Queensland Intestacy Returns 1896-1916

The Curator of Intestate Estates and his deputies were required by the Intestacy Act of 1877 to publish a return twice each year in the Queensland Government Gazette of all the estates administered by them during the preceding six months. Although the Act required the returns to be published in the Gazette in January and July, they were actually published in a variety of months but rarely in January or July. On occasions the return for one or more divisions was not listed at all for the half-year.

This database is an index to these returns in intestacy for Queensland during the period 1896 to 1916 - listing a total of 31,347 entries. Aliases, where listed, have been indexed. Although the half-yearly returns commenced in 1877, this index covers from 1896 since from that year additional information on the deceased person was provided in the returns. 

Fields indexed:

  • The name of the deceased person.

  • Where they died

  • Where they were born

  • The court responsible for administering the estate

  • The date of entry in the gazette

  • The page reference in the relevant gazette

  • The original entry also indicates the total amount received, paid and invested for the estates of the listed persons

Where died

Although the estates were administered in Queensland this field references many places outside Queensland - included are various towns in NSW, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia; Irish, English and Scottish towns; China; Molpea, Portuguese East Africa; Port Moresby; At sea; various ships, Cape Horn and the United States of America. 

Interstate and overseas locations are often listed without any indication that they are not in Queensland. Usually it is easy to recognise such towns, however it should not be assumed that just because there is a well known town or city outside Queensland with a particular name that there was not also a town in Queensland with the same name. For example, the index includes many references to Geraldton, this was the former name of Innisfail and should not be confused with the town in Western Australia of the same name.

Where born

Included are the expected Australian states, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales as well as China, Canada, New Zealand, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Greece, Spain, France, United States of America, South Africa, New Guinea, West Indies, India, The Baltic, Poland, Prussia, Afghanistan, Syria, Singapore, Ceylon, South Sea Islands, Japan, Phillipine Islands, Channel Islands and more. 


There were three districts of the Supreme Court during the period of this index: Southern District (Brisbane) which commenced in 1857, Northern District (Bowen/Townsville) which established at Bowen in 1875, the court was transferred to Townsville in 1889, and Central District (Rockhampton) which commenced in 1896.


Many estates were listed in multiple returns. However, the information given in each return is not necessarily the same. Sometimes additional given names, or further details on place of death or birth appear in duplicate entries, whilst in other cases contradictory information is given. All occurrences of each estate are indexed to allow the researcher access to the total information listed in the returns and to allow location of all transactions on the estate during the period covered by the database.

Estates listed represent a wide cross-section of the community, ranging from those with little to leave to those with estates worth thousands of pounds. They include unknown persons to titled gentleman, from those dying on the Burke Rabbit Fence to the large cities and towns, both men and women.

Other information relating to intestacies may be available in the Notices published in the Queensland Government Gazette and at the Queensland State Archives. The Notices list name, occupation and residence as do the Intestacy Returns lists but may give additional information including date of death and the administrator of the estate.

The Queensland State Archives holds many of the intestacy files (Central District post 1930 held at the Supreme Court, Rockhampton) where available they provide information such as name, address and occupation of the deceased, date and place of death, next of kin, an inventory of property and its value plus other documents relating to the estate.

Intestacy Act 1877 - Section 38

"The Curator shall in every year in the month of January transmit to the Colonial Treasurer to be laid before Parliament a return of all moneys paid received and invested in respect of all estates of deceased persons administered by him during the preceding year distinguishing the particular estate in which the same have been so received paid or invested and he shall also publish twice in every year in the months of January and July a like return in the Gazette in respect of the six months preceding."