There are many books and indexes to be found in the Genealogical Society of Victoria which are of interest to Port Phillip Pioneer researchers, and Eleanor Pugsley from the Society suggested those that she considered most appropriate.

Eleanor is a firm believer in the notion of 'chain migration'. Few people migrated entirely alone. Other family members sometimes accompanied them on the same ship, or they came out to join relations who were already in the country. Close examination of shipping and birth, death and marriage indexes of the Port Phillip District and the other colonies might be rewarding.

It was not mandatory to identify passengers arriving in Australia before 1852. However the shipping merchants made lists of assisted migrants, as they wished to be paid for their transportation. Prior to 1851, two lists were made in the Port Phillip District, one of which was sent to Sydney. The New South Wales State Records Office has put their list on the internet and as the two lists are not identical it is worth looking at them both. Also on the internet, which can be accessed at the Genealogical Society of Victoria, are the names of some 2,700 women who arrived in Sydney, Hobart and Launceston between 1833 and 1837. The 1828-1842 index to bounty passengers arriving in Sydney is on CD-rom.

After 1852, a Passenger Act was passed in England, ensuring that the names of all passengers were recorded. Prior to that date, newspaper journalists from the "Argus" or the "Port Phillip Herald" for example, went down to incoming ships and noted the names of unassisted immigrants. The Genealogical Society of Victoria holds indexes for the Port Phillip District, and also for other colonies, including "Passengers from Overseas to Port Phillip District pre-1852", "Passengers and Crew to and from Sydney 1830-1841", and "Unassisted Arrivals into Sydney 1842-1855".

In order that convicts might not escape and to prevent competition with the East India Company, ships were forbidden in Australia in the early days, but after Norfolk Island and Tasmania were settled, boats became a necessity. Strangely enough, convicts found guilty of a crime in one colony could be transported to another colony to serve their sentence. Coastal shipping indexes therefore are of great interest as there was considerable movement of people between the colonies. Indexes such as "Coastal Passengers to Port Phillip 1839-1845" by Alexander Romanov-Hughes and "Arrivals and Departures 1829-1850 into Tasmania" are taken from newspaper reports and are very useful.

Other records worth investigating include electoral rolls, Supreme Court records, lists of occupations, early Victorian Naturalisation records, and the 1841 census for New South Wales. The Church of Latter Day Saints has indexed some Victoria church records. These and other Latter Day Saints' records are now available through the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

Histories of churches, ministers, schools, towns, etc. help to improve our understanding of how our ancestors lived in the early days of the Port Phillip District but books like William Westgarth's "Personal Recollections of Early Melbourne and Victoria" are the most interesting because they are written accounts of actual experiences.

(The Above is a Report on Eleanor Pugsley's Address at the Annual General Meeting on 8 March 2003)

Contributed by Jan Hanslow (PPPG Member No. 1057)

List of Newsletter Articles  |  Back to Home Page