Victorian Sheriff's Office warrants

Access information from historic warrants issued by the Victorian Sheriff's Office from 1838 to 1919.

Welcome

This guide explains how to access information from historic warrants issued by the Victorian Sheriff's Office. These warrants are held in the collection Records of the Sheriff's Office, Victoria in State Library Victoria's Manuscripts Collection.

The warrants in the Library's collection date from 1838 to around 1949. A large proportion of the warrants dating from 1842 to 1869 have been indexed and are accessible to the public. Some warrants from outside of this date range have also been indexed. Over 68,000 index entries have been created, with more to come.

The responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office included enforcing court orders by recovering money, seizing property, and organising the sale of debtors’ property. Warrants outline proceedings brought against those who had not:

  • paid government fines or fees
  • repaid debts as ordered by the courts

Records from across Port Phillip District and Victoria are included in the collection. People from all walks of life are featured, from ship owners, masters and passengers to livery stable keepers, hawkers, 'lunatics', barbers, surgeons, booksellers, farmers, bricklayers, coffee roasters and civil engineers. In the case of itinerant workers and miners on the goldfields, these may be the only existing records indicating their location at a point in time. The names of attorneys involved with the administration of warrants are also included.

Example of warrant

 

Credits

Many thanks to our long-time volunteers, Dulcie Burns, Sally Hall, and Eril Wangerek, who are indexing the Sheriff's Office records, and to librarians Lucy Shedden and Katie Flack, who created this research guide.