Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Ships and maritime history: Shipping Registers

The State Library has one of the best shipping and maritime history collections in Australia. It includes books, periodicals, newspapers, shipping registers and several substantial pictorial collections.

On this page

The State Library of South Australia has several major shipping registers and annual naval reviews.  These are excellent sources of current and historical information about particular ships.

Online books

Books about the Royal Australian Navy

Books about the Royal Navy (UK)

Books about fighting ships

Merchant Navy records

The Library does not hold any official records for the Merchant Navy or the Australian Merchant Navy.

Information about official records for the Australian Merchant Navy can be found at the National Archives.

Information about official records for the Merchant Navy (UK) can be found at the National Maritime Museum (UK)

Details about the role of the Australian Merchant Navy and the role Australian merchant ships played in World War II can be found at Merchant Ships of Australia in World War 2.

The library does have collections of books, dealing with most aspects of the Merchant Navy. Some of the most useful include:

Jane's publications

Jane's publications have been around since 1898, producing high quality publications in subject areas including transport and defence. The State Library holds a number of titles which may be of use to the maritime historian.

Lloyds marine records

B 64227
The cargo ship Nestor in 1940. View more information about this image here.
Lloyd's information is in various forms and publications, compiled on a daily, weekly, quarterly or annual basis depending on the subject. It is useful for researching:

  • ships' technical details
  • ship movements
  • crews
  • ship losses and casualties