Ellis Island’s website has become a wonderful and famous resource for finding your immigrant wannabe American ancestors. Not only can you find out what country your family originated from, but you are also able to learn intimate details about your ancestor’s hair color, eye color etc. But what if your family did not immigrate to the United States? What if they got on a ship that sailed to another English-speaking immigrant built country? Australia also has passenger list records, that are actually not too difficult to find, but you may need to pay a little bit of money to get them.
Up until yesterday, I had not found my Italian immigrant grandparents on a passenger list to Australia. I’m not even sure if I ever looked for them. Perhaps I did but it was only on an archive website that had very little online access to records. In the past I have probably complained about how Ancestry is only a useful website if you have ancestors who were and are Americans. I have been proved wrong. Ancestry.com is the place I found the passenger lists that my grandparents names are listed on. Unfortunately they do not have the kinds of details that the passenger lists to Ellis Island had, but they are a great resource nevertheless. I had already known the year’s of their immigration, thanks to papers I found at the National Archives, but I had not know the exact dates, which is something that is invaluable to my family’s genealogy story.
Below we have the passenger list for Giuseppe Sulfaro, my grandfather, who arrived in Australia on the 24 April, 1951. He arrived through Fremantle, Western Australia, then took the ship onward to Sydney where he disembarked and probably took a train to get up to North Queensland. He immigrated to Australia alone.
The next passenger list has details of my grandmother, Maria Sulfaro (Stagno), who arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia on 29 January 1956 with her children. They also continued on the ship to Sydney and took a train up to Innisfail, Queensland.
Resources: Australian Passenger Arrivals List
Coraweb has a list of links to sites that feature passenger arrivals to Australia from 1852.
The National Archives of Australia should be your first stop in trying to find your ancestors arrival in Australia. Not only do they hold a plethora of records, they also have an Index to Passenger Arrivals between 1921-1949.
Ancestry is also a vital resource for these passenger arrival lists. Most European immigrants to Australia arrived through the Fremantle port in Western Australia. They hold records from 1897 to 1963.