Assisted Immigration Voyage Reports

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Assisted Immigration Voyage Reports is associated with Melbourne located at these coordinates -37.8131869, 144.9629796

‘Voyage Reports’ from Assisted Immigration Registers
Victorian Public Record Series 14 (1839 – 1871)

These registers were kept to record details of people immigrating to Victoria, under Government funded assisted immigration schemes. These schemes were developed in response to a demand for labour, particularly rural and domestic workers. brick makers, fencers, including making rock walls in the Western Districts, bakers, shepherds, grooms, blacksmiths, carpenters and those of experience in animal husbandry were in demand. The Government wished to encourage a stable Yeoman type society, based on the English model, and so encouraged married couples as well as single women to join the flood of immigrants. domestic servants, laundresses, seamstresses, cooks and governesses were most needed.

From 1839 to 1868 Port Phillip District of New South Wales officials worked in conjunction with the British Government's Emigration Officer in London who was responsible for promoting migration, supervising the selection of applicants for both Government and privately-sponsored schemes, and arranging for their passage. Many religious societies and employment groups in England and Australia became involved with these schemes, including Caroline Chisholm and J B Ware.

While there is an enormous amount of absorbing historical detail available on the subject of Assisted Immigration, and much fascinating research has already been published, this article simply wishes to display some reports signed by John Patterson, chairman of the Immigration Board of Inspection recorded in the Assisted Immigration Registers.

Registers hold the passenger details (nominal lists), occasionally the employment details (disposal lists), the amounts of gratuities the crew were paid for safe transportation of the passengers, numbers of married couples, single men and single women, the number of births and deaths. One Register can hold details of voyages, passengers and commercial payments of 20 or so vessels. The Immigration Board of Inspection reports were not recorded at the end of the notes of every voyage; some Registers do not hold any of these reports, or the rarer Master’s or Surgeon Superintendant’s notes. Generally, the earlier volumes record more information.

The immigration contacts, between the Government and the immigration entrepreneurs, required the numbers of single men and women to be exactly that of the agreement; otherwise the bounty would not be approved for excess people eg “deduct bounty … for an excess of 19 single men, ₤341” on the ship Melbourne, December 1841. As well, the single women were all to be “under the protection of” married couples otherwise the Immigration bounties would not be paid, for example “One single female Margt. Carroll, disallowed Bounty not coming to the Colony protected, ₤19”, on the ship Agostina. No bounty was paid for immigrants found to be ill, such as “Henry Sanson (single man) discovered to be nearly blind. ₤19 deducted” on the ship Alexander, January 1842.

Record Citation: VPRS 14/P0, Register of Assisted Immigrants from the United Kingdom (refer to microform copy, VPRS 3502)
Record URL:
Agency: VA 473, Superintendent, Port Phillip District
Agency URL:
Date: 1839/06/15
Record Type: Report
Event Type: Immigration
Language: en
Copyright URL:
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Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
Below is a virtual template of a report from John Patterson, many of the straightforward reports are very similar to this one.

Report of the Immigration Board of Inspection

[Page 1]

We have the honor to inform You, that
in consequence of directions received from Your Honor
we on the 8th instant proceeded on board “The
Maitland” which had arrived the day previous
with Immigrants from Plymouth, after a voyage
of 115 days.

They consist of 54 families comprising
190 Souls, Unmarried Males 48, and Unmarried
Females 48, in all 286 Souls

They enjoyed good health during the
voyage and arrived here in a healthy state
There occurred on the passage 3 deaths (children)
and 4 births.

They have been Selected chiefly in
Scotland, there are very few from England
and none from Ireland

Not a single complaint was made by any
of them, but all expressed themselves well treated during
the voyage; The major part of the Males are
Agricultural Laborers and Shepherds, The females
have been accustomed to House Service.

