Queensland Intestacies, Insolvencies & Wills 1859-1900

This database indexes all the notices in the Queensland Government Gazette relating to intestacies, insolvencies and wills and, where found, other associated notices. Several Lunacy notices have also been included as these were handled by the same office as Intestacies and Insolvencies.

In general, the notices provide the name of the deceased/insolvent person, residence (or late residence), and occupation. Executors, administrators and trustees are also often listed as well as their occupation, residence and their relationship to others mentioned in the notice. For insolvencies, the notices also provide the name of the person bringing the Insolvency Petition and, after due processes, the dividends declared.

The database lists the name, residence, occupation, type of notice, court, date and page reference in the relevant Queensland Government Gazette. All persons mentioned in each notice have been indexed - including the executors, administrators and trustees - to provide as complete a coverage as possible of those involved.

Apart from the information commonly given in the notices, some also provide dates and places of death. Examination of all relevant entries will uncover these details where available. It is hoped that the location of a name in this database will not only give researchers access to the full contents of the notices but lead to the location of further material on the intestacy, insolvency or will at the Queensland State Archives. 

Detailed information on each item:


As indicated, the database includes executors, administrators and trustees in addition to the names of the deceased (wills and intestacies) or insolvent persons. However, where an Official Trustee has been appointed (for example, George Henry Newman or James Stockwell) or where the Curator of Intestate Estates has been appointed as the Administrator of an estate (for example, Alexander Raff) these have not been indexed.\To include these would not have been productive.

If these persons have been appointed as an executor, but not in an official capacity, then they have been indexed. Often accountants or solicitors were appointed to act as trustees or as attorneys for intestate or overseas executors or administrators. Mostly the same name does not occur too frequently and so these have been indexed - for those who have these as ancestors it will give a glimpse of their business. 


Apart from addresses in Queensland there are many references to persons outside Queensland including interstate addresses and addresses in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Channel Islands, France, New Zealand, Canada, United States of America, South Africa, West Indies, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Germany. There are even some from Bermuda, Mauritius, Straits Settlement, Burma, Cyprus and India, where either the deceased or executors were resident outside Queensland.

Often the notice in the Gazette includes additional information to that listed in the database, in particular street addresses are sometimes given and it was not always possible to include these in the limited space available. Sometimes the information given in a series of notices appears to be contradictory. We have indexed the details as given in the notices - it is the task then of the researcher to determine which is correct.

Our philosophy with the addresses and residence codes has been to include only the information provided in the notices. Whilst we may know that a particular town is in Queensland (or elsewhere) unless the notice specifically indicates in the colony of Queensland (or equivalent) then the field has been left blank. This has been done to ensure that deficiencies in our knowledge do not lead to the inclusion of incorrect information. For example, Geraldton is frequently mentioned but it does not refer to Geraldton in Western Australia, rather to the former name of Innisfail and indexing it as WA would be incorrect.

Similarly, many would assume it safe to list the address for a widow as that given for the husband but there are numerous instances in the years covered by this database where that is contrary to the facts - it would be more appropriate to leave such fields blank if information is not explicitly listed. Our ancestors did strange things and we should reflect the details listed rather than adding our interpretations.


Notes include occupation, relationships, some business names and some cross reference details. In most cases the complete description of the occupation has been included, although on occasions space has prohibited this. Normally &c. has been used to indicate further information is given in the Gazette. A fascinating range is covered - from prisoners in Her Majesty's Gaol, to District Court Judges and a Chief of Detectives, from shoemakers, to Members of the Legislative Council. Probably the most commonly listed are storekeepers and publicans who became insolvent far more often than any other. 

From 1886, this field has been expanded to include additional information. In particular, more extensive information on relationships and information on some business names has been provided.

Type of Notice

These have been divided into three major categories - Intestacy, Insolvency and Will - although there are occasional entries for Lunacy.

  • Insolvency: The term Insolvency has been used to cover insolvency, liquidation and composition by arrangement. Where indexed, Deeds of Assignment and Deeds of Composition have also been listed under type Insolvency. In the case of an insolvency, many notices appeared in the Gazette, each reflecting various steps in the process. These included notices for the Insolvency Petition, General Meetings of Creditors, Last Examinations, Appointments of Trustee, Declaration of Dividends, Orders to Annul Insolvencies, Applications for Certificate of Discharge, and Certificates of Discharge.

  • Intestacy: There are many intestacies for which only a single notice appears although where there is difficulty in locating the next of kin or heir at law there are additional notices. As well, where the estate is to be administered by the Curator of Intestate Estates there are Notices to Creditors requesting any creditor to come and prove their debts.

  • Wills: Normally notices pertaining to Wills are listed only once although on occasions subsequent notices will appear requesting creditors and others with a claim on the estate to present their claims. Some notices refer to Letters of Administration with Will annexed; such notices may have been listed either as Will or Intestacy depending on the heading of the notice.

  • Lunacy: Various notices regarding the administration of the estate of lunatics appear.


Three Courts existed in Queensland. The Southern District (Brisbane) commenced in 1857. A Northern District was established in 1875 with the court originally located at Bowen and later transferred to Townsville (1889). In 1896 a Central District court was established at Rockhampton. 

  • Entries listed in the Gazette under Supreme Court of Queensland are entered as Brisbane

  • Entries listed in the Gazette under Supreme Court of Queensland, Bowen are entered as Bowen

  • Entries listed in the Gazette under Supreme Court of Queensland, Townsville are entered as Townsville

  • Entries listed in the Gazette under Supreme Court of Queensland, Rockhampton are entered as Rockhampton 

Occasional inconsistencies occur. Where the notice does not make it clear which Court was involved the field has been left blank. There are a few entries occurring in the Queensland Government Gazette from the Supreme Court of New South Wales. In these cases Sydney has been entered in the Court field.