Early Australian census records

Illuminate Australian society and your family history using census records from 1788 to 1901

Records of people

Please note: In 1892 all surviving Victorian detailed household forms (census records which included the names of individuals) were pulped. The records listed below are the only known surviving census records of individuals. As a lot of key muster and census records are now missing or destroyed, try other records to find similar information.

Records relating to Aboriginal Australians and Chinese Australians may be inaccurate.

Statistics

Please note that statistics relating to Aboriginal Australians may be inaccurate. Chinese people were also excluded from some censuses (see census reports, reproduced in the Colonial statistics, for more information).

People in the census

This table indicates if information about individuals is available from a particular census. Most Victorian censuses only name the head of the household, rather than everyone living at an address.

Census

Names of people?

1836

Yes

1838

Yes

1841

Yes

1846

No

1851

No

1852

Yes*
*Crown land
occupiers only

1854

No

1857

No

1861

No

1871

No

1881

No

1891

No

1901

No

In 1892 all surviving Victorian detailed household forms (which included the names of individuals) were destroyed. Other records can include similar information to what would have been recorded on these forms.

Census dates

Censuses, musters or returns took place on:

Year Month, Day Description
1836 September Unclear if  2 or 29 September?
1836 November Sheep station owners only
1838 March Melbourne area only
1838 September 12 Census
1838 December  
1839 December 31  
1841 March 2 Part of New South Wales census
1846 March 2 Part of New South Wales census
1851 March 2 Census
1852   Crown land occupiers only
1854 April 26 Census
1857 March 29 Census
1861 April 7 Census
1871 April 2 Census
1881 April 3 Census
1891 April 5 Census
1901 March 31 Census