Resources for Irish research in Australia

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These are references relating to the talk I’ll be giving in Ennis today, 24th September at the Clare Roots Society’s Family History Conference. They should provide helpful reading for those with an interest in Irish migration to Australia. Of course, there’s many, many more sources that could be mentioned. (My topic is From East Clare to Australia: Assisted Migration and Irish Mobility)


State Records of New South Wales Board Immigration Lists, NSW Archives Kit. Microfilms 2136-37; 2460-2483. (Contain more information than the Agent’s Lists which have been digitised).
Baines, D European Migration, 1815-1930: Looking at the emigration decision again. The Economic History Review. New Series, Vol 47, No 3 (Aug 1994).
Burke, B. An East Clare priest: Fr John Burke 1805-1881 in Sliabh Aughty 2005.
Clement, C Migration to New Zealand: A Guide for Family History Researchers. Unlock the past publications 2016.
Farmer, K Arrivals in Australia from 1788. Unlock the past publications 2015.
Fitzpatrick, D Oceans of Consolation. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne 1995.
Haines, R, Life and Death in the Age of Sail: the passage to Australia.  UNSW Press, Sydney, 2003.
Haines, R Emigration and the Labouring Poor: Australian Recruitment in Britain and Ireland 1831-1860.  St Martins Press, Basingstoke, 1997.
Kennedy L, et al (eds) Mapping the Great Irish Famine. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1999.
Kleinig, M & Richards, E (eds) On the wing: Mobility before and after emigration to Australia. Visible Immigrants 7, Anchor Books, Sydney 2013.
O’Brien, J (Hartigan, PJ) Around the Boree Log. Harper Collins, Sydney 1994 (reprint)
O’Brien, P Broadford. County Clare 1830-1850: A study of a rural community. Unpublished MA (History and Local Studies), University of Limerick, 1999.
O’Mahoney, C. Emigration from the Limerick Workhouse 1848-1860 in The Old Limerick Journal, Spring 1982.
Richards, E (ed) Visible Women: Female immigrants in colonial Australia. Division of Historical Studies and Centre for Immigration and Multicultural studies, ANU, Canberra, 1995.
Richards, E (ed) Poor Australian immigrants in the nineteenth century. Visible Immigrants Series 2. Division of Historical Studies and Centre for Immigration and Multicultural studies, ANU, Canberra, 1991.
Richards, E, Reid R and Fitzpatrick D. Visible Immigrants: Neglected Sources for the History of Australian Immigration. Division of Historical Studies and Centre for Immigration and Multicultural studies, ANU, Canberra, 1989
Reid, R Farewell My Children: Irish Assisted Emigration to Australia 1848-1870, Anchor Books, Sydney 2011.
Reid, R Aspects of Irish assisted emigration to New South Wales, 1848-1870. Unpublished PhD thesis, Australian National University, Canberra, 1992.
Rushen, E Colonial Duchesses: the migration of Irish women to New South Wales before the Great Famine. Anchor Books, Sydney 2014.
Rushen, E & McIntyre, P Fair Game: Australia’s first immigrant women. Anchor Books, Sydney, 2014.

Web links


Try searching for various combinations including “county Clare” + Obituaries (or death or place). It includes many references to family overseas especially in obituaries (where they exist).

Cora Num’s gateway to Australian records
Australian Cemetery Index

Not all cemeteries but a good range. Otherwise find the name of the local council for the place and search for cemetery and burials/graves.

Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers Website for British Parliamentary Papers relating to Ireland.
Immigration Deposit Journals Now available online through subscription site
Irish Famine Orphan Website & Database
Limerick Board of Guardians’ Minutes Now online at

Anchor books
Unlock the Past publications

Available as ebooks also through the same site.

With thanks to all those who’ve assisted me including my family history friends who sent their emigrants’ photos for the collages, and to Eric Shaw for the news story on the Clare Castle emigrants. (At the end of the talk there will be a slide listing names and ancestors for the photographs used in the collage).


Each Australian state has responsibility for its own official BDM records.

Each colony in the pre-Commonwealth era had its own migration scheme.

As always some records are only available offline including specific migration documents.

You can find each State Archive by google searching for the state + archive. Each archive will have different records available. Most have a guide or similar information for family history researchers. There are also church archives, occupational archives etc. Google is your friend.

New book release: Atlantic Canada’s Irish Immigrants. Lucille H. Campey, Dundurn Press, Toronto, 2016

You can read more about the Clare Roots Society here or follow them on Facebook here.

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