Overview

We hold many records relating to immigration to South Australia from 1836 onwards, with a full set of digitised passenger lists from 1845 - 1940.

This page focuses on the records about migrants applying to come to South Australia through various government-run schemes.

We hold records relating to assisted or selected passengers - where the cost of the voyage was partly paid for by the passenger and partly by the South Australian Government as long as the immigrant met certain criteria.

In the 20th century many schemes targeted agricultural labourers or domestic servants.

We also hold records relating to:

National Archives of Australia has records of:

  • Passenger lists for all Australian ports from 1924
  • Passenger lists for arrivals in South Australia from 1941, and
  • British and Foreign crew from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Access conditions

Most of these records are open for general public access.

Indexes and special lists

Assisted passengers 1862 to 1885

Schedule of certificates issued under the assisted passage regulations, 1862-1885 (GRG 35/39)

Special list for GRG 35/39 Schedule of certificates issued under assisted passage regulations, 1862-1867, 1872-1878

Special list for GRG 35/39 Schedule of certificates issued under assisted passage regulations, 1878-1885

The records

This series consists of two volumes listing certificates issued under the assisted passage regulations.

Assisted immigration was suspended between July, 1867 and June, 1872 except for cases where payment had already been made.

Information recorded can include:

  • name of applicant
  • nominee
  • number of certificate
  • amount paid
  • date of payment
  • nationality
  • number of statute adults and
  • remarks.

Free immigration certificates 1876 to 1879

Schedule of free immigration certificates (United Kingdom and Continent of Europe), 1876-1879 (GRG 7/40)

Special list for GRG7/40 Monthly schedule of free immigration certificates (UK and Continent of Europe), 1876-1879 - arranged by Applicant

Special list for GRG7/40 Monthly schedule of free immigration certificates (UK and Continent of Europe), 1876-1879 - arranged by Nominee A - L

Special list for GRG7/40 Monthly schedule of free immigration certificates (UK and Continent of Europe), 1876-1879 - arranged by Nominee L - Z

The records

This series consists of one volume listing those people for whom an assisted (or free) passage was provided in full by the South Australian government.

The certificates record people coming from the United Kingdom and the Continent of Europe.

They were also known as selected migrants and were those people selected by:

  • agents of the United Kingdom government
  • agents of the South Australian government or by
  • shipping firms.

The entries give the:

  • number of each certificate
  • the name of the applicant (ie nominator)
  • the name of the nominee
  • age, sex, civil status, occupation and nationality
  • name of ship and date of arrival.
Assisted passengers 1881 to 1883

Applications by South Australian residents for assisted passage for residents of the United Kingdom and the Continent of Europe, 1881-1883 (GRG 7/45)

Special list for GRG 7/45 Applications for assisted passage, 1881-1883 - alphabetical by Nominator

Special list for GRG 7/45 Applications for assisted passage, 1881-1883 - alphabetical by Nominee

The records

This series consists of two volumes recording assisted passages for residents of the United Kingdom and the Continent of Europe. Assisted passages were those where the cost of the voyage was partly paid for by the passenger and partly by the South Australian Government.

Volume 1 contains certificate numbers 3601 to 3800. 

Volume 2 contains certificate numbers 4801 to 5000.

The applications give:

  • name
  • date
  • address and occupation
  • signature
  • sum contributed towards passage by South Australian resident
  • name of intending emigrant/s
  • ages, sex, and civil status
  • relationship to nominator and occupation
  • nationality and
  • address of person nominated.

They also include receipts from the South Australian Treasury for payments made as contributions to passage fares.

Assisted passengers 1911 to 1917

Applications for assisted passage, 1911-1917 (GRG 7/2)

Special list for GRG7/2 Applications for Assisted Passage, 1911-1917 - alphabetical by Nominee

Special list for GRG7/2 Applications for Assisted Passage, 1911-1917 - alphabetical by Nominator

The records

Applications in this series are from nominees for assisted passage previously paid for by a nominator in South Australia.

They can give personal particulars including:

  • occupation
  • nationality
  • age
  • marital status
  • amount payable
  • name and address of nominator and
  • relationship of nominee to nominator.

Some files also contain correspondence regarding the nomination.

Assisted passengers 1912 to 1914

Nominations for Assisted Passage (paid by nominee), 1912-1914 (GRG 7/1)

Special list for GRG 7/1 Nominations for Assisted Passage, 1912-1914 - numerical by nominee file number

The records

This series contains nominations for assisted passage previously paid for by the nominee [the passenger] and consists of nomination summaries and the nomination forms.

The nomination summaries can give:

  • certificate number
  • date of issue
  • date Agent General was advised
  • number of schedule
  • date the nominator was advised
  • arrival date and remarks.

The nomination forms record the name/address of the nominator, age, county of origin, location for payment of the nomination fee.

Details of the nominee are also provided including:

  • name
  • address
  • age
  • occupation
  • nationality
  • marital status
  • fee payable and relationship to the nominator.

The names and addressed of a witness and two referees may also be recorded.

