Passenger lists

This guide was last updated in 2009

For those who came to Australia as free or assisted passengers, rather than convicts, it is necessary to seek the appropriate passenger list for details of their arrival.

Again, there is no national index of entry into the country and each state record office will have the material relating to its own area. For example, State Records New South Wales has an online index to assisted immigrants arriving in Sydney between 1844 and 1896.

There is also an index to unassisted immigrants for the period 1842-1855. Other states will have similar material. For dates not covered by the indexes, it can be difficult to pinpoint a particular family – due to the large number of ships arriving in the various ports – unless some idea of a likely date of arrival is known.

If your ancestors left England after 1890, may be the best place to start. This site includes details of migrants leaving the UK for various countries including Australia. The index currently extends to 1939, but eventually will cover the period up to 1960. The details provided include the port of arrival in Australia – which will give some indication of the likely area where the person, or family, settled.

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