In Western Australia the earliest records of births, deaths and marriages are church records dating from 1829, the year the State was founded. Transcripts of early colonial records deposited with the State archives can be viewed at the J S Battye Library, Alexander Library Building in Northbridge.
In 1841 the first act to regulate registration was passed. The recording of births, deaths and marriages became an official function of Government and the Registrar General's Office was established with the appointment of the State's first Registrar General, George Frederick Stone.
The registration system was based on there being two registrations made for every event, one in the register of the district in which the event occurred and one in the General Register kept in the Registrar General's Office.
Under legislation of 1894, 40 Registry Districts were established and District Registrars appointed throughout the State to accommodate an increasing and geographically dispersed population. Although there are now 28 Registry Districts to which a District Registrar, usually a Clerk of the Court, is appointed, registration of life events has been centralised at the Perth Registry Office.
On 14 April 1999, the revised Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1998 was proclaimed. The office was re-named the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and although registry districts were abolished on repeal of the 1961 Act, they continue to operate by administrative directive.
Following the Titles Office, the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages is the second oldest State Government department continuously providing service since 1 September 1841.
Last updated: 13-Feb-2017
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