Dutch Migration to Australia

An Immigration Discovery Centre Reference Sheet

The Immigration Discovery Centre has a variety of resources relating to Dutch migration to Australia.  On 8 October 2006, the Immigration Museum celebrated Victoria’s Dutch community with ‘Dutch Fest’, a cultural festival attended by over two thousand people. 

A Dutch migrant family

A Dutch migrant family. State Electricity Commission of Victoria collection.
Source: Museum Victoria

To assist people with their research into their family history and Dutch-Australian history and culture, the Immigration Discovery Centre staff prepared the following list of print and electronic resources:

Immigration Discovery Centre reference collections

Resources relating to the Dutch community in Australia can be found in the Immigration Discovery Centre library. The library houses a diverse reference collection with a focus on migration, cultural diversity and Australian ethno-history. 

Dutch Migration to Australia

Dutch Resource Folder (available in the Immigration Discovery Centre)

Bell, James. 1981. The Dutch. Nelson. Catalogue Number: 305.83931

Eysbertse, Marijke and Dirk. 2006. Where Waters Meet: The Dutch Migrant Experience in Australia. Erasmus Foundation. Catalogue Number: 304.89404920922 E97

Jupp, James. 2001. The Australian People. Cambridge University Press, 2001
Catalogue Number: 994 A938PE

Peeters, Nonya. 2006. The Dutch Down Under 1606-2006. University of Western Australia Press. Catalogue Number: 304.8940492 D975P

Zierke, Elly. 1997. Old Ties and New Beginnings - Dutch Women in Australia.
Dutch Care Ltd. Catalogue Number: 994.00043931

Edward Duyker. 1987. The Dutch in Australia, AE Press, Melbourne, Catalogue Number 305.89492094 D988

Personal stories

Torpy, Dennis. 226 & Counting, The Steenhuis Family Celebrates 50 Years in Australia. Catalogue Number: 305.894 920 094

Wilson, Petronella E. 1996. Always More Potato. T.J and P.E. Wilson.
Catalogue Number: 929.2 W752

Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre

Moss, Merrilee. 1997. Taking a Punt - First Stop Bonegilla.
City of Darebin. Catalogue Number: 304.89404 T136

Nuchtern, Walter A. 2002. Postwar European migration at Bonegilla and Bathurst 1948-51. W.A. Nuchtern. Catalogue Number: 305.8941 N963

Pennay, Bruce. 2001. Albury Wodonga's Bonegilla: a provincial centre's experience of postwar immigration, 1947-1971. Charles Sturt University in Association with the Albury Regional Museum. Catalogue Number: 304.894 P412

Pithie. Helen. 2000. From the steps of Bonegilla: Bonegilla Migrant Reception & Training Centre, 1947-1971. Albury Regional Museum, Catalogue Number: 304.894 F931

Sluga, Glenda. 1988. Bonegilla: a place of no hope. University of Melbourne.
Catalogue Number: 325.94 S634

Contact the Immigration Discovery Centre

If you require further assistance with your research contact the Immigration Discovery Centre.

Phone us:
+ 61 3 9927 2726

Email us:

Write to us:
Immigration Discovery Centre
Immigration Museum
GPO Box 666
Melbourne 3001 Vic

Comments (34)

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Charles Aslan 25 July, 2009 09:31
Looking for information for moses sassoon. dutchman came from indonesia to perth,wa. pass away in 1954. whent to school UWA. want to know if he had any family or properties. lived in northam,wa
Elizabeth 8 June, 2016 15:28
my homework is to research a family member about his migration. my poopy migrated from Holland and we need to find artefacts from other migrants. any help?
Discovery Centre 29 July, 2009 10:33

Hello Charles. A great place to look for information about people like Moses is the website of the National Archives of Australia. You may also be interested in the expertise and resources offered by the Western Australian Genealogical Society? It's getting easier and easier to research historical figures via the net.

Ineke 16 August, 2009 02:35
Hye, i'am looking for my cousin the family lost contact about 50 years ago!His name is Wessel Hendrik Steenbergen born on 19-05-1933 in Groningen-The Netherlands. They call him Also rooie/red Wessel because of the collor of his hair.His father name was Wessl to and his mother Wilhelmina Anna. Thank you so mutch Kindly regards from Holland.
Discovery Centre 18 August, 2009 15:29

Hi Ineke and thanks for your question. The National Archives of Australia is the central repository for Australian Commonwealth Government records including the immigration records of people who have migrated to Australia. Tracing people currently living in Australia is a little harder but perhaps the best starting point is the telephone and address listings of the White Pages directory. Good Luck with your search!

