Author: Charlie Spiteri

Showcase Record – November 2013

VPRS 947/P0 Inward Overseas Passenger Lists 1852 – 1923

Immigration Records

Immigration records that are held by Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) provide information about the administration of inward and outward immigration for Victoria. The inwards records relate to both assisted immigrants and those who came unassisted or were privately sponsored.

The term “unassisted” was used to describe passengers that paid their own fare, to distinguish them from passengers that migrated under sponsorship schemes, known as “assisted passengers”.


Famous People of the Past on our Unassisted Passenger Lists

The assisted, unassisted and outward passenger lists have all been fully indexed and are available to search online. When searching these indexes you can find famous people of the past listed. Two of these world famous people are Saint Mary Mackillop of the Cross, who is just listed on there as Mary Mackillop and her profession/calling is listed as Nun, The other famous person is Dame Nellie Melba who is listed on there as Mme Melba and her profession/calling is listed as Lady.


Saint Mary Mackillop of the Cross

Mary Mackillop was travelling back from Rome, Italy in October 1874 onboard the ship the SS St Osyth. She made it back into Melbourne, Victoria on January 1875. Mary Mackillop, as we all know is a world famous Australian who was beatified on 19 January 1995 in Sydney, Australia by Pope John Paul II  and then canonised and recognised as Saint Mary Mackillop of the Cross on 17 October 2010 at St Peters Basilica in Vatican City, Rome by Pope Benedict XVI.

paper with list


Dame Nellie Melba

Dame Nellie Melba was travelling back from Marseilles, France in February 1909 onboard the ship the SS Orontes. She made it back into Melbourne, Victoria on March 1909. Dame Nellie Melba who was born in Richmond, Victoria on 19 May 1861, was a world famous operatic soprano and prima donna. She was one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era.Dame Nellie Melba was travelling back to Melbourne in 1909 because she was embarking on a concert tour of Australia.

paper with list


Various Creating Agencies

Colonial Secretary's Office: VA 856, 1852 – 1855

Department of Trade and Customs: VA 606, 1855 – 1900

Public Works Department: VA 669, 1900 – 1923


Agencies currently responsible

Public Record Office Victoria: VA 683, 1973-continued

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, State Office, Victoria: VA 4369, 1996-cont.


Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples