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Reference code

AU WA S417




  • 1832-01-01 - (Creation)

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Administrative history

Pursuant to 2 William IV No. 6. a registrar was appointed and a "public office" established "for the registration of Deeds Conveyances and other Instruments, Wills and Judgements". Registration was effected by lodging with the Registrar of Deeds a memorial of the document to be registered. The 1832 Legislation (2 William Acts 6 & 7) were repealed and replaced by the Registration of Deeds Act 1856. (29 Vic., No. 14). This Act which is still extant provided that all registered documents should have priority according to the date of registration. In recent times the conveyancing provisions of this Act have been amended by the Property Law Act 1969.

In 1876, upon the establishment of the Office of Titles the Deeds system of land conveyancing was superseded by the Torrens system of land registration. The 1856 legislation still applied to dealings in land granted by the Crown before the new system came into operation. The Office of Registrar of Deeds still exists within the present day Office of Titles.

Name of creator

AU WA A235 - OFFICE OF TITLES (1876-01-01 - 1984-11-01)

Administrative history

This agency was established in 1876 pursuant to the Transfer of Land Act 1874 (38 Vic. No. 13). The Act provided for the appointment of a Commissioner of Titles "for superintending the department hereby established" and other officers, to implement the Torrens system of land registration as well as continue to administer the Deed system (which covered land conveyed by memorials). The "old" system of conveyancing was consolidated in the Registration of Deeds Act 1856 19 Vic., No. 14, and updated by the Property Law Act, 1969.

The first Commissioner of Titles, C.H. James, was appointed in 1876. Until the mid 1980's the Land Titles Office, now known as the Office of Titles, was a sub department of the Crown Law Department. Since November 1984 its controlling agency has been the Department of Lands and Surveys (now known as the Department of Land Administration).

Name of creator

AU WA A242 - LAND TITLES OFFICE (1984-11-01 -)

Administrative history

The Office of Titles became the Land Titles Office in November 1984 and since then has been controlled by the Department of Lands and Surveys (now department of Land Administration). Current Functions:

  • the primary role of the agency is to maintain a register of title to all 'Torrens System' land, ie, all land held under the Transfer of Land Act 1893 and the Strata Titles Act 1985.

The Office also maintains a Deeds Register which records dealings in land granted by the Crown before the Torrens system came into operation, and not subsequently brought under the operation of that system.

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Memorials are true copies of conveyances ie, transfers of land, mortgages, leases, changes of name, wills (etc). Under the Registration of Deeds Act 1856 a conveyance is validated by the lodgement of a memorial of the document with the Registrar of Deeds. The latter endorses, registers the memorial and binds it in book form.

Prior to the introduction of the Torrens System of land registration all dealings in land granted by the Crown were recorded in the Deeds register. The latter records title is not brought under the Torrens System. Since 1876 a person who wishes to sell land registered under the deeds system must show good title to the land for the past 40 years (prior to 1878 this was 60 years). The Deeds Register also records changes of names (of persons) by deed poll, or licence.

For a summary or precis of registered dealings see WAS 418.


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Archivist's note

Range Control Symbol = Book 1, Volume 1 -
Copies: Microfilm copies available in the State Records Office of Western Australia

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