Railway employees

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Where can I find information on an ancestor who worked on the railways in Queensland?

Although State Library of Queensland does not hold original government railway records (staff files etc.), we do hold a variety of resources containing railway employee information.

Government publications

Queensland Legislative Assembly Votes and Proceedings / Queensland Parliamentary Papers [microfilm] (MFL 328.9431)

This publication annually listed appointments and removals of railway employees. Each entry provides name, position, wages and reason for appointment or removal. The period from 1890 to 1901 has been indexed, Queensland railway employees, June 1890 - June 1901, and can be searched via the State Library’s website. (An index to the later period 1902-1916 is currently under development.)

In the 1916/17 edition of the Queensland Parliamentary Papers a list of railway employees who had enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces was published (1916/17, vol.3, p.204-8).

Queensland Government Gazette [microfilm] (MFL 328.943)
Lists of railway employees were published at regular intervals between 1889 and 1941 in the Queensland Government Gazette. The registers usually provide their name, age, position, salary, the name of the branch of the railway.

Queensland railway employees 1889-1940 [CD-ROM] (QCFS 929.3943 2004)
The information on this CD-ROM has been gathered from the annual lists of railway employees published in the Queensland Government Gazette (as listed as above). The index provides the name, age, position, branch and office of each individual employee.

Queensland Government Railway Index to Staff Records 1878 – 1946 [CD-ROM] (QCFS 929.3943 2003)


Queensland government railway : index to staff employed in various departments & stations 1889-1912 [CD-ROM] (QCFS 385.025943 2007)
These CD-ROMs contain indexes to some of the Railway Staff Registers held by Queensland State Archives. The indexes provide name, date of birth, date of appointment and a Queensland State Archives reference number.

Queensland Blue Books [microfiche] (FICHE/B 354.943 que)
The Queensland Blue Books is an annually published list of government civil servants. Usually only clerical staff are listed. Holdings: 1870-1916

Queensland State Archives Brief Guide – Railway records

Newspapers and periodicals

Railway Advocate [microfilm] (MFS 0127)
The Advocate was an organ of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Railways Union. Informative obituary notices can sometimes be gleaned from this source. Holdings: 1919 to 1978 (imperfect – there are number of issues missing).

Queensland railway express (RBS 385 028)
Holdings: Vol. 6, no. 8 (Apr. 1907)- <v. 24, no. 1?> (Dec. 1923) imperfect

The Queensland Railways Institute magazine (S 385 019)
Holdings: Vol. 2, no. 11 (May 1950)-v. 2, no. 12 (June 1950); v. 3, no. 2 (Aug. 1950)-v. 3, no. 11 (May 1951); v. 4, no. 2 (Aug. 1951)-v.4, no.8 (Feb. 1952); v. 4, no. 10 (Apr. 1952)-v. 11, no. 4 (Jan. 1959) imperfect

Where else in Australia can I find railway employment information?

New South Wales

State Records NSW provides a number of indexes for railway employees (Click on 'Indexes' tab). The indexes include: Nominal Roll of the First Railway Section (AIF), 1917-20; NSW Government employees granted military leave; NSW Government Railways and Tramways Roll of Honour, 1914-19; Australian Railway Supply Detachment and Railway Employment Records (1856-1917).

For more information see Research Guide – Railway Employees


Public Records Office Victoria has a number of different types of records available.
For more information see:


See Tasmanian archives and heritage office guide Tasmanian railway employee records

Western Australia

For railway records relating to Western Australia see:

Other Sources

My ancestor was a railway worker / Frank Hardy (FAMHIS 929.341)
This book is a complete guide to using railway records, covering all aspects of this hugely significant industry. The book includes a potted history of British railways, case studies and a comprehensive resources section.

Railway records : a guide to sources / Cliff Edwards (FAMHIS 385.0941 2001)
This book is a research guide to the historic records of Britain's railways. It demonstrates how to find records relating to train companies, individuals who served on the railway and the trains themselves.

Railway staff database [CD-ROM] (QCFS 929.341 2003)
This CD contains over 62,000 British railway staff entries, from the early 1800s to the late 1990s, and over 2,700 Railway Company Listings.

Was your grandfather a railwayman?: a directory of records relating to staff employed by railways in the following countries with details of material and repositories : United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Eire, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Tasmania, United States of America and reference to Crown agencies for the colonies / compiled by Tom Richards (FAMHIS 929.34 2002). This book is a directory to various railway employee records held in archives, libraries and other various institutions around the world.

Download the PDF version of Railway employees [PDF 85 kb]

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