Our ancestors from foreign places arrived in their new land by ship. Discovering that link with the old country is a significant step for family historians. The Online Resources of the Public Record Office of Victoria website is an excellent place to start.
PROV Immigration Records and Passenger Lists
Assisted British Immigration 1839-1871
The Nominal List was compiled in the foreign port and the Disposal List was compiled on arrival. In addition to the online information, you can discover the exact dates and ports of departure and arrival, the type and size of ship, the names of the master and surgeon, the length of the voyage in days, the number of passengers and the amount paid to the agent for each immigrant.
Of course not all lists have survived and the amount of personal information for passengers is variable but generally there will be occupations, native places, religious denominations, whether they could read and write, marital status and children on board. The chances are that the Disposal List will show the date of leaving the ship, the name and address of the employer, the wages and term of engagement and whether or not rations went with the job. Sometimes in this column there are family clues about where they went to join relatives. However, a great number left the ship 'on own account' to try their luck.
Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria from British, Foreign and New Zealand Ports 1852-1923
Bound For South Australia 1836-1860s
You can read the shipboard diary of James Menzies of his voyage on the William Money which arrived in 1849, view a South Australian Time-line 1834-51, and read an account by Charles Rule of a five week, 600 mile journey (with map) from the Burra Mine to the Mount Alexander Diggings in 1852. In the early 1850s it seemed that every able-bodied man left South Australia hoping to make his fortune on the goldfields. Thousands joined the trek to the Victorian Goldfields via what was known as the 'Overland Route'.
State Records of NSW : Indexes to Assisted Immigrants 1839-1896
Convictions : Australian Shipping from 1788 created in 1998 by Peter Larson and still growing.
For more shipping websites go to www.ballaratgenealogy.org.au - Australia - Shipping Lists. Look for convict shipping under NSW, TASMANIA and WESTERN AUSTRALIA - Fremantle Prison.
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