Alexander Klomp 18 September, 2009 13:01
Hello! Doing a student project on my Grandfather, who immigrated here from the Netherlands in the early 1950's. Lived in Perth, any suggestions? Thank you!
Discovery Centre 19 September, 2009 10:16

Hello, Alexander. In addition to following up the two suggestions offered above, you may be interested in our infosheet about researching family members online. Enjoy!

ruby de with 7 February, 2010 21:20
how do i find out about my dad he was a sargent in the dutch army was paid to come to australia wanting to know about his army history
Discovery Centre 8 February, 2010 15:02

Hi there, Ruby. As your father's military service was in the Netherlands, rather than Australia, it's most likely that you will find information about him via the National Archives in the Netherlands. They have a rich and informative website. Enjoy!

Annemarie 29 March, 2010 18:58
I have started a group on facebook especialy for people with Dutch ancestors it has many links to very usefull research sources and advise from experienced genealogists, all for free of course see here
Jennifer Whitehouse 18 May, 2010 19:16
I am trying to find out information regarding my Dutch born great great grandfather John Otto Weine,born in Amsterdam in 1830 parents mother's surname Weine father's surname Van Weg. His parents were married. the story goes that his christen name was prperly Johannus Van Weg which was changed to John Otto Weine when he jumped ship in Sumartra and fled the Dutch Navy to stay on his mother's relatives plantation somewhere in Sumartra. He came to Australia and married Ann Hartley who was Australian born of English background. They married in Braidwood in 1861. They had a large family.One of their sons built some very historic buildings in the Blue Mountains including the orginal part of the Hydro Majestic,a daughter was a Mayoress of St Peters,Sydney married to a brickmarker and Mayor of St Peters and two sons jointly started a cane furniture business in New Zealand which continued for approx 100 years. John Otto Weine was a bullocky and goldminer on several goldfields in NSW. He died of both a hernia and TB in 1877. While he was at the Arulen goldfields he gave a meal to bushranger Ben Hall who was hiding from the police (troopers)
Discovery Centre 20 May, 2010 12:55

Hi Jennifer – Thanks for sharing your fascinating family story! Along with the Dutch family history resources suggested by others above, you may find the New South Wales State Records ‘Guide to Dutch Migration’ and the Blue Mountains Family History Society helpful in your further research.

UNKNOWN Anonymous 16 September, 2010 17:59
Just want to know... how many people migrated from the Netherlands to Australia. REASON: i really need this info, because its for a school exhibition. Please get back to me ASAP!!!
Discovery Centre 17 September, 2010 14:39
Data from the 2006 census can be accessed via the website of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This includes information about people born in the Netherlands and currently living here. Similar information about the Victorian community forms the basis of Museum Victoria's own Origins website, which can be explored here.
Jaclyn 18 September, 2010 03:50
is there a way I can get in contact w/Ineke who left the post from 8/16/09 regarding Wessel Hendrik Steenbergen? I think they may be family to my fiance' who I am helping research his heritage.
Discovery Centre 22 September, 2010 10:55
Hi Jaclyn, we will pass on your details to Ineke so that you can get in touch with each other.
miranda 12 October, 2010 07:41
I'm looking for my uncle Leo Keller he was born in Holland but moved to Australia. He was born 31-07-1950 in Rotterdam. I only know that in 1997 he stays is Brisbane. can someone help me to find him or can tell me how i can search for him.
Edith 29 October, 2010 10:21
Can anybody help trying to find a birth record for my mother that was born in chaluse?? Rotterdam so far no luck.
Discovery Centre 29 October, 2010 13:44
Hi Edith, you might want to try the Genlias database which is a joint project by dutch regional history centres to put all publicly accessible records such as these online. You could also contact the Dutch National Archives for help with your research.
Wanita 15 December, 2010 10:04
My husband's family arrived in Sydney, Australia in Jan 1951 aboard the ship Johan van OldenBarnevelt. There is a family discrepancy as to whether it was 20th or 21st Jan they arrived. Can you help? Also is there a passenger list available anywhere?
Discovery Centre 16 December, 2010 16:52

Hi Wanita, please see our answer to Ineke above, on 21 August 2009, for the answer to your question.

