I'm looking for details of whether an ancestor was a part of a short lived colonisation attempt that took place circa 1849/1850, that targeted a place in the Auckland Islands and was led by Charles Enderby. The colony was officially named Hardwicke, and for various reasons it failed after nearly three years, I understand that most of the colonists would have ended up in either New Zealand or Australia, with some possibly going back to England. No doubt there were many attempts like this that were effectively privately (not state) funded attempts to set up a colony.

The person I am trying to track was called Marion Lomax (nee Barrett (Geneanet link, Ancestry link)), and at the time she would have been travelling without her husband (he stayed behind and ultimately ended up in a workhouse), and she had at least one child with her (named James John Lomax, later known as John James Fougere (Geneanet link, Ancestry link)).

I have the record for Marion landing in Sydney (Port Jackson) from Port Ross (Auckland Islands) on one of the ships that was procured for use specifically for the colony. But I can find no record of her leaving England, and no mention of her in any of the very few online articles about the settlement. There is a possibility that she may be mentioned in the book Enderby Settlement Diaries, but I still need to organise access to a copy of it (along with time to read it).

  • is there a common place to find passenger lists for ships leaving England? Despite being privately funded I'm sure that people would still have been documented entering and leaving England irrespective of the destination and/or motivation for the voyage?
  • more specifically, how should I go about finding the passenger list(s) for expeditions like this?

I expect that if I can locate details of her exit from England, that should indicate reasonably conclusively whether Marion was a part of the colony or whether she simply used that vessel as a means to get to Australia.

2 Answers 2


The main source for passenger lists for vessels leaving the UK is series BT 27 in the National Archives but those only start in 1890 and as the catalogue entry explains any lists prior to that date have not survived so that is not going to be of any help to you.

Where BT 27 is useful it can be searched on both Ancestry and Find My Past while the corresponding BT 26 series for incoming passengers is available on Ancestry.

In your case I think you are going to struggle to find any records - maybe there are some records of that specific colonisation project somewhere in the National Archives or in a local archive or maybe you can find newspaper reports relating to it, or of local people leaving to join it.


I've found passenger lists for the arrival ports tend to better documented and with more information than the departure port, likely because the country receiving immigrants were more interested in who they were gaining. In the case of an ancestor of mine who left Bristol, England, along with his wife, in 1860, and travelled to Canterbury in New Zealand, the New Zealand Archives passenger list collection (1839-1973) available on Family Search provided the ships records I was looking for. https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1609792

British Newspaper Archive was also invaluable in providing a lot of information on the ship's departure. There were advertisements made by the provisional government of New Zealand to attract migrants to New Zealand, giving much detail of what was being offered and the costs, along with a detailed account of the departure of the ship itself. The British Newspaper Archive has its own website but can also be accessed as part of a Find My Past subscription. https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ https://www.findmypast.co.uk/

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