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Skip Navigation LinksQueensland State Archives > Researching the archives > Indexes > Courts > Divorces 1861-1894

Divorces 1861-1894

This index was compiled from Series ID 5688, Matrimonial Petitions, 1861-1976. The series of divorce files was created by the Supreme Court of Queensland, Southern District, Brisbane.


Divorce records are otherwise known as matrimonial petitions or causes (writs) or Common Law writs. Matrimonial writs are marked "Mat" or "Matrimonial". Matrimonial petitions were kept as a separate series from 1861 to 1894 (Series ID 5688) and from 1961 onwards; from 1894 to 1961 they were kept together with other writs in Series ID 5687.

These files usually contain a range of documents including:

  • petitions and notice of petitions
  • citations for respondent and co-respondent
  • orders for summons
  • praecipe for subpoena
  • pleas and statements
  • certificate of marriage
  • affidavit of service and identification
  • joinder of issue
  • certificate of Registrar
  • notice of trial
  • decree nisi
  • decree absolute
  • maintenance orders
  • costs.

Please note: earlier files do not always contain a marriage certificate or maintenance orders. Some of the files have been water damaged.

The images below (click for larger image) are documents found within a matrimonial writ file. From Divorce No. 166 of 1894 Stewart -v- Holzmann, the Front cover of the file (on the left) listing all documents within the file and item No. 17 the Decree Nisi cover page (on the right).

Writ cover      Divorce file

Explanatory notes

  • ? indicates there is doubt about the entry due to difficulty in interpreting handwriting refer to the See also entries for other possibilities
  • Check all possible spelling variants as names appear as written in the original record
  • Some given names are abbreviated as they appear in the original record
  • Mc and Mac names are interfiled
  • - or a blank cell indicates that there is no information recorded in the original
  • Names have been indexed without an apostrophe, e.g. O DWYER
  • Asiatic names are written as they appear in the original record

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Costs and ordering

The cost for each reference required is A$18.30. For the fee, you will receive up to eight (8) pages.

To order copies of an item, please complete an index order form (PDF, 67KB). When completing the form, quote the name of the person (family and given names), date filed and reference.

Related records

See also Supreme Court of Queensland, Southern District, Brisbane Series ID 5687, Writs, 1857-2007. To locate record within this series refer to Search Procedure 6: Divorces (PDF, 75KB).

See also Supreme Court of Queensland, Northern District, Townsville Series ID 6242, Matrimonial Petitions, 1879-1976. This series is item listed which allows searching by individual name.

For the Supreme Court of Queensland, Central District, Rockhampton, no files or indexes are held at Queensland State Archives.

Last updated 06 July 2015

 Indexes available under Open Data initiative

The index to Divorces 1861-1894 is now available through the Queensland Government’s Open Data initiative. The Open Data indexes are available in .csv and .txt format.
The content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence.