General Registry Office

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 101 Grenfell StreetAdelaide and 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.

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