Find a passenger list

The Immigration Discovery Centre can help you locate primary records and family history documents across a range of archives and genealogical institutions.

Two men and a woman (a son with his mother and father) standing in front of a white railing. To the left of the picture is a life preserver ring with the words “London / Esperance Bay” printed on it.
A Scottish family greet their son Tony Scarth

Some initial steps for unearthing your family history online are described below.

I am looking for the passenger list of a person who arrived in Victoria in or before 1923

The Public Record Office of Victoria collection contains records of passengers arriving in Victoria. Passenger arrival records are divided into three categories:

Assisted

An "assisted" immigrant had their voyage subsidised from the UK by the Victorian government for the purpose of being employed on their arrival. Did the person travel from Britain to Victoria between 1839 and 1871 through government assistance?

Digital copies of the Assisted Passenger Records from 1839-1871 can be viewed on Ancestry Library.

Unassisted

These lists are sometimes called "unassisted passenger lists", as immigrants funded the cost of their own voyage. Did the person arrive into Victoria from overseas ports between 1852 and 1923?

Digital copies of the Unassisted Passenger Records 1839-1923 can be viewed on Ancestry Library.

Coastal

These lists contain the names of passengers travelling from Victoria to other ports within Australia between 1852 and 1923. These records are not indexed by name, however information about the date and destination of the journey will assist your search.

Enter the information you have into the search fields on findmypast.com.au to see transcripts and images of the original coastal passenger lists from 1852-1924.

I am looking for the passenger list of a person who arrived in Australia in or after 1923

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) holds records relating to Australian migration such as:

  • alien (non-citizen) registration
  • migration applications
  • case files
  • migrant selection documents
  • migrant accommodation records
  • naturalisation (citizenship) records
  • passenger records
  • passport records
  • policy files
  • visas and entry/exit documents

Use the NAA's RecordSearch for migration, citizenship and travel records in their collection database. 

If you are searching for records about an individual, click on the NameSearch and select 'Immigration and naturalisation' in the 'Category of records' dropdown list. Enter a last name and a first initial with an asterisks to search.

Use the Passenger arrivals tab to search specifically for passenger lists or the Basic search tab to enter keywords.

The NAA also provides handy research guides if you'd like to continue with your family history research project using their records.

Useful contacts

Immigration Discovery Centre: The Immigration Discovery Centre (IDC) offers a range of information about immigration and immigrant communities in Victoria, immigrant travel and starting your family history research. You can also contact the team online or by email at [email protected].

Victorian Archives Centre (PROV & NAA): Public Record Office Victoria and the National Archives of Australia share a reading room at the Victorian Archives Centre in North Melbourne.

State Library of Victoria Genealogy Centre: The State Library's Genealogy Centre provides access to a variety of resources for family historians and genealogists.

Local Genealogical & Historical Societies: Find a local community history group using the Federation of Australian Historical Societies interactive map.

Births, deaths & marriages: Contacts for Victorian and interstate Births, deaths & marriages registrars are on this NAA Fact Sheet. 

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