MS 9395
Papers of George Collingridge (1847-1931)



Scope and Content Note

Papers

1895-1930

1.4m (10 boxes) + 1 folio box

Available for reference

The papers of George Collingridge were purchased from Hordern House Rare Books in 1999.

The bulk of the papers comprise original manuscripts of works by Collingridge. They consist of drafts of a number of his published works, together with drafts of a large number of articles. Some of the manuscripts include sketches, maps, mock-ups and lists of subscribers. Apart from one business letter, there is no correspondence included in the papers. Most of the papers are undated.

Accompanying the papers was a hand-painted globe, made from a wooden newel post, depicting world geography in 1530. Dating from the late 19th century, it is believed to be one of the earliest globes made in Australia. This globe has been transferred to the Maps Section of the Library (RM 3429)

The papers are evidence of Collingridge’s wide-ranging interests. They bring together a large quantity of his writings and provide evidence of his sources, his skills as a creative writer and the methods he used in producing his books.


Biographical Note

George Alphonse Collingridge de Tourcey was an artist, engraver, cartographer, linguist, historian and writer. He was born in Oxfordshire on 28 October 1847. In 1853 he moved with his family to Paris where he was educated at the Jesuit College, Vaugirard. In 1863, Collingridge studied architecture under Viollet le Duc and entered Horcholle’s studio as an apprentice in wood engraving. He left architecture to study painting, attending classes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and studying under the artist Corot. Collingridge became an expert wood engraver and worked for all the leading illustrated newspapers of the day. At the 1879 International Exhibition in Paris, he was awarded the bronze medal for engraving. In 1878, Collingridge was one of three engravers selected by Le Monde Illustre to accompany the artist Vierge to Madrid to cover the marriage of the King Alfonso XII of Spain.

In 1867 Collingridge went to Italy and enlisted in the Papal Zouaves to fight the Garibaldians. He served with distinction and was mentioned for bravery, receiving the Mentana Cross and the Cross of St Gregory the Great.

In 1879 Collingridge followed his brother Arthur to Australia, and joined the staff of the Illustrated Sydney News. The brothers became important identities in the Sydney art world, teaching in art schools and in technical colleges. Collingridge was a staff member of the Sydney Technical College for some years. In 1880 they founded the Royal Art Society of New South Wales. In 1888 Collingridge published Australian Art, the first Australian journal devoted to art.

Collingridge was a prolific author, writing a number of books and articles on a wide range of subjects. He had a passion for the geographical history of the Pacific and researched the history of Australian maritime exploration widely. His most acclaimed work was The discovery of Australia, which was published in 1895. This book was the first serious attempt at a geographical history of Australia and dealt with the discovery of the continent prior to Cook’s arrival. Collingridge was a strong supporter of Portuguese priority in the discovery of Australia, publishing some 30 articles on the subject.

Collingridge was also an accomplished linguist, being fluent in six languages and Esperanto. He set up the first Esperanto Club in Australia in 1908. It was his hope that Esperanto would become the universal language.

The value of Collingridge’s work on the early maritime history of the Pacific was recognised in Europe by various Geographical Societies. In 1908, the King of Portugal made him a Knight of Santiago and in 1917 the King of Spain conferred upon him the Order of Isabela la Catolica.

In 1880 Collingridge took up a selection of 88 acres on the bend of Berowra Creek, which later became Collingridge Point, where his stone cottage ‘Capo di Monte’ still stands. Towards the end of the century he moved to Hornsby. His stone cottage, ‘Jave-la-Grande’, is now a non-denominational chapel in the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital grounds. His final residence was ‘Nerola’ in Balmoral Street, Hornsby.

George Collingridge died in 1931.

Collingridge’s published works include:

  • Australian art: a monthly magazine and journal, published by Collingridge, Jan-Mar 1888
  • The fantastic islands of the Indian Ocean and of Australasia in the Middle Ages: and their significance in connection with the early cartography of Australia [1894?]
  • The discovery of Australia: a critical, documentary and historic investigation concerning the priority of discovery in Australasia by Europeans before the arrival of Lieut. James Cook in the ‘Endeavour’ in the year 1770, Hayes Bros., Sydney, 1895 (Republished by Golden Press in 1983)
  • Progress: an illustrated journal and magazine devoted to the record of facts concerning the growth, progress and history of Australasia, published by Collingridge, 1898
  • Form and color, Part 1 & 2, published by Collingridge [189?]
  • The first discovery of Australia and New Guinea: being the narrative of Portuguese and Spanish discoveries in the Australasian regions, between the years 1492-1606, with descriptions of their old charts, William Brooks, Sydney, 1906
    (Facsimile editions published by Pan Books in 1982 and 1989)
  • La Australia verda stelo: the illustrated Australian magazine for those who know and those who do not know Esperanto, published by Collingridge, began in 1908; ceased in 1909
  • The early discovery of Australia and the reason for a ‘no man’s land’ on this continent of ours, W.E. Smith, Sydney, 1912
  • Alice in one dear land [published by Collingridge, 1922]
  • Through the joke in class [published by Collingridge, 1923]
  • It: is principally a collection of wood cuts [published by Collingridge, 1924]
  • Berowra & the unsolved mystery of its amazing ridge, published by Collingridge [1924]
  • Round and round the world, published by Collingridge [1925-1927]
  • Pictures and places, published by Collingridge [1926]
  • Pacifika: the antediluvian world, published by Collingridge [1928-1930?]

