Recently Digitised Material: January-June 2022

This blog features some of the recently digitised items from the Tasmanian Archives and the State Library of Tasmania heritage collections.

Read on to find out about new additions to our digital collections! To discover even more, you can also search our catalogue and Tasmanian Names Index or visit us on FlickrYouTube and Instagram.

In this blog:

  • Thomas Bock’s notes on photography, including Talbot’s calotype process and daguerreotypes – Ref: ALL34/1/1
  • Star of Tasmanian shipboard journal (1859-60) – Ref: NS7221/1/1
  • Journals of Separate Prison wardens, Tasman Peninsula (1860, 1863) – Ref CON91/1/2-3
  • Descriptive Lists of Male and Female Convicts to Be Embarked for Van Diemen’s Land from Various Prisons in the United Kingdom, (1839-50). Ref: CON114/1/1-8
  • Convict credit and gratuity books, Tasman Peninsula (1865-68). Ref: CON130/1/1-3
  • Register of Convicts for Whom Enquiries were Made (1850-68). Ref: GO121/1/1
  • Tasmanian Birth Registers (1921) – RGD33/2/5 to 8
  • Female Admissions, Royal Derwent Hospital (1898-1903) – Ref: AB365/1/13
  • Copies of Wills Recording Granting of Probate (1868-1874) – Ref: AD960/1/8, AD960/1/9
  • Daguerreotype and ambrotype portraits – Ref: NS5465/1/1-3
  • Launceston Collection of Photographs of Ships – Ref: LMSS761/1/1-490
  • Hobart Town by Ensign Kemp from behind my quarters / W.H. Kemp
  • Artworks by Knud Geelmuyden Bull
  • Mount Wellington from Bellerive, artist unknown
  • Mount Lyell mines map,1896
  • Glass plate negatives from AA Rollings Collection – Ref: NS1553/2/1 to 34
Continue reading “Recently Digitised Material: January-June 2022”

Two forgotten bushranger plays

For more than 200 years, bushrangers have captured the imagination of storytellers and audiences alike.  Their exploits have inspired songs, books, and, of course, plays. Read on to find out more about two forgotten bushranger plays that span the centuries and the globe, from the floorboards of the Royal Coburg Theatre in London to the airwaves of Tasmanian radio.

Continue reading “Two forgotten bushranger plays”

A Peek Inside the Cascades Female Factory, 1833-1834, and a New Digital Volunteer Expedition


At the foot of Mount Wellington stands the remains of a forbidding institution.  Nearly two centuries ago, the walls of the Cascades Female Factory housed hundreds of women, children and babies. Some of these convict women were waiting to go to new masters, others were being punished. Now you can help to tell their stories through our newest digital volunteering project, transcribing the Register of Female Convicts at the Cascades Female Factory, 1833-1834.


Continue reading “A Peek Inside the Cascades Female Factory, 1833-1834, and a New Digital Volunteer Expedition”

Colonial Cunning Folk, part two: Moses Jewitt and Benjamin Nokes

Our previous post described the notebook of William Allison, a cunning man or traditional healer active in Van Diemen’s Land during the 1830s and 1840s. Survivals of such documents are extremely rare, and unheard of in colonial Australia. Besides recording Allison’s activities, his notebook sheds light on his network, naming two other practitioners from whom he obtained recipes: Moses Jewell or Jewitt, and Benj Knokes also noted as ‘BN’. Continue reading “Colonial Cunning Folk, part two: Moses Jewitt and Benjamin Nokes”

Colonial Cunning Folk, part one: William Allison

A nondescript little notebook, hidden in plain sight in the state archives, has opened a window onto two extraordinary lives and yielded some startling insights into the popular beliefs and practice of traditional medicine in colonial Tasmania. William Allison (ca.1789-1856) and Benjamin Nokes (ca.1780?-1843) were ‘cunning men’, skilled in the use of herbal remedies, lacking formal qualifications but widely respected, operating somewhere on the spectrum between magic and science.

This post is about William Allison’s notebook, and what it reveals about his life and career. Our next post will explore the life of his co-practitioner Benjamin Nokes. Continue reading “Colonial Cunning Folk, part one: William Allison”

Playing with data: creating bushranger timelines

The bushranger Michael Howe and his gang terrorised Van Diemen’s Land from 1815 until Howe’s death.

Next year will see the two hundredth anniversary of Michael Howe’s final showdown, so we created a timeline of the events that led to Private William Pugh of the 48th Regiment shooting and killing Howe on 21 October 1818 near the Shannon River.

Click on the following image to view the live timeline, then, double-click on any event in the timeline to view the newspaper article about that event.

Play around with the live timeline!

Continue reading “Playing with data: creating bushranger timelines”

The convict letters of George Bramwell: Convicted felon, yeoman, farmer, horse dealer and adulterer

Re boxing a series of old legal documents is not my idea of a fun few months. It usually involves simply pulling out the paper clips and pins that damage the old paper and re housing them into crisp white archival folders.

However, whilst re boxing our intestate wills (documents related to people who have died without a will) I discovered three letters written by George Bramwell to his then wife in England.

Still not overly exciting….until I realised George was a convict, and in amongst the polite greetings and formalities he mentions details of his life as a convict. This provides us with a different insight into Van Diemen’s Land than that of the privileged free settler or gentleman farmer.

Continue reading “The convict letters of George Bramwell: Convicted felon, yeoman, farmer, horse dealer and adulterer”