In Austalia, documents can only be apostillised or authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
You cannot, however, obtain an apostille (or have documents authenticated) until the notary function is performed. This is the case unless the documents are original documents issued by Australian Government Departments with an official signature, seal or stamp.
DFAT will not accept a Justice of the Peace for Authentication or Apostillisation.
So the process mostly looks like this, notarisation, apostillisation (or authentication) and then if necessary legalisation by a specific embassy.
If the overseas country requires an apostille and you see a notary but overlook obtaining the apostille your documents will most likely be rejected.
In Sydney, the authentications and apostillisation section of the Department of Foreign Affairs is at Level 7, 26 Lee Street Central (the Passports office). Opening hours are 9 am to 1 pm so make sure you lodge during this time. You will need to leave the documents with the Department and turn-around time is approximately 3 business days. See the DFAT website for more details www.dfat.gov.au
**note – since writing this article DFAT no longer accepts “walk in” counter lodgments. You need an appointment to lodge over the counter. Turn around time, however, is now usually 1 day. Updated: 19/5/2017