Immigration and Shipping

This Guide highlights the key records and available indexes, relating to passengers arriving in New South Wales, 1788-1922. While most of the records relate to passengers disembarking in Sydney, records of arrivals in other ports are also included. Records relating to departures are also listed...

Browse through digital shipping lists from 1828-1896.

Emily shows us some assisted passenger lists, in particular the Board's Passenger Lists of arrivals to Sydney that date from 1848 to 1896.


Fully digitised
Henry Parkes - passenger entry on the Strathfieldsay, arrived 25 July 1839, NRS 5316 4-4784-0129

Assisted immigrants arriving in Sydney and Newcastle 1844-59, Moreton Bay, 1848-59 and Port Phillip 1839-51. 'Assisted immigrant' refers to those people whose passage was subsidised or paid for through one of the assisted immigration schemes to NSW from the United Kingdom...

Not digitised

A pilot project available to search at This project offers a digitised version of the Index to Bounty Immigrants, 1828-42 which was compiled by the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Chinese migration and settlement in New South Wales has a long history. Early musters and census include Chinese and although Chinese migration was being considered as a solution to the labour shortage in the Colony as early as 1828, the numbers remained low until the middle of the...

Fully digitised
Crew and Passenger List Captain Cook 1832

This index may assist those searching for crew of ships arriving in New South Wales between 1828 and 1841.

Research into crew records can often be difficult as there is no comprehensive index to the nineteenth century crew lists. In general, there are few records relating to crew until 1854. The shipping lists from 1854-1922 include the names of the crew members, their position on board and their...

A brief list of records relating to Dutch arrivals.

The earliest records held in the NSW State Archives Collection relating to the French are contained in the Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825.  Included are letters that relate to a number of French vessels visiting Sydney, such as the Surprize asking for...

A number of Germans, such as Augustus Alt (appointed the first Surveyor of Lands on May 1787), the astronomer Carl Ludwig Rümker and Phillip Schaffer who established one of the earliest vineyards in Australia, played key roles in the early development of New South Wales.

The earliest records held by NSW State Archives relating to Greek people arriving in NSW are the convict indents for seven sailors from Hydra convicted at Malta in 1828 for piracy and transported for various terms.

These letters were sent by the Immigration Agent in response to complaints, transport arrangements, advertisements and financial arrangements relating to migration between 1838 and 1857. This index covers the names of individuals found in the letters. 

Few Indians arrived and settled in the colony of NSW in the first half of the 19th century. Most were labourers who returned to India once they had completed their contracts.  A small number of convicts were transported to NSW from India, including David Cusshon, who was tried at...

The first time the number of Italian born immigrants in NSW was reported was in the 1871 Census, when 772 Italians were recorded. 

Lebanese migration and settlement in Australia commenced around 1880. There is a breakdown of the occupations of the ‘Syrian’ males in NSW at the time of the 1901 Census. These included: drapers (10); merchants (10); storekeeper, shopkeeper and relative assisting (16); hawker and relative...

Records relating to Maltese migration to New South Wales.

Unassisted passengers - »

Transcripts of the Shipping Master's Office Inwards Passengers Lists, each of which includes Crew names, in some cases includes their on board position and place of...

A snapshot of how to use digital shipping lists.

Did you know you can search unassisted passenger arrivals to NSW online?

Not digitised

Search for passengers who paid their own fare and also assisted immigrants. Information includes: name, ship, date of arrival, age and events (e.g. shipwreck).

    A small number of Polish-born convicts were transported to New South Wales.

    The published report of the Census of the Colony of NSW taken in 1891 shows total numbers of natives of Russia as 1,176 of whom 987 were male and 189 female (the total number of Russian-born in New South Wales in the previous census of 1881 was 322).

    This Guide is designed to provide quick reference to NSW immigration and shipping records and will assist researchers tracing free persons arriving in and departing from NSW as well as the movement of vessels.


    Not digitised

    Unassisted (or free) passengers who came to Australia at their own expense, including ships' crew and military (check under 'Regiments'). This index was compiled by Ms Aileen Trinder and Ms Pat Fearnley (formerly Stemp) of Pastkeys. 

    Not digitised

    This index relates to vessels arriving in Sydney only. It records the name and type of vessel, and date of arrival. If you know the name of the ship, this index will be useful to check or confirm the date of arrival. There are 120,133 entries in this Index.

    One of the earliest courts established in New South Wales, the Vice Admiralty Court was an Imperial Court whereby directives, instructions, imperial bills and acts changing its structure or procedures as well as rules, regulations and tables of fees were received via dispatches from the...

    Henry Parkes - passenger entry on the Strathfieldsay, arrived 25 July 1839, NRS 5316 4-4784-0129

    Learn about the wonderful resources we hold to help locate the arrival of an ancestor in NSW.

    The wreck of the Dunbar, with the loss of 121 passengers and crew, is one of Australia's worst maritime disasters in peacetime.