Electoral Rolls

Polling booths, 1940 [221414PD]
Wartime voting in federal elections
Perth, 21 September 1940 [221414PD]

The Battye Library holds a large collection of Western Australian electoral rolls, including State, Commonwealth and municipal electoral rolls.

Please note: Electoral rolls are usually published on the occasion of an election or referendum. They are not generally published every year.

Electoral History

The first Legislative Council in Western Australia met on 7 February 1832, its members appointed by the Governor. It remained an appointed Council until 1870, when Governor Weld allowed two thirds of the Council to be elected under restricted franchise. Consequently the first electoral rolls date from this time, very few of which have survived. When responsible government was granted in 1890 a bi-cameral Parliament was formed consisting of the Legislative Assembly, elected by manhood suffrage, and the Legislative Council elected under a restricted franchise according to property and other qualifications. Women were given the right to vote in Western Australia in 1899. By 1963 property and other qualifications for voters in Legislative Council elections were abolished. In 1970 Western Australia was the first state to give 18 year olds the vote. By 1974 the Commonwealth had done likewise.

Colonial Electoral Rolls – Pre 1901

Pre-Federation electoral rolls can be found in the State Records Office either as estrays or miscellaneous items within larger series of records. Most of them have been microfilmed. There are two reels: the first containing Accessions 63, 64, 527, 1141 and 1369 and filed at Accession 63, and the second containing Accessions 262, 591, 859, 860, 861 and 863 and filed at Accession 262. An *asterisk denotes those rolls which have not been filmed, and which are available via the Archives Search Room on the ground floor of the Alexander Library Building.

Legislative Council

Electoral District Date(s) Accession Number
Beverley 1897 862
Canning 1897 864
De Grey 1890 64
East Province 1896-1899 863
Fremantle 1870-1875        1879-1889 262
Geraldton 1870-1888 591
Perth 1870-1890 63
Pinjarra 1870-1874 *262
South Province June1900 527
Vasse 1886-1890 1369

 Legislative Assembly

Electoral District Date(s) Accession Number
Albany June1900 527
De Grey 1890, 1895 1895 64 *138 (f.243)
Moore 1896, 1897- 1899 April 1897 861 863
New Norcia May 1900 *859
Northam 1896-1899 860
Toodyay 1891, 1896- 1900 859
West Perth June1900 527


State Electoral Rolls 1904-
Prior to the 1965 general election there were separate electoral rolls for the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. This occurred because the eligibility to vote in Legislative Council elections was dependant upon property or professional qualifications. For this reason, while the electoral rolls for the Legislative Assembly show only name, address and occupation, the Legislative Council rolls also give details of the property owned or qualification which allows the elector to be placed on the roll.

Legislative Council
1908 -1962 On microfiche in the Reading Room.
1965 - Same roll as the Legislative Assembly used.

Legislative Assembly
1904 to date On microfiche in the Reading Room.

Current State and Commonwealth Electoral rolls are now produced regularly in microfiche format for Western Australia as a whole. These are in alphabetical order and are on microfiche in the Battye Reading Room.

Commonwealth Electoral Rolls for Western Australia
In the main, Commonwealth electoral rolls provide the same sort of information as State electoral rolls. The Battye Library has an incomplete set of Commonwealth rolls (1901, 1919 & 1955-1989). Once again they are usually only published in the year when an election is held.

Commonwealth electoral rolls for Western Australia are produced for each House of Representatives electorate. There are no separate rolls for the Senate, the whole State voting as one electorate and seats allocated according to the proportion of votes received.

House of Representatives

Dates and Descriptions

1901 All rolls available. On microfiche (filed in front of the michrofiched State Rolls).

1919 All rolls available. Filed as serial [324.24]*

1955-1969 Most rolls available*

1974 – 1984 All rolls available*

1988 All rolls available. These can be found on designated shelves in the Reading Room (near State rolls)

1991 - The latest Commonwealth electoral rolls for Western Australia are available on microfiche on the first floor. The Battye Library will have the superseded rolls on microfilm.

Local Government Electoral Rolls
Electoral rolls for various municipalities are usually published on the occasion of an election. Local government elections generally occur every year. The Battye Library holds published electoral rolls as serials. By no means are all local government electoral rolls published, and consequently the Battye Library’s holdings of electoral rolls of small and remote municipalities are rather meagre.

To locate a local government electoral roll please consult a computer terminal. The name of the municipal council is needed so search under WORD giving the name of the creating body. e.g. CITY OF BUNBURY, TOWN OF CLAREMONT or SHIRE OF MUKINBUDIN.

A list of all publications produced by the relevant municipality will be listed. If an electoral roll is listed as a title, fill out a green call slip recording the title, class number and the year you wish to see. Hand this to the librarian and it will be obtained from stack.

Please Note:

Some very early local government electoral rolls may be located in the State Records Office. For instance, some 19th century electoral lists for York and Toodyay have been filmed with pre Federation Colonial electoral rolls:

Municipality

Date(s)

Acc. No.

Filed at Acc No

Toodyay 1899 859 262
York 1870,1872 1141/82 63

Electoral Maps
The boundaries and names of electoral districts change from time to time. These changes occur because of electoral redistributions caused mainly by population changes within existing electorates. Electoral redistributions can result in electorates being abolished and the creation of new ones in order to represent a shifting population.

By perusing electoral maps the names of electoral districts can be ascertained. For the convenience of researchers, copies of State and Commonwealth electoral maps have been placed in folders on the shelving designated for electoral rolls. Copies of State electoral maps date from 1885. Commonwealth maps commence in 1955. If you require more detailed information, the map listing CN 94 can be consulted. This records the details of all electoral maps in the Battye Library. 

Streets, Towns and Places Index Books
Streets, Towns and Places Index Books for 1971, 1972 (draft), 1974, 1976 (draft), 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1983 are very useful and give the particular Legislative Assembly electorate and Legislative Council province for most streets, towns or localities in Western Australia. They can be used instead of maps for the dates shown above.

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Page last updated: Friday 26 September 2014

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