Series List

  1. The first discovery of Australia: a critical, documentary and historic investigation concerning the priority of discovery in Australasia by Europeans before the arrival of Lieut. James Cook, in the ‘Endeavour’, in the year 1770
  2. ‘Voyages to Australasia: the first voyages of the Dutch East India Company’,
  3. Form and color, 189?
  4. The first discovery of Australia and New Guinea: being the narrative of Portuguese and Spanish discoveries in the Australasian regions, between the years 1492-1606, with descriptions of their old charts
  5. Alice in one dear land
  6. Berowra and the unsolved mystery of its amazing ridge
  7. It: is principally a collection of wood cuts
  8. Round and round the world
  9. Pictures and places
  10. ‘Columbus’s Cipango’
  11. Pacifika: the antediluvian world
  12. Tales of Papal Zouaves
  13. ‘The island of the hand of Satan: a story of the Spanish Main and the solution of the mystery concerning the first voyage to Australia’
  14. ‘The seven stages of art in Australasia: notes to serve for the history of art in Australasia’
  15. Other writings of George Collingridge
  16. Miscellaneous papers
  17. Sales records
  18. Biographical material, 1895-1923

Series Description

Series 1 The first discovery of Australia: a critical, documentary and historic investigation concerning the priority of discovery in Australasia by Europeans before the arrival of Lieut. James Cook, in the ‘Endeavour’, in the year 1770

Collingridge had a great interest in the early geographical history of Australia. He spent 14 years and a considerable sum of money researching the subject. He produced a book of his theories entitled The first discovery of Australia: a critical, documentary and historic investigation concerning the priority of discovery in Australasia by Europeans before the arrival of Lieut. James Cook, in the ‘Endeavour’, in the year 1770, which was published in Sydney by Hayes Bros in 1895.

The bulk of this series consists of fragments of research notes relating to the discovery of Australia. There is a small amount of manuscript directly relating to the book. There are also manuscripts of articles on related subjects, a map entitled ‘Jave le Grande’ and lecture notes.

Also included is a letter to Collingridge from Professor G. Arnold Wood, University of Sydney, dated 20 April 1917, with a query about the book.

Folder

1-6 Research notes and manuscripts of articles
7 Manuscript, lecture notes and letter from Professor Wood
2 folios 1 page of research notes and 1 map

Series 2 ‘Voyages to Australasia: the first voyages of the Dutch East India Company’

This series comprises manuscript of a work by Collingridge entitled ‘Voyages to Australasia: the first voyages of the Dutch East India Company’. It is believed that this work was published in the periodical Progress: an illustrated journal and magazine devoted to the record of facts concerning the growth, progress and history of Australasia, which was published by Collingridge in 1898.

1 folder


Series 3 Form and color, 189?

In the late 1890s Collingridge wrote and published Form and color, a seven-part series of booklets of lessons in drawing and painting, which Collingridge offered by post. The papers consist of manuscripts and notes, mainly relating to Parts 1 and 2 of the series. Also included is a complete mock-up booklet of Parts 1 and 2.

2 folders


Series 4 The first discovery of Australia and New Guinea: being the narrative of Portuguese and Spanish discoveries in the Australasian regions, between the years 1492-1606, with descriptions of their old charts

Collingridge was commissioned by the Under-Secretary of Public Instruction to prepare a condensed and revised edition of his book The discovery of Australia for use in schools. Before the book was issued, the Under-Secretary died, and his successor declined to accept the book. The book was published by William Brookes in 1906, under the title The first discovery of Australia and New Guinea.

The papers in this series include a small bound manuscript booklet and a segment of a draft for the book. The front section of the booklet contains a draft list of maps and the list of engravings for the book. The remainder of the booklet is the draft of a work entitled ‘The 300th anniversary of the discovery of Australia’. This work does not appear in the published version of the book.

