Find your ancestors in South Australian Police Gazette 1862-1900


Do you have South Australian ancestry?

Compiled to be distributed exclusively amongst the police force, Police Gazettes contain details that cannot be found anywhere else. Produced at regular intervals (usually once a week), they were a way of making information available to the entire force, throughout the whole state. 

The information contained in them does vary a little from year to year, but overall you'll find details of any changes within the force. These include promotions, demotions, discharges, resignations, qnd deaths; as well as information about break-ins, robberies, arson, murders, deserted seamen, warrants issued, prisoners discharged, missing friends, lost and found items, and more.

Anyone researching their family will have a 'lost' family member or two - you may well find them listed here (being on either side of the law)! Or maybe they were a policeman who transferred to another department or division? Or maybe they were the victim of a crime?

"What information might I find on my ancestors in these gazettes?"

One of the things that makes police gazettes so popular as a genealogy tool is the depth and uniqueness of the information they have. For example, there will often be the physical details on persons listed, which helps to paint a better picture of them (name, aliases used, age, height, colour hair, colour eyes, distinguishing features, even colour clothing worn). It's a great way to really bring your ancestors to life and get to know them a little better!

And far from simply being a great genealogy resource for anyone building their family tree, they're also fascinating for anyone with an interest in South Australia in the 1860s.


A unique feature of the 1869 edition is that it contains a list of : Names of Contractors for supplying forage (hay, straw, wheat, oats etc) for the year 1869.

Example entries taken from the 8 January 1864 issue:

General OrderPolice Constable Guy has been dismissed from the Police Force, from the 1st instant, for being drunk on duty on the night of the 31st December, 1863.

Deserted SeamanWarrants, have been issued, at Port Adelaide, 4th January, 1864, for the apprehension of the undermentioned deserted seamen:-From the Ship 'Elphinstone'John Brown, 34 years of age, tall, pale complexion, sharp-featured.Joseph Stilleway, 28 years of age, stout, florid complexion, curly hair.