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Illuminate Australian society and your family history using census records from 1788 to 1901
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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This guide describes why census data is of interest to genealogists and historians. It explains how to find and use information collected in censuses from 1788 to 1901. It also includes information about the history of censuses in Australia.

If you find any errors, or if you can suggest other information sources or approaches to this topic, please contact us.

Taking the censusA/S23/04/81/137


What is a census?

A census or return records information about a population. The same information is collected at the same time from everyone across a specified area. Information is collected from people where they are staying at the time of the census.


What is a muster?

Before censuses, musters were the most common way of recording information about a population. Information was collected by calling a population to assemble at a particular place/s, then recording people's details.

State Government of Victoria

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