BDM hits major milestone with 20 million melting moments

Published: 19 Dec 2019

Released by: Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Minister for Customer Service

The NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages (BDM) has hit a major milestone, recording 20 million significant life events since it began operating in 1856.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said this is a significant moment in NSW history, with BDM predicting its next milestone of 30 million records will not happen for another 40 to 50 years.

“This is not just data on a page either – each one of these records represents a special moment in time for the lives of citizens right across the state,” Mr Speakman said.

BDM currently registers more than 210,000 births, deaths, marriages and change of name and change of sex requests each year.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said BDM provides a secure and reliable record of significant life events and is making it easier for the people of NSW to access these services.

“The registry may have begun with quill and ink, but people can now complete their Births, Deaths and Marriages transactions online as well as search family history or state-wide trends such as baby names,” Mr Dominello said.

The first BDM-recorded wedding was on 1 March 1856, when Edwin Shipway and Catherine Loughran exchanged vows in Sydney. Since then, there have been more than 4.4 million recorded weddings in NSW. There have also been more than 10.4 million births and more than 5 million recorded deaths.

There have also been 4,131 same-sex weddings in NSW since the ceremonies became legal in January 2018. BDM celebrants have officiated one in five of the state’s same-sex weddings.

BDM holds historical records of many prominent Australian figures, including poet Henry Lawson, opera singer Dame Nellie Melba and bushranger Frederick Ward (Captain Thunderbolt).

Learn more about historical birth, death and marriage records and researching your family history.

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