Discover details about Australian ancestors who worked in a government role in the early 20th century. Search the records of tens of thousands of people employed by the commonwealth in these two lists, one from 1904, the other from 1920 to find their name, date of birth and details of their job. It’s a vital family history resource.
These records are made up of two separate lists, 1904 and 1920 in a PDF format. The information contained varies but you can find out the following about your ancestor:
Date of birth
Date of first appointment
Office (position) appointed to
Class or grade
Salary (including rent)
Deductions for rent
Date present salary received from
The 1920 volume includes several additional pieces of information
Rates of annual salary assigned to certain positions
Post office classifications
Classification of telegraphists
Special district allowances
Comprehensive index to permanent commonwealth officers.
The List of Permanent Officers of the Commonwealth Public Service was published for the first time in June 1904 and gave the details of over 13,000 people employed throughout Australia. It is arranged by department and, where applicable, by state.
The larger 1920 list, published on June 30th 1920, gives details of over 22,000 people.
Searching for your ancestor in the Commonwealth Public Service list will be slightly different from using our regular search feature. The list is provided in PDF format which means that while you can download the entire document to browse at your leisure, targeted searching is a little more precise. We’ve provided a few tips to help you get started.
All searches must be for exact words or phrases occurring within the text. Your search results will contain a list of pages where the word or words appear. All search results will bring you directly to the page where your search term can be found.
To search for your ancestor by name you will have to search for the name as it appears in the book. In this document names appear with the surname first, followed by initials. So if your relative was a Bob Bill Smith you would search for Smith, R.W. as the initials would be for the full form of the first name(s). In this case Robert William. Don’t forget the punctuation. There should be a comma after the last name and a full stop after each initial.
If you put a phrase or a name in inverted commas then the search will look for the words in the order you have them rather than looking for each word individually. For example “Smith, R.W.”.
If you want to search for several words that do not necessarily appear in consecutive order then you can put a comma between each search term. For example: Smith, Sidney, “post office”
Don’t forget that you can also search for any other pieces of information you may have. A job title or place where your ancestor lived can narrow things down considerably.
You can enlarge the page by moving your mouse to the bottom right corner of the image and clicking on the magnifying glass symbol with a plus sign in it that appears there. You can also print, save and return the image to its previous size from this menu.