Early nineteenth-century gazettes served as general newspapers as well as government gazettes.

Before 1940, territory ordinances, including those of the ACT and Northern Territory, were published in full in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.

Most Commonwealth and state gazettes now appear weekly, except the Special and Periodic Gazettes which are published irregularly.


The term gazette normally refers to a newspaper.

The word comes from gazzetta, a Venetian coin used to buy early Italian newspapers; the coin became a name for the papers themselves

What is a gazette?

A gazette is an official publication for the purpose of notifying the actions and decisions of the government. All Australian governments (Commonwealth, State and Territory) publish official gazettes.

Notices published in government gazettes cover all aspects of government concern and regulation, and most are published because of a requirement of law. Acts, regulations and other subordinate legislation are notified in all gazettes, with some states publishing regulations in full as part of the notification.

What you might find in a gazette

Gazettes contain some surprising information:

  • proclamations which bring Acts into operation
  • Public Service vacancies, appointments and promotions
  • government tenders
  • land notices: acquisition, disposal and transfers of property, leases granted
  • lists of awards, honours, medals
  • electoral notices
  • government orders of various kinds
  • private notices of a legal nature e.g. bankruptcies, company registrations and windings-up, probate, by-laws of companies under royal charter
  • government purchasing matters
  • local government matters
  • registers of medical professionals

What is the best way to start looking for government notices in a gazette?

  • Start with what you know - for example a person's name, occupation, dates, land tenures.
  • Use the gazette index when available. The index will help you confirm your facts and provides a page number and date. The Commonwealth of Australia Gazette Index may be bound separately or bound with the General Gazette, depending on the date. Most state and territory gazette indexes are found with the gazette itself.
  • Know the name of the Act - in some gazettes you need to search the index under the relevant piece of legislation.

We have included examples of typical questions about gazettes in these pages.

Gazette number 39

Commonwealth of Australia
Gazette Number 39, 17.05.1915
Digital Collections:

A report received "from the official press representative with the Australian Expeditionary Force in connexion with the landing of the troops on the Gallipoli Penninsula".


GovPubs: the Australian Government Publications Guide 

A guide to selected types of Australian government publications, including Gazettes

Please note that GovPubs is no longer being maintained and updated. It is still a useful guide to printed publications and includes tips on where to find items in State Libraries and the National Library.

Not sure where to start?