State Library and Tasmanian Archives Blog

Recently Digitised Material: July-September 2021

a painting of the Launceston Tamar Bridge area by Sarah Fogg. There is farmland next to some buildings, you can see ships on a river in the background
Launceston, Tamar Bridge area, 1859? by Sarah Fogg, Allport Library and Museum of Fine Art, State Library of Tasmania

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

Read on to find out more about our new additions to our digital 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:

  • Richard Simson Photographic Collection – Ref: NS6351/1/1-95
  • Albums of Gladys Midwood – Ref: NS6759/1/2-3
  • Photographic Albums by Margaret Smithies, Ernest George Record and the McDowell family
  • Tasmanian Government Railways
  • 1920s aerial view of Hobart city block bounded by Murray, Harrington, Liverpool and Melville Street looking North from behind His Majesty’s Theatre and Hobart Rivulet – Ref: NS892/1/61
  • Artworks of Launceston
  • Emu Bay by Thomas Unwin
  • The Pests of the Prince by Henry Manly
  • TGR Williams glass plate negatives – Ref: NS1409/1/46-48
  • Judges notes on capital offences committed at Norfolk Island, 1846 – Ref: CSO20/1/449
  • Burial Plot Maps, Cornelian Bay Cemetery 1915-16 – Ref: AF86/1/1
  • Wills from AD960/1/5
  • 1829 journal written from London to Van Diemans Land by John Owen Lord – Ref: NS301/1/2


Richard Simson Photographic Collection – Ref: NS6351/1/1-102

Richard John Simson was a long-standing member of the Smithton Camera Club, the New Norfolk Camera Club, and was the inaugural Vice-President of the Tasmanian Photographic Federation. Photographs vary from the early to mid 1900s of the Simson family, Launceston, Hobart and surrounds. 

2 old black and white photos. The left image shows a 4-story stone building along a street in Hobart. the second image shows 4 men fishing on a pier. one has caught a fish.
NS6351/1/92 – View of Australian Mutual Provident Society Building corner Elizabeth and Collins Street and looking down Elizabeth Street to the GPO and NS6351/1/102 – Couta fishing, fishermen catching fish (Tasmanian Archives)

Albums of Gladys Midwood – Ref: NS6759/1/2 and NS6759/1/3

Gladys Midwood was the daughter of Thomas Claude Wade Midwood who was a prolific Tasmanian cartoonist and artist, draftsman and musician during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  The albums contain photographs of family and friends, postcards of the era, Tasmanian scenes and sketches by Thomas Midwood. For more on Thomas Midwood’s life and cartoons, see our recent blog.

4 examples of items that have been digitised.
The first is a cover of a scrap album. The cover reads “scrap album” in large silver text.
The second image is a page from a book that shows 2 black and white photos; one of a landscape and river, and another of a dock along a river.
The third shows a book with flowers on the cover and a photo of a woman and a peacock
The fourth is a collection of photo’s form a photo album
Pages from NS6759/1/2 and NS6759/1/3 (Tasmanian Archives)

Photographic Albums from our Launceston Collections

LPIC146/1/1, LPIC146/1/2, LPIC146/1/3 by Ernest George Record. Ernest lived most of his life in Launceston, working as a chartered accountant and playing an active role in many community organisations. These included Toc H, the Ashley Boys’ Home, Glenara Boys’ Home, the Honorary Justices’ Association, the Queen Victoria Hospital, the Tasmanian Cancer Committee, the Baptist Union of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Tree Planting Committee, the Masonic Lodge and the Rotary Club of Launceston. When the pre-war polio epidemic broke out in Launceston he became a foundation member of the Society for the Care of Crippled Children and took a life long interest in the St Giles home. He was awarded an OBE in January 1948, and held the Legislative Council seat for Cornwall from October 1948 until 1954 when he did not stand for re-election due to ill health.

LPIC143/1/1 (c1935) McDowell family album. John McDowell left the UK on the “Mooltan” in 1935. In Tasmania he worked as an engineer for the Hydro Electric Commission. His wife Lillian was a watercolour artist.

A collection of small black and white photo's
Pages from LPIC146/1/2 (photos of Burnie 1930) and LPIC143/1/1 (views of Hobart 1936), Tasmanian Archives

LPIC89/1/1 (1945-1953) Margaret Smithies Album.  Margaret Smithies, born 1934, was the daughter of Frederick and Jean Smithies (nee Perrin).  Frederick Smithies (1885 – 1979) was a conservationist, bush-walker, wilderness explorer and photographer born at Ulverstone but lived most of his life in Launceston. Margaret’s album is a great portrait of childhood, documenting adventures with family and friends, especially at the beach and in the snow.

an old black and white photo of 8 people sitting on the grass
Margaret Smithies, Photograph album, ‘Easter 1950’, Tasmanian Archives: LPIC89/1/1

Items added from Tasmanian Government Railways

In celebration of 150 years of railways in Tasmania, we have digitised a range of railway records, including architectural plans drawn by the Civil Engineering Branch of the Tasmanian Government Railways Ref: P1330, P1332 and P1279. The plans range from detailed drawings of fit outs and minor alterations to workshop layouts, plans of new buildings and measured drawings of heritage listed buildings. In particular, there are extensive drawings of the buildings and workshops at both Launceston and Hobart. There are also drawings of alterations and additions to station and other buildings along the various lines in Tasmania. There are also some drawings relating to cottages and stationmasters residences throughout Tasmania. Plans in this series sometimes contain location information of surface and underground services such as diesel overflow pits and spill containments, drainage, sewerage, storm-water and fire hydrants. There are extensive plans relating to the Launceston flood mitigation scheme.

