Sands directory

Sands directory

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You can search the Sands Directory for historic Sydney household and business information. The records have been scanned from microfiche into a complete digital edition.

Sands Directory search

Sands Sydney, Suburban and Country Commercial Directory

The firm of John Sands Ltd (Printers and Stationers) published their directory each year from 1858–59 to 1932–33 (except for 1872, 1874, 1878 and 1881). The household and business information it contains has become a fundamental source for research into Sydney history, especially family history.

Until now the directory has usually been accessed through a microfiche edition made by WF Pascoe Ltd which is available at many public libraries.

The City of Sydney has now obtained a complete digital edition of the directory from WF Pascoe, scanned from the microfiche, and is making it available for public access through this website

This is the first time a complete set of the Sands Sydney, Suburban and Country Commercial Directory has been made available online.

This complete digital directory offers researchers easier and more convenient access. It includes search capability that is not available when using the microfiche.

It’s an important addition to the range of archival source material the City makes available online through our Archives program.

Step back in time

The navigation bar to the left contains the directory volumes grouped in different sections for easy downloading. A table of contents has been provided showing the information in each section to help you locate a specific year and section you might need, for example the Suburban Directory for Alexandria in 1901.

You can also do a keyword search on the directory contents (the whole set, or a specified year or years). We have found the keyword search is more than 98% accurate. We cannot guarantee 100% in all cases because the digital images are based on the microfiche, which was filmed from paper originals of variable print quality.

We welcome feedback from people who use this online Sands directory. We will use the comments we receive to collate information on how it is being used, how useful you are finding it, and what improvements can be made.

To provide your feedback email and please make 'Sands directory feedback' the subject line of your message.


Search the Sands directory
Rathbone Terrace, Surry Hills, 1916.

Did you know?

A quick look through the pages of the 1902 edition of the Sands directory shows how the north side of Devonshire Street in Surry Hills, between Waterloo Street and Harts Lane, was home to fruiterers, a joiner, baker, greengrocer, hairdresser, news agent, blacksmith, bootmaker, undertaker, dressmaker and confectioner.

A 1916 City Archives photograph (above) of Rathbone Terrace on Flinders Street, Surry Hills, features a row of sandstone houses with a woman standing on the doorstep of number 45. Sands from that year tells us that the house belonged to Lewis Mahoney and the woman is possibly his wife.

Sands can also shed light on when streets were named or when suburbs were divided, by looking up in which year the street first appeared in a Sands directory.

The directories are an ideal resource for family history searches and can reveal where grandparents or great grandparents lived, who their neighbours were and what their occupation was.

The Sands directories cover all of NSW, so through its country commercial, country alphabetical and pastoral sections, you could find a draper in Broken Hill or a Mr Pickering in Currabubula, for example.

Sands directories.

Last updated: Wednesday, 6 May 2015