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The Torrens Title is a certificate of title for an interest in land. On this single certificate all transactions for the property land are registered; transfers, mortgages, leases and so on, with this registration guaranteed correct by the State. The Certificate of Title was formally prepared in duplicate, one remained with the Registrar General while the owner keeps the other.

Since 1990 the register of the certificates of title has progressively been converted to a computerised record. The original Certificate of Title is held electronically and a paper Certificate of Title is provided to the owner as evidence of ownership. Today at the Lands Titles Office a would be buyer can check the title of the property. From computer searches and plans of the district one can trace the land which is of interest. At a glance of the certificate the particulars of the property are clear and the ownership certain, allowing the buyer to go ahead with complete confidence.

Robert Richard Torrens is widely regarded as having conceived the idea of the Real Property Act. He first introduced his Bill to amend land titles to the State parliament in May of 1857 and after much debate and opposition it came to the final vote in December. He then resigned his seat in parliament to become the first Registrar General to administer the new Act.  

Robert Richard Torrens also helped the introduction of the Torrens Title system to other Australian states and New Zealand. Since then the principal of the Torrens Title system of land registration has spread throughout the world.

Torrens left Australia in 1862 and took his ideas to Ireland, his native country, and to England where he was knighted for his life’s work. Prior to the Real Property Act, disputes over land ownership and boundaries where frequent and sometimes violent. Under the Torrens system there are few disputes because all dealings are recorded on the Certificate of Title, which is guaranteed by the State.

Over the years methods have been modernised but the principal remains the same. A single indisputable Certificate of Title recorded in the Lands Titles Office and a paper version held by the owner.

For these benefits Australia and the world have much to thank Robert Richard Torrens.

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Last Modified: 30/10/2008 1:15:14 PM
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