Immigration from many lands
Adele Moriaty (nee Maroon) female bread carter for Gartrell and White.
Photograph courtesy of the Australian Lebanese Historical Society Inc.
State Records has created a number of Archives in Brief (AIB) that showcase records documenting immigrants and settlers from countries, territories and regions outside of Britain and Ireland. To date we have produced the following AIB:
- Archives in Brief 33 Chinese migration and settlement
- Archives in Brief 50 German migration and settlement
- Archives in Brief 62 Lebanese migration and settlement
- Archives in Brief 73 Italian migration and settlement
- Archives in Brief 79 India and NSW migration and trade
- Archives in Brief 83 Greek migration and settlement
- Archives in Brief 95 Dutch migration and settlement in NSW
- Archives in Brief 105 French migration and settlement in NSW
- Archives in Brief 107 Polish migration and settlement
- Archives in Brief 117 - Maltese migration and settlement in NSW
- Archives in Brief 121 - Russian migration and settlement in NSW
Sir Gerald Strickland, 1st Baron Strickland 1861-1940, born in Malta, served as
24th Governor of NSW, in office 14 March 1913–27 October 1917 [NRS 4481]
Italian fruiterer - Thomas Lopez's Grocery Shop, 219 Elizabeth Street, Redfern (NSW)
Date: c. 01/01/1890, [NRS 4481]
Chinese Market Garden, courtesy of the Chinese Heritage Association of Australia
Other Archives in Brief of interest include:
- Archives in Brief 3 Naturalization
- Archives in Brief 7 Tracing your family history
- Archives in Brief 51 Archives in Brief by subject
Southern District labour camp
The Chinese on the Goldfields
Chinese migration and settlement in NSW has a long history. With the discovery of gold in 1851 Chinese immigration increased. References to the Chinese on the minefields, including documents relating to the Lambing Flat 'riots' in 1860-61 may be found in the records of the Colonial Secretary and Department of Lands.
An example is this petition from Chinese miners at the Rocky River Goldfield, 18 April 1866, for the return of Commissioner Dalton to the area as Gold Commissioner. It is clear from the Rocky River Goldfield petition that the Chinese miners felt protected by Dalton's presence in a colony rife with racial intolerance.
Transcript of the petition:
We the Chinese Storekeepers and Gold Diggers residing on the Rocky River Gold Fields. Humbly pray that Mr Commissioner Dalton may be returned as Gold Commissioner – All our countrymen consider Mr Dalton a good man who understands our position on the Gold Fields and has always decided fairly and justly in all matters of dispute and has always been very punctual in attending to business. All the Chinamen desire that he may be retained as he is a good and honest man and understands gold mining and all its branches. To the Honourable the Minister for Lands and Honourable the Executive Council.
Ah Sioung, Storekeeper Rocky River
Li Mah Storekeeper Rocky River
Ah Lung, Gold Miner Rocky River
And one hundred and twenty others.
Italian arrivals on the Saint Ludwina
On 8 October 1855 the Antwerp steamer Saint Ludwina arrived in Sydney. Aboard were 176 Italian passengers, many from the Swiss Italian canton of Ticino.
These people had arrived, by their own description in a statement made to the Reverend P.O’Farrell of Saint Patrick’s, Church Hill within days of disembarkation, ‘in a state of misery…without money’. Their voyage under the supervision of the Master, Captain Lammers, had been a ‘history of hardships and sufferings and unworthy treatment’.
Their complaint had been passed promptly to the Agent for Immigration by Father O’Farrell.
Their embarkation in Antwerp had not been promising: left without food for 22 hours ,a delegation of the group had finally approached the Chief Mate to request sustenance. An altercation had broken out which left two of the passengers hospitalised with knife wounds, and the Mate and another seaman in custody in an Antwerp gaol.
The Italians recounted how, for the rest of the voyage, they were deprived of adequate food, or given inedible and mouldy biscuit, and finally, were forced to pay the Captain extortionate amounts of money for food he had in his own stores. Even the sick were made to pay for broth and the final weeks sustenance consisted of ‘uncooked Indian corn and water’, the Captain having refused to supply any fuel by which means they could cook.
The immigrants having exhausted their reserves of money through the Captain’s cruel scheme, proceeded to exchange clothing, hats and scarves for any small portion of food he was willing to give them.
H.H.Browne, the Agent for Immigration acted on Father O’Farrell’s report and required from Captain Lammers a response to the allegations.
Lammers denied the bulk of the complaints and instead accused the Italians of being ‘violent and unruly’ and coming to him ‘in numbers and with clenched fists and violent gestures demanding…..what they wanted instantly and conducted themselves with such violence that during the latter part of the voyage neither the Captain nor the Doctor ever dared to undress or go to bed but slept with loaded pistols on the Benches’.
Lammers named a certain Baccegolopo (Bacigalupo) as having been throughout the voyage a ‘dangerous person’. But Father O’Farrell pointed out that this same individual had been recommended by the shipping company agent, Rebera, in Antwerp as a good person and one ‘in whom he (Rebera) had confidence’ and who had been given a free passage for acting as under-agent on the company’s behalf.
