Local Government Archives

The State Records Office holds historical sets of records transferred from metropolitan and regional Local Government authorities throughout the State.

Through records collected from the various Local Government authorities throughout the State, it is possible to trace the growth and development of local municipalities over the years.

Local Government Authority Records

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The key sets of Local Government records transferred to the State Records Office comprise:

Minute Books

These records provide detailed accounts of the inner workings of Local Government councils and document the development of communities. As well as Council minutes, many municipalities also kept Sub-Committee minutes for activities such as Town Planning, Nomenclature, Works, Health, Buildings, and Finance. The following are selected examples of Local Government minute books:

Rate Books

These are a useful information source for those wishing to trace the history of a specific property - particularly for suburban areas. Rate books provide details such as the name of the owner of a property, amount paid in rates, address of owner and the address of the property. Early rate books listed the occupiers of a place of residence as well as the owners. Through searching rate books, an indication of when a particular property changed hands can be established. Municipal rate book series can sometimes include Local Board of Health Rate Books.

Rate books are available for many municipalities throughout the State. The most significant collection of rate books is the City of Perth Rate Book collection available on microfiche on the 3rd floor of the State Library / State Archives. Entries in these rate books are by Ward and give: Surname, Given Name, Occupation, Owner, Improvements, Street, Lot No(s) and Rates.

Correspondence Files

General files may deal with a variety of subjects including rates, water supply, building inspections, health inspections, subdivisions, private hospitals, naturalisations, immunisations, roads, local libraries, elections, cemeteries, legal issues and other such matters of concern to Local Governments.

House Plans

The only significant Local Government collection of house plans held by the State Records Office is that of the Perth Roads Board (Series 4519). These plans cover most of the residential dwellings constructed between 1917 and 1947 which now forms part of the City of Stirling and Town of Vincent. Microfilm copies of these plans can be accessed on the 3rd floor of the State Library / State Archives. An index to the plans is available to identify specific plan numbers. The street name and lot number of the property are required to able to search this index. Please note that house plans for the City of Stirling between the period 1947 and the early 1970's unfortunately no longer exist. The City of Stirling does hold property plans, however, for the period after the early 1970's.

Other Local Government Records

A wide variety of other Local Government records are also available such as report books, correspondence registers and indexes, registers of deeds, licensing registers, electoral rolls, burial registers, cash books and building permits. The following are selected examples of some of the other Local Government records available:

Departmental Records

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In addition to the records of individual Local Government authorities, the State Records Office also holds files from the Department of Local Government, the agency that was responsible for overseeing the functioning of municipal councils and providing guidance for Local Government operations.

Listings of records for the Department of Local Government can be found in our catalogue.

General Files, Series 1

General files cover a broad range of administrative and policy records, including files on Acts, by-laws, cemeteries, honours lists, quarries, roads, traffic, superannuation, elections, financial records, district boundaries, and other issues relating to the functioning of all municipal councils. 

Municipality Records, Series 2

These files relate to specific municipalities and deal with a range of matters such as district boundaries, administration matters, wards and memberships, by-laws, finance and water supply.

Page reviewed 25 November 2021