Find your ancestors in South Australia, Pre-civil deaths 1836-1842


Do you have South Australian ancestry?

This is a listing of deaths in South Australia prior to the introduction of Civil Registration on 1 June 1842. It's a great genealogy tool for anyone exploring their family history or building a family tree.

"What information can I find on this index?"

• Last name
• First name(s)
• Age
• Occupation
• Date of Death
• Place of death
• Residence
• Date of burial
• Source of record

The first settlement on Kangaroo Island established a cemetery at Kingscote. When the majority of settlers moved to Holdfast Bay a number of deceased persons were buried in the sandhills in the area of Glenelg North prior to the establishment of West Terrace Cemetery.

The Colonial Chaplain (the incumbent of [Holy] Trinity on North Terrace) being the only clergyman present for much of this period conducted most burial services and maintained a register. Most burials were at West Terrace, however, a few are recorded as being at other places. No doubt some burials were not recorded if the Colonial Chaplain was not involved.

In March 1840, the West Terrace Cemetery employed a sexton and soon after the cemetery also maintained a burial register. Whether there was an earlier register is not known although some suggest there was one which was lost in a fire.

Other early cemeteries included the German cemeteries at Klemzig and Hahndorf. The register for these was maintained by Pastor Kavel and has not survived. Lothethal was another early German settlement and its registers record one burial in this period. Where the German settlers at Glen Osmond were buried is unknown although some suggest it was in the St Saviour churchyard, this Anglican parish was not established until 1854. Most other early burials predate the cemeteries in their area although it is likely that some sites were subsequently declared cemeteries. Port Adelaide St Paul was established in 1841 and had a cemetery at Albert Town. According to 1840 records of land usage, Yilki (then Yelkie) cemetery at Encounter Bay was established on RW Newland’s property by then.

Apart from these records, deaths and burials have been located in newspapers, inquest documents and sundry other government records. A few headstones mention early deaths and burials and a number of books including the Biographical Index of South Australians 1836–1885 mention early deaths. These are rarely substantiated.

This list is by no means complete and some records cannot be confirmed. You need to treat some of the entries with caution and attempt to verify using the sources given.

c/o = child of
d/o = daughter of
s/o = son of
w/o = wife of
BISA = Biographical Index of South Australians 1836–1885

Note: Original records recorded ages using years and months but this database uses decimal fractions of a year to denote months because the original field was numeric to allow database sorting.

Data provided by Graham Jaunay.