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
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.

Share this page:

Comments or Questions:

15 Responses to “Official return of passengers”

  1. Joan Ryan September 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    I am a direct descendant of James and Maria Chittleborough from the Buffalo. (their son William ) I have collected a lot of information of the Chittleborough family over the years, but have been unable to find anything on Maria herself ( nee Coates. )Do you have any details of her family or where she came from in England. I have heard that her family did not approve of her marriage to James.

    • Peter Nelson December 5, 2011 at 3:33 am #

      My family is descended from William James, b. August 12th 1826, d. 1911. He married Ellen Thomson. Their five children were Emma 1845-60, William 1847-1911, James* 1849-1914 from whom my family tree is descended, George b.1852, Ellen b. 1855. As you are aware James and Maria Chittleborough with their five children came as free settlers on the H.M.S. Buffalo and arrived on December 28th 1836. Landing at what is now called Glenelg Beach. Maria died in 1840 in what was then called a “‘Lunatic Asylum” . She had apparently had a nervous breakdown. This is very probably why there is not anymore information about Maria. She had died.
      To quote my Auntie (historian): “I’m pretty sure she would have come from the same village or locality as her husband. In the 1830s there was not much transport! If you were well off you had a carriage and horse or a cart otherwise you went on foot! Up until the age of the bicycle as one historian has put it rather precisely one was ”obliged” to marry one’s cousin!!”

      We must meet one day to compare notes!

  2. Ian Turnbull May 30, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    I have noticed that on the Official return of passenger list the ship Rapid shows only one female but the actual passenger list shows two females.

    For the readers interest, I am a direct descendent of Maria Gandy who arrived in South Australia as the companion of Colonel William Light Surveyor General on the ship Rapid and recently attended an old scholars dinner here in Hobart where I live to meet another old scholar living in Tasmania who is a direct descendent of Dr. Woodforde the doctor on the ship Rapid. He has the diary of Dr. Woodforde which was recovered unfortunately with some pages missing.

  3. Kelly Dyer March 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Thomas Hudson Beare arrived on the “Duke of York” with his first wife Lucy Ann and four children, William, Lucy, Arabella and Elizabeth. Little Elizabeth was the first of the settlers to set foot on Kangaroo Island, carried to shore by a sailor, at aged 2. Tragically she later died in a fire accident aged 12, and her mother died in 1837 on KI. Thomas remarried my G-G-G-Grand-Aunt Lucy Bull, sister of my pioneer ancestor John Wrathall Bull, who arrived in 1838 on the “Canton”.

  4. Pamela Skurray February 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Anyone who has Ancestors who came to South Australia between 1836 and 1845 could be eligible to join the Pioneer Association of South Australia Inc. We have a variety of reference books that can be viewed in our Library, also other resources that could help in your research. We produce publications on pioneers and historical events that can be purchased from the association. Our office is open every Tuesday & Thursday from 10a.m. – 2.00p.m. Stafford House. 23-25 Leigh Street. Adelaide. History SA is providing an excellent source of information for all South Australians during this 175th.year of Proclamation. Great job.

    • Peter Nelson March 19, 2011 at 8:24 am #

      Pamela, I’d like to join the Pioneer Association of SA – what do I need to bring to prove I qualify? I happened to be in Leigh St yesterday but it was the wrong day for your office to be open. When there I always go to the Hindley St. end and look at the Princes Berkeley Hotel, which is on the site where James Chittleborough (GGG grandfather) erected the 1st pub in the colony – the Buffaloe Head. This then became the Black Bull and then the Princes Berkeley. As I look at it I wonder how tough it must have been for those pioneers. And to think that sometimes we think we have it tough…I don’t think so!

