Shipping and Passenger Records

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Key to library resources

Access anywhere with a library card In the Library (or anywhere with a Library card for NSW residents)
Available to access in the library Only in the Library
Publicly available online Publicly available

Guide to shipping and free passenger records (NSW State Records guide 17)

Only in the Library You can use the Guide to shipping and free passenger records (NSW State Archives & Records guide 17) in the Library. 

What's in the guide?

Guide 17 was compiled from all of the related resources held at NSW State Archives & Records. Its purpose is to help researchers trace the arrival and departure of people and ships from the colony.

Find records about immigrant ships arriving in Sydney, 1828–1896, Newcastle, 1854–1855, Port Phillip, 1838–1851 and Moreton Bay, 1848–1859. You will also find details of ships carrying Australian Agricultural Company servants and immigrants, 1825–1862.

How to search for shipping movements



  • Use the following appendixes from the guide to find the reel and lists numbers for your ship. Each appendix lists the ships arriving at a particular port and is arranged in date order.
    • Immigrant ships at Sydney 1828-1896 and Newcastle 1854-1855 (Appendix A)
    • Immigrant ships arriving at Port Phillip 1838-1851 (Appendix B)
    • Ships carrying immigrants and passengers to Moreton Bay 1848-1859 (Appendix C)
    • Ships carrying Australian Agricultural Company servants and immigrants 1825-1862 (Appendix D)

Example of the information found in an appendix entry:

Date of Arrival Ship From Whence Lists Photocopy Reel
21 Aug Mermaid

London 24 Feb & Hobart

4/4823 4/5199

COD 21

1286 1263



​You can also view the records on microfilm at NSW State Archives & Records. The lists and reel numbers for the microfilm reels at NSW State Archives & Records are the same.


  • Search for the list numbers to find the ship’s entry.

Look for the starting page of each volume for an idea of what information is listed in that particular volume. The page will contain the title of the record, the list number and the year of arrival.