The Surgeon reports them as having
been well conducted and obedient to the rules
and regulations established for their observance
No infectious disease of any kind appeared on board
The water and provisions are reported as having been
of good quality, Cleanliness and Ventilation appear
to have been well attended to by the Surgeon
and Officers of the Ship, nearly all the adults
are able to read and write and are in possession
of a Bible

As respects the accommodation
for the passengers, it is in every respect

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[Page 2]

excellent, The between Decks are Spacious and
of the requisite height, We may here
finish our report by Stating that all
the people by the Maitland, have found
employment on Shore

Signed John Patterson
Chairman of the Board

Members of the Board present

John Patterson Chairman
P Cussen
Hy Green

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A more descriptive report, containing more details of the voyage and the ‘disposal’ of all to employment follows.

Ship David Clark

[Page 1]

General Remarks

The Ship David Clark, sailed from Greenock, for Port
Philip direct, on the 15th of June 1839 – having two
hundred, & twenty nine Government Emigrants on
board – She put into Rio Janeiro on the 15th. of August
& took in water, & fresh provisions – after remaining
there about ten days she resumed her voyage, and
arrived at Port Philip on the 27th. of October – their
occurred only one death on bd, & one birth -
During the voyage – The Immigrants arrived at
Port Philip in excellent health, & spirits; & appear to
be a respectable body of people, & well suited to the
wants of this Colony – Their general conduct
during the voyage has been orderly, & obedient, &
they all express themselves as highly pleased
with the arrangement, & accommodation on bd
& the treatment experienced from the Surgeon
Superintendent, the Captain, & Officers of the
Ship. Their health & comforts seem to have been
well attended to, the ship appeared clean, &
well ventilated, & the provisions of the best quality

The Immigrants were all landed in an
orderly manner, on the 29th, & 30th. of October, and
placed in tents, ready for their occupation, pitched
on the Opposite side of the Yarra from Melbourne
In a fortnight they were all advantageously
disposed of, as their services were very much required
here, & from the high rate of wages their condition
in life must be vastly improved. – J.S

Occasionally the reports elaborated on the districts from where the migrants originated, such as the following examples.

Ship Manchester, January 20th 1849

The married people and single men have
been selected chiefly from the several counties in
England indiscriminately some from Scotland and
a great proportion of the unmarried females come from
London or other large towns.

Ship Aurora

The Aurora sailed from Plymouth on the
17th of August 1848 and arrived off Point
Henry Geelong on the 7th instant, having
made the passage in 110 days.
The passengers consist of 33 families
viz Husbands 33 Wives 33. Children 50, in all
116, Single men 58, Single Women 30
in all 204 Souls.

They seem to have been Selected with
much judgement, the greater part are
from Scotland, Several from Cornwall
only one married Couple and one
Single female from Ireland, they
appear to be a useful and highly
respectable class of General Servants.

Ship Palmira, Augst. 7th 1848

They have been chiefly selected in the midland
counties of England with the exception of some
few from Scotland & the North of Ireland, indeed
on the whole a more desirable class of Immigrants
Souls not be wished for.

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The following report concerns an ‘orphan ship’.

Lady Kennaway

Report of the Immigration Board of Inspection

[Page 1]

Melbourne Dec 23 1848

We have the Honor to inform
you, that according to Your instructions
we on the 7th instant proceeded onboard
the Lady Kennaway, which arrived at
Port Phillip on the day previous with
Female Orphans, Immigrants, after a
voyage of 85 days. The Females in question
have been selected out of several of the Poor
house Unions in Ireland, and consist of
Girls of the age from 14 to 19 Years, their general
aspect indicates good health, and gives the
impression that they belong to the humbler
ranks of life. They are generally of a stout
make, rather low in stature, and are
endowed with strongly marked Irish
physiognomies; They are almost exclusively
of the Roman Catholic Religion, and it
would appear that most of them have
been in Service of some kind or other,
either in Town or Country, previous to leaving their native homes

We do then S[sic]onsider them to be on the
whole, a most seasonable supply and
acquisition to this City and its environs,
and hope that we may in future have
many importations of a similar kind,
and as they come originally from small
country Towns and adjoining districts,
they have never seen or been accustomed
to witness those demoralizing Scenes too
frequent in large Towns in many parts
of the Empire, and we doubt not but
that they will continue to conduct
themselves as hitherto and keep in the

