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Shipping and railways

Queensland State Archive (QSA) holds records about shipping and railways including information about seamen, immigration, and the administration of railways such as staff, correspondence and plans.

How do I find the records?

You can view our shipping and railway records by searching our records if you know the name of the ship or locality of the railway you are looking for. See our immigration page for searching for people who arrived by sea. Not all records can be searched for online, so please contact us if you need help.

Shipping records

Seamen 1882-1919

Search Index to registers of seamen with details of employment including current number/number, date of entry of particulars/date of occurrence name of ship and official number, name, age, capacity, whether engaged, discharged etc., home address (or at least country of origin), and wages. For more information on searching indexes, see Start your research.

Shipwreck records

Read Brief guide to records about shipwrecks and boating accidents. There are some series of records which may assist researchers in identifying shipwrecks and to research boating accidents.

Railway records

The best starting point for railways research is to search the ArchivesSearch catalogue as many railway records are listed in the catalogue. For help with searching, read the ArchivesSearch help guide.

General railway records

Read Brief guide to railway records on all aspects of the government administration of railways.

Railway locomotive and rollingstock drawings

Read Brief guide to railway locomotive and rollingstock drawings tracing the development of railway locomotive and rollingstock in Queensland from 1864 onwards.

Search the catalogue

ArchivesSearch provides access to QSA’s collection of records, including documents, letters, land orders, maps, plans and images. For help searching, read the ArchivesSearch help guide.

Why can’t I find what I’m looking for?

There are a number of reasons why you may not find a record at QSA.

  • Some records have not survived.
  • Some records may have restricted access.
  • The name may have been written in the record phonetically as clerks often wrote the names as they heard them. Think about how it could be spelt as it was heard. Also, spelling of all names was not as consistent as it is today.

Contact us

Contact us if you need further help.