Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Traipsing Through the NSW Lands Department

I've been in Sydney for the past week visiting family and while I was here I thought I'ld go to the NSW Department of Lands to obtain the titles for the 2 houses my parents owned during their life in Sydney. The first of these is in Mosman and we lived there around 1952-1958 and the other in Gordon where my parents lived from 1962 until they passed away. I used Carole Riley's blog to give me some pointers on what to do and where to go.
The NSW Land and Property Management Authority, in Queens Square, Sydney turns out to be a conglomeration of at least 3 buildings; the original building, a newer extension, and still another new section. I went to the general enquiry office (new building) and asked the gentleman at the desk for help in finding the Volume and Folio for Torrens Title references for the Mosman and Gordon properties. We found these and the next step was to find a vacant terminal to use to view the images. There were 2 terminals I could use to view the titles but these were occupied. There were, however, more terminals down in the Old Records department.
To get to the Old Records you go out  the door, turn left, down the stairs, follow the signs to Old Records past the fire doors, across a little courtyard wedged in between 3 buildings, through more fire doors and then into Old Records. The walls were lined with book shelves containing large folios and you could perch on a high stool at a very high desk if you wished to view these. I was more interested in using the computer terminals.
The gentleman in charge down here showed me how to use the system and I finally got the hang of it. I didn't find it terribly intuitive but I'm sure that if I used it for any length of time it would be very easy to use.
Starting with the Mosman property (Vol 7812, Folio 44), I found the image was too recent for my use, so back I went to get help on where I could find a reference to the previous property (Vol 3063, Folio 155). Yup!! There are my parents and their mortgage. The Gordon property (Vol 3004, Folio 217) was the one I wanted so I was all set.
Now it was back to the Cashier to pay for the printouts; through fire doors, back through courtyard, wind around the bowels of the building and upstairs to the information office to find out where the Cashier was. No problem!  Just go out the door, up some steps and into another building, see the concierge, take a number, wait till your number is called and then pay (they take credit cards).
And now, back to where I came from at the front desk. Fill in the requests with the appropriate Folio-Vol numbers, wait a few minutes and I now have very nice printed copies of the Torrens Titles for my parents' homes.
I know if I still lived in Sydney I would have all of this down pat and my search would have been accomplished a whole lot quicker. Still, it was interesting to see how the Lands Department buildings have been patched together with duct tape, string, and bailing wire.