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[Page 2]

paths of virtue. Every person that was fortunate enough to get on[sic] of them that we have
Spoken with, express themselves well pleased
with them. They are most anxious to please
their Employers, and as they have much to learn
in the line of their callings, we doubt not
but that they will be teachable and make
good and useful Servants. Very few of
them can read, and scarcely any of them
can both read and write, altho’ each of them
was given a prayer book and testament from
their respective Unions

They are represented as having been
generally obedient well conducted
during the voyage, and amenable to the
rules and regulations established for
their observance, some few of them
were inclined to be rather noisy and
boisterous occasionally, and would not
hesitate at times to let out a bit of an oath

The importation by this vessel consists
of Seven families comprising 19 Souls,
Orphan Girls 191. One Girl aged 11 Years
Sent out to join her parents in Melbourne
to whom she was delivered up, Chief Matron 1
Sub Matron 4, making a total of 216 Souls.
only one death, that of a child occurred
on the passage.

The people all arrived here in excellent health,
none being on the Sick List, and they certainly
exhibited the appearance of having been
on full allowance on the voyage

Not a Single complaint of any Kind, was
made by any of them, All expressed
themselves satisfied with the treatment
they experienced during the passage.

The Surgeon Superintendent being an
old Navy surgeon, and besides having had
experience in this particular line of Employment,
[Page 3]

seems with the Cordial Cooperation of
the Master and other Officers of the
Ship to have maintained Strict order,
and to have preserved that moral
restraint so very necessary under the
peculiar circumstances of this case.

We beg leave in this place to
represent to Your Honor, to be brought
under the consideration of the
proper authorities at home, should
such be decined [sic] expedient that in
cases likely to happen in future where
a large number of Immigrants have been
selected either in Ireland or Scotland,
a great benefit would be conferred
on them by substituting a quantity of
Oatmeal for a portion of the articles of
diet, as supplied at present by the dietary
scale, together with a proper proportion
of Molasses to be used with the porridge
in lieu of Milk, the article generally
used on Shore, such substitution would be
most grateful and better suited to their
tastes, and habits, but we consider would
be conducive to their well being and health.
There is a mess made with Maize meal, in
the same manner that Oatmeal is treated
equally palatable, nutritious, and wholesome
which during the voyage might be alternated
with the porridge with much benefit.

It may not be out of place here
to remark, that the applicants for the Service
of these females were numerous and that
at the present time they are all hired in
respectable places, but three not yet engaged

(“Signed”) John Patterson. Chairman
(“do”) Henry Green C.W
(“do”) P. Cussen. M.D

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Finally here is a report on passengers who were quarantined on arrival at Port Phillip.

Ship Glen Huntly

[Page 1]

General Remarks

The ship Glen Huntly sailed from Geenock for
Port Philip direct on the 14th. day of December 1839
about six weeks after her departure fever of a Typhoid
character began to make its appearance amongst
the Immigrants & continued to prevail during the
remainder of the voyage ----- On her arrival at Port
Philip she was immediately put under Quarantine
A spot was selected for a Quarantine ground – Tents
were pitched for their reception, & in a few days the
entire of the passengers were landed, & the Quarantine
regulations strictly enforced – Our camp was destined
for the accommodation of the healthy, & the other for that
of the sick, all intercourse between them being strictly
interdicted -----very few new cases appeared after their
being landed, the Sick gradually recovered, & on the 1st.
of June the Immigrants in the healthy camp were
liberated from Quarantine & obtained situations
The convalescents & healthy in the sick camp were
removed over to the clan [sic] camp & kept separated from the
few not quite recovered – On the 13th. of June those in the
healthy camp were likewise liberated, & the few remaing [sic]
convalescents seen on the 20th. removed from the Quarantine
ground to the vicinity of Melbourne, all appearance of
sickness having for some weeks previous ceased to exist
& on the 1st July they were all disposed of – There were
52 persons either actually ailing or convalescent
when the immigrants first cam [sic] on shore – John Patterson.

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