Skip to main content

Finding news & newspapers: Historic Australian

Barr Smith Library news and newspaper resources.

If your topic is before 1954 this is a wonderful resource!

Australian newspaper coverage is available via the
Australian Newspapers Digitisation Project
from Trove at the National Library - digitised Newspapers and more.
As of 13 January 2015 there are 15,274,858 pages consisting of 146,518,214 articles available to search

A list of the titles and date ranges scanned is available from their
Selected Newspapers page.

In addition....we hold a large number of South Australian and interstate newspapers on microfilm that may not have been digitised.
. They are listed in:
Newspapers held in the Barr Smith Library

If an index exists, it will be listed, but they are rare. It is usually best to establish the date of the event you are researching
(perhaps by using a chronology) and then browse papers near that time.

For South Australian indigenous history, however there is a very useful newspaper index entitled:
Reference Collection 994.005915 B863n
Newspaper index: references to Aborigines in Adelaide newspapers 1836-1940. 1989.

Places and events in South Australia 1837-1937 are indexed in the
Manning index of South Australian history

For the last 50 years or so of political and current affairs theres is:
Australian Public Affairs Newspaper Cuttings Collection, 1952 - 1981 Mfilm Per 44
Continued by
Government and politics of Australia covering 1982-1989(?) Mfiche Per 44

If your topic is relatively recent  (1990's onwards) it is possible to search newspapers electronically.
See  Factiva where searches can be limited to Australia.
Although most digitised Newspapers on Trove end at 1954, the Canberra Times is avaialble to 1995.

The database Australia New Zealand Reference Centre includes selected newspapers along with magazines and scholarly journals from the 1990's to present.

Parliamentary debates (Hansard) record what was actually said in Parliament,
and as such are a rich source for historical research.
There are indexes at the beginning or end of each volume which enable speeches to be found either by subject or speaker. Parliamentary papers (or proceedings) publish reports that are tabled in Parliament.
These can be individual reports on an issue or the annual reports of state or commonwealth officials or departments
and also count as primary sources.
There are indexes for each parliamentary session either at the beginning or the end of the volumes
and there are also separately published indexes.
All the necessary details are listed in
Parliamentary publications in the Barr Smith Library a finding list .

Note: Statutes (Acts) and Bills are not held in the Barr Smith Library.
Many are online  or are kept in the Law Library

The main items used in research at the BSL are:

South Australia

Parliament of South Australia

South Australia. Parliament. Debates. 1857 -
328.94206 S72

South Australia. Parliament. Proceedings. 1847 -
328.94206 S72p

South Australian Government Gazette. 1846-
[1846-1900 kept in Special Collections on Level 4 South]
[The most recent issues are kept in the Unbound journals area on Level 3 North]
354.94205 S72

South Australia.Parliament. Index to Parliamentary Papers 1857 - 1975.
Reference Collection 328.94206 S72p

South Australia. Parliament. Index to the Proceedings of the Legislative Council, 1857 - 1915.
Reference Collection 328.94206  S72p


Parliament of Australia

Australia.Parliament. Journals of the Senate and Printed Papers. 1901-1964/66.
328.9406 A93j

Australia.Parliament. Journals of the Senate . 1967/68- `

Australia.Parliament. Parliamentary Papers. 1967-
328.9406 A93jp

Australia. Parliament.Votes and proceedings of the House of Representatives. 1967/68+
328.9406 A93jv

Australia. Parliament. Parliamentary Debates.[Hansard]. 1902-
328.9406 A93p

Australia. Parliament. First consolidated index to the papers presented to Parliament 1901-1949.
328.9406 A93j

There are a number of indexes to Royal Commissions at

During the colonial period much of Australia's administrative and legal reporting and debating
was carried on in the British Parliament, which makes these papers a very rich source of information and opinion.
The most comprehensive sources for subject access to the 19th century Parliamentary Papers are:

328.42 C666s
Cockton, P Subject catalogue of the House of Commons Parliamentary papers 1801-1900. 1988. 5v.
This catalogue provides direct access via subject to the microfiche set of Parliamentary Papers at MICROFICHE PER 11
328.4206 G78ppI Great Britain. Parliament.Parliamentary Papers. Irish University Press series.
This series arranges the papers by topics. 
Try sections such as COLONIES , and, to lesser extent, ABORIGINES. 
The volumes can be distinguished from the other editions of papers not only by their call number, but by their green binding.



Most online newspapers start in the 1990's.