By 1825 the colony had developed to the extent that the lack of comprehensive birth, death and marriage records was causing concern. In an attempt to regulate and improve the system of church registration, eight acts of parliament were passed between 1825 and 1855.
NSW was in a kind of limbo during this period. The imperial and colonial parliaments were busy preparing for self-government, drafting constitutions for NSW and debating issues like colonial control over land policy, the structure of a new legislature and the qualifications of its electors. Administrators were wary of new initiatives and spending.
The first non-civil Registrar General was William Carter who established the position in 1843. From 1 January 1850, the responsibilities of Registrar General were transferred to the Prothonotary and Registrar of the Supreme Court. Theodore Jacques, a clerk at the now defunct Registrar General's Office was appointed to ensure some continuity and Carter retired. The first Registrar General of NSW was a casualty of the financial and constitutional crisis of the 1840s.
The Legislative Council voted to revive the position of Registrar General in response to the legislation on marriage. By the 1850s the colony had a patchwork of marriage laws that resulted in unregistered marriages. This kind of irregularity could undermine the legitimacy of children and disrupt the inheritance of property that seemed quite inappropriate to the self confident, self-governing community that NSW was hoping to become.
A system that promised uniformity and certainty was adopted. The Marriage Act laid out the conditions for celebrating and registering a valid marriage, and for the first time those conditions applied equally to the Church of England and other denominations while the State became responsible for registering marriages.
The Marriage Act was followed by a Registration Act that created a centralised General Registry for NSW to record all births, deaths and marriages. As this was presented as an extension of the marriage legislation, the legislative council could not object to the expense of setting up a new agency.