Part 2: How some land records are arranged and described

Land Selection & Pastoral Leases Lease Records – Series 14033 (LAN/AG) and 14050 (LAN/DF) at Queensland State Archives

This series of land blogs was developed from research done by historian Ruth Kerr

When one describes land selection as being under the LAN/AG and LAN/DF series one is referring to a multiplicity of different types of selections provided for under the above land legislation. The type of selection proposed was always decided before proclamation in the Queensland Government Gazette of the land as available for selection.

LAN/AG and LAN/DF are the series descriptors used by QSA in the 1960s and 1970s when the records were transferred to them and arranged and described. AG means ‘agricultural’ and DF means ‘dead farm’. ‘Dead’ means the selection process has been completed in that the land has been freeholded or cancelled or forfeited and the land returned to State or crown land. Within these series there are a range of selection types provided for under the various acts. All of the selection files held at QSA end at the time the land was freeholded, surrendered or forfeited. The files are arranged numerically within each land agent’s district in Queensland. The Public Lands Department in the nineteenth century arranged the files in numerical order (beginning at 1) from when land selection commenced in that area.

The land selections are arranged numerically by selection number within the land agent’s district. With the opening of new settlement areas the first selections were filed under the relevant land agent’s district. If the land settlement in the new areas was rapid a new land agent’s district was often formed eg. Cairns – Port Douglas; Cardwell – Innisfail. In these cases the selections were allocated a new number in the new land agent’s district. When the boundaries of land agent’s districts changed files were transferred to the new land agent’s district.

QSA, Digital Image ID 181: Lands Administration Building, George Street, Brisbane, c 1933

Researchers may not find the land agent’s district to be easily identified. There is a Queensland Town Map Directory, List of Towns and Localities including index number, latitude, longitude, parish, map designation, real property district, land agents district and local authority, in the QSA Public Search Room compiled by the Survey Office in November 1970 which lists the Land Agent’s District.

Land was defined as agricultural, first class pastoral or second class pastoral under the Crown Lands Alienation Act 1968, under which the initial land selection in the colony was done.


One of the most valuable transfers of records relating to land selection to Queensland State Archives was series 14000 – card index to non-current lessees. This microfilmed index is very easy to use. Previous to that researchers had to search the Series 13945 (LAN/P registers) by land agent’s district and number of the selection to identify names of transferees. These registers could also be utilized for extensive statistical studies of rents including arrears, mortgages, areas of selections, resumptions from selections.

The Search Procedures for Pastoral Leases and Land Selections at QSA are meticulous and effective.

Two concise and admirable guides to land records (which are not on the QSA website) are:

The Lands Department, published by Queensland State Archives in 1981, and

A Guide to the Records of the Crown Lands Office 1842 – 1875 and the Crown Lands Commissioners’ Office 1982 – ca 1900, published by Queensland State Archives in 1981.

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