Agricultural labourers 1911 to 1914

Applications by South Australian residents for agricultural laborers, 1911-1914 (GRG 7/4)

Special list for GRG 7/4 Applications for agricultural labourers 1911-1914 - by applicant's name

Special list for GRG 7/4 Applications for agricultural labourers 1911-1914 - by labourer's name

The records

This series consists of application forms completed by South Australian farmers for migrants to be employed as farm labourers.

The application forms give various information, including:

  • name and address of farmer
  • class of holding
  • number of men required
  • principal duties of labourer and
  • wages to be paid.

The forms are accompanied by cover sheets recording name and address of farmer and, if labourers were supplied, their name and date supplied.

Many applications also include related documents, such as:

  • correspondence from the Department advising whether or not a suitable migrant was available
  • undertakings by farmers to pay the fare of the labourer from Port Adelaide to the place of employment, and
  • telegrams advising of the labourer's arrival.
Agricultural labourers 1921 to 1924

Applications for assisted passage as agricultural labourers, 1921-1924 (GRG 7/18)

Special list for GRG 7/18 Card index to applications for assisted passage as agricultural labourers, 1921-1924

The records

This series consists of cards indexing applications for assisted passage as agricultural labourers. The cards partially index two other series:

  • Applications for assisted passage by selected immigrants from the United Kingdom, 1921-1924 (GRG7/9)
  • Correspondence files (`IMM` files) - Immigration Officer, 1921-1924 (GRG7/23)

The cards record:

  • name
  • file number
  • name of ship
  • dates of departure and arrival
  • age, nationality, religion
  • names and ages of wife and children
  • name and address of employer and
  • details of loan.

Not all sections are completed for each card.

A small number of cards relate to women migrants.

Domestic helpers 1921 to 1939

Card index to applications for assisted passage as 'Domestic Helpers' 1921 -1939

Special list for GRG 7/15 Index to applications as Domestic Helpers, 1921-1939

The records

These cards act as an index to Applications by women for assisted passage as Domestic Helpers (GRG 7/8).

The cards record:

  • name
  • file number
  • name of ship
  • dates of departure and arrival
  • age
  • nationality
  • name and address of employer/s, wages and date engaged
  • remarks about placements.

The date range of this series is not complete. The records cover two periods, 1921-1930 and 1938-1939. The location of records between 1930 and 1938 is unknown.

Farm apprentices 1922 to 1924 (Barwell Boys)

Applications for assisted passage as Farm Apprentices (Barwell Boys) 1922 - 1924

Special list for GRG 7/19 Card index to applications for assisted passage as Farm Apprentices (Barwell Boys), 1922-1924

These files can also be found and ordered using a Keyword Search on our catalogue ArchivesSearch using the boy's name.

The records

These cards are an index to the series Applications by youths for assisted passage as farm apprentices - Barwell Boys Scheme, 1922-1924 (GRG 7/6).

The South Australian Farm Apprentice Scheme (also known as the Barwell Boy scheme) was devised by the then Premier of South Australia, Henry Barwell, to repopulate in some measure after losing 6000 South Australian men who died in World War One.

Boys (generally in their late teens) emigrated to South Australia and were assigned to a South Australian farmer as a 'farm apprentice'.

Once they arrived the boys were paid a wage from which their passage money was repaid.

The cards are arranged alphabetically and give the:

  • name of boy
  • the file number
  • the name of ship
  • the date of arrival
  • religion
  • name and address of employer/s and wages paid etc.
Farm apprentices 1927 to 1930 (Big Brother Scheme)

Card index to applications for assisted passage as 'Boy Migrants' 1927 - 1930

Special list to GRG 7/16 Index to applications as boy migrants, 1927-1930

The records

These cards are an index to the series Application by youths for assisted passage as Boy Migrants - Big Brother Scheme, 1927 to 1929 (GRG 7/7).

The Big Brother Scheme was a scheme under the Immigration Act of 1923 similar in nature to the Barwell Boys Scheme.

Under the Act, a 'Boy Migrant' was a youth between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one who came to South Australia with the assistance of the Commonwealth Government.

Boy Migrants in the Big Brother Scheme were farm apprentices, and were assigned to a 'Big Brother' and a farmer when they arrived in Australia.

The cards record:

  • name of boy
  • file number
  • name of ship
  • date of arrival
  • date of birth
  • religion
  • name and address of employer
  • date employment agreement commenced and expire and wages paid.

Some cards also give the name and address of the 'Big Brother' allocated as a mentor to the Boy Migrant, generally a city business or professional man of the same religion.

 

Key facts

GRG 35/342/2, image no, 413. Glass plate and other negatives - Photolithographic Branch, Department of LandsImmigration schemes provided assistance to passengers by paying a full or partial fare for the voyage to South Australia.

Records created as part of these schemes usually refer to 'assisted passage'.

These schemes were originally run by the imperial, and later colonial governmment and funded by land sales in the colony (known as the Emigration Fund).

After Federation, the state of South Australia continued to administer immigration schemes alongside the Commonwealth of Australia.