Early colonial administration records


Explore general guides and indexes to the records of early colonial government in Tasmania, known as Van Diemen’s Land until 1856. There are specific subject guides to records which cover this early period of history.


Settled in 1803, Tasmania was a colony of the United Kingdom until it joined five other Australian states to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. Known as Van Diemen’s Land, the name changed to Tasmania when the British Parliament granted the colony responsible self-government from 1856.

Initially a British penal settlement, Van Diemen’s Land was part of the colony of New South Wales until 1825. The Governor of New South Wales oversaw the colony of Van Diemen’s Land until 1825. The State Records Office of New South Wales has many early records relating to Tasmania.

What is online?

Guides to the Public Records of Tasmania

Descriptions of government agencies and their records written in the 1950s-1970s

Wayn index

Scanned card index of Tasmanian government and colonial newspaper records. Includes name and topic indexes to the Governor’s and Colonial Secretary’s Office up to 1856

Government Records

What else is there?

Most colonial government records have not been digitised. Please use specific guides to records to help identify records that might be relevant or search archives.

What can I find from other organisations?