Join the Library - it's free. Find out more.
Private Archives Highlights
The State Library holds many manuscript collections produced by a variety of individuals or families, clubs or associations, businesses or companies, churches, trade unions and various other non-government organisations. A small selection can be found below and others can be located through the Catalogue.
Australian Tramway and Motor Omnibus Employees' Association. Perth Branch. Minute Books, 1925-1963 [manuscript] This union began as the Perth Electric Tramways Employees' Union and had several name changes over the years. The records consist of minutes of the Perth Electric Tramway Employees' Union (1925-1939), the Western Australian Government Tramway Employees' Union (1939-1946), the Western Australian Government Tramway, Motor Omnibuses and River Ferries Employees' Union of Workers, Perth (1946-1963) and the Fremantle Tramway Employees Industrial Union of Workers (1947-1952), which later became the Fremantle Branch of the Australian Tramway and Motor Omnibus Employees' Association.
Boans Limited. Records, 1895-1977 [manuscript] Harry and Benjamin Boan opened a department store in Wellington Street, Perth, in 1895. Boans Limited (its name from 1912) became the largest private employer in Western Australia, employing staff at a number of suburban stores as well as the city store. In 1985 it was taken over by the Melbourne based Myer Emporium Ltd. The records consist of account books, agreements, bank statements, cash books, catalogues, certificates, diaries, files, financial statements, guide/instruction books, invitations, journals, motor vehicles, records of work, ledger of monthly sales, legal papers, memos to staff, minute books of the Social and Sporting Club, newspaper cuttings, loose papers, photographs, price lists, programs, receipts and receipt books, salaries and wages books, a scrapbook, a visitors book and miscellaneous items.
Buller-Murphy, Deborah, 1888-1965. Papers, 1936-1955 [manuscript] Deborah Buller-Murphy was the daughter of Frederick Slade Drake-Brockman and Grace Bussell. She married Sir John Winthrop Hackett in 1905, Frank Moulden in 1918, and Basil Buller-Murphy in 1936. She supported many charities and was a noted financier and chairperson of a number of mining and pastoral companies. During the late 1930s, she researched the language, customs and legends of the Dordenup tribe with a view to producing a book which was never completed. The records consist of her personal papers (including letters from her son Sir John Hackett); the company papers of Tantalum Ltd., Northwest Tantalum N.L. and Minilya Pastoral Company; the notebooks of A.J. Bussell concerning Indigenous people of the South-west and their dialect; correspondence and notes concerning proposed publications on Indigenous people; typescripts and dictionaries of the Dordenup language; photographs of Indigenous rock paintings and art; and Indigenous songs with translated words and music.
Bussell Family. Papers, 1740-1956 [manuscript] The Bussell brothers arrived in Western Australia on board the Warrior in 1830 and were pioneer settlers at Augusta, and later Vasse. Alfred Pickmore Bussell (1816-1882) moved to Margaret River on his marriage in 1850, establishing Ellensbrook and Wallcliffe. The papers relate to members of the family both in Western Australia and in England and include diaries, letters, notes, legal documents, plans, sketches, verse, cards, recipes, wills, certificates, accounts, religious writings, etc. This is a large collection, predominantly of letters which discuss religion, politics, and domestic life of the Victorian era. Certain items have been digitised - see the Colonial Diaries.
Elliott, Herb, 1938- Papers, 1958-1967 [manuscript] Herb Elliott was a runner born in Subiaco, Western Australia in 1938. He broke the 4 minute mile in a world-record race in 1958. He later served on Australian Government sports committees. The papers consist of correspondence (including that relating to the offer to turn professional which he declined), programs and publications concerning him.
Forrest, John, Sir, 1847-1918. Papers, 1862-1919 [manuscript] John Forrest was an explorer and statesman, who became the first Premier of Western Australia (1890-1901). After Federation he entered Federal Parliament (1901-1918) and was the first native-born Australian to receive a peerage. The papers consist of diaries of his expedition in search of Leichhardt (1869) and his expedition from Champion Bay to the overland telegraph (1874); correspondence, cuttings, files and other material relating to his personal life as well as his political career and elevation to the peerage.
Fremantle Gas and Coke Company. Records, 1885-1986 [manuscript] R.S. Newbold is believed to have started the original gas works in Cantonment Street, Fremantle. A limited liability company was floated to take this over in 1885. From 1886 the Fremantle Gas and Coke Co. and the City of Perth Gas Co. were allowed to enter private property and take up roads and footpaths to lay mains. In 1986 the State Government purchased the company. The records consist of account books, files, minute books, newspaper cuttings, photographs, registers, reports, rules and a manuscript of A history of the Fremantle Gas and Coke Company Limited (1885-1953) by Malcolm Uren.
