Land and pastoral station records

If someone in your family was born, passed away or worked on a pastoral property it is a good idea to find out if any records were kept on that station and whether they still exist.

Some station owners or managers kept records such as diaries, wage and ration books, and registers of births, deaths, marriages. The Noel Butlin Archives Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra holds some of these records, mainly for farms and cattle properties in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Pastoral directories

Pastoral directories may be helpful. These were published listings of pastoral properties, their names, owners and locations. The most comprehensive directory was Australian Pastoral Directory, but it did not include properties in Western Australia. There were many other short-lived directories.

Pastoral directories and maps that may help you to identify a property are held at the Noel Butlin Archives Centre. State libraries also hold pastoral directories. See Libraries with family history resources.

Other sources

Other sources of information on pastoral properties include:

  • state archives, if the property was ever owned by the state
  • local archives, historical and family history societies
  • university archives sometimes have records from their local area
  • individuals, families of previous and current owners (contact Noel Butlin Archives Centre for help tracking ownership)
  • you can search Trove (National Library) for the name of a station or property and you may find books, images, oral histories or newspaper articles about the property
  • CoraWeb (genealogical website) has a section on Maps, Place Names and Land Records

Land and title records

State government land and title agencies can also help you to find information about pastoral properties. They have pastoral maps, records of land surveys and detailed records of who has bought and sold properties over time.

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

  • Landgate is the Western Australian government agency responsible for land and property information and has a historical records service.