The Australian Government Gazettes [1832-1968]

TROVE. The National Library of Australia. Source: https://trove.nla.gov.au/gazette

Overview

A gazette is an official government newspaper, produced to notify the public of government business. The Australian Government Gazettes (1832-1968) are a collection of 3.4 million articles. The Gazettes have been digitised, are online, and can be viewed freely on Trove.

Gazettes can give the reader a snapshot of a time, and can provide information on individuals, such as: convicts, government employees, professionals such as doctors, nurses and architects, new citizens and bushrangers; geographical information like the creation of municipalities and building of roads; the issuing of mining leases; the founding, purchase, sale and bankrupting of businesses; and much more.

The collection has been compiled in Trove and packaged up for easy access by researchers. This dataset comprises 3 publications:

  • The New South Wales Government Gazette (1832-1900). “New South Wales” was historically very different to today. It also covered Victoria and Queensland up to the 1850s.
  • The Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (1901-1968). After Federation the government of New South Wales became a state government, the  publication therefore changed its name and scope.
  • The Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (1901-1968). It began publication at Federation, and up until the 1940s also included Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory content.

It’s Great Because

You don’t have to learn the Trove API, write an extraction program or wait days for a harvest. The files are available to immediately download and use. You can even access them directly using a Jupyter notebook on Cloudstor.

But Watch Out For

Text inaccuracies. While technology is impressive, the process used to turn a digitised image into searchable text is far from perfect. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is the technology behind this conversion. If you’re searching for certain phrases or delimiters to extract and process your text, then be prepared to do some manual data cleanup. Common problems are a spot on the page that is misrepresented as a comma, an apostrophe missed out completely, and letters like ‘e’ wrongly read as ‘o’.

Learning Curve

Intermediate.

To get started, do some close reading of a few gazette articles in the Trove interface, this will give you a feel for the gazette contents and layout of an article. Once you’ve got a handle on that, then move on to processing the dataset.

How Do You Make Things with It?

Download the data, process it using your coding language or program of choice, then visualise it. Look at the Tinker Recipes for beginner/intermediate instructions.

Languages Available

English

Formats available

JSON – 23 files

XML – 3 files

Trove gazettes articles have their own data structure or schema, learn about this in the Trove Help.

Who Owns/Curates this Dataset?

The Trove team at the National Library of Australia have done the work to make this reference dataset available. The digitisation projects that put these gazettes online were a collaboration between the National Library of Australia, the State Library of New South Wales and the Office of Parliamentary Council. 

How is it Licenced?

Out of Copyright

The dataset has been limited to material that is already out of copyright, to make life easier for researchers. Further gazette issues, which are still in copyright, are available directly via Trove.

Please ensure you give proper attribution to Trove.

What’s the citation?

Australian Government Gazettes 1832-1968. National Library of Australia – Trove. 

Examples

THATCamp Sydney 2018 – Naturalisation Records

Where Can I Learn More?

Anything Else?

The Trove team would like to help promote any research you’ve done with the Australian Government Gazettes (1832-1968), or just hear about what you’re doing. From undergraduate student to ARC fellow, get in touch and let them know about your project. The Trove Contact Form takes five minutes to fill in and is the best way to talk to the Trove team. You can also make requests for new research datasets!