Guide to finding patents, based on the collections of the State Library of Victoria

Patents from other Australian states

State Library Victoria holds some nineteenth century patent indexes and abridged patents for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. We do not hold Tasmanian patents indexes. If you need the full text of these patents, contact the state library of the relevant state or you can search the National Archives of Australia website. (See National Archives of Australia box below).

South Australian patents 1848 to 1886

Specifications of letters of registration of Office of the Registrar-General of South Australia


1877 to 1886

Specifications of letters patent for inventions filed and recorded in the Office of the Commissioner of Patents, South Australia

Patent numbers 1 to 800 and containing name indexes, subject indexes, abridgements of specifications & drawings.

In eight volumes.

Queensland patents

These are indexes with abridgments of specifications of patents.  

Letters of registration granted for inventions : ... with abridgments of specifications in each case, compiled from the original documents in the Office of the Registrar of Patents, Brisbane / by William T. Blakeney, Registrar of Patents, Queensland.

  •  State Library Victoria holds 1860 - 1882 in three volumes. These contain name, keyword subject, and abridgements of patents in chronological index. Include the patent number and year when requesting delivery of a patent.

Report of the Registrar of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks by Queensland Registrar

National Archives of Australia

Searching the National Archives of Australia website for patents. 

Some nineteenth century colonial patents have been catalogued individually on the National Archives website.  You can search their collection and request a digitised copy. 

Go to the National Archives of Australia homepage and click on RecordSearch, then Namesearch.  Search using the surname of the inventor in one box, highlighting the Category of records:  Copyright, patents, trademarks. Click search. If there is an entry for the invention,  you can request a copy from this page for a fee.  

If a patent was also registered in the United States, you may find it on Google patents 

New South Wales patents

The first patent application in NSW was registered in 1854 and the first grant of a patent was in 1855.The first NSW patents were referred to as Registrations of inventions.

Try to find an approximate year prior to ordering volumes. The indexes listed below give patent numbers for some years.

New South Wales patent indexes

Print index

Index to New South Wales letters of registration of inventions from 1854 to 31st July, 1887

State Library Victoria holds 1854 - 1887 in one volume containing name, keyword and subject (by class) indexes and abridgements of specifications (no drawings)


Western Australian patents

State Library Victoria holds 1876 - 1899 (1876-1895, 1896,1897,1898,1899) in one volume.

The volumes listed include indexes and abridgements of specifications and drawings.