Reseaching Queenslanders with Italian heritage

While conducting research for a recent seminar at the Queensland State Archives, a number of resources of interest to the Italian community were identified.

Italian pioneers left Italy for Northern Queensland form mid to late 1800s in search of employment. Young Italians were encouraged to migrate to North Queensland following the changes in the employment of South Sea Islanders in the cane fields or in the sugar mills.

Researchers may be able to identify ancestors emigrating from Italy at the time of arrival as passengers on ships, such as the Reichstag which arrived in Brisbane, 6 October 1876.

    Extract from register of passengers arriving in Brisbane on the ship Reichstag, 6 October 1876

    Extract from register of passengers arriving in Brisbane on the ship Reichstag, 6 October 1876

There are many series of immigration records which include passenger lists for assisted migrants and migration agent records. Italians also came to Queensland by being nominated by a close relative or friend already living in Queensland.

Records for naturalisations, electoral roll entries or the admissions to the local school provide evidence of domicile for Italian migrants and their descendents.

As well as working in cane cutting and as cane farmers, Italian migrants established themselves as merchants, gold miners, and small agricultural farmers. Records identify Italians in Queensland working as restauranteurs, hoteliers, and builders. An example is this certificate certifying the incorporation of Pradella Investments Pty Ltd on 14 October 1968:

   Certificate of incorporation of proprietary of a company for Pradella Investments Pty Ltd, 14 October 1968

   Certificate of incorporation of proprietary of a company for Pradella Investments Pty Ltd, 14 October 1968

Correspondence files report issues of the day including an industrial dispute arising from demands of canecutters over increased rates of pay in the Innisfail District in September 1918. This letter to the Commissioner of Police, Brisbane, from the Queensland Police District Inspector's Office, describes the situation:

 

A number of images relating to the unveiling of the sugar pioneers memorial in Innisfail on 4 October 1959 are available in Image Queensland including:

Parade for the unveiling of the sugar pioneers memorial, Innisfail, 4 October 1959. Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 6482.

This research has been collated into a virtual exhibition titled La Dolce Vita: Italians in Queensland available on the Queensland State Archives website.

Niles Elvery

Manager Public Access

Queensland State Archives

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I am researching quite a few surmaes of Italian Immigration around 1920