Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Australia, Content

Electoral rolls

With the Election just one day away, we’ve been delving into our Australian Voter Lists and uncovering some historical facts…

Did you know…

  • In the 1840s only property owners were eligible to vote. Wealthy landowners were allowed up to 4 votes each.
  • By 1858, most men were eligible to vote but  paupers, prisoners, policemen, and military members, however, were not allowed to vote.
  • It was almost half a centurElectoral Rollsy later when Australian women who were British subjects gained the right to vote – ranging from 1895 in South Australia to Victoria in 1908.
  • From 1925, voting in Federal elections became compulsory for those over 21, and from 1973, for those over 18.
  • Non-British subjects were not allowed to vote until the 1940s and Aborigines until 1949.

Electoral Rolls are a wonderful resource for family historians. Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 act as a great “census substitute” and are useful when census records are not available.

Because electoral rolls were published on a fairly consistent basis and are generally country-wide (excluding South Australia), they are useful for tracking individuals over time and place.

Older records can be found in our NSW, Historical Electoral Rolls, 1842-1864.

1 Comment

  1. Sandra McIntosh

    An interesting article regarding voting for Australian aboriginal people appears on AEC (Australian Electoral Commission) site

    Indigenous Australians and the vote.

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