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Research Guides


Commonwealth Government Records about Tasmania


Recipients of government services

Benefit recipients

The Commonwealth made provision for those in need quite early, legislating for invalid and old age pensions in 1908, mothers in 1912, returned servicemen and women in 1920, and families with children in 1927. Of the resultant routine transactional recordkeeping, there is little trace to excite the family historian.

Nevertheless, some records exist, partly of national coverage (including Tasmania) and partly specific to Tasmania. From the former category, there is a pensioners' register (MP29/27) covering pensioners in all states and incorporating a name index, a folio per pensioner, and details such as the reason for payment of the pension, rate, dates of commencement and cessation, and a statement of all payments. Locally generated records include district registers of pension claims created at Bothwell, Ringarooma and Kingborough (P2102) under the auspices of the Registrar of Pensions (Tasmania) (CA 7222, 1909–37), booklets of copies of maternity allowance certificates issued by the Commonwealth Registrar of Births (P1634), and a register of invalid and old age pensions, superannuation fund and Section 84 payments (P2565). Finally, some files exist documenting pensions received by British subjects living in Tasmania.

Selected series relating to Tasmanian benefit recipients
National Archives, Canberra
Treasury pensioners' register, 1859–1901 MP29/27
National Archives, Sydney
District registers of pension claims, 1909–37 P2102
Maternity allowance certificates, 1912–49 P1634
Register of invalid and old-age pensions, superannuation fund and Section 84 payments, 1931–37 P2565
Correspondence and case files, imperial pensions and war gratuities (World War I), 1877–1937 P773
National Archives, Hobart
Imperial pensions cards, 1919–35 P2603
Registers and ledgers of imperial pensions and war gratuity bonds, World War I, 1909–30 P2604

PMG clients

Records of the PMG, Tasmania are a gift that keeps on giving. From them have come rich series of information about its own personnel, but also the recipients of its services. Over the years, these have included information about the telephone, radio licences, private letterboxes, mail bags, code addresses and telephone directory listings. The National Archives has, for example, registers of annual rentals for various services provided by the PMG in Tasmania (P2600) and a register of telephone connections, subscribers' numbers and account details for the Launceston Exchange 1903–12 (P2566). Clients of more recent technology can be tracked via alphabetical index cards to radio licences in Tasmania (P729), radio licensee index cards (P730), and correspondence files concerning applications for radio telephone service links between outlying districts in Tasmania, radio base stations, operating various forms of radio apparatus and privately operated land mobile radio telephone services (P726, P1309).

Selected series relating to the PMG, Tasmania's customers
National Archives, Hobart
Registers of annual rentals for various services provided by the Postmaster- General's Department, Tasmania, 1899–1913 P2600
Register of telephone connections, subscribers' numbers and account details, Launceston Exchange, 1903–12 P2566
National Archives, Sydney
Correspondence files, 1963–93 P276
Name index cards to licensees, 1954–93 P729
Service records index cards, 1955–93 P730
Correspondence files, 1946–9 P1309

Vocational guidance clients

Vocational guidance was introduced into Australia during World War II. By the mid-1950s, it was used for aptitude testing for certain training, career selection by young people, and in difficult employment and rehabilitation cases.

If your person of interest received vocational guidance, it is worth noting that a small number of employment service vocational guidance cards were retained for Tasmanian clients created by the Tasmanian Branch of the Department of Labour and National Service (CA 1581, 1956–72). Details on the cards include the client plus family and physical information. They also show tests, dates of testing, employment history and to whom the client was referred.

Selected series relating to vocational guidance in Tasmania
National Archives, Sydney
Employment service vocational guidance assessment cards, 1960–97 P125

Ex-servicemen and women

Hospital and medical services and direct payments aside, the two main benefits Australia's returned servicemen and women have received over the past century could be summarised as homes and land. Official documentation was inevitably involved and of great value to the questing family historian pushing beyond births, deaths and marriages.

Selected series and items relating to payments to Tasmanian servicemen and women
National Archives, Sydney
War gratuity bond ledger cards, World War I, 1919–24 P647
Application for war gratuities and allotment files, World War I, 1914–63 P1868

Records relating to war service land settlement in Tasmania are limited to post-1945. They are held by the National Archives in Canberra. War Service Land Settlement Division correspondence includes reference to particular soldier-settlers. Correspondence from the central administration of the War Service Homes Commission includes some individual applications referred from the states. Name index cards relating to War Service Homes matters in the Crown Solicitor's property correspondence files are also potentially of interest to those searching for information about a particular person.

Selected series and items relating to war service land for Tasmanian servicemen and women
National Archives, Canberra
Name index cards to War Service Homes matters in correspondence files, [property] series, 1919–38 A498
Rays Estate Tasmania Lease to J Jillett, 1926–32 A1419, A1931/5787
Grove Estate number 3 Tasmania purchase file, 1919–31 A1419, A1931/5188
Correspondence files, single number series with L [loans] prefix, 1945–84 A2664
War Service Land Settlement – Tasmania – rental valuations – Flinders Island, 1969–74 A2665, S3797 PART 2
War Service Land Settlement – King Island – report of Committee of Enquiry on Farm Finances, 1964–65 A2665, S3798 PART 1
War Service Land Settlement – Tasmania – proposal – land settlement – (Orchard – Kettering) – RJ and KB Im, and GJ Calvert, 1958–74 A2665, S3662
War Service Land Settlement – Tasmania – land settlement – Montague Swamp, 1950–57 A2665, 2467 PART 1
War Service Land Settlement – Tasmania – proposal – land settlement – Montague Swamp – Togari, 1971–79 A2665, S2467 PART 6
Correspondence files, P [property] series, 1904–28 A3280

Again, there is limited documentation for World War I service homes matters, restricted to application files with related name index cards and register. Equally limited – but invaluable for some family historians – are nine property files from the Department of Home and Territories, and subsequent agencies, related to the acquisition of property as war service homes in Tasmania between 1919 and 1952 on behalf of the War Service Homes Commission, Tasmania. In some instances they also refer to the disposal of property no longer required.

For World War II ex-servicemen, there are files for applicants building their own homes under the War Service Homes building scheme which contain papers such as the undertaking of the applicant to construct the building, surveys, tenders, cost estimates, reports, correspondence, contracts, plans and specifications contracts. Other building files and registers from the 1960s consist of the Department of Construction sub-files, which contain specifications, correspondence and accounts. There are also loan account cards, which provide personal and financial details, and estate files, arranged alphabetically by location.

Selected series relating to war service homes for Tasmanian servicemen and women
National Archives, Hobart
War/Defence Service Homes application files, 1919–87 P149
War/Defence Service Homes application files, 1941–87 P150
Property files, War Services Homes, 1919–52 P1326
National Archives, Sydney
Numerical J Register for War/Defence Service Homes application files, 1919–83 P149
Name index cards ('old war cards') for War/Defence Service Homes application files, 1919–46 P153
Numerical registers for War/Defence Service Homes application files, 1941–75 P155
Building files for War Service Homes applicants, single number series with J2 prefix (first series), 1941–63 P154
Building files, single number series with B prefix for War/Defence Service Homes applications, 1963–89 P162
Loan account cards, audit sheets and posting media, 1941–73 P163
Loan account cards, audit sheets and posting media, 1941–1973 P2330

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Chapter 7
Finding Tasmanians