to death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers

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died 30 August 2012, aged 95


The Ryerson Index is a free index to death notices appearing in Australian newspapers. The date range covered extends from the Sydney Gazette of 1803 up to newspapers published within the last week or so. The Index also includes many funeral notices, and some probate notices and obituaries.

Because the Index was originally created by the Sydney Dead Persons Society, its strength lies in notices from NSW papers - including in excess of two million notices from the Sydney Morning Herald alone. However, the representation from papers from other states continues to grow, with additional papers being regularly added, so that the Index can now truly be considered an Australian index.

Indexing is being continuously carried out by a team of volunteers, too numerous to mention individually, who give freely of their time to ensure the site continues to grow. Site updates generally occur weekly.

The index itself cannot by definition be considered a primary source of data, but is purely a research aid to direct the researcher to the original source of a notice. We at Ryerson cannot undertake genealogical research for you, we are too busy indexing!


April 2020 marked a huge change in newspaper publication in Australia. Because of the economic effects of the COVID-19 virus, and the effective shut-down of many sections of the Australian economy, income from classified advertisements dropped to almost zero for many papers. While many of those papers with a cover price continued to publish, almost all the community papers, most of which were distributed free of charge, overnight became uneconomical. As a result, publishers did the obvious thing, and ceased publication of the printed edition of these free papers.

To soften the blow, publishers stated that the print version of these papers had been "suspended", and printing would resume when circumstances allowed. However, it is our belief that many of these papers have now ceased to exist, and will never again be printed.

We have tried to gather details of papers where printing has been suspended, and our list can be found here. This list continues to grow, as further suspensions come to light.

Most papers have stated they intend to continue to disseminate local news via their websites, which in most cases will be placed behind a pay-wall after a 4-week "introductory period". It is unclear what will happen to classifieds in these papers, but one thing is obvious - few funeral directors (or their customers) are going to pay a quite large amount to place death and funeral notices on a website. This, combined with the transitory nature of website content, means that Ryerson can no longer index any notices published on the website of a suspended newspaper, because we have no way of directing future researchers to the original notice. It is to be hoped that many of the notices normally published in a suspended paper are redirected to one of the larger dailies still in print, and so are indexed by Ryerson, but of course we have no way of knowing if this does turn out to be the case.

A Special Appeal to
Family and Local History Societies

We always welcome Family History or Local History Societies who are interested in indexing the notices from their local paper. We find members of such societies make excellent indexers, because they know their local area and the names associated with it, and usually have a personal interest in the notices they are indexing.

If your society would like to contribute to Ryerson, please contact us via the link at the left of the screen.

Indexing Vacancies

We currently have the following vacancies for indexers of the capital city dailies:

Perth West Australian - Wed/Thu/Fri/Sat

If you are able to help out with indexing any of these papers, please contact us.

Please note - for all papers we prefer indexers who have access to the printed paper, or a .pdf version of the paper, as indexing from most newspaper websites can be unreliable.

Melbourne Help Required

We need people with access to The Age back issues on microfilm.

Our source (Google Newspapers) has not filmed every issue, so we have numerous gaps in our pre-1990 indexing. We need people with access to The Age on microfilm to locate the notices for the missing days, save them as .pdf and send them to us. No indexing is required (unless you want to!) - we only need your time spent in a library.

If you can help, please contact us via the link on the left.

Notices Indexed by Decade
(as at 21 April 2020)
Search site last updated
30 May 2020
(next planned update
6 June)
350 Newspapers
7,465,881 entries
(including more than 4 million entries from the past 30 years, which you won't find on any of the state BDM websites!)

Still can't find what you want? Then try the Australian Cemeteries Index

Can You Help?
Is your local paper currently included in Ryerson? If not, then why not take on the task of indexing the notices for us?

Do you have access to a library or other repository which has microfilm copies of newspapers available? We are always in need of people who can copy notices for us to index.

If you can help, please contact us via the link at the left of the screen.

Visitors Map
(since 12 June 2016)

This page is owned by Ryerson Index Inc, a non-profit organisation incorporated under the laws of New South Wales, Australia.