Find your ancestors in Queensland Ship Deserters 1862-1911


Do you have Queensland ancestry?

The Queensland Ship Deserters index has been compiled from the early 1860s to 1911 and contains approximately 3,800 entries. If you think you may have an ancestor who deserted from a ship at a Queensland port then he could be in this index. It's a great genealogy tool for anyone exploring their family history or building a family tree.

The men - and boys - deserted from ships at ports in Queensland, and while the majority of these were from ships in Brisbane, other desertions occurred at Rockhampton, Maryborough, Cooktown, Bundaberg, Townsville, Bowen, Normanton and Gladstone. These are all recorded chronologically by date in the Register of Seamen at the Queensland State Archives.

The majority of the ships were immigrant ships bring passengers to Queensland. The records for deserters include surname, sometimes given name(s) but more frequently initials, usually age, ship and date of desertion, and occupation on ship (this is omitted for Rockhampton in 1882 and for all ports from January 1884 to 1893). Other information in the database includes No. (as listed in the record, no explanation of its significance is given), date of entry (from the Harbour Masters records), date of desertion and additional remarks such as alternate names and punishment.

The youngest deserter was an eight year old boy H. McNeil from the Samoa in August 1899 while the eldest deserter was W.O. Tool, who, at age 68, deserted from the Dharwar in September 1889.

By far the greatest percentage of those who deserted in Queensland had surnames of British origin. There were a number of obviously Scandinavian surnames with a smaller proportion of German surnames. Very infrequently a country is listed with the deserter’s surname, such as Aberg (Finland), Anderson (Sweden), Birs (Norway), Breacher (Austria), Carbetts (Italy), Grath (Hamburg) and Peters (Denmark), but unfortunately these are isolated instances.

"What information can I find in this index?"

• First name
• Last name
• Age
• Ship
• Record number
• Date of entry
• Date of desertion
• Place of desertion
• Occupation
• Remarks

Data provided by Gould Genealogy.