Commonwealth electoral rolls held in Brisbane – Fact sheet 119

Commonwealth electoral rolls are an alphabetical listing of all persons eligible to vote in Commonwealth elections and referenda. They were prepared in years of general elections or referenda, and at such other times as the Electoral Commissioner required them.

Electoral rolls are used by researchers for a variety of reasons: to trace missing persons; to compile family history; to locate birth parents, or the whereabouts of anyone who has enrolled with the Australian Electoral Commission (CA 3854).

Holdings of electoral rolls

Printed electoral rolls on microfiche

Commonwealth electoral rolls for the state of Queensland are held for the years 1903 to 2003. From 1903 to 1988 the rolls are arranged by electoral division and (until 1983) by sub-division. To use these rolls you will need to know the address under which a person was enrolled, or the area in which the person lived. From 1990 rolls have been produced in a single microfiche format, which lists electors alphabetically by family name.

Commonwealth electoral rolls for other Australian states are also held. Details of holdings for each state and territory are included in the table below. All the rolls held in microfiche format are available for public access and can be found in the self-service area of the Brisbane reading room.

Microfiche copies of electoral rolls held in Brisbane*

Title or description of records

Date

Queensland

1903–2003

New South Wales

1976–2003

Tasmania

1976–2003

Australian Capital Territory

1977–2003

South Australia

1977–2003

Victoria

1984–2003

Western Australia

1984–2003

Northern Territory

1984–2003

*Please note that there are gaps in our collection of electoral rolls.

Official rolls

Official rolls are copies of electoral rolls containing annotations made by the Australian Electoral Commission which detail changes to the entry for an elector – such as changes of address, changes in name, or the addition or removal of names from a particular roll. These annotated rolls are then used to produce the next printed copy of a roll.

Official electoral rolls for Queensland held in Brisbane

Electoral rolls were not produced for each year. They were prepared in years of general elections, and at such other times as the Electoral Commissioner required them.

Information about electoral rolls

Who is listed on electoral rolls

  • Electoral enrolment has been compulsory for all Australian citizens over the statutory voting age since 1925. The voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1973.
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been entitled to enrol since 1962, and have been required to enrol since 1984. Between 1949 and 1962 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were eligible to enrol and vote only if they had served in the Defence Forces, or, the electoral law in their State of residence qualified them to vote in State elections.
  • Until 1984 British subjects resident in Australia were also eligible to enrol and vote.
  • Women have been included on Commonwealth electoral rolls from 1902 when Commonwealth legislation came into effect. The first Commonwealth elections in 1901 were conducted under State franchise laws, meaning that only women in South Australia and Western Australia (which had extended the franchise to include women in 1894 and 1899 respectively) only were eligible to vote.

Information shown on a roll

Electoral rolls contain the name, address, occupation (omitted after 1983) and gender for each elector. An Electoral Commission reference number is also included.

The Australian Electoral Commission

Further information about Australia’s electoral and voting systems is available from the Australian Electoral Commission.

More information

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017