Continuing the Series on Getting Started and Immigration to Australia. IMMIGRATION PART 2
Lets look at post-convict immigration.
Group of migrants on MV Toscana at Trieste, 1954.
ANMM Collection Gift from Barbara Alysen to National Maritime Museum

1793 and 1850

During this time free settlers came to Australia, you may find some of them in the records listed below for the Gold Rush,  and, check the STATE archive records listed in the earlier post about convicts.  These ancestors can be hard to find, and you may only find them in death records, marriage records,  or records of the birth or marriage of their children, so keep hunting for them.

The Gold Rush - 1850's

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants came to Australia looking for Gold after  Edward Hargraves' 1851 discovery of gold near Bathurst, New South Wales.  Shortly after Hargraves discovery, the Governor of Victoria, Charles J. La Trobe, to offered a £200 reward to anyone who found gold within 200 miles of Melbourne. Diggers quickly took up the challenge, and gold was quickly found in abundance by James Dunlop at Ballarat, Thomas Hiscock at Buninyong and Henry Frenchman at Bendigo Creek. By the end of 1851, the Australian gold rush was in full force!  This changed Australia from just a penal settlement to a land of promise. and many came to seek their fortune, it also  ended Britain's practice of transporting convicts to the Australian colonies. 
If you find something that hints your ancestor came to Australia during this time, here are some links to try to find them:
Unassisted Immigrants to NSW, 1842-1855 - an index of unassisted (or free) passengers who came to Australia at their own expense, including ships' crew.
Unassisted Passenger and Crew Arrivals, 1854-1900 - The Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters Web site offers transcribed passenger lists and links to digital scans of the original lists for "Shipping Inward" lists from the Shipping Master's Office.
Victoria Passenger Lists - Immigration records for Victoria 1852-1899 are online from the Public Record Office Victoria, including the Index to Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria 1852-1923 and the Index to Assisted British Immigration 1839-1871. 
Tip: Keep in mind that Victor was the first port for many ships to Australia, so even if your ancestor is found in another state, search the Victoria Passenger Lists.
There was also a large gold rush in Western Australia during the 1890s, and outbound passenger lists from the UK are available for this time at subscription site .    
Trove is also a great source of information for this period, and a search may give you some information, so don't forget it.
And don't forget Google images for photos of where they worked and lived.

The Argus (Victoria) from Trove 1877


1945 - 1965 - Post war immigration,

Between 1945 and 1965 more than two million migrants came to Australia. Most were assisted: the Commonwealth Government paid most of their fare to get to Australia. In return they had to stay in Australia for at least two years and work in whatever jobs the Government gave them.  Many Grandparents of Australians can be found amongst them. 
Many  migrants spent their first months in Australia living in migrant hostels while they tried to find themselves a home. The Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme employed many men during this period.  People found it difficult to find work that matched their qualifications from overseas, and also had to put up with prejudice, and in many cases, lack of knowledge of the English language.

Ten Pound Poms.

The Australian Government started negotiations with England for Assisted passage to Australia (the immigrant paid 10 pounds only) and this went on until 1973.  People  were drawn by promises of employment and housing, a more relaxed lifestyle and a better climate, but many found it hard to adjust and return to England.   Aprox 20% returned, they faced lengthy stays in migrant hostels, failed to get ideal employment or missed their old communities. 
After the war, Australia gradually extended assisted passage schemes to immigrants from other countries such as the Netherlands and Italy to maintain high levels of immigration.
1970's - "Boat people" from East Timor and then from Indochina
"In the late 1970s,  a new wave of seaborne refugees docked in Darwin, firstly from East Timor and then from Indochina. The Vietnamese ‘boat people’ in particular arrived at a time of dramatic social upheaval in Australia, with spirited public debate about our involvement in the Vietnam War, the new concept of multiculturalism, the breaking of many of Australia's traditional ties with Britain, and the forging of new links with Asia. Despite some opposition from the wider community, the relaxation of immigration restrictions meant that most of the refugees were allowed to settle in Australia. They were followed by a second wave of boat people from Cambodia, Vietnam and southern China in the late 1980s and 1990s."  (ex. National Maritime Museum.)
From the National Archives : Steve Carter, a migration officer,
interviews Vietnamese refugees at a refugee camp in Malaysia, 1979 (NAA: A12111, 79/46A/8
For these groups of people start with a NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA search.  Keep in mind that not all the records are digitised yet, but you can apply for them to be digitised and available online, as well as sent to you for a small fee.  (well worth it)
This is usually where you will find most of the information available, they hold:
- Passenger Lists
- Naturalisation Records
- Alien Registration forms
- Migrant Selection Documents (this includes full files of displaced persons)
- Accommodation Centre Records
A note about Child Migrants - During this period children were sent to Australia to escape the war in Europe,  if you suspect this is the case, read this fact sheet from the NA.

If you had an immigrant from this period, you may be as lucky as I was, to have their entire file available, it cost a very small amount to have it digitised and sent to me, as well as available online.  in this I found photos, stories and a wealth of information about the family.  A word of caution however, we did find some of the information incorrect.  People were very scared at this time, and just wanted to leave the horror of Europe, so they sometimes told officials what they wanted to hear.  We knew from family that there were two passages offered to my husbands family, one to Canada, another to Australia.  They got on the boat to Australia because it was leaving first, how lucky we were!


  1. Thanks for sharing such a nice piece of information, I have pinned your blog and hope to read more interesting things.
    Australian Immigration

  2. Thanks for your comment and I am glad you found some interesting information.


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