South Australian Railways was established in 1856 with the passing of the South Australian Railway Act (Act No. 27 of 1855 – 1856).

In August 1975 responsibility for railways was split:

  • country lines became the responsibility of the Australian National Railways Commission (Commonwealth)
  • metropolitan lines became the responsibility of the newly formed State Transport Authority (State).

We hold employee records for the South Australian Railways, State Transport Authority and successor agencies.

Many of these are registers or employee sheets showing basic information about the employee. Correspondence files may show more detail.

A current volunteer project is aiming to improve the arrangement of a major series of railway employee records.

For other government employment pages, see PoliceMariners and Sailors and Teachers.

Access Conditions

Records containing personal, financial or disciplinary information are usually open for public access after 60 years. Less detailed records may be open sooner.

Researching the Records

Railway employee records may be in the custody of State Records or the National Archives of Australia, depending on when they were archived.

Series beginning with GRG or GRS that are in the custody of State Records can be found in our ArchivesSearch  catalogue. Series beginning with a D prefix were orignally located at the National Archives of Australia, but may now be in our custody.

Records archived by the Australian National Railways after 1975 are held by the National Archives of Australia


Index to GRG 42/131, Staff registers - South Australian Railways, 1853-1913 - arranged alphabetically by surname

These records are available on microfilm in our Research Centre. Information includes name, date of birth, date entered service, station, position and rate of pay.

Index to GRG 42/73 Register of appointments confirmed - South Australian Railways, 1889-1926 - arranged alphabetically by surname

Information includes name, date of birth, date appointed, position, where stationed, rate of pay and other remarks.

Classified lists of officers and employees - South Australian Railways, 1889-1943 (GRS 116)

These records are available on microfilm in the Research Centre. The years 1927 to 1929 are missing.

Record of officers with annual salaries - South Australian Railways, 1911-1913 (GRS 87)

Staff includes engineers, clerks, station masters and foremen.

Record of employees - South Australian Railways, 1882-1885 (GRS 88)

This volume shows surnames from A to L only. Arranged chronologically by date of employment.

Staff history cards, - South Australian Railways, c1907 - c1961 (GRS 1427)

These cards are available on microfiche. Names beginning WE to WH are missing.

Record of appointments and transfers - South Australian Railways, 1917-1963 (GRS 91)

Volumes 1-2: General and Traffic, 1917-1943

Volume 3: Locomotive, 1918-1942

Volume 4: Transportation, 1943-1952

Volume 5: Maintenance, 1917-1963

Ask our staff for assistance to order these records.

Employees’ record of war service – South Australian Railways, 1914-1953 (GRS 6232)

Information includes name, number, rank, unit, location of service, honours received, date enlisted and reason for and date of discharge. Signed by Employee and Supervisor.

Information recorded ensured employees did not lose leave and pay benefits while on military service.

Register of Service, Resigned or Dismissed Employees of the South Australian Railways, 1920-1978 (D 1843)

Ask our staff for assistance to order these records.

Page last updated: 7 September 2022