Register of Deserters and Discharged Ships' Crew, VPRS 2144 [Microfilm Copy of VPRS 946/P] [1852–1925]. 9 volumes. Public Record Office Victoria, North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
This collection contains lists of crew members who deserted or otherwise left employment on a particular ship. While the two types of records overlap in the years covered, the imprisoned crew records are primarily from the 1850s and the desertion or discharge records primarily from the 1880s.
The Public Record Office describes them as follows:
The purpose of the Registers of Seamen Prisoners was to record details about seamen who were imprisoned on the hulks. Information about the prisoners includes a personal description, name of ship, offence, sentence, date of conviction, the name of the hulk where confined and the date when discharged from custody.
The Registers of Deserters and Discharged Ships’ Crew recorded the date of desertion, the name of the ship and its origin, the name of the seaman and his place of birth, age, height and colour of eyes and hair. Additional details were sometimes recorded. The Registers are arranged chronologically by the date of report of the desertion. Each volume contains an index to ships from which the seamen have deserted.
Film 3 includes ships’ crew leaving the service at Geelong 1856–1888. Details recorded include the date of discharge, name of the ship and master, name of the crew member, capacity in which he served, area of trade of the ship, the last vessel on which the seaman served and his character, and the net wages paid to the seaman. Ages and places of birth were included in later entries.
Be sure to refer to the actual image of the record. Newspaper clippings were pasted into the desertion books with more information on the situation surrounding the desertion.