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Immigration to South Australia: Passenger lists 1846-1887

This State Library of South Australia guide has information on passenger lists, newspaper indexes and immigration schemes. It includes some resources about immigration to other states.

Sea travel in the 19th century

Group on deck of a ship in port c. 1890 (Searcy Collection PRG 280/1/2/537)

Official passenger lists 1847-1886

It is estimated that only between 10 and 15% of the official lists for assisted immigrants arriving in South Australia in the 19th century under the sponsorship of the Colonisation Commission have survived.

These original lists of assisted immigrants can be viewed on the website of the State Records of South Australia, the government archival authority. State records holds records relating to immigration and passenger lists from 1836-1940.

The State Library of South Australia has copies of the passenger lists and the index (known as the '313 index') bound in volumes in our Family History area. We also hold the index on microfiche.

Passenger lists in newspapers 1846-1887

By far the most comprehensive details of shipping arrivals (and departures) for South Australia in the 19th century are found in the old newspapers.  The major South Australian newspapers have been digitised by the National Library in conjunction with the State Library of South Australia and are searchable on Trove.

A simple keyword search on the Trove newspapers website using the family name and 'arrivals' e.g. 'smith arrivals'  will produce a list which can be searched by decade, state, etc.

The State Library holds the Newspaper index to shipping arrivals listed in three early Adelaide newspapers: the Adelaide Times, South Australian and South Australian Register. These are in 12 volumes located in our Family History area.