State Library and Tasmanian Archives Blog

Recently Digitised Material 2023

A black and white photo of a group of men in an old newsroom with tables of equipment on them.

Read more to explore some of the newly digitised highlights from the Tasmanian Archives and State Library Heritage collections. To discover even more, you can also search our catalogue and Tasmanian Names Index or visit us on Flickr, YouTube and Instagram.

In this blog:

From my camera: Masterton photo album Launceston, 1908 (Launceston Local Studies Collection, Tasmanian Archives).  

Presented to John Masterton, Esq., from the staff of ‘The Daily Telegraph, Launceston, Tas. March 19th, 1908’. Mr. J. Masterton held the position of overseer of the composing department at The Daily Telegraph in Launceston for six years. When he left the offices of The Daily Telegraph in 1908, his colleagues presented him with this album containing an address, list of staff, and photographic views of the interior of the news offices and views of Launceston and surrounding district.

The images of the offices show the processes and technology at work in producing the newspaper, including the lino, machine and jobbing rooms. The newspaper itself would have been composed using the linotype machine, a typesetting device that assembled lines of metal type by casting individual characters in a matrix and then arranging them to create a line of text for printing. Jobbing was the term used for work on smaller jobs, such as advertisements or pamphlets rather than work on the main paper, and involved the older typesetting methods using movable type. The image of the ‘News Room’ shows trays of type as well as forms laid out with type.

A black and white photo of a group of men in an old newsroom with tables of equipment on them.
From my camera: Masterton photo album Launceston, 1908 – News Room

Austin’s Ferry by George Boyes, c1830-40 (C54, WL Crowther Library, State Library of Tasmania)

Before the making of the bridge at Bridgewater, this was the principal Crossing of the Derwent to the settled parts of the Island in the Midlands and to Launceston. Roseneath (formerly Baltonsburgh) Ferry was begun by James Austin and continued by his nephews, Solomon and Josiah. The Austin’s Ferry Inn stands in the middle distance on the right.

George Boyes was a public servant who served as colonial auditor in Van Diemen’s Land, and as Colonial Secretary under Sir John Franklin. He was an enthusiastic amateur artist who also played a significant role in fostering the artistic community in Van Diemen’s Land.

A painting of Austing ferry shoreline. An in can be seen on the right, a mountain in the distance.
Austin’s Ferry by George Boyes, c1830-40 (C54, WL Crowther Library, State Library of Tasmania)

T.R.G. Williams Glass Plate Negatives and Lantern Slides (Ref: NS787-1-1 to 18 and NS786/1/1 to 49, Tasmanian Archives). 

Images from these collections are of north-east Tasmania; including Bridport, Scottsdsale, Branxholm, Derby and Lilydale.

Thomas R G Williams (b.1878) was a photographer who resided at Scottsdale. Many of his photographs appeared in the Tasmanian Mail and he often toured conducting lantern slide shows with his works. Trevor was the son of Mr Edward Thomas Williams, an early resident of Scottsdale. In Scottsdale he was a member of the Oddfellows, Loyal Scottsdale Order. TRG Williams imported the Thomas Edison ‘Bioscope’ projector from the United States. This projector was capable of screening lantern slides of 35mm early movie films. Rolls of film were projected by hand power with an acetylene light source (hoses passing into lamp house). This form of light source was replaced in about 1910 with an ARC-LIGHT with carbon rods each 10″long x 3/4″diameter. Williams left Tasmania c.1912-1915 and moved to Ararat in south-west Victoria. He was the mayor of Ringwood, Victoria from 1941 to 1943. He also spent time in New Zealand. He died in Melbourne, Victoria in 1963.

