Migrant selection documents held in Adelaide – Fact sheet 223

Postwar migration policies

Following World War II, Australia took advantage of the instability and insecurity in Europe, to encourage refugees and displaced persons to migrate to Australia. Using the catchcry of ‘populate or perish’, the Australian Government launched an immigration program in 1947. It was designed to increase the population by one per cent each year through migration from the United Kingdom and Europe.

Applicants were attracted by offers of assisted passage and accommodation for sponsored migrants. Between 1947 and 1983, nearly 3 million people – including 260,000 refugees and displaced persons – migrated to Australia. Over one third were from the United Kingdom.

The Department of Immigration was responsible for approving the entry of individuals and recording their arrival. Prospective applicants applied for assisted passage (producing what are known as migrant selection documents) and completed medical examination forms. They lodged their applications with the Chief Migration Officer in the capital city of their country of residence. Documents for migrants destined for the state of South Australia were then forwarded to the Adelaide office of the Department of Immigration.

Contents of migrant selection documents

Personal information in migrant selection documents usually consists of the migrants name, nationality, date and place of birth, spouse and children, and employment details. Many include passport-sized photographs. On some documents, names of next-of-kin or parents are included. Other information available in migrant selection documents concerns travel and accommodation arrangements and medical reports.

Migrant selection documents are arranged by the date of arrival and by the name of the ship or aircraft flight number.

Migrant selection documents held in Adelaide

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesPersonal documents of British migrants (including ex-service)1952–55AP67/1
SeriesShips nominal rolls and personal documents of assisted British migrants1955–58AP120/1
SeriesPersonal documents – British assisted migrants1957–62AP306/1
SeriesPersonal documents – British assisted migrants1958–59AP175/1
SeriesPersonal documents of British migrants1963–65AP366/1
SeriesPersonal documents of British migrants1965AP320/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants1965–66AP381/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants1966–67AP457/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants1967–68AP504/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants (correspondence files re British Citizens’ assisted passages to Australia)1967–69AP576/1
SeriesPersonal documents – British assisted migrants1968–69AP529/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants (correspondence files re British Citizens’ assisted passages to Australia)1969AP551/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants (correspondence files re British Citizens’ assisted passages to Australia)1969–70AP591/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants (correspondence files re British Citizens’ assisted passages to Australia)1969–70AP598/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants1970–71AP671/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants (correspondence files re British Citizens’ assisted passages to Australia)1970AP629/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants (correspondence files re British Citizens’ assisted passages to Australia)1970AP645/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants1971AP688/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants1971AP718/1
SeriesPersonal documents for British assisted migrants1971AP702/1
SeriesBritish selection documents1971–72AP786/1
SeriesBritish selection documents1971–72AP727/1
SeriesBritish selection documents1972AP754/1
SeriesBritish selection documents1972–73AP838/1
SeriesBritish selection documents1973AP873/1
SeriesBritish selection documents1973–74AP912/1
SeriesBritish selection documents1975–77AP1121/3
SeriesSelection documents1977–81D3079
SeriesApplication forms, medical examination documents and related papers of British and non-British migrants1947–54D1989
SeriesForms 47A (medical examinations), landing and re-entry permits for migrants (assisted or otherwise)1951–59D4879

Further information

Other sources of information about migrants can be found in alien registration documents and naturalisation case files. See Family history sources held in Adelaide.

For further information about migrant arrival records held by the Archives, see the following sources:

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017