Passenger records held in Sydney – Fact sheet 64

Passenger records provide a valuable source of genealogical (family history) information. Most of the records are arranged by the date, name of the ship, and the port of arrival or departure. Unless you know these details your search may be very time-consuming.

Passenger lists

Port of Sydney

The National Archives Sydney Office holds inwards and outwards ships passenger lists for the port of Sydney from 1923 onwards. Inwards passenger lists for 1923 to 1966 are available on microfilm in the Sydney Office reading room at Chester Hill and the Western Sydney Records Centre at Kingswood, NSW (see Addresses of Australian archival institutions).

An alphabetical card index by ship name, also available on microfilm, is held for inwards ships passenger lists for the years 1923 to 1951. We also hold an incomplete set of passenger lists for the period 1915 to 1922 created by the Customs Service. These records have not been microfilmed but are all listed on RecordSearch at an item level. The complete set of passenger lists prior to 1923 is held by State Records New South Wales.

Inwards aircraft passenger lists are also held for Sydney from 1936 to August 1974 (microfilm copies are available for the years 1936 to 1951). We hold outwards aircraft passenger lists for Sydney from 1941 to August 1974.

Ships and aircraft

Port of Newcastle

Inwards and outwards ships passenger lists for the port of Newcastle dating from 1865 are also held (microfilm copies are available for the years 1865 to 1905). Access to the lists for the years 1906 to 1935 may be restricted as they are in a fragile condition and are progressively undergoing preservation treatment and microfilming.

Port of Newcastle

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesCrew and passenger lists, inwards and outwards ships, Newcastle1865–1935C667
SeriesPassenger lists, inwards ships, Newcastle1949–72SP1151/1
SeriesPassenger lists, outwards ships, Newcastle1950–72SP1151/2

International Refugee Organisation

The Sydney office also holds copies of nominal rolls for immigrants arriving in Australia during the period 1947–55 under resettlement schemes sponsored by the International Refugee Organisation. These are held in the record series C1492. If you are unable to locate a passenger list for a ship likely to be conveying refugees in the main series of ships arriving in Sydney (series C1115), you may find a nominal roll of passengers included in C1492.

Other ships passenger lists

We also hold microfilm copies of the following passenger lists.

Northern Territory

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesDarwin – inwards and outwards lists1898–1949E1019


 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesBowen – ships lists inwards1897–1962J723
SeriesBrisbane – ships lists inwardsAug 1852–Dec 1964J715
SeriesBundaberg – ships lists inwardsFeb 1948–June 1950J733
SeriesCairns – ships lists inwards1897–Oct 1969J725
SeriesGladstone – ships lists inwardsApr 1924–Sep 1964J717
SeriesMackay – Ships lists inwardsOct 1924–Oct 1962J729
SeriesUrangan (Maryborough) – ships lists inwardsApr 1929–Mar 1950J731
SeriesRockhampton – ships lists inwards1898–Oct 1962J727
SeriesThursday Island – ships lists inwardsApr 1924–Jan 1964J719
SeriesTownsville – ships lists inwardsJan 1895–Dec 1964J721

South Australia

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesAdelaide – ships lists inwards1941–64D5077


 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesMelbourne – ships lists inwardsApr 1924–Dec 1964B4397

Western Australia

Sources in other offices of the Archives

Archives offices in each capital city hold collections of passenger lists, both originals and copies on microfilm, with the exception of the Melbourne office. In addition, the lists and registers in the table above are available on microfilm in each of these offices, with the exception of the Melbourne office.

Further information on passenger lists held the Archives is available in the following fact sheets:

Earlier passenger records

Passenger records for the Port of Sydney prior to 1923 are held by State Records New South Wales.

Earlier passenger records for other states are generally held by the relevant state archives.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019