View all images from NS787

View all images from NS786

A black and white photo of 4 shops seen from the dirt street. First shop: Williams Supply stores T.R.G. Williams. Seconds Shop: J. Henderson Arcade Draper. Third shop: F.W. Loone Watchmaker and jewler. Fourth shop: H. Sutherland Tailor.
Main Street, Scottsdale showing shop fronts [TGR Williams General Store, Henderson Drapery, FW Loone Watchmaker and Jeweller, H Sutherland, Tailor], (Tasmanian Archives: NS787-1-12)
A black and white photo of Ringarooma Bridge.
Ringarooma Bridge at Branxholm (Tasmanian Archives: NS786-1-29)

The Mount Bischoff Mail 1881

The Mount Bischoff Mail was a short lived newspaper published in 1881 at weekly intervals from March 19 to May 21. All editions were handwritten, offset duplicates. Only the first edition has the name ‘Waratah weekly news’.

The last edition was No.10, and included a note regarding the need for the paper to close. It was titled ‘Obituary Notice’ and complained that it was ‘deplorable that our humble efforts…should have met with so small a share of support’. The author also raised hope that ‘the Mail may rise like a Phoenix for a long and prosperous career’. It did not.

Editions are held across a range of series – No.1 (NS177), No.2 (NS959), No.4 (NS170), No.7 (NS173/1/3 copy), No.8 (NS170), No.9 and 10 (NS173/1-2).

A page from The Mount Bischoff Mail. Handwritten text is illegible.
The Mount Bischoff Mail, Vol 1 No. 4 & 8 (Tasmanian Archives: 170/1/1)

Photographs of ‘Tornado’ at Queenstown, 1918 (Tasmanian Archives NS7240/1/1-11)

A collection of annotated photographs that record the damage and after-effects of a tornado that swept Queenstown on 22 October 1918. Probably taken by Nankivell’s Studios in Orr Street, Queenstown.

A black and white photo of A building with the left side of the front fallen off. Text on the page reads: "Top hall and hotel wrecked by tornado. Queenstown. Tuesday October 22 1918
Top Hall and Montagu Hotel, damaged by tornado (Tasmanian Archives: NS7240/1/6)

Rough sketches in VD Land by J W Mansfield, 1844 (FA111, Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts)

John William Mansfield was a military officer who came to Hobart with the 51st Light Infantry Regiment in 1844. His sketchbook of scenes on voyage to and of Van Diemen’s Land contains his impressions of what he saw, including views from military barracks.

The sketchbook is accompanied by eight loose pencil sketches not attributed to Mansfield. The loose sketches include views of Hobart Town, Mount Wellington from the Old Wharf, and the barracks, hospital and officers’ quarters.

A sketch of the Hobart area seen form a hill.
Hobart Town from the Domain, November 15 (Rough sketches in V D Land by J W Mansfield, 1844, FA111, Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania)

Sandy Bay – aerial view of University of Tasmania buildings and grounds and surrounding streets – including Sandy Bay Road, Mt Nelson Road , Earl Street, York Street, Alexander Street, Churchill Ave May 1962 (Ref: PH40/1/1093, Tasmanian Archives)

An aerial view of the University of Tasmania buildings.

Lantern Slides mostly of the Nielson Alonso’s voyages to the Antarctic in 1927 and 1930 (WELH Crowther Collection, Tasmanian Archives: CRO75/1/1-69)

This collection of photographs was gathered by William John Stewart for a lecture on ‘Whaling past and present’ at a meeting of the Shiplovers’ Society in February 1935. Stewart and his son both sailed with Norwegian whaling expeditions in Antarctic waters, on board the Nielson Alonso. The photographs document shipboard life, whaling operations, Antarctic scenes and wildlife.

A black and white photo of 6 people pulling a sled in the arctic.
Antarctic expeditioners pulling sled (Tasmanian Archives: CRO75/1/56)

Photographic albums of Beattie Jordan’s dance school and drama performances with the Hobart Repertory Society (c1920-40). (Ref: NS648/1/5 and 16, Tasmanian Archives)

Anna Beatrice Jordan, or Beattie Jordan, as she was commonly known, was born in Lindisfarne, Tasmania in 1897 to Frederick and Mary-Ann Jordan. Beattie began dancing at the age of nine, at the Stacey School of Dancing in Hobart. In her teens she was a member of the Jordenes, an entertainment troupe of acrobats, gymnasts and singers. At the age of 20 she opened her own school, at the old Masonic Hall in Murray Street. After the visits of Anna Pavlova in 1926 and 1929 she was inspired to study classical ballet technique and she trained in Melbourne during the 1930s. She then spent the next 42 years running her own dance studio in The Continental in Macquarie Street, working as a dancing teacher. “Auntie Beat’ as she was affectionately known, retired in 1959 and focussed her time on charity work. She died in 1988 after spending many years in a nursing home. She married twice – at age 63 to William Irwin until his death and then to Jim (J.B.) Waldie in 1988.

