  • Cape Banks Family History Society: Pioneer Memorial Park at Botany Cemetery
  • Zelinka, Sue: Tender Sympathies: a social history of Botany Cemetery and the Eastern Suburbs Crematorium

The Sands Directory

The Sands Directory was published between 1859 and 1932/33 and it lists the occupants of buildings both in alphabetical order and by local government area. The purpose of the directory was to enable businesses to locate potential customers and was also an aid for post offices.

The Lionel Bowen Library has a complete set of the Sands Directory on microfiche, located in the Lionel Bowen Library Local Studies Room. Each issue of the directory lists:

  • Householders
  • Businesses
  • Public institutions
  • Officials of the entire Sydney area.

Structure of the Sands Directory

The two major components of the directory are the alphabetical and the suburban sections. The alphabetical section consists of a single alphabetical sequence of the names of:

  • Householders
  • Business houses
  • Major organisations, with the address of the associated premises attached.

The suburban section provides similar information arranged variously under suburb, locality or Local Government Area as the directory developed.

  • Up until 1880, this section consisted of a single alphabetical sequence of names for each given area
  • In 1880 entries in the suburban section were arranged by street name
  • Under each street name, occupants are listed according to the location of the premises occupied.

Information provided by the Sands Directory

The street-by-street listing of householders in Sands is useful for undertaking research on the history of properties. The type of information usually included is:

  • Householder's name and title
  • Street number and house name, where established
  • Householder's occupation or type of business.

The entries will look something like this:

Main Street - East side
2 Smith, J., Draper "Emoh"
4 Jones, John, "Chez Jones"
6 Black, H.

House numbers did not regularly occur in the Randwick Municipality until the early 1920s. Prior to this house names were commonly used.

By working backwards from the most recently available issue of the directory (1932), and noting down the details of an individual property for each year that it is listed in the directory, you can build a chronological profile of the occupants of a property, and possibly determine its uses.

The first year in which a property appears in the directory may be considered an indication of when a piece of land was first developed. Caution should be exercised: sometimes what appears to be the first listing for a property may in fact be the first listing after a period, sometimes lengthy, of omission from the directory. This can occur if the property was vacant for some years.

How to use the Sands Directory

Before using the Sands Directory, it is important to understand:

  • The microfiche copy of the Sands Directory is arranged by year
  • The page parameters appear on the band at the head of each sheet of fiche
  • A thorough index appears on the first fiche for each year.

Determine the address of the property you are looking for as far as possible. The more information you have before you start, the easier it will be to search through Sands. Examples of useful details:

  • Street name
  • Street number or house name if known
  • The physical location of the property in a street. For example, north or south side of the street and the intersections between which it is located
  • The municipality in which the property was located during the relevant period (keeping in mind the shifts in Local Government Boundaries and the fact that boundaries may bisect streets)
  • The names of any previous owners or occupants of the property
  • Find the relevant municipality in the suburban section.
  • See index on first fiche for each year
  • Find the relevant street from those listed for the municipality in alphabetical order
  • Compare house numbering or location within that street. Intersecting streets are in italics.

Problems which may occur

It is important to bear in mind:

  • That the information in the directory relates to the previous year – for example, the 1906 directory is current for 1905.
  • There are many errors that have been compounded over the years. These include spelling mistakes and descriptions of streets. To use the directories you need to know the nearest cross street and the house name.
  • Street numbering was often absent in the earliest years of the directory
  • Street numbering may change
  • Street names may change. For example, prior to 1917 Anzac Parade was known as Randwick Road, Eastern Avenue, Bunnerong Road, Broad Road and Tramway Crescent
  • The listings generally only include head householders, not necessarily owners or boarders
  • Street names or house names may not always be present
  • House names could change regularly
  • The listing may not show a change of use of a property, or a redevelopment
  • Because the Directory was concerned with occupied premises, the existence of unimproved property frequently was unrecorded
  • Re-subdivisions of property are often difficult to identify using the Sands Directory
  • In some instances, Sands' agents may not have been able to collect information about a building. For example, a residence may have been vacant for some years
  • Sands ceased publication in 1932.

The Sands Directory is not a legal document. The information was collected by Sands' agents who called door to door, and is therefore open to error. The Local Studies Room, at the Lionel Bowen Library, holds a microfiche copy of all available issues. Sands is also searchable in the library on the Ancestry Library Edition database and the Internet History Resources database.

Online resources

Randwick City Library also has a variety of online resources to assist your research into your family history. Family historians are invited to submit further suggestions for purchase to the Local Studies librarian. For detailed enquiries please contact us to make an appointment with our Local Studies Librarian.


Find UK and US census, court, birth, marriage and death records, newspaper articles, photos and historical maps. Includes Australian Electoral Rolls 1901-1936.

How to access: Ancestry Library Edition can only be accessed from computers within the Library, at any of our three libraries.

Find My Past

Search billions of records from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland.

How to access: Find My Past can only be accessed from computers within the Library, at any of our three libraries.

Internet History Resource

View images of historical documents which contain information, which can help you trace people who lived and worked in New South Wales during the period 1850 - 1920.

How to access: Internet History Resources can only be accessed from computers within the Library, at any of our three libraries.

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