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19th century immigrant journal collection




A collection of approximately 100 published and unpublished diaries, journals, testimonials, letters and accounts of sea voyages from Europe to Australia between 1788 and 1900.

To emigrate or remain at home was the major decision of a lifetime faced by many families in England and Ireland during the 19th century. The reasons to emigrate were many including land clearance (Scotland and Ireland), famine (Ireland), unemployment (England), the desire to get rich or the quest for political or religious freedom (Cornwall, the Midlands, Scotland and Ireland). Some of the estimated 1.5 million migrants to the Australian colonies in the 19th century kept accounts of their passage to Australia in which they described in words, poems and sometimes pictures the life they were leaving, the sea journey and life upon arrival in a new and very strange land. The collection encompasses accounts from wealthy first class passengers such as Morgan Hayden's on the NEPTUNE in 1859; journals from ship captains such as Captain John Groves in command of the convict transport ELIZA II from Ireland to Sydney in 1835; ship matrons like Mary Armstrong on board the SEVERN in 1863 travelling from England to New South Wales; assisted migrants like the Murray family during a voyage from Southampton to Adelaide on board the HYDRABAD between November 1853 and March 1854; and young children like Katy Binder on board the Orient Liner OPHIR on a voyage from Australia to England in 1893.

Some material included in this collection may be subject to copyright

By appointment only, please contact ANMM

Parts of this collection are digitised and available on the ANMM web site


1788-1900; Immigrants; Journals; Sea transport

Diaries; Journals

Immigration; Travel; Water transport

Coverage Spatial

United Kingdom; Australia

Coverage Temporal



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