The essential state-by-state guide to Australian travel & migration records

2-3 minute read

By Niall Cullen | January 16, 2020

Records of migration to Australia

Tracking your ancestor's voyages with travel and migration records is fundamental to successful Australian family research. Here are the resources you'll need.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, the population of Australia exploded as more and more immigrants arrived. The newcomers mostly consisting of transported convicts, early settlers or fortune-seekers spurred on by the Gold Rush. The family records left behind by this mass movement of people are essential for finding your relatives' roots in Australia.

On Findmypast you can explore collections that document Australian arrivals, departures and internal travel. As is the case with most Australian genealogy research, it's best to examine the available resources on a state-by-state basis.

Migration records from New South Wales

The most robust NSW travel resource on Findmypast is, without doubt, New South Wales Passenger Lists. Containing over 8.5 million records between 1828 and 1900, this key collection will tell you your ancestor's nationality, where they departed from and arrived into and if their passage was assisted or unassisted.

New South Wales migration record

New South Wales Passenger List for the Marloo which arrived in Sydney in 1899.

If you are chasing convict ancestors, New South Wales Convict Arrivals holds nearly 100,000 records of individuals who were transported between 1788 and 1842.

Migration records from Victoria

You'll find an extensive selection of travel and migration records for Victoria on Findmypast. Coastal, inward and outward passenger lists contain over 7.6 million records, charting your family's movements to, from and around the Garden State.

In your quest for felonious forebears in Victoria, try the Victoria, Convict Register 1842-1854.

Migration records from Queensland

There are over a million travel and migration records referencing Queensland on Findmypast. Key collections include:

On the lookout for more recent family members? Try exploring Queensland Passport Registers 1926-1939.

Migration records from South Australia

As well as a variety of convict records and other niche collections, South Australia, Passenger Lists 1847-1886 are perfect for tracing your ancestor's arrival there. Containing over 165,000 records, this set will help you uncover where your ancestor departed from and their marital status, among other details.

Other Australian travel and migration records

Some of Findmypast's Australian travel collections cover the entire nation like the Convict Transportation Registers 1787-1870. This should be one of the main resources you use if you're researching convict ancestors and covers nearly 100 years of transportations.

You'll also find some smaller family record collections from other states like Aliens Registered In The Northern Territory 1916-1921.

For your relatives' journeys to ports around Australia in the 19th and 20th centuries, Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890-1960 contains a wealth of useful information.

Tracked a globetrotting relative who came down under and want to share their story? We're all ears. Drop us a line over on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Picture of Niall Cullen - Content Marketing LeadNiall Cullen