For more on Tasmanian Railways, see our recent railway blogs series, railway records guide, railway record guide for family historians (video), and the 150 Years of Tasmanian Railways photography exhibition in libraries around Tasmania and online.

A blueprint of a piece of machinery
Ref: P1279/1/9958 – PLAN 30159202 C/6C/114B Brake gear – arrangement for DB van

Hobart – aerial view of city block bounded by Murray, Harrington, Liverpool and Melville Street looking North from behind His Majesty’s Theatre and Hobart Rivulet (c1920) – Ref: NS892/1/6 (Tasmanian Archives)

An old black and white photo of an ariel view of some buildings and streets

The Pests of the Prince

Hobart Town Punch cartoon on the occasion of the visit of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, to Hobart, 1868 / by John Henry Manly (Tasmaniana Collection, State Library of Tasmania)

A drawing of  people flying through clouds. some are holding signs.

Emu Bay by Thomas Unwin (c1860)

The drawing from the Tasmaniana Collection of the State Library of Tasmania depicts Emu Bay, from on board a ship unloading cargo. In the midground of the image three stevedores are using a counterweighted derrick to unload, with the characteristic basalt outcrop clearly visible in the image.  Thomas Unwin was born in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, in 1814, son of William Unwin, a gamekeeper. He arrived as a Van Diemen’s Land Company indentured servant, with his wife Emma, on the Thomas Lawrie in 1840. The couple appear in the 1842 census for Circular Head. Van Diemen’s Land Company records confirm he was a tenant at Emu Bay from at least August 1842 through to 1847, at minimum. He continued to farm in the area, died in 1873, aged 58. The Unwins are identified as pioneering potato farmers, also responsible for the introduction of rabbits and skylarks, in Richard Hilder’s ‘Real pioneers of Emu Bay‘.–Advocate, 13 October 1934, page 5.

A drawing of the view of a shoreline as seen from a ship.

Artworks of Launceston

View of the cottage at the Flag Staff station, Launceston, Tasmania (Old Signalling Station and cottages Windmill Hill) by Charlotte Cleveland (1819-1884) from The Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts. Charlotte was born in London to a family of important architects. Her uncle, Sir Charles Barry designed the British Houses of Parliament and her cousin, Sir John Wolfe Barry, designed the Tower and Kew bridges. Her husband was a trader between Sydney and Launceston, and they lived between Europe and Australia, living in Launceston from 1852-1864 and from 1877 to her death in 1884.

View of a cottage. there is a flag pole next to the cottage with serveral flags on it

Launceston : Tamar Street Bridge area, Launceston from the eastern end of York Street showing the city proper and Launceston: the bend of the North Esk by Sarah Ann Fogg (1829-1922). Sarah grew up in England and Germany, and moved with her mother and siblings to Launceston in 1850. She travelled in Europe and other Australian colonies, returning to Tasmania several times and lived with her brother in South Africa until her death.

Launceston, Tamar Bridge area, 1859? by Sarah Fogg, Allport Library and Museum of Fine Art, State Library of Tasmania
2 photo's one of a garden area overlooking a city. and another overlooking farmland and a river with a telescope in the foreground
Launceston from the eastern end of York Street showing the city proper, 1859 and Launceston : the bend of the North Esk. by Sarah Fogg, Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania

Glass Plate Negatives of T.G.R Williams – Ref: NS1409/1/46-48

Thomas G.R Williams 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. Photographic inserts of the Tasmanian Mail newspaper can be viewed in our catalogue. Here he can be seen with a bioscope, an early version of the movie camera.

A black and white photo of a man standing behind an old film projector.
NS1409/1/48 Glass Plate Negative – T.G.R. Williams (Photographer.) standing next to newly imported Thomas Edison (Tasmanian Archives)


Judges notes on capital offences committed at Norfolk Island, 1846 – Ref: CSO20/1/449 (Tasmanian Archives)

Most of this volume comprises notes (e.g. witness statements, depositions, defence statements) relating to possibly the most violent uprising in Norfolk Island’s penal history, the Cooking Pot Riot of 1 July 1846 (14 convicts were charged with murder of four minor officials; 12 of them were convicted & executed). The rest of CSO20/1/449 covers a small number of unrelated capital offences of 1846. CSO20/1/449 also has some colourful and detailed plans at the beginning that appear to have been exhibited in court. 

Burial Plot Maps, Cornelian Bay Cemetery (Church of England, Child Plots, Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) and Free Church of Scotland – 1915-16). Ref: AF86/1/1 (Tasmanian Archives)

These can be used together with the burial order records in our Names Index to find the location of a person’s gravesite. In time, we will have these images linked to the Names Index.


Journal written by John Owen Lord on board the Brig Lion during voyage, from London to Van Diemen’s Land (c1829) – Ref: NS301/1/2 (Tasmanian Archives)

John Owen Lord was the son of Edward Lord and convict woman Maria Riseley – early Hobart entrepreneurs and the subjects of Alison Alexander’s book Corruption and skullduggery : Edward Lord, Maria Riseley, and Hobart’s tempestuous beginnings. John Owen was born in Sydney in 1910, educated at Oxford and died in December of 1829, aged 20. The journal was passed down through family members before its donation to the Tasmanian Archives.

Wills Image Replacement Project

Access to our early wills dating from 1828 will see a new lease of life with pages from the early volumes of the AD960 series being replaced with higher quality images. Wills from AD960/1/5 is now available to view online via the Tasmanian Names Index

An example of a will and testament. The title reads "The will and testament of John Chipman".

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 and chat service on our Help Desk.


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

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