Land ownership in South Australia for family history

In 1834 before the province was proclaimed on 28 Dec 1836 it was assumed that all land was owned by the government who could dispose of it as it saw fit to British subjects at not less than 12 shillings an acre.

For more background information see the article on landownership.

Before 1837
The detail of purchasers of Preliminary Land Orders, the ballot and the land selected is available at State Records.

1837 to 1858
By registering land transactions with the General Register Office (GRO) under the deeds registration system some legal protection in regard to ownership was afforded. Memorials outlining transactions relating to land can be located at the GRO. Researchers have to attend the officeas no online facilities are available.

From 1858
The Real Property Act (Torrens Title) from 1858 gave security and simplicity to all dealings with land by providing for the registration of a title listing all parties with an interest in the property. By this system the registered owner obtains a title secure against everyone whose claim does not appear upon the registry. Detailed records including copies of titles can be obtained online. You can access post 1857 material online:
  1. Go to:
  2. Log in as guest user.
  3. Find Image Search in the menu bar and open Historical Name Index Search.
You can access current records online:
  1. Go to:
  2. Log in as guest user.
  3. Find LandSearch in the menu bar and open Property Search.
For a full explanation on the process see: Newsletter 113.

Although the new system was introduced in 1858 there was no compulsion to transfer land under the old system to the new and so transcations occurring after 1858 may be found on the old system. See Newsletter 108.

If you cannot find an entry for a known 19th century land owner you need to search the records in the old system at the GRO.
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