Source Information New South Wales, Australia, Land Grants, 1788-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data:
  • New South Wales Government. New South Wales, Various Land Records. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.
  • ©The Crown in right of the State of New South Wales and is used under licence with the permission of the State Records Authority. The State of New South Wales gives no warranty regarding the data's accuracy, completeness, currency or suitability for any particular purpose.

    About New South Wales, Australia, Land Grants, 1788-1963

    This collection includes a variety of land grants for New South Wales, Australia. The format of these records varies, as does the degree of information recorded. Details can include the date and location of the grant, description, name of the grantee, amount paid, and names of witnesses.

    Historical Background

    Governor Phillip, in his Instructions dated 25 April 1787, was empowered to grant land to emancipists. Each male was entitled to 30 acres, an additional 20 acres if married, and 10 acres for each child with him in the settlement at the time of the grant. To encourage free settlers to the colony, Phillip received additional Instructions dated 20 August 1789 entitling non-commissioned Marine officers to 100 acres and privates to 50 acres, over and above the quantity allowed to convicts. Other settlers coming to the colony were also to be given grants.

    Land grants issued during the Rum Rebellion, 1808–09, were cancelled by Governor Macquarie, but those which had been granted to "very deserving and Meritorious Persons" he later renewed.

    In 1825 the sale of land by private tender began. There were still to be grants without purchase, but they were not to exceed 2,560 acres or be less than 320 acres unless in the immediate vicinity of a town or village. Instructions required the governor to arrange for a new survey of the colony and the division of the settled districts into counties, hundreds, and parishes. The unoccupied lands were then to be valued and eventually sold by tender, if not otherwise reserved, at not less than the average value for that parish. This scheme was slow in being implemented.

    In a despatch dated 9 January 1831, Viscount Goderich instructed that no more free grants (except those already promised) be given. All land was thenceforth to be sold at public auction. Likewise the practice of granting land as “marriage portions” to the children of colonists was discontinued. The new regulations were notified in a Government Notice of 1 July 1831 and published in a Government Order dated 1 August 1831.

    Historical description courtesy of State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia. For more details on the records included, see their website.