from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and elsewhere


to Australia

The SOUTH AUSTRALIAN REGISTER newspaper sent a special reporter to each ship arriving in South Australia,
to list the passengers on board that ship from the PASSENGER LIST held by the Captain.

The reporter's list was published in the next publication of the newspaper.
We understand that microfilms of the SOUTH AUSTRALIAN REGISTER Newspapers
are held in State Libraries across Australia.

More often than not, these published lists are the only source available of a passenger list for a particular ship.
Where possible we have compared these list with photocopies of the actual passenger list
(many of which are difficult to read). As a result, the information on some images may not be 100% accurate.

Given the difficulty Agents must have had in understanding the people applying for a passage
(they often could not read or write, and their language was often "broad" and hard to understand),
and how difficult it probably was for the reporter to interpret the writing on the actual passenger list,
we are often amazed at how accurate (or how incorrect) these lists can be.


   SA PASSENGERS in Alphabetical order, per year, from 1836-1851 - currently 62,000 families.

  PASSENGER LISTS - virtually every SA Ship List (3000) between 1836-1851 - currently 62,000 families

  We also have over 200 PHOTOS of SOUTH AUSTRALIAN PIONEERS (from 1836-1840)
             Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia


The wooden three-masted barque was the most common type of deep-water cargo-carrier in the middle of the 19th century (1850s). When four-masted barques started to appear in the 19th century (the 1800s), they were often called full-rigged ships since they had three square rigged masts, and a ship was more highly regarded than a barque
(a barque is a vessel with at least three masts, all of them fully square rigged except for the sternmost one, which is fore-and-aft rigged). The typical cargo-carrier of the early 1900s was the four-masted steel barque.

WINDJAMMERS: The route taken by sailing ships from one port to another was dictated by the prevailing winds. When sailing from Europe towards Australia they always went round the world from west to east to take advantage of the strong westerly winds that encircle the Earth in the Southern Ocean. However, trade from Europe to the West Coasts of Chile and Peru meant that the rounding of Cape Horn had to be made from east to west. When leaving Spencer Gulf it was customary to head well to the south to take advantage of 'Great Circle' navigation. Once past Cape Horn the sailor went over towards the east to pick up the South-East Trade Winds. After the doldrums she utilised the North-East Trades to get to the north, when the westerlies of the North Atlantic pushed her towards the English Channel. Sailing ships sailed into South Australian waters from the south-west, pushed along by the Roaring Forties. After discharging their cargo and loading more for the next stage of their journey, they usually headed east towards Cape Horn to take advantage of the westerly winds in the Southern Ocean. Their route usually took them south of Tasmania, but sometimes the prevailing winds as they left the [Spencer] Gulf forced them to sail through Backstairs Passage and Bass Strait.


Click to see larger image

In 1839 there were less than 10,000 persons in the new colony.
1841: there were ... persons in the colony.
1844: The first census, on the 26 February 1844, recorded 17,366 people.
1861: Some 25 years after the first settlers arrived, this number had increased to 126,830.

NOTE: The contents of these pages are the combined work of many people and whilst we aim for accuracy in all we do, remember Murphy's Law.
Should you discover your family name or similar on these lists, remember this - many of the names on Passenger lists were written
as the writer heard them, and many of the passengers were unable to spell their own names.

Website designer: Di Cummings