Finally the relevant documents ,charge and counter charge were reviewed by the colony’s law officers and laid before the Governor but, due to ‘the lateness of the session’ were not attended to, but noted for a the next session of the Governor in council.
Nothing further is recorded. The Agent for Immigration noted however, in his covering letter to the Colonial Secretary, that the exemption of foreign passenger ships from the operation of the Passenger Acts prevented him from giving any redress to the complainants and that some law which would bring vessels like the Saint Ludwina within the law was urgent.
Francesco Bacigalupo married Mary Anne Thomson at Hartley in 1856.He naturalised in 1867 and is listed in the Sands Directory for that year as a tile-maker, resident in Unwins Bridge Road, Marrickville. He has descendants today in Coonamble and other parts of New South Wales.
Another of the Saint Ludwina immigrants was Antonio Bondietti, a native of Ticino. He naturalised in 1859 giving his address as Hunters Hill. The following year he married Margaret Curry. The Sands Directory of 1876 lists Antonio Bondietti as a builder, residing in Church Street, Hunters Hill. Antonio faced insolvency proceedings in 1876 (SRNSW: NRS 13654, [2/9578], file 12519).
State Records NSW: Colonial Secretary; NRS 906, Special Bundles, 1826-1982; [4/7170]Complaints of foreign immigrants on voyage,1855-56
State Records NSW: Shipping Master’s Office; NRS 13278, Passenger Lists, 1854-1922; [X 93] Reel 402
State Records NSW: Colonial Secretary; NRS 1040, Registers of Certificates of Naturalisation, 1849-1903; [4/1202] Volume 3, folio 80, Reel 130
State Records NSW: Colonial Secretary; NRS 1039, Certificates of Naturalisation, 1849-76; [4/1180] number 59/134.Reel 2691
State Records NSW: online indexes
Sands Directories, Sydney and New South Wales, 1858-1933.
New South Wales Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages: online indexes.
A history of Italian Settlement in New South Wales, Roslyn Pesman and Catherine Kevin http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/docs/italianhistory.pdf for the NSW Heritage Office, [1998?]
Lebanese migration and settlement in Australia commenced around 1880. In the report on the 1891 census Coghlan comments that " the Arabians enumerated were probably all hawkers ". 
Parkes Court of Petty Sessions NRS 3292 Register of applications for auctioneers', hawkers, and other licenses, 1912-20 [3/12991 p. 10]
Many rural folk living on isolated farms rarely saw anyone from the outside world and usually welcomed the Lebanese hawker not only as a provider of essential goods such as work clothes, but also as a supplier of pretty and exotic goods such as coloured ribbons. The hawker was their link to the outside world.
Patrick White recounts in his novel The Aunt’s Story the popular excitement caused by the arrival in a rural village a Lebanese hawker and his wagon:
Down the road from the direction of the hills the Syrian came from time to time. He came into sight at the bend in the road, where his wheels thrashed, splashing through the brown water of the ford. From a good distance you see the dirty canvas swaying and toppling about the cart, and there was time to shout a warning, to call The Syrian! here comes the Syr-i-urn!’ (Source http://www.alhs.org.au/hawkers.htm)
The Lebanese who worked as hawkers in Sydney or country New South Wales had to be licensed. The local Court or police station issued the license and the license information was usually recorded in Registers of applications for auctioneers', hawkers' and other licenses. For more information on the registers and any related records see Archives Investigator.
Araluen Court of Petty Sessions; NRS 2736 Register of applications for auctioneers', hawkers' and other licenses, 1899-1944 [7/136 part p.15]
 T.A. Coghlan, General Report on the Eleventh Census of New South Wales, Government Printer, Sydney, 1894, p.184
Russian migration and settlement in NSW
On 31 May 2010 State Records and the Royal Australian Historical Society co-hosted a seminar exploring the history Russian migration and settlement from colonial times to the present through a range of record sources. The seminar was presented as part of Information Awareness Month, an annual event held each May, which aims to increase public awareness of the breadth of the information industry.
State Records has published a selection of the papers from the seminar which we will be progressively adding to this page:
- Fiona Burn (Assistant Director, Access and Communication National Archives of Australia Sydney Office) Russian Immigration and Settlement Records in the National Archives
- John Petersen (Manager, NSW Migration Heritage Centre) Camphor Boxes And China Ducklings - Mementos Of Shanghai And Olga Burger’s Migration Memories (PDF) 82KB
- Peter Tatarinoff (President, Russian Historical Society in Australia) Russian links with Australia (PDF, 267kb)
- Mona Finley Local and family historian; daughter of Don Cossack Choir member T.S. Askotchensky (PDF, 67kb)
Research immigration records
We have produced a page of useful resources on immigration records.
Glass Negative Box #1102: No. 62 [unnamed street] corner of Castlereagh St - Chinese Grocers Fong Lee Jang and Co. (c. May 1916)