Source Information South Australia, Australia, Select Tax and Financial Records, 1838-1928; Returns of Census, 1841 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2021.
Original data: Select Tax and Financial Records, 1844-1935; Returns of Census, 1841. Adelaide, South Australia, Australia: State Records of South Australia.

About South Australia, Australia, Select Tax and Financial Records, 1838-1928; Returns of Census, 1841

Using the collection

Census records in the collection may include the following information:

  • Name of head of household
  • Place of residence
  • Date of residence
  • Number of people in house
  • Approximate ages of household members
  • Genders of household members
  • Other records in the collection may contain additional information, such as:

  • Occupation
  • Date of filing
  • Financial information
  • In many cases, especially in rural areas, addresses may not have been available. However, the "residence" field can provide clues about where your ancestor lived. If names aren’t listed alphabetically, there's a good chance the houses are listed in sequential order by street. Census returns usually only list the name of the head of the household, along with the gender and age of other members of the household. Occasionally, other household members' names may also be listed.

    Household members weren't necessarily related. It's possible that household members may have been servants or boarders.

    Collection in context

    The 1841 census is the earliest surviving Australian census and also the only Australian census available for public viewing. All other censuses were destroyed after the statistical data was recorded. Statistics for older censuses are available to the public, but no personally identifiable information remains. The next available census is from 2001, but it won't be available until 2101, as Australian law decrees census records are only available to the public after 100 years.

    Before uniting to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, each colony had a separate taxation system. The earliest form of taxation in South Australia was through customs and excise duties. Customs tax charges for goods when they're transported across state lines; excise tax charges for goods when they're made. Upon federation, trade across the Australian states became free, and income tax (introduced in 1884) became the most significant form of taxation in South Australia. In 1910, Australia introduced the Land Tax Act which charged taxes on unimproved lands.


    Australian Taxation Office. "History of Tax in Australia." Last modified April 4, 2018,

    Australian Taxation Office. "Our History." Last modified May 21, 2015,

    Government of South Australia. "Census 1841." Last modified August 15, 2016,

    State Library of South Australia. "Government Records and the Family Historian:Census Records." Last modified September 22, 2021,