2 black and white photos. First image: A person doing ballet wearing butterfly wings. Second image: A person doing ballet with one leg pointing horizontally.
Photograph album (black) – Photographic studio portraits of dancers in costumes and poses. A selection are identified c. 1940. Some early 1920 photographs of Beattie Jordan, Tasmanian Archives: NS648/1/5

Album of Photographs of Tasmania compiled by RC Poulter, 1860-1920 (FA1304, Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts)   

Reginald Clifford Poulter was born in Bath, Somerset, England, in 1847. By 1901, Poulter had found his way to Tasmania and married Evangeline Watson. The couple travelled to Melbourne on the Coogee on 25 March and departed Sydney for Honolulu on the Souoma via Auckland on 9 May 1901. They returned to Melbourne on 18 December 1905 per Grosser Kurfurst. Poulter sent photos of his travels to the Weekly Courier between 1904-1907. His death at his home in Dorking, Surry (England) was reported in the Examiner on 2/9/1908.  

6 black and white photos album. First image: A piece of wood with text craved into it. Text reads: “Mutine TTL7” Second image: A sailing ship on the water Third image: A wooden bridge over a canal in a city. Fourth image: An arial view of city streets and buildings. Fifth image: A 3 story building on the corner of a street viewed form the street. Same sized buildings next to it. Sixth image: Old market buildings next to a street.
Album of Photographs of Tasmania compiled by RC Coulter, 1860-1920 (FA1304, Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania)

Map – SOUTH EAST: Shows approaches to Hobart including DEntrecasteaux Channel and Derwent River and surroundings with corrections up to 1897. (Tasmanian Archives: MAP1/1/101)

A map of the south east tasmania. Text at the bottom right reads: "Approaches to Hobart including D'Entrecasteaux Channel and Derwent River"

Locket including hand-coloured photographs of William James Washington Arnold (1869-1962) and Louisa Emily Arnold (1863-1949) (Tasmanian Archives: NS7404/1/1)

A gold open locket with a picture of a baby on the left slot and a picture of a young girl in the right slot.

Album of Tasmania (Tasmanian Archives: PH20/1/66)

This album of Tasmanian scenery dates from 1890-1909 and contains printed illustrations of major landmarks, buildings and churches from that period.

An open book with assorted images of buildings of the Hobart area.

Educational images of blankets and woollen cloth manufacture in Launceston, made and acquired by the Visual Aids Centre for use with the Schools Board, c1950-60.  (Tasmanian Archives: ED330/1/78 and ED330/1/82)

A black and white photo of old wool machinery. Text at the bottom of the image reads: "The carding machine delivers the fibres in condensed threads.
‘The carding machine delivers the fibres in condensed threads’, Tasmanian Archives: ED330/1/78

Scrapbook of Henrietta Maria Garrett. (FA1393, Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania).

Scrapbook or commonplace book compiled by Henrietta Maria Garrett, containing verses, poetry, sketches, prints and paintings. The book originally contained a watercolour portrait of Henrietta by Thomas Griffiths Wainewright (1794-1847), and four other pencil drawings of theatrical scenes. These works were sold and removed by the previous owner before the scrapbook was acquired by the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts.

Henrietta Maria Garrett was born 12th October, 1824, to Robert and Martha Charlotte Garrett of Hobart Town. Her father, Robert Garrett was the Assistant Colonial Surgeon of Van Diemen’s Land. Henrietta was the grand-daughter of Lieutenant John Bowen (1780-1827), who led the first settlement of Tasmania at Risdon Cove. Henrietta Maria Garrett married Samuel Robinson Dawson in 1854.

