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Immigrant ship FIERY STAR 1863/4

Beaumaris Victoria
The Queensland State Archives (QSA) index of assisted immigrants HERE includes the immigrants from UK and Ireland on the Fiery Star with the arrival date of 20 November 1864.

The date on folio 180 of the register for the Fiery Star has been altered by hand from the original 20 November 1863 to 1864. I am convinced that the original 1863 arrival date is correct for this list. However, QSA list it as 1864.

The Fiery Star arrived at Moreton Bay on the 20th November on both 1863 and 1864. Quite a coincidence, but clearly true from contemporary newspaper reports (Trove). The main difference was that the 1863 voyage went directly to Moreton Bay where all immigrants disembarked, whereas in 1864 the ship sailed first to Keppel Bay (Rockhampton) where a large number of immigrants disembarked in early November, and the ship subsequently sailed on to Moreton Bay to discharge the remaining immigrants in Brisbane.

The number of assisted immigrant passengers who arrived on the 1863 voyage, 547, tallys well with the register available on the QSA website (folios 180 to 184), containing 543 names. Whereas there were only about 419 passengers in steerage on the Fiery Star's 1864 trip. In 1864 passengers in the saloon and second cabin (unlikely to be assisted immigrants) numbered 96, there were 53 crew and the total on board was reported as 568. So 568 -96 -53 = 419. This evidence supports the list being from the 1863 trip.

But wait, there's more! There are newspaper reports of two drownings of Fiery Star passengers shortly following both arrivals. The December 1863 drowning was of Thomas Robertson (The Courier, Brisbane, 9/12/1863, p2). Thomas Robertson is listed in the register on the QSA website. The December 1894 drowning , in Rockhampton was Frederick Postle (The Bulletin, Rockhampton, 10 November 1864, p2), who is not listed in the register. These reports support the case for the QSA list being for 1863.

I could find no other list of assisted immigrants from the Fiery Star on the QSA website. So the 1864 list appears to be missing.

I have contacted QSA providing details and await their response.

If anyone has further information that could help clarify this matter please post a response.
Thanks Gibbo. Steak knife allusion intended.

Do you think the contention is plausible?

Do you know of any other sources for Qld assisted immigration lists where the "missing" Fiery Star 1864 passengers might be found?

BTW thans for your good work with Dave on the Tuckers of Cornwall and Tassie. You helped me a lot.
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I have received a response from Qld. State Archives.

RE: Fiery Star 1863-1864

Thank you for your email sent 19 February 2014 regarding the Fiery Star. Please note with regards to the Index to Assisted Immigration 1848-1912 which covers the Fiery Star that the index does not include all immigration records for that period and the records for the 1860s are incomplete because they were inundated in the 1893 floods. The registers held at Queensland State Archives were rewritten from the damaged originals during that period and contain errors. As public records, we are not permitted to change the information recorded and they are indexed according to the information recorded in the handwritten registers. The index is neither correct or incorrect, it merely reflects the record, including the records' errors. We must assume in the majority, that the document has been recorded correctly.

A number of ships have been recorded in the 1893 re-writes as arriving in the wrong year. e.g. 1863 with a write over of 1864. the Fiery Star is one of these ships. With write overs we take the latest entry as the correct entry, assuming the correction to be correct simply because in other cases the write over has been correct.

Our volunteers and staff do not undertake extensive research when indexing records that would otherwise be very difficult for the public to locate and use. . In most cases when we are aware there are anomalies with the records a note is placed on the Index Background or Explanatory notes alerting researchers to this. I have requested an additional note be entered for this Index alerting researches to the fact that the original records contain spelling and date errors and strongly urge researchers to do as you have and follow up their "dodgy" ship arrival with hard evidence and additional research.

One must bear in mind the role of an Index is to merely provide access to a record, the interpretation of the record is left to the researcher. When indexing, our volunteers and staff neither interpret or correct the records. The old adage of "Researcher beware" applies. We encourage researchers to follow the Rule of 3 when undertaking historical research, that is to use 2 primary records and 1 secondary record or 1 primary and 2 secondary in order to either prove or disprove a fact, or to highlight errors and omissions in primary records. The Immigration registers in Series ID 13086 are a good example that government record keepers of the time did make errors.

It is great to see that you have followed the trail and have identified a number of other primary and secondary records to prove the Fiery Star's correct arrival date.

So, while the archive index will not be changed the archivist appears to agree that the 1863 arrival date for the listed immigrants looks good.:)
Hi there robot just read your story on the fiery star I am looking for info on the same ship what I am taking is the passengers list. I have found one but there should be more as in for assisted /unassisted passengers looking for name of Farrell
Got info on Farrell travelling on this ship in 1863/84 some dropped of at Keppel bay then the rest at brisbane most were dropped off at Keppel bay as image relies outboard I got history with that boat to soothing yummy have that could help would be fantastic. Thanks spyda
Hi Spyda. You have an interesting way of writing, some of which was beyond my comprehension. :confused: I had a quick look on the QSA assisted immigrants index HERE where there are lots of Farrells but none on the Fiery Star. So it loks like you need the 1864 voyage list which is not available at QSA. I have not yet found another potential source but understand that there may be passenger lists available from the UK for departing ships.
Roboo, Do you happen to know if there is an outward bound passenger manifest that could be viewed and if so where in the UK records would you be able to view this?

We have seen the record in question and we have our family arriving 1864 as per the changed manifest, however we a child who going on the records was born 8 months in Australia before they arrived.

Any further help would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Petrie,

Sorry, I have not been able to find any migration outbound passenger lists from UK for Fiery Star. I suggest you consult your local genealogical society or similar experts to see if they can help. Good luck, and if you find anything please post here.

If your family is on the QSA Fiery Star passenger list dated 1864 I am certain that they arrived in 1863. Like yours, my family arriving on that voyage had a birth in Brisbane between Nov 1863 and Nov 1864; so like yours they absolutely could not have arrived in November 1864. Other evidence supporting the 1863 arrival for that list is included in previous posts.