Finding an Irish Ancestor Using Australian Records
Notes on Immigration
The Irish did not immigrate to Australia in large groups or during specific time periods. They did immigrate individually or a few at a time. Irish were among the convicts who were shipped to New South Wales as early as 1788 and Tasmania in 1804. Some contain such details as the immigrant's birthplace; residence in Britain; education; mother's maiden name; and father's name, occupation, and residence. Passengers came unassisted, meaning they paid their own way. Others were assisted, meaning their passage was paid by the government or an individual. When their passage was paid, the debt had to be repaid.
In Australia, immigration records are kept at state archives. Many pre-1900 immigration records are available in the Family History Library. See what their collection has by clicking here . The library also has some indexes .
How to Use This Page
Search each of the Web sites and sources listed under the state(s) where your ancestor lived. Look for clues pointing to a place of origin in Ireland. Each index and source covers a different time period. It's important to understand what's covered instead of assuming that every Web site and source is complete for every year and every name. Some links lead to articles about immigration.
- AUSNZ Passengers
- Australian Transport Records - National Library of Ireland 1791-1853
- Convict Transportation Registers Database
- Coffey, Hubert W. and Marjorie J. Morgan. Irish Families in Australia and New Zealand, 1788-1978. 4 vols. (FHL book 994 D3c).
- O'Farrell, Patrick. The Irish in Australia. Kensington, New South Wales: New South Wales University Press, 1986; rev. 1993. (FHL book 994 F2opi 1993).
- O'Farrell, Patrick. Letters from Irish Australia, 1825-1929. Sydney: New South Wales University Press, 1984. (FHL book 994 F2op).
New South Wales
- Ireland-Australia transportation database includes not only convicts but convicts' families and free settlers.
- Assisted Immigrants, 1839-1896
- Index to the Unassisted Arrivals NSW 1842-1855
- Passenger Indexes (various years and ports)
- Galway Emigrant Index 1828 - 1864
- Index to passengers & ships arrivals - 19th Century
- Index to Tasmanian Convicts, 1804-1853
- Passenger lists, 1827-1862 (various ports)
- Tasmania 1831 Passenger Lists
Naturalisation records may state a place of birth. Search an Index to Naturalisations 1835-1905.
Marriage certificates starting 1 December 1838 show the age and birthplace of groom and bride; and the names of parents and father's occupation. This information was not compulsory until 1896 but can be there before this date.
Passenger Lists in the State Archives of South Australia.
- Convicts to Western Australia has information and links to several databases.