The General Registry Office as a title can cause some
confusion. The GRO in the UK refers to the government
department responsible for the management of the civil
registration of births, marriages and deaths. In South
Australia, the GRO has a different function and the local
equivalent of the GRO is commonly known as the Registry
of Births Deaths and Marriages.
The General Registry Office currently located at Building
4A, 300 Richmond Road, Netley SA 5037 (formerly
39 Carrington Street Adelaide: pictured) was established
as a Records Office to administer the Registration
of Deeds Act in South Australia. This mainly allowed
for the administration of transactions and dealings effected
in General Law Freehold Title to land. General Law Title
or the Old System Title was the English land
law adopted at the time of foundation of South Australia
as a colony in December 1836.
The GRO holds deeds and records to land transactions prior
to the implementation of Real Property Act (ie
the period 1837–1858). With the introduction of
the Real Property Act (often referred to as the Torrens
Title System) in 1858, all land transactions were
then conducted under this new system of using a land title.
The role of the GRO covered more than property transactions
(mortgages, conveyances, leases, land grants, indentures,
Wills, probate) in that deeds for a number of actions
(inc Deed Poll name changes) could be deposited with the
office. Such documents called memorials represent those
original deeds registered and held by the GRO, whereas
documents known as deposits or enrolments are certified
copies held by the GRO.
Material held in the collection can be summarised as follows:
• Registrations of deeds executed.
• Enrolments from original deeds or Deposits of
original deeds and plans.
• Real Property Act application packets containing
original general law deeds.
• Wills involving land before Feb 1892.