State Records Office of WA SROWA

Government of Western Australia, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries

Series S55 - INDEX TO PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION FILES

Identity area

Reference code

AU WA S55

Title

INDEX TO PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION FILES

Date(s)

  • 1832-01-01 - 1939-12-31 (Creation)
  • 1832-01-01 - 1939-12-31 (Accumulation)

Level of description

Series

Medium

Format

Cards

Status

Context area

Name of creator

AU WA A44 - SUPREME COURT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA (1861-01-01 -)

Administrative history

A Court of Quarter Sessions was established in Western Australia in 1830 and a Civil Court established two years later. However, as the colony grew and as society became more complex, the judiciary became overtaxed. In the 1850s the equity jurisdiction of the Civil Court was challenged while the courts' jurisdiction in criminal matters was questioned. For these and other reasons, the Supreme Court Ordinance of 1861 was introduced.

The Supreme Court Ordinance (proclaimed on 18 June 1861) provided for a Supreme Court which had the same criminal, common law, and equity jurisdiction as the Courts of Westminister. The Ordinance amalgamated the Court of Quarter Sessions with the Supreme Court and transferred to it a number of functions of the Civil Court. For example, the Supreme Court was empowered to grant probates and letters of administration and given jurisdiction in bankruptcy matters. After 1863, the Supreme Court was also given jurisdiction in matrimonial causes (i.e. divorces).

Under the Ordinance, the officers of the Supreme Court were to be the Chief Justice (Archibald Paull Burt), an Attorney-General, a Master, and a Registrar.

In 1880 a new Supreme Court Act was introduced. The Act which came into force on 1 August 1881, clarified the Court's jurisidiction in admiralty matters and empowered the Chief Justice to make Rules for the conduct of the Court. Provision was also made for the appointment of one or more puisne judges and for the Chief Justice and other judges to sit as a Full Court. Initially, the Full Court could only entertain motions for retrials and pronounce on points of law, but after 1886 it was given the status of a Court of Appeal.

The first sitting of the Supreme Court was held on 3 July 1861 and for the first few years it occupied premises in the Police Court and Gaol Building in Beaufort Street, Perth. In 1863 it moved to the old (1836) Court House in Stirling Gardens and in 1880 moved again to the old (1835) Commissariat Store at the foot of Barrack Street. Despite alterations the Commissariat building was inadequate and in the 1890's work began on a new, purposely-designed courthouse. The new building, completed in 1903, is still the principal seat of the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

Name of creator

AU WA A101 - CIVIL COURT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA (1832-01-01 - 1860-12-31)

Administrative history

The Legislative Council passed an Act for establishing the Court of Civil Judicature (2 Wm IV No. 1) on the 10 February 1832, to be known as the Civil Court of Western Australia. The Court was to be held before one Judge, called "The Commissioner of the Civil Court of Western Australia". The Court was to deal with all cases as the Courts of Westminister in England, with authority to appoint Guardians and Committees over persons and property of infants, idiots and lunatics, and to grant probates of Wills, and commit letters of Administration. Suits were to be commenced in the Court by Summons and not by arrest.

Pleadings in the Court were to be oral and made in person. In 1861 all the powers of the Civil Court were transferred to the Supreme Court by the Supreme Court Ordinance (24 Vic. No. 15) on 18 June 1861.

Archival history

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Index cards to Grants of Probate and to Grants of Letters of Administration. The cards are arranged alphabetically and cover the period 1832 - c. 1939.

Typically, the index cards which constitute this series show 1) the name of the deceased 2) the date & place of death 3) names & descriptions of executors and administrators, 4) the sworn & net value of the estate, and 5) the amount of duty paid on the estate. Most importantly, the cards also provide a registry number for the probate and for the administration files. It is this number which identifies individual Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration

To locate Grants of Probate (court records which include copies of wills), researchers should note the registry number shown on the top right hand corner of the card. Having noted the probate registry number, researchers should then consult Record Series No. 34 or Record Series No. 56 (Probate files and Copies of Grants of Probate).

To locate Grants of Letters of Administration (documents issued when a person dies intestate or without a will), note the registry number on the card and consult Record Series No. 57 (Copies of Grants of Letters of Administration). Index cards to Administration files always show the names of administrators, rather than executors.

Some cards may be annotated D & S which is an abbreviation of Deeds and Settlements. The State Records Office holds a group of D & S files at Record Series No. 1915 (State Taxation Department).

Accruals

System of arrangement

Alphabetical

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open

Conditions governing access (legacy)

Open

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Related units of description

Authorized form of name

Identifier

Category of relationship

Controlling

Description of relationship

Dates of relationship

1832-01-01 - 1939-12-31

Identifier

Category of relationship

Controlling

Description of relationship

Dates of relationship

1832-01-01 - 1939-12-31

Identifier

Category of relationship

Controlling

Description of relationship

Dates of relationship

1832-01-01 - 1939-12-31

Identifier

Category of relationship

Succeeding

Description of relationship

Dates of relationship

-

Identifier

Category of relationship

Preceding

Description of relationship

Dates of relationship

1939-12-31 - 1940-12-31

Identifier

Category of relationship

Controlling

Description of relationship

Dates of relationship

1832-01-01 - 1939-12-31

Related units of description

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Description control area

Level of detail

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

Archivist's note

Range Control Symbol = 1 - 46
Copies: Microfiche copies of the cards are available in the State Records Office of Western Australia. Copies may also be located in State libraries and genealogy centres.

Accession area

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