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Australian government publications

The Australian government produces vast numbers of publications that document changes to our social, economic, political and family lives, from divorce law to bushfires. Whilst they are a major source of historical and current information, they are often not well understood and can be tricky to find.

The Library has collections of official government publications from Victoria back to the mid 19th century, as well as from other states and the Commonwealth of Australia.

You can find government publications listed in the catalogue, including VicRoads driving manual, the 1933 Australian population census and annual reports of government bodies. Many are not so easy to find but are part of long-running series, such as:

  • Hansard records of what politicians said in parliament, including debates on proposed changes to laws
  • Government gazettes with announcements on land transactions, court notices, government appointments, bankruptcies, proclamation of acts, lists of doctors and dentists, statistics, tenders, unclaimed letters and monies, reward notices and many other things. The archive of the Victoria Government Gazette 1836–1997 has been digitised and is now available online. 
  • Parliamentary papers presented to parliament and ordered to be printed, including reports from government departments, royal commissions and committees of inquiry. For example, we have Victorian reports on the Westgate Bridge collapse, the 1939 bushfires and development plans for Melbourne, 1929.