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From the mid-1830s until roughly 1860, assisted emigration was administered in London and funded by the sale of crown land in the newly-founded colony of South Australia. In 1858, South Australia gained its own representative government and took over the administration of the land fund, becoming the first colony in Australia to send its own immigration agent to London to manage both the fund and the arrangement of transport for the assisted passenger schemes.

The 221,090 records in this collection were compiled from original passenger lists, as well as mentions of ship arrivals in the South Australian Government Gazette, Sydney Shipping Gazette and South Australian Register. The collection contains details such as name, age, occupation, marital status and country of origin.