About the QLD Immigration Records, Australia, 1852-1899
General collection information
This collection contains lists of ingoing and outgoing passengers from Queensland, Australia between 1852 and 1899. Originally created by the Collector of Customs in Brisbane, these records list both passengers and crewmen. Records in this collection are very thorough and include information about international passengers, including those from China and the South Sea Islands, populations often left out of history. This collection is index only, with all data being recorded verbatim from the original documents.
Using the collection
Records in the collection may include the following information:
This collection provides a wealth of information for researching your family member's immigration history. Most records provide a date of arrival, but if that information isn't available records will also contain clues about their point of origin or vessel that can help pin down an arrival date.
You may be able to find multiple listings for the same person as some vessels created "Inwards" and "Outwards" lists that detailed departures and arrivals. Records also list whether a person was a passenger or a crew member. Your ancestor may have appeared on multiple manifests, especially if they were a crew member.
If your ancestors emigrated before 1893, it is possible their records may have been lost in the 1893 Brisbane flood.
Collection in context
When New South Wales grew beyond its initial roots as a penal colony, concerns for maintaining infrastructure caused Queensland to break away in 1859 and become a separate colony. In 1901, the Australian states joined together to form the Commonwealth of Australia and within a year enacted the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 (a cornerstone of what was known as the White Australia policy); a discriminatory practice passed to "keep Australia British."
Despite the infamous Immigration Restriction Act 1901, early Queensland was built on waves of emigrants from around the world. The growing colony needed a labour force and workers began arriving from various countries. Emigrants from Italy began arriving in the late nineteenth century, predominantly working in the sugar industry. Chinese immigrants often worked in the mining industry or as market gardeners. Workers from the South Sea Islands were brought voluntarily and involuntarily to Queensland to work in the sugar and cotton industries. After the establishment of the White Australia policy, more than 7,000 of these workers were forcibly deported starting in 1904.
National Archives of Australia. "The Immigration Restriction Act 1901." Last modified April 22, 2020. https://www.naa.gov.au/explore-collection/immigration-and-citizenship/immigration-restriction-act-1901.
National Library of Australia. "Australian Shipping and Passenger Records." Last Modified May 16, 2021. https://www.nla.gov.au/research-guides/finding-ship-and-passenger-records.
Queensland Government. "Creation of A State." Last modified July 20, 2018. https://www.qld.gov.au/about/about-queensland/history/creation-of-state.
Queensland Museum. "Migration." Last modified April 23, 2021. https://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Explore/Find+out+about/Histories+of+Queensland/Migration.