Australia Emigration and Immigration

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Ship Bega of the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company.jpg


Emigration and immigration sources list names and other details about individuals leaving (emigration) or coming into (immigration) Australia. Between 1788 and 1900 over 1,000,000 people immigrated to Australia. Most of them were from the British Isles, but some were from Europe and Asia.

Prior to 1900 there were four classes of immigrants to Australia:

  • Convicts sent to Australia after they were tried and convicted for crimes committed in the British Isles. Tasmania and New South Wales were the states that received most of the convicts before 1830.
  • Bounty immigrants were chosen by Australian colonists to come from the British Isles to Australia.
  • Assisted immigrants came to Australia through the financial assistance of the government, organizations, or wealthy individuals.
  • Paying passengers came to Australia through their own means.
With the exception of paying passengers, immigration records usually contain a great deal of genealogical information. Many records list each individual’s name, age or date of birth, place of birth, trade or occupation, physical description, marital status, and number of children. Passenger lists of paying immigrants usually list only names. 
Ship with emigrants arriving in Australia.JPG

Many eighteenth and nineteenth century immigration sources have been published. Indexes to passenger  lists have also been published. In addition, many books have been written about immigrants from various countries and religions who settled in Australia. The minorities article has some information about immigrants from other countries.

Indexes and Lists

Indexes and lists of immigrants to each state are available in a variety of formats including microfiche, microfilm, book and electronic formats. Some are available on the internet. Local, state and family history libraries may hold material relevant to that state and other areas of Australia. The National Archives holds records of immigration after 1923 when immigration became a Commonwealth Government responsibility. Information on the records and how to obtain them is available on the National Archives of Australia site for migration, citizenship & travel .


The National Archives of Ireland has a searchable index database on the Internet for transportation records of Irish convicts sent to Australia between 1788 and 1868. Over 38,000 names are indexed on the Ireland - Australia Transportation Web site.

New South Wales


South Australia


Emigration and immigration records, such as the ones previously described, are deposited in Australian national archives, state archives, and other local repositories and archives. Click on the state archive link in the Archives and Libraries article to learn more.

Emigrants Leaving Another Country

Some information about emigrants leaving country were also kept. These outward-bound records include the names of passenger and crew members and sometimes additional information such as an individual’s age, marital status, occupation, and nationality.

Between 1848 and 1850 over 4,000 adolescent female orphans emigrated from Irish workhouses to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide on the other side of the world. Their emigration has become known as the ‘Earl Grey scheme’ after its principal architect, Earl Grey, Secretary of State for the Colonies in Lord John Russell’s Whig government at the time of the Great Irish Famine.

The Australian Famine Orphan Monument lists lists the names of 400 of the girls brought to the colonies of Australia from Ireland under this scheme.

From Britain Outward Passenger Lists from Britain On-line 1890-1960. $ Departure records before 1890 have not survived.

From Germany In an article by Karl Werner Klüber were listed emigrants from Hamburg bound for Australia in the years 1849-1851. The lists of passengers can be found in the periodical GENEALOGIE Heft 4, April 1966 page 186, available through the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah (FHL book number  943 B2gf .)

Books about Emigration and Immigration

  • Vine Hall, Nick. Tracing Your Family History in Australia: a guide(Family History Library Call Number 994 D23v.)There are also several source books about how to find emigration and immigration records. These books are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:


To find these records at the Family History Library, look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog for a lengthy listing of sources under:




Indexes of emigration and immigration records are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under:




FamilySearch Historical Records Collections

An online collection containing this record is located in

A wiki article describing this collection is found at:

Australia, New South Wales, Sydney Index to Bounty Immigrants (FamilySearch Historical Records)