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Old Form Torrens Register

Image of Old Form Torrens RegisterBefore computerisation, titles created using the Torrens system existed as paper documents, called manual folios.

From 1863 to 1961 the folios were stored in bound volumes, numbered 1 to 8497. This became known as the Old Form Torrens Register when, in 1961, a new system of loose-leaf folders, called the New Form Torrens Register, was introduced.

Folios in the Old Form register show:

  • owner (or lessee)
  • origin of title (grant, purchase details, primary application)
  • previous title reference and successive title reference numbers
  • land descriptions and diagram sketches of land (in all but the most modern entries)
  • memorials that record brief details of mortgages, transfers to owners and other dealings.

Except for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore and Holt Sutherland Estate folios, the Old Form Register, consisting of over two million titles, has now been imaged in colour and the original documents have been transferred to State Records. This preserves these important records and provides greater public access to them.

The majority of folios in the bound register have been cancelled and replaced by computerised titles.

How can these records help?

By examining the manual folios for a property over time, you can see the sequence of owners. This could help you find the date a property was purchased or sold.

The manual folios are also a key way to find the 'dealing number' for a transfer, mortgage or other transactions. Using this number, you can order an image of the dealing, which may contain monetary figures, occupations of the parties and other information.

Accessing records

Free public access

Old Form Torrens title folios can be viewed free of charge at:

Records for purchase

Old Form and New Form Torrens folios can be purchased through approved information brokers.

Identifying records

The Torrens title folios are identified by a title reference consisting of a Volume and a Folio, e.g. Vol 2333 Folio 23.

Volume and Folio number known

If the Volume is 8497 or lower, the folio is an Old Form folio and you can view it on the Historical Land Records Viewer or on a public terminal at State Records or the State Library. If the Volume is higher than 8497, the folio is a New Form folio and you have to purchase a copy from an approved information broker or over-the-counter at Queens Square.

Volume and Folio number NOT known

Three common ways to find the Vol/Fol you need is by:

  1. searching back from the current title for a property
  2. searching forward from the grant or first title reference, which are often found on parish and town maps. These can be examined free through the Historical Land Records Viewer.
  3. looking for the purchaser's name in the Torrens Title Purchasers Index. You need to come to Queens Square to see this index until its available online.
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