The NAA has produced a research guide on Commonwealth Government Records about the Northern Territory.
Chapter 10 of this publication includes information on records relating to:

  • Passenger arrivals and departures, Darwin
  • Crew lists
  • Shipping registers
  • Immigrants to the Northern Territory
  • Registration of aliens
  • Refugees, and
  • Citizenship

Jetty or Railway Pier, March 1887 [picture]

This page lists Northern Territory-related online, networked and microform resources as well as print publications available for use within the National Library of Australia.


The area now known as the Northern Territory was originally part of New South Wales until it was formally annexed to South Australia in 1863. Between 1863-1910 the 'Northern Territory of South Australia' was administered from Adelaide. From 1 January 1911 administration of the Territory was assumed by the Commonwealth Government. Self-Government was granted in 1978.

Records relating to immigration and shipping for each of the different periods of governance are held in the respective Commonwealth, State or Territory archives.


Ancestry (Library Edition)

  • Currently Ancestry has no Northern Territory-related immigration records available through its databases. 
  • To access Ancestry (Library Edition), visit the eResources portal, click the Browse eResources tab and search for 'Ancestry'.

Findmypast (World Edition)

  • Aliens Registered In The Northern Territory 1916-1921
    (includes names and locations of individuals but not their arrival dates or ships)
  • To access Findmypast (World Edition), visit the eResources portal, click the Browse eResources tab and search for 'Findmypast'.

National Archives of Australia

  • Register of Census Returns, Election Returns, Overlanders, Passenger Departures, Passenger Arrivals
    This digitised register mostly comprises alphabetic lists from the 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses and some election results, but also includes lists of Overlanders from 1879 to 1883 and several lists of passengers departing and arriving at Port Darwin between 1872 and 1874.
    Indexes to part of the content are also available on microfiche in the Library's Newspapers and Family History zone at Call Numbers mc N 347 (1901 census), mc N 348 (1881 and 1891 censuses) and mc N 352 (overlanders).

Networked resources in the Library

There are currently no networked Northern Territory-related immigration or shipping resources at the Library.

Microfilmed and other published material

The following Northern Territory-related shipping, immigration and passenger records on microfiche are located in the Newspapers and Family History zone:

Title Call Number
Mining permits
Aliens Index
Deaths 1875-1922 
Births 1888-1922 
Overland drovers arriving 1879-1883
mc N 352
Port Darwin, NT Shipping
1900, 1899, 1898, 1889, 1887
mc N 511
Index of Shipping Northern Territory of Australia, Port Darwin
mc N 694
Port Darwin Passenger Lists
November 1873 to December 1914
mc N 796
Index of boats mention in the Northern Territory newspapers
November 1873 to December 1914
mc N 798

The following indexes may also refer to people arriving in the Northern Territory as passengers:

Title Call Number
Index of people mentioned in the North Australian
June 1883 to May 1890
mc N 795
Index of people mentioned in the Northern Territory Times
November 1873 to December 1914
mc N 794
Index of people mentioned in the N.T. government gazette
November 1873 to December 1914
mc N 797
Index to the Northern Territory times & gazette for 1915 mc N 1509
Index to the Northern Territory Times & Gazette
1 January 1916 to 31 December 1917
mc N 1506
Index to the Northern Territory Times & Gazette
1 January 1918 to 31 December 1919
mc N 1507
Handbook for colonists in tropical Australia

Earl, George Windsor. Handbook for colonists in tropical Australia Rivers London  1882

'Immigration and emigration' Northern Territory Times and Gazette, Friday 26 January 1900, p2

Extract from "CUSTOMS STATISTICS FOR 1899." Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 26 Jan 1900: 2.


As the former administering government, South Australia holds records relating to the Northern Territory, including material associated with Customs and Immigration. Contact State Records or search their catalogue for series of records held.

Not sure where to start?