Early colonial administration records

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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.

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