Railway Employees

The South Australian Railways (SAR) has been a key agency involved in the economic growth and development of South Australia.  Due to its extensive rail network, and their key role in transporting people and goods, the SAR created a large number of records on diverse topics.

South Australian Railways was established in 1856 with the passing of the South Australian Railway Act (Act No. 27 of 1855 – 1856). The Act authorised the appointment of the South Australian Railway Commissioners and vested in them the control of country and metropolitan railways. In August 1975 responsibility for country railway lines was divested to the Australian National Railways Commission and metropolitan railway lines to the newly formed State Transport Authority.

This administrative change affected the location of archival records. Records relating to country and metropolitan railway lines archived prior to 1975 were archived with the South Australian Archives (now State Records). After 1975, records relating to metropolitan lines were archived with the South Australian Archives (now State Records) and records relating to country lines were archived with the National Archives of Australia (the Archives of the Commonwealth Government). However many of these were transferred to State Records in March 2001.

Most records relating to this subject were created by:

  • South Australian Railways (GRG42)

  • South Australian Railways Commissioner (GA94)

  • Comptroller of Accounts, South Australian Railways (GA89)

  • Municipal Tramways Trust (GA120)

  • State Transport Authority (GA90)

  • TransAdelaide (GA614)

South Australian Railways employee records – series held

Series ID

Series title and date range




Register of appointments confirmed – South Australian Railways, 1889 – 1926


See Special List (also available In the Research Centre. This series is also indexed by GRS 111).



Staff registers - South Australian Railways, 1853 - 1913


See Special List (also available in the Research Centre).

GRS 87

Record of officers with annual salaries - South Australian Railways, 1911-1913


None available

GRS 88

Record of employees - South Australian Railways, 1882-1885


None available

GRS 90

Record of Classified Officers, Temporary Employees, Non-Classified Officers and Cadets of the South Australian Railways and Tramways showing salaries and wages paid and allowances, 1873-1888


None available

GRS 91

Record of appointments and transfers - South Australian Railways, 1917-1963


None available

GRS 111

Index to employee appointment forms ('Form A') - South Australian Railways, 1889-1921


Acts as index to GRG 42/73

GRS 116

Classified lists of officers and employees of the South Australian Railways, 1889-1943


None available, arranged chronologically

GRS 1427

Staff history cards, - South Australian Railways, c1907 - c1961


None available, arranged alphabetically by surname

GRS 6232

Employees’ record of war service – South Australian Railways, 1914 - 1953


None available, arranged alphabetically

GRS 10638

Record of employment sheets – South Australian Railways, c1880 – c1976


None available


Register of Service, Resigned or Dismissed Employees of the South Australian Railways, 1920 - 1978


None available, arranged alphabetically

Note: Series IDs containing a D prefix are series that were originally located at the National Archives of Australia. These series are progressively being added to State Records’ catalogue ArchivesSearch. Please seek assistance if the series you wish to view are not available.


The above is a limited selection of the most useful series only.  Descriptions and access conditions for these and other series held, as well as agency descriptions and agency inventories, are available via ArchivesSearch.

Need further assistance?

If you require any assistance with your research, please contact a Reference Officer by:

This Fact Sheet can also be downloaded in PDF format - Railways Fact Sheet  (pdf 262kb)

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