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Old System records

NSW Land Registry Services (NSW LRS) is converting much of the remaining properties held under Old System to Torrens Title and registering them in its computerised system. Initially these titles are qualified (they are not guaranteed by the state of NSW) and may be limited (a new survey is required to determine legal boundaries).

An application can be made to remove the qualification after six years if the property is sold or transferred for value, and 12 years if it is not sold or transferred.

See more information on Torrens title and Old System.

Conserving Old System records 

NSW LRS scanned and conserved key Old System record sets as part of a major program to make more records available online – including the earliest land records of New South Wales.

So far the Old System Grant Register and Index, Old System Vendors Index and Old System Purchasers Index have been scanned and are available online. These records are part of the Old System titling system and are four of the top five priorities identified by internal and external stakeholders. The other priority record set is the Old System deeds. This collection is progressively being scanned and loaded online, with an estimated finishing date of June 2019.


Old System record set


Images (estimate)

Old System Grant Register
(1792 to 1862)
Grants and purchases of land in NSW. 86,000
Old System Grant Index
(1792 to 1862)
Index to the Old System Grant Register. 4,500
Vendors Index
Index of people/organisations that sold property or goods. This index relates to the Old System General Register of Deeds. 611,000
Purchasers Index
A reverse index to the Vendors Index, but for a smaller time period. This index relates only to land in the Vendors Index. 149,940
General Register of Deeds Land deeds relating to Old System or common law freehold land 13.6 million
(3,901,000 deeds)


Books have been progressively removed from NSW LRS, Sydney and sent to Bathurst for scanning, and conservation treatment if required. Once scanned, these records are transferred to State Archives, with NSW LRS continuing to house the remaining Old System records.

Access to the records

Image of old system grantThose books which have been removed from the shelves, and are yet to be processed and loaded onto the public terminals, can be requested from the Old System Records counter at NSW LRS’ Basement 1 West Wing. The requested pages will be re-prioritised for prompt delivery.

Once each record set has been completely scanned, metadata captured and images quality assured, they will be made available via the Historical Land Records Viewer  (HLRV). Once loaded onto the viewer the books will be searchable, as per the current manual procedure, by the first letter of a surname and date range of the book.

More information

NSW LRS has produced detailed guides which describe Land Title Systems in New South Wales and which assist you in conducting searches of current and historical information. The guides are available to view or download for free.

Information sheets on how to access the Old System records through HLRV are also available.

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