Single-shot or double-barrel muzzleloading firearms manufactured before January 1, 1901 are considered Antique Firearms in all States of Australia, and can be legally purchased, owned, (and in some states, used) without licences.
Cartridge-loading firearms manufactured prior to January 1, 1901 may or may not be considered "antique", depending on the commercial availability of ammunition. For example, a Martini-Enfield rifle manufactured in 1896 would NOT be considered antique in any state of Australia, as it is chambered in .303 British, a calibre which is still commercially manufactured and readily available in Australia. Conversely, firearms manufactured after 1/1/1901 are not considered antiques, even if they are replicas of antique firearms (such as modern reproductions of black powder guns), or if ammunition is no longer commercially available (such as the Arisaka Type 38 Rifle)
Antique cap & ball revolvers require licensing in all states except Queensland and Victoria, where an individual may possess such a firearm without a license, so long as it is registered with the police.
Legal Considerations for Antique Gun Collectors and Shooters
Gun control laws vary widely from country to country. Several nations such as Australia, Canada, Norway, the UK and the United States make special exceptions in their gun laws for antique firearms. The "threshold" or "cut-off" years defining "antique" vary considerably. The threshold is pre-1898 in Canada, pre-1899 in the United States, and pre-1901 in Australia. Some countries like England exempt certain antiques but they do not set a specific threshold year. Other countries treat antique handguns and long guns quite differently. For example, Norway has a pre-1885 threshold for rifles and shotguns, but a pre-1871 threshold for handguns.