This collection includes records of both assisted and unassisted passengers. The assisted passenger lists cover 1828 to 1896 and comprise series NRS 5310 and NRS 5316. The unassisted passenger lists span the years 1826 to 1900 and include series NRS 13278 and NRS 1291.
Each result will provide a transcript and image of the original record; the information included on the transcript will vary depending on whether your ancestor was an assisted or unassisted passenger. However, most will include the following fields:
Seaman or passenger
Images may contain additional details including marital status, religion, calling (occupation), health, and level of literacy. Depending on the type of record, images may also include additional details about the ship and its crew, as well as details about the voyage: master’s name, whether a passenger was in a cabin or in steerage, or if a passenger was travelling with children.
Assisted passengers refers to those who received monetary assistance from another party or agency/government for their passage. There were several assisted immigration schemes set up for this purpose in the hopes of encouraging migration and settlement in Australia. Included in this category are the following series:
Persons on early migrant ships, NRS 5310 – These records were prepared by the Colonial Secretary and cover the years 1828 to 1832. The lists include the following fields: name, age, sex, country, calling (occupation), and whether in steerage or cabin.
Persons on bounty ships (Agent's Immigrant Lists), NRS 5316 – Covering the years 1838 to 1896, these records generally include the following details: name, age, sex, calling (occupation), marital status, native place, and education.
Unassisted passengers are those whose passage was not subsidized or paid for by a third party/agency. Two series make up this collection of unassisted passenger records.
Inward Passenger Lists, NRS 13278 – This series comprises forms signed by ships’ captains detailing who was on board upon arrival in Australia. The records pertain to the years of 1854 to 1922. Details you may be able to discover in these records are departure port, arrival date, lists of seamen, lists of passengers, name and tonnage of ship, master’s name, notation of children on board, occupation and class of travel, and race of passengers.
Reports of Vessels Arrived (or Shipping Reports), NRS 1291 – These reports are for ships arriving in New South Wales between 1826 and 1859. You may discover the following details: ship’s name, master’s name, the number of crew onboard, departure port and date, lists of passengers in cabins and steerage, and passengers’ occupations or native country.
You should begin your search broadly by searching only on a name and perhaps a year. If that returns too many results, you can then narrow your search by using the departure port, passage type, and vessel fields.
Departure ports were often abbreviated, which has resulted in numerous spellings and shorthand for the same departure port. While standardising has been attempted, you may need to look carefully through the list to make sure you are searching on all related departure ports.
If you know whether your ancestor’s passage was subsidized or paid in full by a third party, you can select on the search screen under passage type assisted. Conversely, if your ancestor paid for passage, then you can select unassisted for passage type.
The vessel field allows you to pick one or more specific ships to search on. If you know the name of the ship your ancestor sailed on, this is a particularly valuable field.