to death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers



Almost every death notice ever published in an Australian paper is available for researchers to access, if you know where to look. And fortunately, a surprisingly large (and increasing) number of notices are available online, for free.

Online Resources

Current Notices

News Corp has an excellent My Tributes online database containing in excess of 1.8 million notices from all News Corp papers. The notices cover the last ten or so years, and the database is updated daily with new notices.  
The Memories website contains current notices from an eclectic mix of Australian papers, published by both ACM and Nine.  
The National Library of Australia has digital versions of every edition of Sydney Morning Herald and The Age from the beginning of 2006 to today. These are exact copies of the print editions. An NLA library card (free at NLA website) is required in order to access them.  
All notices published online in the capital city dailies since the beginning of 2012 (the start date varies for each state) are freely available through the Australian Daily Funeral and Death Notices website. (Note that almost all notices in the print editions appear online, but the occasional notice is missed.)  

Historical Notices

TROVE, the National Library of Australia's online site, contains full digital images of many newspapers published prior to 1955 (with some later, such as Canberra Times to 1995). Check here first to see if the issue of the paper you want is available.  
Google has digitised many issues of the Sydney Morning Herald for the years 1955-1989. (Earlier years have also been digitised, but Trove is more complete.) Unfortunately not every issue has been digitised, but usually at least half of each year is available. Melbourne's The Age is also similarly covered to the end of 1989.  
The State Library of NSW online service has scanned copies of Sydney Morning Herald issues for the years 1955-1995. Access is available (for free) to NSW residents only, who must also hold a blue or gold State Library card. These are available free at NSW SL website and can be posted out if required.  
The National Library of Australia has scanned copies of Sydney Morning Herald issues for the years 1955-1995. An NLA library card (free at NLA website) is required in order to access them.  

Offline Resources

Your State Library All State Libraries in Australia hold comprehensive microfilm collections of newspapers published in the home state, and often also include the larger metropolitan dailies from other states. These usually include all but the most recent issues, and even then, new issues are added just as soon as enough issues to fill a microfilm reel have been collected. In the case of large papers like the SMH, when a full reel may only contain ten issues, it is possible to find a reel on the shelf within 6 weeks of issue.
Remember also that most State Libraries have an "Ask a Librarian" service, whereby you can request a lookup by quoting the newspaper and publication date. This is particularly helpful for those who do not have easy access to their State Library. See the appropriate State Library website for details.
Your Local Library At the local library level, microfilm copies of papers local to the library are often kept. These are almost always the same film reels as are available at the State Library, and are provided for convenient access by the local community.  

The Last Resort

If you have tried all the methods listed above with no success, then request a lookup from the team of Ryerson volunteers.  

This page is owned by Ryerson Index Inc, a non-profit organisation incorporated under the laws of New South Wales, Australia. The last update was 15 December 2020.