An open book one page has a drawing of 2 birds standing on ground with grass and rocks.

Plans, Architectural Drawings, Elevations and Sections of Public Buildings and Infrastructure from series PWD266, Tasmanian Archives

A torn peice of paper with a picture of a house seen from the front and Buildng plans for that house.
Ouse – Watch house (Tasmanian Archives: PWD266/1/1602)

Hobart from Knocklofty (aka Hobart seen from the west) / Melvin Vaniman (Tasmanian Archives: NS7407/1/1)

Chester Melvin Vaniman was an American photographer, singer, electrician, and adventurer. He was born in Illinois in 1866, and died aged just 45 during an attempt to cross the Atlantic by airship. While working for King Brothers in Hawaii, Vaniman undertook experiments with photographic techniques. Of note was work on panoramic photography with platinum prints. In 1902 Vaniman made a contract with the Oceanic Steam Company to create panoramic views of Australia and New Zealand for the company’s use. Vanimans large panoramas were aimed to be exhibited in public buildings as massive enlargements. Surviving today are mainly platinum contact prints sized around 40 by 120cm. Vaniman was in Australia from 23 February 1903 to 13 May 1904, including visits to Launceston, Queenstown, and Hobart.

A view of the Hobart area viewed for a hill.

Photographs from the Launceston Manuscript Collection (Tasmanian Archives: LMSS726-1-1 to 90)

This series of photographs 1940-1970 comes from the collection of Donald Charles Brooks of Invermay, Launceston. It contains scenes from around Northern Tasmania, including King Island and Flinders Island.

A photo of a building site. houses can be seen in the background.
Building site, Launceston General Hospital, Charles Street / Photographer Donald Charles Brooks, 1960, Tasmanian Archives: LMSS726/1/2

Photographs Taken by Ebenezer Cumings (1900-1904) (Launceston Manuscript Collection, Tasmanian Archives: LMSS725-1-1 to 42)

Ebenezer Cumings was a photographer who lived in Trevallyn, Launceston. This series of photographs focus on buildings and scenery around the Launceston area and provides interesting examples of activities, vehicles, architecture and styles of dress from the early 1900s.

A Black and white photo if a city street with cars driving on the wet road.
City Street with Shulman Kosher butcher’s shop and T-model Ford? open cars. Photographer Ebenezer Cumings, Tasmanian Archives: LMSS725/1/42

Launceston Collection of Photographs of Ships (Launceston Manuscript Collection, Tasmanian Archives: LMSS761)

This is a large series was collected from anonymous donors to the Launceston Library and contains 770 images from 1860-1970. If it came through the Launceston wharves, it’s worth looking for here!

A black and white photo of a ship docked at a pier.
City Street with Shulman Kosher butcher’s shop and T-model Ford? open cars. Photographer Ebenezer Cumings, Tasmanian Archives: LMSS725/1/42

Diary of Alexander Laing 1868] (Tasmanian Archives: NS906/1/1-3)

The diary provides a timeline from 3/1/1820 of the activities undertaken by Alexander Laing while Chief Constable of Pittwater. It also includes an account by Laing of his free arrival with Mr Drummond in Sydney in 1814. This is in conflict with other accounts where he is a convict sentenced in 1813 and sent in 1815 to NSW per the Marquis of Wellington and on to Hobart per the Emu. According to convict record CON13/1/1 Laing was assigned to a Mr Drummond in Hobart as part of his sentence. The accompanying letter is an application from Alexander Laing, Forcett, 18/5/1868, to H Bartlett regarding a gratuity application. These items came to the Tasmanian Archives from the collection of George Billings and a donation by D G Read.

The diary of Alexander Laing open to the first page. Text illegible.

Laura’s Brookville diaries (1819-1894).  Life of a rural family in Tasmania in the mid-late 1800s (Launceston Local Studies Collection)

This is a transcription of personal diaries kept by Laura Pauline Wright on Brookeville farm, on the outskirts of Westbury, made by descendants of the diarist. The diaries serve as an account of daily life, with short daily entries documenting the comings and goings of the family and operations of the household.

