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Skip Navigation LinksQueensland State Archives > Researching the archives > Indexes > Lands > Land selections prior to 1884

Land selections prior to 1884

Search to find a selector

Name searching for land selected prior to the Crown Lands Act of 1884 is available in Queensland State Archives' online catalogue ArchivesSearch.

(1) Go to the ArchivesSearch catalogue

(2) In the Search for box, type in the keyword Selection and the Name of the Selector. Press Enter or click on Search.

The catalogue will retrieve a list of selectors and records from a number of series, including:

Using Basic Search and typing in the name of the selector will return a wider range of records for the surname, especially for a more common name.

Many of these records are available on microfilm in the Public Search Room at Queensland State Archives.

What to do if you cannot locate the file

Some files have only one page and are easy to miss. Check to see if it has been put in the file on either side.

Does a file have a number that appears to be incorrectly filed? Sometimes the number has changed. If the land has changed from one Land Agent's District to another, the new number may only be on one or two pages. The relevant register will verify.

Maybe the index is incorrect. Check using departmental finding aids - see Search Procedure 3: Land Selections (PDF, 65KB)

Section 67 and 68 of the Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1868 enabled land leased under the earlier Acts to be brought under the provisions of the 1868 Act in specific circumstances.

The Crown Lands of 1884 represented a major change in land management in the State.

How to order a land selection file

As land selection files can vary in size, once you have located the file you require please complete a copy quote request form.  Information regarding charges can be found on our Copying charges page.

If you require further information, please contact us.


The Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1860 directed that no less than 100,000 acres be set aside for agricultural purposes on the shores or navigable waters of Moreton Bay, Wide Bay, Port Curtis and Keppel Bay, and at least 10,000 acres within five miles of all towns with more than 500 inhabitants, as well as any other areas that from time to time may be required. Lands were to be set aside, surveyed and called Agricultural Reserves. This land was not to be submitted to public auction, but sold at a fixed price of twenty shillings per acre subject to provisions laid out in the Act.

Prospective settlers had to apply at the office of the Land Agent nearest to the reserve and point out on a map the lot or lots they wished to select and pay in advance twenty shillings for every acre. If within six months the selector had occupied and begun to improve or cultivate the land, then a deed of grant would be issued. If the conditions were not carried out the purchase money, less ten per cent would be returned and the land again opened for selection.

Section 12 of the Act allowed the occupant of a farm to lease any vacant portion adjoining the farm for five years at a yearly rent of six pence per acre and under certain conditions to purchase it. No farm was to be less than 40 acres and no one could purchase more than 320 acres in the same reserve.

The Agricultural Reserves Act of 1863 repealed sections of the 1860 Act relating to the proclamation of Agricultural Reserves, the method of obtaining land and the areas that could be purchased, other sections of the 1863 Act included those concerned with proof of conditions and forfeiture for non fulfilment.

The Leasing Act of 1866 dealt with land not taken up under the 1863 Act, e.g. land not taken up after it was proclaimed open. The Act gives the conditions under which land could be leased.

The Alienation of Crown Lands Act was assented to on 28 February 1868. It repealed all previous acts relating to the occupation, alienation or other disposal of Crown Lands. The Governor in Council was able to appoint Land Agents to deal with the sale, selection and leasing of Crown Land under the provisions of the Act. Land to be open for selection was to be proclaimed in the Government Gazette and the nearest local newspaper at least one month prior to the opening date.

Land was divided into three classes - agricultural land, first class pastoral land and second class pastoral land. Limits to land selected included area - not less than 40 acres and not more than 640 acres for agricultural land, not less than 80 and not more than 2560 acres for first class pastoral and not less than 80 nor more than 7680 acres for second class pastoral land. To lease land the selector had to be an adult, natural born or naturalised.

A married woman could only hold land if she had a decree for judicial separation or an order protecting her property in Queensland. There are many cases in this series of women inheriting land from their husbands. Leases were for ten years. The price of the land varied depending on the class of land, 15 shillings per acre for agricultural, ten shillings per acre for first class pastoral and five shillings for second class pastoral. Rent was payable in ten annual instalments. These were conditional selections, where the selector had to fulfil conditions of residence and specified improvements before being able to buy the land either at the end of the ten year lease or on payment of the total price.

The Alienation of Crown Lands Act of 1868 and subsequent amending Acts were repealed by the Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1876. For the purposes of selection files there were few major changes. Land selected under the 1868 Act continued. The classes of land were changed and prices were no longer laid down in the legislation but could be set by the Governor in Council.

Files include land which was subsequently purchased, land forfeited or applications which were rejected, cancelled or withdrawn. Reasons for rejection are usually written across the top left hand corner of the application form.

Selections taken up under the Immigration Act are located in Series ID 14019 (LAN/R1 - LAN/R20). The Act or section of the Act under which land was selected is usually, but not always, noted in the registers of selectors. Sometimes immigration selections can be found in the general series and some selections under the Land Acts can be found in the immigration selection files.

Files of land selected under earlier Acts and brought under the provisions of the 1868 Act were usually kept separately.

The files may include any of the following - application to select, description, survey plan, lease, proof of fulfilment of conditions, certificate of fulfilment of conditions, Government Gazette notices, transfer of lease, forfeiture of selection, reversal of forfeiture, application to purchase, issue of deed of grant, and correspondence.

Last updated 30 September 2016
​Queensland State Archives Digital Image ID 1909: Application for Selection 363 by William Ulie, Calliope Homestead Area, Land Agent's District of Gladstone, 9 October 1877