Researching your Victorian ancestors

A guide to family history research using the major Victorian resources

Wills & probate records - Victorian

A will is the indication of how a person wished his/her estate to be disposed of at death. Probate is the judicial determination of the validity of a will.  Wills should always be probated in each state where real estate property was held.

When a person dies without leaving a valid will, particularly when property is left, in most cases letters of administration will be issued by a court appointed administrator.

There is no central archive of  Australian wills and related documents. Collections are held in each state, in either the relevant state archives office or at the Supreme Court registry.

Accessing Victorian wills and probate documents


The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV)  hold Wills and Probate files that have been administered by the Victorian Probate office from 1841 to 2020

Wills and probate records created between 1841 and 1925 have been indexed and digitised and are available online free of charge.

Wills and probate records created between 1926 – January 2020 have been indexed and can be searched through the Public Record Office Victoria's online Wills and Probate indexes. These records have not been digitised by PROV. so you can either view the records in the PROV North Melbourne Reading Room for free or pay for a copy to be emailed or posted to you.

Australia, Victoria, Wills, 1853-1951.
Australia, Victoria Probate files, 1925-1950
Digitised copies of these records are now available on the FamilySearch database. The record hvae not been indexed by FamilySearch so you need to identify the relevant VPRS record number using the  PROV Will and Probate index/. Detailed instructions on how to do this can be found in Susie Zada's  I just love history blog post.

January 2020-

Grants of representation filed with the Court on, or after, January 2020 are stored at the Supreme Court of Victoria Probate Office. Fees apply to search a file and photocopy any documents.

Further information can be found on the Supreme Court of Victoria, Wills & Probate website.

applications, Caveats and
Wills Indices

The Supreme Court of Victoria maintains an online database of all applications for a grant of probate or administration filed with the Court since 1970. You can search the application index online.

You can also search the index of caveats that have been filed with the court since 2009 and the index of wills that have been deposited with the Court for safekeeping.

Wills & probate records - other states

Go to Graham Jaunay's website How to locate Australian wills for a list of available indexes and online resources.

Capital Territory

Supreme Court Registry
4 Knowles Place
Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: (02) 6207 1786

Wills and probate - forms

New South Wales

1817-1976, and 1989 (part of)

Early probate packets are kept at the State Records, NSW.
Various indexes are available. For further information consult the guide:
Archives in brief 119 - How to find probate and deceased estates.

The Supreme Court of NSW holds probate packets for the last 40 years

Supreme Court of New South Wales
GPO Box 3
Sydney NSW 2001

Telephone: 1300 679 272

Northern Territory

Probate index - 1885-1941

Probate Clerk
Supreme Court of the Northern Territory
State Square
Darwin NT 0800

Telephone: (08) 8999 6562


Various online indexes available.
See: Queensland State Archives Brief guide 19 - Will and intestacy records

The Registrar
Supreme Court of Queensland
George Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

Telephone: Estates (probates) (07) 3247 5365

South Australia

Probate Registry
Supreme Court of South Australia
301 King William Street
Adelaide SA 5000

Telephone: (08) 8204 0505


Probate Registry
Supreme Court of Tasmania
Salamanca Place
Hobart TAS 7000

Telephone: (03) 6233 3716

Western Australia

See: Information sheet: Grants of probate (wills) and letters of administration

Probate Office
Supreme Court of Western Australia
14th floor 111 Georges Street
Perth WA 6000

Telephone: (08) 9421 5152

Whats on

  • Finding families In this introductory webinar, learn the principles of family history research and find out how to access family history resources through the State Library Victoria.
  • Researching your home This webinar will help to answer the questions and curiosities you may have about your family home, whether it’s the house you’re living in now or the scene of your childhood memories. In this session we will include ways to research your family home, finding previous occupants and uncovering  the social history of the area.
  • Newsworthy learn how to navigate the Library’s extensive newspaper collection in this live and interactive online session. You'll dive into the millions of words printed on both current and historical articles in our online databases, and discover how to find specific newspapers in hard copy, online and on microfilm.