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Historical records online

NSW Land Registry Services (NSW LRS) undertook a major digitisation and conversion program to deliver more land records online and enhance access to many historical documents.

The program converted titles into an electronically delivered Torrens Title system and digitised one of the largest government holdings of archival records.

By imaging records and transferring the originals to State archives NSW LRS also ensured the long-term preservation of valuable historical documents, some of the oldest of the State of NSW.

What was digitised and converted?

NSW LRS digitised and conserved many different types of land records. More than 32.5 million records have been digitised including plans dated from 1792 and aerial photos going back to 1947.

We also converted a large number of titles into our computerised Torrens Title system including Old System land which was granted from 1792 to 1862.

Computerisation of titles began in 1983 and continued with imaging of plans in 1991, dealings in 1996 and the Deeds Register in 1998.  

Torrens title conversion

Most NSW land title records are held in the computerised system, but some properties remain in hard copy format, including:

  • Old System titles - deeds based system inherited from England when the colony of NSW was established
  • some Torrens Title properties recorded on paper folios of the Register
  • some Crown land parcels.

Through the conversion program, more than 166,000 additional properties have been brought into the computerised system. 

    Plans and other records

    NSW’s titling records and survey plans, dating back to 1792, constitute a major source of information supporting the state’s heritage. While some documents are in microfilm, many remained in paper form, making them vulnerable to damage by wear and tear, water and fire and were only accessible in person at NSW LRS’ office in Sydney.

    Scanning records and creating digital images enabled NSW LRS to transfer the paper records to State Records for archiving, in compliance with statutory obligations under the State Records Act 1998. It also enabled the records to be delivered online improving public access.  

    State Records

    Public terminals at State Records reading rooms at Kingswood, allow the public access to many of the scanned images and to explore other record collections held at State Records. Public terminals are also available at the State Library.

    State Records offers these special features for historical researchers:

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