Passenger records

Records of passenger arrivals in Australia (and to a lesser extent departures) are one of the best known sources of genealogical information.

Passenger lists are held from 1852 to 1973, when lists were discontinued. Passenger cards began in 1948. As the format and arrangement of these records vary, so does the amount of useful information available. The passenger arrivals index on RecordSearch is an online database that includes the names from passenger lists in the National Archives series K269, Inward passenger manifests for ships and aircraft arriving at Fremantle, Perth Airport and outports, chronological series, 1898–1978. The index currently includes arrivals up to, and including, 1964.

Passenger lists and cards are usually arranged chronologically within the port of arrival, or at least states. A place and approximate date of arrival is needed to use these records efficiently.

Fact sheets

Passenger records held in Adelaide

Passenger records held in Brisbane

Passenger records held in Canberra

Passenger records held in Hobart

Passenger records held in Melbourne

Passenger records held in Perth

Passenger records held in Sydney

Passenger arrivals index

Searching for an arrival record

To effectively search in the records for family members you need to know how and when they arrived. Unfortunately, there are no comprehensive name indexes for passenger records.

For arrivals by sea between 1898 and 1964 (arriving in, or travelling through, the port of Fremantle or other Western Australian ports), and arrivals by aircraft between 1944 and 1964 (to Perth Airport or travelling through), try searching the passenger arrivals index.

Go to Search the collection and then RecordSearch. Select the 'Passenger arrivals index' tab at the top right of the screen to display the search screen.

  • For 1965–1972 arrivals by sea and air go to Search the collection and then to RecordSearch. Select the advanced search screen, items search, and then in the keyword field enter the year of arrival, for example 1965, and in the series field enter A1197. The records are arranged alphabetically in six-month batches.
  • For other arrivals, you need to know the port or airport of arrival, the name of the vessel or aircraft number, as well as the month and year the vessel arrived. If you are unable to identify the date of arrival within two months, your search could be very time consuming.
  • For arrivals after 1972, or if you require assistance locating an arrival, use the Passenger arrival records inquiry form.
  • For most arrivals before 1924, you will need to contact state government archives.
    Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017