Police gazettes

Download the PDF version of Police gazettes: family history info guide  (PDF 41.6 KB)

What type of information can I find in police gazettes?

The police gazettes contain a wealth of information for family historians. The information found in the police gazettes varies from state to state but may include:

  • convicts and criminals who have absconded from prison or their masters
  • reports on criminal activities such as murder, arson, robbery, assault etc.
  • criminals discharged from prison
  • persons wanted by the police for criminal activities
  • inquests
  • seamen and soldiers who have deserted
  • appointments, promotions and resignations in the police force
  • reports on missing friends and relatives.

Examples from 1883 Queensland Police Gazette

Attempt at Arson
“About 12:40 am on the 13th instant, a malicious attempt was made to burn the dwelling-house of James Johnson, Kennigo street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. An old bag was set on fire under the wall-plate, and some of the weather-boards had caught fire but were soon extinguished. 16th March 1883.”

“Peter Reilly is charged, on warrant issued by the Brisbane Bench, with deserting his wife Jane, Sherwood, on the 8th instant. Description: - An Irishman, about 55 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches high, slender build, short thin whiskers turning grey, dark-brown hair, round-shouldered, a farmer; wore brown overcoat, dark tweed trousers, striped crimean shirt, grey felt hat, elastic-side boots. 13th March 1883.”

Ship Desertion“Robert Smith is charged, on warrant issued by the Townsville Bench, with deserting from the ship “Scottish Lassie”, Captain Kerr, at Cleveland Bay, on 30th ultimo. Description: - About 20 years of age, 5 feet 4 inches high, no whiskers, small red eyes, no beard, fair complexion, bandy-legged, sailor-like appearance. Supposed to have gone to Ross Island. 28th April 1883.”

How can I access the police gazettes?

SLQ hold copies of the Police Gazettes for Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. There are also are a number of indexes that will assist researchers to locate specific information. The CD versions are keyword searchable. Pre-1900 gazettes are also available through findmypast, access onsite only at the State Library.

Availability of police gazettes


Queensland 1864 – 1945 [CD-ROM - Queensland Publications]
1867 – 1907 imperfect [microfilm] (MFL 363.209943)
New South Wales

1856 – 1862 [microfilm] (MFL 364.9944 199-)
under the title New South Wales Reports of crime
1862 – 1930 [microfilm] (MFL 364.9944 199-)
1862 – 1938 [CD-ROM]


1853 – 1870 [microfiche] (MFCS 364.9945)
1855; 1864 – 5; 1868 – 1876; 1885 – 1924 [CD-ROM]

South Australia

1881 – 1947 [CD-ROM]


1861 – 1933 [CD-ROM]
Issues to 1885 under the title Reports of crime

Western Australia1876 - 1900 digitised and available at State Library of Western Australia

1797 – 1810; 1828; 1830 – 1840 [microfilm] (MFSCA 364.941)
under the title Police gazette or Hue and cry

Indexes to the police gazettes

Queensland Police Gazette Index 1864-1874 [CD-ROM] QCFS 363.209943 2006

Victorian Police gazette consolidated index 1859 – 1863 [microfiche] MFC 364.9945 1992

Victorian Police gazette consolidated index 1864 - 1868[microfiche] MFC 364.9945 1998

Victorian police gazettes: criminals index, 1853-1858 [microfiche] MFC 364.309945 1997

Victoria deserters from ships index 1853 – 1880 [microfiche] MFC 929.3945 1996

Index of deserters of wives and children 1880 – 1890 (Victoria) [microfiche] MFC 346.994017 1999-

Army deserters from H.M. service [books - 2 volumes] PAM 929.3945 1988

The Deserter Index, 1828-1840 [CD-ROM] QCFS 929.341 1999 [Deserters from British Army units, Royal Marines, and the Honourable East India Company’s service. Extracted from Hue and Cry]

Missing friends in the Victoria Police Gazette [microfiche] MFC 929.3945 1995

Index to Tasmanians in the Victoria Police Gazette 1853–1893 [microfiche] MFC 929.3945 1997

Where else can I look for reports of crimes?


Reports of crimes can also be followed up in the local newspaper of the day. Newspapers can provide a great deal of information by reporting on court trials, inquests and executions. The State Library holds a large number of historical newspapers for Brisbane, regional Queensland and other states. Check the One Search online catalogue for details.

The State Library has some online newspaper databases, available at the library or from home through the website (log in from home if you are a Queensland resident, using your library card number and surname or your username and password).

Also search digitised historical Australian newspapers online via Trove, the National Library of Australia’s website.

Criminal reports

Queensland criminal reports: 1860-1907 / [by Thomas Macleod] [CD-ROM] QCFS 636.201025 2008
It is a compilation of all criminal cases that were reported in the Supreme Court Reports Vol. 1-8 (1860-1881), the Queensland Law Journal and Notes of Cases Vol. I-XII (1881-1901) and the Queensland State Reports and Weekly Notes (1902-1907).

New South Wales Weekly Notes Compendium, 1884-1900 (Court Reports) [CD-ROM] QCFS 348.944043 2009
Summaries of court cases reported in NSW Weekly Notes. Individuals named as defendants or plaintiffs in a variety of cases - bankruptcy, probate, custody, libel, divorce as well as criminal cases.

Download the PDF version of Police gazettes: family history info guide  (PDF 41.6 KB)

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