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Governors' Despatches

Copies of despatches from the Governor to the Colonial Office 1834-1899 are contained in a series of letter books (CONS 390 - see AU WA S1166 for listing). Each letter book has an alphabetical index, both subject and nominal. This series only contains copies of the covering letter, not copies of the enclosures, which are usually the more interesting part of the despatch. The enclosures can be explorers' journals or diaries; reports by the Governor, officials or settlers; muster rolls; statistics and schedules giving information on various aspects of the colony or settlers etc.

Under the Australian Joint Copying Project, Western Australian despatches received by the Colonial Office in London have been microfilmed. Please see the following microfilm reels or online copies available on the National Library of Australia's AJCP Online Portal: CO18 Reels 292-303, 424-468, 752-773, 1626-1715, 2663-2672. The Governor's original despatch books can be used to find the despatch number and date (AU WA S1166 CONS 390/1-33: Governors' Despatches 1831-1915; v.41-42 Despatches relating to Convicts 1855-1897; v.47-48 Confidential Despatches 1869-1899). If the despatch contains references to enclosures these can be found on the appropriate Colonial Office microfilm reel (use AJCP Handbook part 2, Colonial Office to identify reel number). If the despatch does not mention any enclosures, there is no need to follow this step.