Gaimard, Paul, 1793-1858. Journal, 1817-1819 [manuscript] Paul Gaimard was a French surgeon and naturalist on board the Uranie during its voyage to Australia and the Pacific. The expedition, led by de Freycinet, explored the vicinities of Shark Bay, Dirk Hartog, Dorrie and Faure Islands and the Peron Peninsula. The journal was written from September 1817 to June 1819. A note by Gaimard implies that he continued his journal in the form of loose notebooks. These were possibly lost in the wreck of the Uranie off the Falklands. The first 60 pages of the journal were written by a clerk and contain Gaimard's record of instructions for the voyage, both general and those specific to his work as surgeon. The remaining pages are written by Gaimard with some marginal drawings by Jacques Arago, the expedition's official artist.
Holman, May, 1893-1939. Family Papers, 1893-1951 [manuscript] May Holman was a Western Australian Labor politician (Member of the Legislative Assembly for Forrest 1925-1939), Assistant Secretary of the Timber Workers' Union 1918-1925, Australian delegate at the 11th Assembly of The League of Nations in 1930 and Secretary of the Parliamentary Labor Party. The papers consist of correspondence, newspaper cuttings relating to the Holman family, profiles, invitations, programs, souvenirs, items of her father, speeches and photographs.
Millar's Timber & Trading Co. Records, 1839-1982 [manuscript] In 1902 seven major sawmilling companies merged with the Millar organisation to form Millars Karri and Jarrah Company. In 1912 the name was changed to Millars Timber and Trading Company Ltd. The Inchcape Group later took control of the company, which by then was called Millars (Western Australia) Pty Ltd. The papers consist of cash books, certificates, circulars, correspondence, files, information sheets, legal documents, ledgers, procedure manuals, a history of Millars Timber and Trading Company Ltd, monographs mostly produced by the company, newspaper cuttings, photographs, price lists, registers of loading and despatch, staff records, scrapbooks, building specifications for the office block at Kewdale, speeches, statistics, and tally books and timebooks belonging to Karragullen Mill.
Mt. Margaret Aboriginal Mission (W.A.) Records, 1921-1969 [manuscript] Mount Margaret Aboriginal Mission was located between Leonora and Laverton, a few kilometres south of the railway line. It was established in 1921 by Mr R. Schenk under the auspices of the Aboriginal Inland Mission, and included homes, dormitories, a school, a dispensary, a hospital, and workrooms. Mr Schenk retired in 1953. The Graham Children's home (opened 1931), was named for Mr T. Graham, Federal Councillor of the United Aborigines Mission. The records consist of a register of births (1921-1966), a register of deaths (1923-1969), admissions to Graham Children's Home (1931-1966) and the endowment of cottage families.
O'Connor, C. Y. (Charles Yelverton), 1843-1902. Family Papers, 1862-1982 [manuscript] Charles Yelverton O'Connor was an engineer. Originally from Ireland, he went to New Zealand where he did contract work for private groups as well as for the Government. In Western Australia, he was responsible for engineering the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme and Fremantle inner harbour. The papers include some of his New Zealand papers, his application and appointment to Western Australia, genealogies, family correspondence, legal documents, biographical notes, certificates, diaries, newspaper cuttings, photographs and reminiscences of him by his daughter Kathleen O'Connor.
O'Reilly, John Boyle, 1844-1890. Poems, 1868 [manuscript] John Boyle O'Reilly (1844-1890) was an Irish poet transported to Western Australia in 1868 on a charge of intended mutiny against the British government. He was sent to the convict settlement at Bunbury where, with the help of an Irish priest, the Rev. Patrick McCabe, he contrived to escape in 1869, eventually reaching the United States. The record consists of a volume of 15 poems in shorthand, dedicated to the Rev. Patrick McCabe.
Perth Repertory Club. Records, 1919-1952 [manuscript] The Perth Repertory Club was formed in 1919. In 1956 it amalgamated with the Company of Four to form the National Theatre. The records consist of minute books, annual and financial reports, correspondence, scrapbooks of cuttings and programs and texts of plays. They also include the constitution, minutes and correspondence of the Theatre Council of Western Australia.
Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel, 1875-1967. Papers, 1913-1964 [manuscript] Bessie Rischbieth was a campaigner for a number of causes in Western Australia including women's rights, Indigenous welfare, public and mental health, conservation and the environment. Her last battles were to prevent a swimming pool being built in Kings Park and further reclamation of the Swan River. The papers consist of correspondence, minutes, newspaper cuttings and other records relating to the Citizens Committee for the Preservation of King's Park and the Swan River, including discussion of the proposed aquatic centre in King's Park, the Mitchell Freeway complex, the Swan River reclamation, the Perth Town Hall site, the preservation of the Perth Barracks, printed leaflets relating to conscription and pacificism, and pamphlets relating to Indigenous welfare.