Queensland Family History Society Inc


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Queensland Customs House Shipping 1852-1899: Passengers and Crew


This publication provides details for 176,599 inwards passengers and crew from 1,340 ship voyages for the period 1852 to 1899; sourced from the Collector of Customs (Brisbane) records which are held at the National Archives of Australia, Brisbane (Shipping Inwards Series J715). The lists typically mention both passengers and crew.


Numerous ships have two lists: one prepared at the time of departure and another on arrival. Though the series is labelled ‘Inwards’ there are a few ‘Outwards’ lists also included. The lists for emigrant ships complement those available at the Queensland State Archives. The other lists, including those with few passengers, ships from non-European ports, those from Australian ports and the lists of crew, are important new records. The exciting inclusion in this database are the names of people often ignored: Chinese passengers and those from the South Sea Islands.

Many of the lists are for voyages not found in the Queensland State Archives Assisted immigration 1848-1912 online index. Some were lost in the 1893 floods whilst others are not specifically migrant voyages though they may have carried passengers. A selection of large migrant ships not available in the Queensland State Archives (QSA) online index but included on this index includes:

  • 1859: Shackamaxon
  • 1862: Chatsworth, City of Brisbane, Erin go Bragh, Maryborough, Ocean Chief, Whirlwind
  • 1863: Everton, Golden City, Queen of the Colonies, Sunda, Wanata, Young Australia
  • 1864: Castle Eden, Legion of Honor, Queen of the Colonies, Young Australia
  • 1865: Sunda
  • 1866: Flying Cloud, Golden City, Southern Ocean
  • 1869: Flying Cloud, Light Brigade
  • 1870: Planet, Storm King

Gaps in records

There are gaps in records available as indicated below:

  • 1853-1858: no surviving lists
  • 1878 and 1879: no surviving lists
  • 1886: no surviving lists before September
  • 1888: surviving lists only for January and February arrivals
  • 1889 and 1890: no surviving lists
  • 1891: no surviving lists for ships arriving for the months January to June

Ports of departure

The index includes ships departing from Adelaide, Albany, Antwerp, Ballina, Batavia, Boston, Brisbane, Calais, Calcutta, Devonport (Tasmania), Dundee, Dungeness (Queensland), Fiji, Foochow, Freemantle, Glasgow, Greenock, Hamburg, Hobart, Hong Kong, Japan, Kobe (Japan), Liverpool, London, Lyttelton (New Zealand), Madagascar, Manila, Maryport (UK), Melbourne, New Hebrides, New York, New Zealand, Newcastle (NSW), Newcastle-on-Tyne, Penguin (Tasmania), Plymouth, Port Beira (South Africa), Port Pirie (SA), Queenstown, Rio de Janeiro, Rockhampton, San Francisco, Sandakan (Borneo), Savannah (USA), Shanghai, Sharpness (UK), Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Sea Islands, Southampton, Sydney, Thames (New Zealand), Timaru (New Zealand), Townsville, Ulverstone (Tasmania), Vancouver, and Wellington (New Zealand).

Details in this index

Details for each person may include:

  • Surname and Given names
  • Title (Mr., Mrs., Miss, Dr., Hon., Rev., Capt., jun., sen. and more)
  • Age (where given, can be an actual age or just a comment such as adult, child, infant or above/under 14y)
  • Sex (male or female)
  • Status (married or single)
  • Occupation (includes many abbreviations)
  • Nationality (includes abbreviations and place names e.g. Aberdeen, Essex, Hamburg etc.)
  • Whether passenger or crew
  • where appropriate, comments are also included

For each ship, the index includes the name of the ship, the name of the master, the date and port of departure, the date and port of arrival and the type of list (departure, arrival or other).

Explanatory notes

  • A dash (-) indicates no name given on the list
  • A question mark (?) indicates uncertainty about the entry due to problems reading it
  • Names and occupations are abbreviated as recorded on the lists

As far as we are able, all data has been recorded exactly as it is on the lists

  • Variant readings of the name are recorded in the Comments field or you can do a Keyword search to find them