Recent transfers 2022

State Records continues to receive transfers of records from government agencies.

Find out about some of the most interesting transfers in 2022.

Lands and Survey Records

Most of our transfers for the 2021/2022 financial year came from Planning and Land Use Services (PLUS) as they cleared their Grenfell Street premises. The Office of the Surveyor-General (part of PLUS) had a significant number of 19th century records still onsite and these have now been transferred to State Records. There are too many to mention here, but they mostly include field books (different kinds of books for different kinds of measurements/surveying/field work) and indexes.

One series of note are the Crown survey field books (GRS 17911).

Crown survey field books are amongst the oldest records in the State Records’ archive now and potentially the oldest extant government records created in South Australia. The earliest is from September 1836, kept by Boyle Travers Finniss (then Assistant Surveyor) while he was aboard the ‘Cygnet’ off the coast of Kangaroo Island. This book pre-dates the Proclamation of South Australia as a British Province by over three months and is a very rare example of an 1830s surveying record (there are no records by the two more senior surveyors, Light and Kingston, in the archive, for example).

Field books were issued to government surveyors for note-taking and their format has barely changed since the 1830s. These pocket-sized books contain sketches and notes of land all over the state.

School admission registers

Admission registers record the names and details of all students enrolled at a school. They are amongst our most popular records, especially for family history, as they give not only the child’s name and date of birth but also their parent’s name and address.

Admission registers began to be used widely in public schools by the late 1870s following the ‘Education Act 1875’. This continued until the mid-1990s when enrolment details began to be kept electronically.

In 2022, we received admission registers from the following schools:

Access note: Admission registers are open to general public access thirty years after the enrolment date. Individuals seeking their own records can have access before this.

Cemetery records

In 2022 we received historical records from the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority. These include interment (burial) registers, financial records, and early administrative records including letter books. Some of these are still being processed by our Archivists.

Acting Superintendent of Cemeteries, Josiah Paull’s ‘day book’ (similar to a diary) includes details of exhumations and cremations from 1902 to 1916 (GRS 18364). The West Terrace Crematorium was the first in Australia, with the first cremation taking place in May 1903, and was the only crematorium in Australia until 1925 (when Rookwood Crematorium in Sydney was built).

Record of funerals and letter book - Public Cemetery, Adelaide (GRS 18367)

This book dates from 1855 to 1861 and largely records funerals held at West Terrace (then known as the Public Cemetery). The book also includes copies of letters written by the Cemetery’s Superintendent C.J. Carleton.

Information about funerals varies but can include the person’s name, address and age, and the time of the funeral. The letters are largely to the Colonial Secretary or other government officials relating to cemetery matters.

Charles James Carleton was Superintendent from November 1855 until his death in July 1861. His wife, Caroline Carleton, probably took responsibility for his work at the Cemetery as his health deteriorated. This might explain discrepancies in handwriting throughout the book.

There are – strangely – a number of letters in different handwriting and with a different signature for ‘C.J. Carleton’ relating to cattle branding. Perhaps Charles was the author of the cattle branding letters and Caroline the author of the official Cemetery letters, or vice versa? Both used the name ‘C.J. Carleton’ – Caroline likely as ‘Mrs. Charles James Carleton’ (she did not have a middle name herself).

Caroline Carleton is probably best known as a poet. She wrote ‘The Song of Australia’ for a contest run by the Gawler Institute, and this was set to music by Carl Linger in 1859. It was a contender for the national anthem to replace ‘God Save the Queen’ in 1977 and won the plebiscite vote in South Australia. We hold Linger’s original manuscript of the tune in series GRG58/62/2.