Leanne Frost 2 May, 2011 21:06
Hi there. Can you please provide miranda (above's) email address - I believe the person she is looking for is a close relation of mine
Merel Keijzer 3 May, 2011 17:24
For a study on the language use of Dutch immigrants in Australia - conducted at Utrecht University in the Netherlands - we are currently looking for first-generation Dutch immigrants in the greater Melbourne area, to be tested during the months of December 2011 and January 2012. More information about the research project, including contact details can be found at www.uu.nl/hum/staff/MKeijzer (please click on the 'research' tab)
Discovery Centre 5 May, 2011 14:44
Hi Leanne, we've let Miranda know that you would like to get in touch. Hopefully you will be able to get in contact.
Annemarie 2 August, 2011 03:31
@ MIRANDA: Someone on Facebook is also looking for the same Leo Keller: Leanne Frost I am looking for my fathers side of family. His name is Leo Keller, born in Rotterdam 31/7/1950. Can anyone please help as I don't know where to start. I have never met or spoken to any of his family including my grandparents. Source: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=102710476434490
bella 22 August, 2011 14:44
hey, i've got a project on dutch immigration to australia, and i can't find anything! can you suggest any good websites?
vendeville 14 November, 2011 02:06
I am looking for the family BOONMAN
Discovery Centre 13 March, 2012 12:23
Hi Fayzi, check out the lastest post on the MV Blog, Nic has put together some clues on locating living people.  Hope this helps!
Thelma Dijk-Plantenga 22 May, 2013 13:16
Hi Iam looking for my dad's cousin, ny second cousin Allen Dijk (given name Eelke Dijk) born in Enkhuizen friesland The Netherlands immigrated to Australia in the 1960's or 1970's he would be around 80 or so I live in Oregon USA now and would love to get in touch with him or his descendents if there are any. I am so curious I can hardly stand it. He at one time lived at 6 Bay street in Seacombe Gardens 5047 South Australia. I just recently got this from my mom. Allen was a son of my grandfather's youngest brother.
Sylvia 19 October, 2014 04:05
Hi Thelma, You've probably already got some answers after all this time, but just in case, I wonder whether you are looking for the following person: Alle Johannes Dijk born 11 Aug 1933; death 3 dec 2008, last res: Tumby Bay, SA. One son Lucas b 2 December 1968, most likely passed away on 26 May 1992, (last res: Elizabeth Grove) As other family members might still be alive, I don't think that I should put their details here. However, I've probably found some contact details for one of his sons.
Robert 7 May, 2015 14:26
Hi, My Mother was married on 31.8.1950 in Amsterdam and her witness was Edith NOACH (born about 1906). Edith then also migrated to Australia in 1951 (as did my parents in the same year). I have not been able to find any information through the national Archives relating to any Edith NOACH. I am keen to find out if she had any children as I wish to make contact.
Jacob 14 October, 2015 09:53
Hi, i am looking for a specific dutch migrant which i can find a lot of research on, who migrated to australia, and has alot of information, on their trip to australia and where they came from, and their time in australia.is their any one person you can point me to?
Discovery Centre 14 October, 2015 15:53
Hi Jacob - if you're looking for someone to profile, then you might like to pop in to the Immigration Discovery Centre, as we have memoirs written by Dutch migrants in our library collection. For more general information on finding records relating to the person you choose, check out the National Archive's infosheet on Dutch Migration.
shirley dianne parr 16 December, 2015 13:58
My mother Shirley, at age 17 in 1961,had a brief love affair with a young Dutch man in an inner suburb of Melbourne.my mother has passed away but she did tell me that I was the "spitting image" of this young man, and that she was head over heels in love with him, but they were kept apart for some reason after she fell pregnant with me.i was born in June 1962.l only know that this young mans family either owned or managed a metal smelter in Melbourne somewhere. I have always been curious to find out more and maybe see a photo of my biological father, but without a name i have nowhere to begin. That is why i have written my mothers maiden name, in case it is recognised by someone who knew about their brief love affair. Well, you never know.....
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Internet Resources

Vicnet's Dutch Community Directory: Vicnet provides community internet services to Victorian not-for-profit organisations.

The Erasmus Foundation is a Netherlands-Australian cultural society which promotes understanding and friendship between Australia and the Netherlands.

The Dutch Courier is a monthly publication published on behalf of the Associated Netherlands Societies in Victoria.

The Netherland National Archives homepage.

The Netherland National Archives From the Netherlands to Australia: Emigrants 1946–1991.