Find your ancestors in Queensland, Old Age Pension Applicants 1908-1909


Would any of your ancestors have applied for an old age pension?

For part of 1908-1909, old age pensions in Queensland were the responsibility of the Queensland State Government. These records have details of more than nine thousand men and women who applied for the old age pension, including many whose applications were rejected (some because they were too young). Other reasons for rejection may provide a fascinating insight into an applicant's character or habits. This really is a unique and wonderful genealogy tool, and a must for anyone researching their family history or building a family tree!

"What information on my ancestors might be in these records?"

• Surname
• Given names
• 'Previous System' location of the source at Queensland State Archives
• Reference (claim number or page number).

Sources indexed (held at Queensland State Archives):

• A/4774 = Home Secretary's Office: register of old age pension claims, 1 Jul 1908 to 10 Sep 1908. 'Reference' is the claim number (ignore page numbers).
• COL/458 = Home Office: register of applicants for old age pension, Aug 1908 to Aug 1909. 'Reference' is the claim number (ignore page numbers).
• COL/138 = Home Office: letterbook of letters on old age pensions. 'Reference' is the page number.
• CPS11C/15 = Clerk of Petty Sessions, Ravenswood: register of applications for old age pensions, 13 Jun 1908 to 5 May 1909.
• CPS11E/20 = Clerk of Petty Sessions, Townsville: register of applications heard in Pensions Tribunal (Commissioner's Court), 13 Jun 1908 to 26 May 1909.

Extra details that may be in the original records (but not in the index):

A/4774 and COL/458 usually give:
• date claim was registered
• country (or Australian State) of birth
• alleged age
• total number of years in Queensland
• town or suburb of current residence
• whether the application was approved or rejected
• if approved, the amount of pension payable, date payment commenced, and town where paid
• if rejected, the reason for rejection
• occasionally other remarks (e.g., 'sent to Dunwich Benevolent Asylum').

Similar details are usually in CPS11C/15 and CPS11E/20, which sometimes also specify marital status, full address, exact date of birth and spouse's name.

COL/138 consists of copies of letters from the Home Office to, or about, some pensioners.

The Old Age Pensions Act of 1908 occupied twelve pages of the Queensland Government Gazette. The main criteria for eligibility are summarised here.

Obtaining copies of original records:

If you cannot personally inspect the records at QLD State Archives, Judy Webster will (for a fee) obtain photocopies.

Data provided by Judy Webster.