      • Pamela Skurray November 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

        Hello Peter. Thank you for your message, and apologies for not responding earlier. The hours of the Pioneers Association office are Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10.00a.m. – 2.00p.m. To become a member you only need to have an ancestor that arrived in the colony between 1836 & 1845. You would also need to complete a Pedigree Chart and evidence of your parents, grand parents, and g.grandparents which could be verified by Births, Deaths & Marriages (copies in our office) and other relevant information. I also have another person who is looking for descendants of the Chittleborough family. If you would be prepared to give me your email I can pass it on to him. Regards. Pam Skurray former President and Secretary of The Pioneers Association of South Australia Inc.
        p.s. I am not currently working in the office, however I am sure if you asked for an application form it could be sent out to you. The phone number for the office is 82315055 or the email is you may wish to visit the website as well

  5. Barry Chittleborough February 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    I am a direct descendant of James and Maria Chittleborough family (son William) who arrived on the HMS Buffalo,December 1836, and i will be following the site with great interest and pride, and the comments and histories of all concerned who set out for that great largely unknown land in the south in 1836.

    What a leap of faith for all those who set sail for the new world-especially those family groups with young children-all brave souls
    Thank you for a great resource in this 175th year, that will give us, our children and grandchildren an additional source of reference as to who they are and where the family originated from and the family role as original free settlers, in founding and making the Colony and subsequent State of South Australia the success that it became.

    • Peter Nelson March 1, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

      I am also a descendant of the Chittleborough’s from the BUFFALO. My father’s mother was Pearl Pleasant Chittleborough who married Reginald Nelson. She was, I believe, the first white child born in Mt. Pleasant. I have found her and myself in two family history books (Veitch and Fulwood). Pearl’s mother, Euphemia Gates, married a William Thomas Chittleborough in the Fulwood house in Condowie and lived in Bakara at some stage.

      So we are related ourselves. I would be interested in meeting you and talking about our family connection.

      This site is great and I am learning so much and will follow it with interest.

      Did you now that the current Princes Berkeley hotel in Hindley St was built by James Chittleborough (Father of BUFFALO Chittleborough family) as the Buffaloe Head hotel – one of the 1st in Adelaide?

      • Barry Chittleborough March 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

        Peter Nelson.
        William Thomas Chittleborough is my great uncle, an elder brother of my grandfather James.
        Would be pleased to hear from you, look us up in the Eyre Peninsula phone book or the white pages web site, we are the only Chittleborough listed in Port Lincoln/Eyre Peninsula.
        The HMS Buffalo as i currently understand, made its first anchorage in the new colony at Spalding Cove (Port Lincoln NP) Christmas Eve 1836.
        Look forward to hearing from you

      • wiliam ross chittleborough December 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

        peter, william thomas chittleborough was my grandfarther leslie george farther,pearl was one of his sister myfavourt aunty.regards ross.

  6. Phil Wilkins February 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    I am led to believe that the first Wilkins (my ancestors) William & Mary Wilkins arrived in South Australia on the “Emma”. Would it be possible to acquire the passenger list confirming this event

    With thanks
    Phil Wilkins

    • Kristy February 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

      Hi Phil, We are still finalising the Emma passenger list. Unfortunately there exist a few conflicting passenger lists for many of the ships so we have been dutifully going back to the original sources to compile qualified lists. But I can tentatively confirm that there was a William and Mary Wilkins (and two children) on board the Emma. Stay tuned as the Emma sets sail in April!
      Kristy – History SA.

  7. Kyran Owen Cocks February 22, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    My great great great great grandfather is Robert Walker, him and his wife Sophia Bessell came over on the HMS Buffalo and had a child on the voyage to South Australia, Henry (Walker) Owen. There is a great book called They Came with the Buffalo- a saga of Port Lincoln written by Doreen K. Puckridge, the grand daughter of Henry. Has great insight into the conditions and they hardships they came across back in the early pioneer years.

    • Peter Nelson March 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

      Hi Kyran,
      I am currently reading that book – an amazing story! My Nanna is a direct descendant of the Chittleborough family who came across in the HMS BUFFALO with Gov Hindmarsh in 1836. I am in awe of the sheer bravery and pluck of those pioneer settlers. The aboriginal threat around Port Lincoln alone must have made many wish with all their heart they had not left the UK.

      I am in the process of delving into my family history – it is addictive and all consuming…but a great adventure nonetheless!

Add your reply to Kyran Owen Cocks

Please read our moderation policy before commenting
To display your avatar when you comment, the Bound For South Australia 1936 website uses free and globally recognised Gravatars. Learn more and register here to get your free gravatar.