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Australia, Project Guidelines - Australian BDM Location Fields

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  • The Australia project is yet to discuss recommendations for pre-1901 location names, due to the noted situation with the FamilySearch drop down selections. This page will be updated as required if there are further developments.

Pre-Federation (Pre-1901)

Historical Information

  • The following names and time frames are considered acceptable for the purpose of determining usage with BDM location fields.
  • Colony of New South Wales (1788-1900)
  • Van Diemen's Land (1825-1856)
  • Swan River Colony (1829-1832)
  • Colony of Western Australia (1832-1900)
  • Province of South Australia (1834-1900)
  • Colony of South Australia (1834-1900)
  • Colony of Victoria (1851-1900)
  • Colony of Tasmania (1856-1900)
  • Colony of Queensland (1859-1900)
  • Dates between 1788 and the formation of the colonies (except New South Wales), would be considered part of the Colony of New South Wales.
  • For more information on pre 1901 locations, please see this page.

Acceptable Formats

The following acceptable formats, reflect the differering preferences of members, all of which are currently considered valid. Usage of any of the "Acceptable" location formats will not generate any data suggestions. They should not be changed on member-managed profiles, without consultation with the profile manager.

  • Colony of New South Wales
  • Colony of New South Wales, Australia
  • New South Wales
  • New South Wales, Australia
  • Colony of Queensland
  • Colony of Queensland, Australia
  • Queensland
  • Queensland, Australia
  • Colony of Victoria
  • Colony of Victoria, Australia
  • Victoria
  • Victoria, Australia
  • Province of South Australia
  • Colony of South Australia
  • Colony of South Australia, Australia
  • South Australia
  • South Australia, Australia
  • Swan River Colony
  • Colony of Western Australia
  • Colony of Western Australia, Australia
  • Western Australia
  • Western Australia, Australia
  • Van Diemen's Land
  • Colony of Tasmania
  • Colony of Tasmania, Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Tasmania, Australia

1901 (Federation) Onwards

Recommended Formats

  • New South Wales, Australia
  • Queensland, Australia
  • Victoria, Australia
  • South Australia, Australia
  • Western Australia, Australia
  • Tasmania, Australia
  • Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  • Northern Territory, Australia


These formats will cause data suggestions (only reported for orphan profiles) and can be corrected on all profiles.

  • All Abbreviations: eg. NSW, N S W, VIC, Vic, QLD, Qld, Tas, SA, Sth Australia, S Australia, WA, West Australia, ACT, NT, Aus, Aust
  • No commas: eg. Bendigo Victoria Australia
  • Location fields should not contain street names, street numbers, cemeteries, churches, hospitals, etc. These details should be in the biography. Help: Location Fields
  • Error Reports for BDM Location Fields

Location Fields Drop Down Suggestions

The drop down suggestions at the data entry points for the location fields, are generated from the FamilySearch database. Currently, for Australian place names, the only available format is "Town, State, Australia". A member wishing to use the Colony of...... pre-federation formats, must enter them manually. While that remains the only option available for general use on WikiTree, it is impractical to have data suggestions OR pre-1901 recommendations, that exclude any currently acceptable formats.


Comments: 11

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Colony of xxxx (Australia) creates an error not sure about Colony of xxxx, Australia
posted by Amanda Myers
That's because Colony of xxxx (Australia) is incorrect. There should always be a comma between the colony name and the word Australia as given in the examples, above, and there should never be (parentheses).

As noted in the preface to "acceptable formats", using those listed will not generate suggestions/errors. Anything else is likely to.

posted by Melanie Paul
I am aware of that Mel I mentioned it so it could be added to the list of exclusions
posted by Amanda Myers
Perhaps Familysearch should be educated as to the realities of Australian history and a request for the designation of Commonwealth of Australia, post 1901 be respectfully sent to them. All other English speaking countries are given the dignity of recognizing their evolution towards unification into nationhood in their dropdown location markers. Australia deserves the same. I suggest that the Australian Project lobby for such appropriate locational markers and yes Sir Henry Parkes is a 4G Uncle of mine.
posted by Alison Parkes
I don't know anyone who would describe their current address as "Commonwealth of Australia". We don't watch cricket matches between teams of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Republic of South Africa - they are between Australia and South Africa.

I can't find any evidence that my ancestors would have said they lived in the Colony (or Province) of South Australia, Colony of New South Wales or Colony of Van Diemen's Land either. I have a newspaper reference farewelling someone to the colony (lower-case 'c') of New South Wales, but thirty years later, "state" (not "State") would fit in that sentence.

Collectively, they were "the Australian colonies" well before any thought of federation in the same way we refer collectively to the Channel Islands today.

posted by Scott Davis
Hi Alison - the entry in the FamilySearch places database for the country Australia can be viewed at

If you expand the section "alternate names", then scroll down and see "Commonwealth of Australia" which is type "Full Name" for language "English (en)".

If anything is incorrect, then there is also a link to "Improve This Place

posted by Troy Phillips
My comment relates to Pre 1901 when Federation formed the previous Colonies into States of the Commonwealth of Australia. You state as above "The following acceptable formats, reflect the differing preferences of members, all of which are currently considered valid" I do not understand how you can change Historical Data to suit the differing preferences of members, when what you have listed under Acceptable Formats are 75% incorrect Pre 1901 our current States were only Colonies. I believe you need to change the information to correctly display the historical data that was in use at that time
Hi William, thank you for your comment. For the purposes of the location data fields, the Australia Project currently accepts those formats as being acceptable. They are also compatible with the Family Search locations available in the drop down menu, which are not controlled by WikiTree.

Members of the Australia Project and non-Project members are free to use any of the acceptable formats, without generating any data errors. Nor do we advise changing the location formats on profiles other than a member's own managed profiles or orphan profiles, without consulting with the profile manager.

Mention of the location being a part of "Colony of xxxx" can be made in the biography.

Kind regards, Margaret Haining, Project Coordinator, Australia Project.

Hi William,

I am not from Wikitree management, but someone using Wikitree to pass on information that has been held in paper form by many elderly relatives. The profiles must be engaging and if I make them too difficult for the average enquirer to engage then I have failed. My profiles are not my doctoral thesis. I do not expect the enquirer to have any knowledge of Australian history. If they choose to read history as a result of my profiles, great.

posted by Graeme Rose
Hi Margaret et al

I see separating the pre-1901 categories into "recommended" and "acceptable" as being prescriptive, which I don't support.

I would support a single heading of "acceptable" which includes all of the listed entries.

Regards Mark

posted by Mark Dorney
Mark, I've just noticed belatedly, no-one answered your comment. As you probably subsequently saw, the pre-1901 locations are now all "acceptable" to allow for all members' particular preference.

Cheers, Margaret