Prisoners Barracks, Hobart – Registers of Rations issued to Prisoners (1841-51) Tasmanian Archives: CON96

Information recorded includes place where the convict was last rationed, name, ship and number, place to which convict discharged (including name of employer, where applicable). Each day’s rations are noted against the days of the month, and the daily rations are totalled under the class of diet, i.e., full, half, solitary or mechanic’s (which included tea and sugar).

A register of rations issued to convicts. Text illegible
Prisoners Barracks, Hobart – Registers of Rations issued to Prisoners (1841-51) Tasmanian Archives: CON96/1/1

Letterbooks of Correspondence addressed to the Commandant, Launceston (1826-41) – Tasmanian Archives: CSO36/1/1, CSO36/1/2

These letter books are significant documents of the administration of the Launceston in the early days of the colony. They are very badly damaged, so digitisation will help to preserve their contents and allow many more researchers to help decipher the information that remains.

A water damaged letter book. Text illegible
Letterbooks of Correspondence addressed to the Commandant, Launceston – Tasmanian Archives: CSO36/1/1

Report on Parochial Schools within Archdeaconry of Hobart Town by Arthur Davenport, 1849 (Tasmanian Archives: MM83/1/1)

A page from a Report Upon Parochial Schools Within the Archdeaconry of Hobart Town. Lists teachers and their details, their classes as well as the children's learning progress

Logs and other journals of ships on whaling and trading voyages, to or from Hobart (WELH Crowther Collection, Tasmanian Archives: CRO82)

  • Highlander (brig), Port Davey Recherche Bay 1857-8 (Tasmanian Archives: CRO82/1/24)
  • Maid of Isabella (barque), to Dunedin 1864-5 (Tasmanian Archives: CRO82/1/25)
  • Maid of Erin (brig), to South West Cape 1871 (Tasmanian Archives: CRO82/1/27)

Some of the most interesting items in the Crowther collection are those relating to Tasmania’s involvement in the whaling industry. William Lodewyk Crowther had investments in whaling ships, and collected documents and ephemera from the trade. These logs provide accounts of shipboard life – storms, squalls and the kinds of journeys that have inspired great works of literature.

A Ships log. Columns list the day of the week, the date, and events of that day. Text illegible.

Chart of Convict Department Revised Scale of Task Work Adapted to the Capacity of the several Classes of Female Convicts and proportioned to the various Seasons of the Year, 1852 (Tasmanian Archives: GO33/1/100)

Piece of paper that detailing the work capacity of different classes of female convicts. Text reads: "Van Diemen's land. Convict department. Revised scale of task = Work. adapted to the capacity of the several classes of female convicts proportioned for the various seasons of the year" Below this is a table listing duties on the left column, and subsequent columns divided into 4 groups for each season of the year, each group containing 3 columns detailing the requirements for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class work.

Plan of cemetery, St James Colebrook, 1850 (Tasmanian Archives: NS504/1/1)

A planned layout of a cemetery, most lots are filled with text assigning a plot of the cemetary.

Master Set of Burial Plot Maps, Cornelian Bay Cemetery, 1915-16 (Tasmanian Archives: AF86/1/1-2)

These maps of Cornelian Bay Cemetery have been matched with their burial order records on the Tasmanian Names Index. Simply search for the person’s name. You can narrow your search by limiting the ‘Record Type’ to ‘Deaths’ and the ‘Property’ to ‘Cornelian Bay Cemetery’.

A map showing burial plots, some are filled in with names.

A note about permissions

We love it when people use our resources. If you’d like to use our images or films in your book, manuscript, documentary, blog, or social media, please do make sure that you ask permission first. You can find out how to do this on our Writers and Publishers page (which has a link to the permission form).

Please feel free to ring us for advice or help. You can find our telephone numbers on our Help Desk.


  • Cara is a Digital Services Officer for Government Archives and Preservation.

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