Researching land history can be very helpful in studying the history of your family or of a property or locality. It can require patience but can be very rewarding.
Many Land and Property Information (LPI) records are available electronically, and LPI is currently undertaking a major program of records digitisation to bring many more historical records online. The remaining paper records must be examined at our office at Queens Square in Sydney.
Your strategy for historical research depends on whether you already know the address of a property you want to research.
Already know the address
You can work backwards from the current title to the previous title, using the Online Shop - see Help for Historical Researchers under the Support tab.
You can also work forward from the first title. Early grant information and first title information is shown on a Parish or Town map, available in the Historical Land Records Viewer (HLRV).
Don’t know the address
Your first task is to search in indexes or registers for the name of the person you are tracing, which will likely lead you to an address or title reference.
State Records NSW is a very good source of information. Also look on Parish Maps for names of owners using the Historical Land Records Viewer, or look for names in the Torrens Purchasers Index or in the Old System Vendors or Purchasers Index.
Where to look
Searching can be done through websites, public terminals at several locations, through our information brokers and in person at LPI’s Queens Square office.
View only access of digital, colour Crown Plans, Parish Maps and Old Form Torrens Register titles are available at the NSW State Records Authority's reading rooms at Kingswood.
Public terminals showing the Parish Map and Old Form Torrens Register collection are accessible at LPI, Queens Square, Sydney and also at the NSW State Library, Macquarie Street Sydney.
Available to everyday users - some fees apply.
Over the counter
An over the counter option at Queens Square will remain for those who prefer the in-person approach. For more information see our Property inquiry services page - some fees apply.
If you are interested in exploring NSW's land heritage, LPI has produced five publications to assist you in conducting online and over-the-counter searches of current and historical information.
Research and explore the official archives of NSW, where many of LPI's records are being progressively archived.