The Immigration Board was established prior to 28 August 1838. Members of the Board in August 1838 were James Pinnock as Immigration Agent, Harbour Master John Nicholson, Major A. Fred Montgomery and C. Wilson.(1)
The Immigration Board investigated complaints from passengers or crew arising from voyages to the colony. Members of the Board would question emigrants onboard vessels the day after they arrived in Sydney. No person was allowed to go on board the ship until the Immigration Board had inspected the vessel. Immigrants would be brought before the Board in alphabetical order and asked if they had any complaint to make against anybody or anything connected with the ship. If a complaint was of a serious nature, the Board would investigate and report its findings to the Colonial Secretary. If the complaint was found to be valid the ship’s captain could be fined.(2)
The Immigration Board reported out of the Immigration Office. In April 1841, the Immigration Board consisted of James Pinnock, H.H. Brown, W.H. Christie, and Arthur Savage.(3) In 1844, the Board consisted of the following members: Francis Merewether as Immigration Agent, William Augustus Miles, Arthur Savage, J Long Innes, William Christie, and HH Browne.(4) A Secretary to the Immigration Board is listed in the Returns of the Colony for 1849 but is not listed by 1853.
In August 1863, the Board consisted of the Chairman Samuel North, Immigration Agent George Wise, and Dr Alleyne.(5) By 1866, there was increased representation by the clergy on the Immigration Board. In April of this year, the Rev. Agnew and Very Rev. Sheridan were Board members along with George Wise and Dr Alleyne.(6)
In 1880, the Board consisted of the George Wise, Dr Alleyne, the Rev. Dean Sheridan, the Rev. Canon O’Reilly, the Rev. Mr Wilkinson, and Mr Marsh, the Water Police Magistrate.(7) In April 1887, Board members were George Wise, Rev. Sheridan, Rev. Langley, and Rev. Smith. The Board ceased to exist some time after 1887.
1. Reports by Immigration Board on complaints of Migrants, NRS 5257, 4/4699.
2. Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on Assisted Immigration, Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Council, 1879-80, vol 5, p728.
3. Report from the Committee on Immigration, Appendix M, Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Council, 1841, p448.
4. Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vol.23, p397.
5. Reports by Immigration Board on complaints of Migrants, NRS 5257, 4/4699.
6. loc. cit.
7. Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on Assisted Immigration, Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Council, 1879-80, vol 5, p728.