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New South Wales Legislative Council 1825 - 1856: Consolidated Index to the Votes and Proceedings

New South Wales Legislative Council 1825 - 1856: Consolidated Index to the Votes and Proceedings

Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Occasional paper by R F Doust
The official record of the proceedings of the New South Wales Legislative Council, established in August 1824 under instructions from the Imperial Parliament in London, was called Minutes from 1824-1831 and Votes and Proceedings from 1832-1855. Printed paper copies are in the State Library of New South Wales, in the National Library of Australia, and microfilmed copies are in these and some other libraries. The microfilmed copies of the Minutes/Votes and Proceedings 1824-1855 are on the New South Wales Parliament’s website as unsearchable PDF files [NSW Hansard—Other Indexes---Records of Proceedings of Legislative Proceedings from 1824 to 1855]. Under a new Constitution which took effect in 1855, New South Wales gained a new bicameral Parliament with a Legislative Assembly and a Legislative Council. The New South Wales Parliamentary Archives has produced an index to the Proceedings of this ‘new’ Legislative Council from 1856-1954, but there has been no corresponding index to the whole of the proceedings of the 1824-1855 Council. This publication seeks to fill that gap.

The Minutes of Proceedings from the earliest in 1824 to 1831 were reprinted as volume I of a consolidation, by the New South Wales Government Printing Office, in 1846. It is assumed that the earlier volumes existed only in manuscript and that the reprinting was for preservation and for administrative convenience. An index, itself consolidated from the individual volume indexes to these years, was printed in the earliest (1824) volume. Further reprintings in 1847, in individual volumes, (there was no volume II), included an index for the years 1832-1837, rather confusingly in the 1831 volume.

The 1838, 1839, 1840 and 1841 volumes were separately printed by private printers, not by the Government Printer. Each of the volumes for 1838, 1840 and 1841 includes a handwritten index while the index for 1839 is a typewritten copy of what presumably had been handwritten: the PDF files on the Parliament website include these indexes. It has not been practicable for the present writer to discover whether these manuscript additions exist in any other of the surviving printed sets of the Votes & Proceedings. From 1842 onwards the printing reverted to the Government Printing Office and each yearly volume contains an index. None of these later indexes were consolidated at any time.

It is necessary to examine what the nineteenth century indexes actually indexed. In the printed volumes entries were grouped under broad classifications (‘alphabetico-classed’) and the index terms are brief to the point of being useful probably only to the nineteenth century users of the V & P. Modern researchers may require more detailed entries, which this new index provides. It is a specific entry index with entries for both personal names and non-personal subject names, in one continuous alphabetical order. The index terms are in bold type. In order to readily distinguish between ‘proper’ names and others, all non-personal names are in italic-- e.g. Brown, John, but Bushranging. The index incorporates the index from this writer’s Abstracts of Votes and Proceedings 1824-1843 with minor adjustments to some indexing terms, and as with those entries, the post-1843 entries have been derived directly from the printed day by day record of the proceedings of the Council. The references are to the actual dates of the first and later mentions of the person or subject [e.g., 21.7.37 ] in the printed Proceedings. The references in the original printed volumes were always to page numbers, but since the page numbers themselves were never printed, only inserted by hand, and do not appear even in every set of the V & P, it would not have been practicable to use them in this new consolidation. Furthermore, researchers using the original indexes in the online PDF files of the Votes and Proceedings on the Parliament’s website will have quickly found that page references in those indexes are often to second and later volumes in a year which has not been included on the website.

The present writer’s New South Legislative Council 1824-1856: The Select Committees is fully indexed and should be consulted by researchers who need to know more about what a committee did, who the members were, which witnesses appeared before it and other details. The appointment of each committee is noted in this new Consolidated Index. For the entries relating to new legislation, all instances from the original proposal from its passage through the Council to its passing, and to its Royal Approval, or otherwise, by the Governor have been noted in order to assist researchers seeking the outcome of legislative proposals. On occasion, when the occupation of an individual is apparent from the mention in the record of proceedings, this has been added to the entry; but biographers be aware--occupations do change from time to time.