Official return of passengers

The precise number of people who travelled to South Australia in 1836 intending to settle will probably never be known with certainty. Available sources include inconsistencies, and all were subject to last minute changes, as additional passengers embarked, or expected passengers changed their minds.  A few left the ships en route, some were born and others died.

One estimate of the number of passengers who arrived in 1836 was provided by the South Australian Colonization Commissioners in their second annual report to the British Parliament in 1837. A summary from Appendix 1 of this report is presented below.  It suggests that a total of 546 passengers arrived. The return also divides the passengers between those whose passage was provided by the Emigration Fund, those who travelled without the assistance of the fund and ‘Persons of a superior class’ – generally those who travelled as cabin passengers.

We include this return to indicate the approximate number of people who arrived, but do not claim that it is a definitive total.

Adults conveyed by the
Emigration Fund
Adults whose passage was
defrayed by other means
Children Persons of a
superior class
TOTAL
SHIP Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Children
John Pirie 17 4 2 2 3 28
Duke of York 25 4 5 4 38
Cygnet 38 14 9 8 11 4 84
Lady Mary Pelham 22 1 4 1 1 29
Emma 12 3 1 3 2 1 22
Rapid 16 1 7 24
Africaine 27 13 6 4 11 7 8 76
HMS Buffalo 52 35 28 19 21 16 171
Tam O’Shanter 34 16 1 8 9 6 74
TOTAL 243 87 11 54 46 64 33 8 546

Source: South Australian Colonization Commission Annual report of the Colonization Commissioners of South Australia to His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies London, House of Commons, 1837, appendix 1.

Individual passengers lists will be provided for each ship as it departs.

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