How do you go about finding Australian death records

+6 votes
My wife had several relatives emigrate to Australia (Victoria) in the 1950s and then largely disappear. The oldest was born in 1897 and the youngest 1923 but we can find no death records online for them at all, and the National Archives of Australia doesn't seem to concern itself with such mundane matters. Is there a way of finding these records short of going half way across the world and digging them up for yourself? Does Australia restrict what can be accessed?
in The Tree House by Derek Allen G2G6 Mach 1 (17.9k points)
retagged by Dorothy Barry
I think that Australian privacy regulations limit the online publication of recent death records.
For after 1987 deaths you'll need to try cemeteries indexes. Two generally good ones for Australia are and, but these will mostly only show graves with headstones. is great for Western Australia, but doesn't cover the other states so well.

If they died in Melbourne, then there about three or four Cemetery Trusts that cover the Metropolitan area. I can't remember them all, but some are

Most larger towns in Victoria will have searchable cemetery records, so if you know roughly where they were living that would help.

Electoral rolls are available up to about 1980, but the only indexes are through commercial sites.

The official death index up to 1987 is available at

Retiring to Queensland was a bit of a thing for Victorians in the 1970s and 1980s, so you could also try, which goes to 1988.

Or they could have moved to any other state...
In NSW there is also the Ryerson index

Lookups for more recent deaths that aren't in Trove can be requested.
Trove is an invaluable resource when you can't find records in births deaths and marriages.

There you will find newspapers (marriage notices and obituaries offer lots of insight along with divorce, probate and bankruptcy notices). There are also Commonwealth employment records and police gazettes.
Some of the newspapers also have obituaries for the last several years searchable online:



5 Answers

+7 votes

for Victoria try

by Living Anonymous G2G6 Mach 3 (33.6k points)
+7 votes
The Ryerson Index could be a good place to start. This is a list of death notices from newspapers in Australia - not dates of death - but just the dates the death was announced in the papers

The SEARCH Button is at the top RIGHT corner of the Home Page.

I found a relative who died as recently as 2002 in this index.
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+7 votes
Registration of births, deaths and marriages in Australia remains the responsibility of the individual States.  And, of course, each State will differ from one another.  Mostly though, indexes are available to view online up to (births) 100 years ago, (marriages) 75 years and (deaths) 30 years ago.  For Victoria, go to
by Kenneth Evans G2G6 Pilot (219k points)
+9 votes
Birth, marriage and death records belong to the states, so they would not be in the national archives - each state has its own archives. Others have already answered for how to look up Victorian deaths online where possible.

I don't know what date range might be covered by for newspaper notices in a major Victorian newspaper.

Someone else mentioned Trove, but did not explain it. is the National Library of Australia's website with a lot of old newspapers. Most of them are online only up to 1954 for a mix of copyright and cost reasons. The text is machine OCRed, but the website encourages crowd-source fixing of errors so the text gradually improves.
by Scott Davis G2G6 Mach 2 (23.6k points)
+5 votes
Wanted to thank everybody for their responses to my question but not certain how to on a G2G. It has certainly allowed me to track down one of the missing people.

Thanks again.

by Derek Allen G2G6 Mach 1 (17.9k points)
Glad we could help, Derek
Hi Derek, sometimes its worth just googling the persons name and known dates, that you are looking for.That way if anyone else has researched the same person and published it online you may find it. I have had some success that way.

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