Bound for South Australia: Births and Deaths on Government-Assisted Immigrant Ships 1848-1885

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Media: DATA CD - 1 CD
Author: R. Haines, J. Jeffery & G. Slattery
Year: 2004
ISBN: 0947284419
Publisher: Gould Genealogy

Do you have ancestors who immigrated to South Australia from the UK? Did you have any family that were born or died on the voyage out? If you answered yes to both of these, then you’ll be wanting to know where you look for records relating to these events! Surgeon’s journals are the answer!
Every voyage had a doctor/surgeon onboard, and he kept details of everyone who was born, ill, or died throughout the voyage. So they are an incredible resource for information that is otherwise hard to come by.
This CD is a compilation of the complete listing of all 323 ‘Government-Assisted’ voyages that came to South Australia between 1848 and 1885.
Information for each ship includes the port and date of departure, date of arrival, number of emigrants, and their age-class and regions of origin. The further information is drawn from surgeon's reports and other sources.

SAMPLE Voyage Report (some reports have less information, some more)

Port of Departure: Plymouth
Date of Departure:
16 May 1864
Port of Arrival: Adelaide
Date of Arrival:
22 August 1864
Emigrants embarking:
326, including 74 children; 214 English, 41 Scots, 66 Irish
John Carroll

Deaths on Board: 12

Name Sex Age Date Cause of Death
Lee, Charlotte F 1 19 June Malignant measles
Ingleby, Edwin M Inf 19 June Measles
Lee, Alfred M 2 21 June Fever after measles
Ingleby, Jonathan M 2 27 June Gangrene after measles
Bourke, Richard J M 1 12 July Bronchitis after measles
Cooper, John M Inf 17 July Convulsions after measles
McNamara (born on board) M 8 hrs 18 July Supposed to be overlaid
Barrett, Ernest M iNF 21 July Sequela of measles
Oliver, William J M 1 7 Aug Croup
Robins, James R M 4 11 Aug Marasmus after measles
Inseal, Eleanor F 4 13 Aug Fever after measles
Allbright/Albright, John M 1 20 Aug Croup John

Births on Board: 4

Names of parents Date of birth Sex of child Name of child
Lee, Mary A and Edwin 3 July M  
Vile, Sarah and William 9 July M  
McNamara, Ann and John 18 July M  
Waddell, Mary and William 6 August F  

Notes from the Surgeon’s Report: ‘Measles was the principal disease from the beginning of the voyage … Hooping[sic] cough and ophthalmia also prevailed. I would beg leave to suggest the introduction into the charter party of a clause forbidding in the winter season a higher latitude than from 42° to 45°S. We sailed in a much higher latitude and the people, particularly women and children felt it much. They suffered also from chilblains to an extent that I never before saw equalled and I don’t think any difference in time saved by taking a high latitude is commensurate with the discomfort produced thereby in the winter season.’ In the event, the Emigration Commissioners attempted to confine masters within the latitude 45°S, but some masters went for higher, to around 50°S, causing much discomfort for emigrants who suffered from exposure to the cold. Such contravention of regulations was relatively rare.

The author, Robin Haines, is widely known for her books on migration. Recommended is her
Life and Death in the Age of Sail: The Passage to Australia published in 2003 by University of NSW Press. Another Emigration and the Labouring Poor: Australian recruitment in Britain and Ireland 1831-1860 was published by Macmillan Press in London. This soon sold out and a new edition is under consideration.

This CD does not generally include passengers, other than those born or who died during the voyage. Many passenger lists, indexes and other guides to information on voyages to South Australia will be available at the State Library of South Australia, State Records, The SA Genealogy and Heraldry Society, The South Australian Maritime Museum and other major libraries and societies in Australia. Others have also compiled lists or indexes, including Di Cummings. This database of passenger arrivals has over 47,000 families, compiled in large measure from newspaper reports of passenger arrivals. Though this database has a similar title to the CD published by Gould Genealogy, there is no connection between the two resources, other than the fact that some of the voyages covered will be the same.

Any computer using Adobe (Acrobat) Reader 4 or later
Adobe Reader 6 or later is recommended for CDs with searchable text

1 Review
  • A wonderful listing of names

    Posted by Leanne Priestman on 17th Apr 2019

    A very useful resource to have in any collection.

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Bound for South Australia: Births and Deaths on Government-Assisted Immigrant Ships 1848-1885

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