Electoral rolls, once published every three years for the purposes of parliamentary elections, are now usually published every year. They contain surname, first and middle name (or sometimes first name and initial), address and occupation.
Addresses and occupations are often abbreviated so it is preferable to search by the most distinctive word or words possible. That is usually surname-with-first name.
Some electorates have two rolls per year. That is because a by-election was held resulting in the publication of an additional roll.
In 1969 the voting age was reduced from 21 to 20 and in 1974 reduced from 20 to 18.
Occupations (often abbreviated) are shown, or “NS” for occupation not stated.
Trace residents of your address throughout the decades. Residents may or may not have owned the property on which they resided. See who the neighbours were.
Some directories give full names, but more often names are abbreviated; e.g. “Albert John” might be “Albt Jno,” “Albert J” or etc.
Fewer women than men are recorded and may be listed under surname, then M for Mrs, Ms or Miss.
Directories are arranged in several parts, the largest being
Residents’ rolls are created by local authorities for local body elections (as opposed to electoral rolls created for parliamentary elections).
Residents’ rolls are arranged alphabetically by name; street addresses are given but not occupations.
Habitation rolls contain the same data as parliamentary electoral rolls but are arranged by street. So, if people of different surnames resided at an address, they will all be listed under that address.
Note: On this site Telephone Directories are called Telephone Books
Almost as useful as directories, telephone books can pinpoint people in time and place.
If your relative had a business, the yellow pages may reveal interesting information about the business.
While format varies, most telephone books are divided into geographic sections, which are followed by the yellow pages containing businesses arranged alphabetically by type of business.