1 folder


Series 5 Alice in one dear land

Collingridge wrote and published two small children’s books entitled Alice in one dear land and Through the joke in class. Set in Australia, they were inspired by the novels Alice in wonderland and Through the looking glass by Lewis Carroll.

This series comprises papers relating to Alice in one dear land, thought to have been published privately by Collingridge in 1922. The papers include three small notebooks containing corrected and annotated printed text of the book with sketches, some of which were not included in the published version. There are also manuscripts of the French version of the book, two small booklets with sales records and the draft of a letter from Collingridge to the editor of La France Australe, dated 4 April 1923, proposing publication.

4 folders


Series 6 Berowra and the unsolved mystery of its amazing ridge

Collingridge lived for a number of years at Berowra, near Sydney. This series comprises papers relating to Collingridge’s book Berowra and the unsolved mystery of its amazing ridge, published by Collingridge around 1924. They include two complete draft manuscripts, incomplete segments of draft manuscript and a printed list entitled ‘Names and dates of appointments of licensed surveyors, New South Wales’. Also included is a small booklet, the cover and first few pages of which relate to Collingridge’s work Pictures and places (see series 9) and the remainder of which consists of edited draft manuscript and printed text for this book.

2 folders


Series 7 It: is principally a collection of wood cuts

In about 1924, Collingridge published his book It: is principally a collection of wood cuts, an alphabetical listing of words and their meanings, often humorous, which includes wood cut illustrations. One complete manuscript and one segment of manuscript are contained in this series.

1 folder


Series 8 Round and round the world

Collingridge travelled widely before coming to Australia to live. During the period 1925-27 he published a six-part series recounting his travels entitled Round and round the world. It was originally proposed to consist of ten parts, but only six were ever published. The papers consist of two distinct but incomplete sets of manuscript and two small segments of manuscript, much of which was not included in the published version.

Folder

1-3 Manuscript 1
4-6 Manuscript 2
7 Segments of draft

Series 9 Pictures and places

In about 1926 Collingridge published a booklet entitled Pictures and places. The booklet contained wood-cut illustrations of beauty spots of the world, together with Australian places which had some meaning for Collingridge. This series consists of a layout dummy of the book, a draft list of illustrations and the draft of a circular promoting the book.

Note: Series 6 contains part of a manuscript which relates to this work.

1 folder


Series 10 ‘Columbus’s Cipango’

This series consists of two draft manuscripts and various fragments of manuscript of a work by Collingridge, titles of which include ‘Columbus’s Cipango’ and ‘Columbus’ Cipango: it is not Japan’.

1 folder


Series 11 Pacifika: the antediluvian world

During the period 1928-30, Collingridge published a three-part series of historical booklets about a theory that the Antediluvian World was situated in the Pacific Ocean. This series contains research notes and manuscript of Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the series.

Folder

1-2 Manuscript
3-4 Research notes

Series 12 Tales of the Papal Zouaves, n.d.

This series consists of draft manuscript of Collingridge’s work Tales of the Papal Zouaves, which it is believed was published. Also included is a translation of a report by a Major O’Reilly of the attack of Spoleto in 1860, published in Souvenir du Régiment des Zouaves Pontificaux par le Bon de Charette. Patay, 2 Décembre 1870.

4 folders


Series 13 ‘The island of the hand of Satan: a story of the Spanish Main and the solution of the mystery concerning the first voyage to Australia’

This series comprises two draft manuscripts and two original pen and ink drawings of maps relating to a work entitled ‘The island of the hand of Satan: a story of the Spanish Main and the solution of the mystery concerning the first voyage to Australia’.

2 folders


Series 14 The seven stages of art in Australasia: notes to serve for the history of art in Australasia

A small segment of manuscript, which includes pen and ink drawings, for a work entitled ‘The seven stages of art in Australaisa: notes to serve for the history of art in Australasia’ is contained in this series.

1 folder


Series 15 Other writings of Collingridge

Collingridge was a prolific author and as well as his books, wrote articles on a wide range of subjects. This series consists of manuscripts, some incomplete, of writings of Collingridge. They include drafts of articles and chapters for proposed books. Some of the drafts include illustrations by Collingridge. Most of the manuscripts are undated, and there is no indication as to whether or not they were published. The manuscripts are listed by title.

Folder Manuscript title
1 The advent of the bearded strangers: a tale of Peru
An amazingly early description of a kangaroo, 1928
Another queer town, 1903
2 At the close: re free-trade
Australia: its discovery as evidenced by ancient charts, 1914
Australia: the baptismal font of Brazil
3 An Australian calendar’ or ‘A calendar & zodiacal signs for Australia
Australian decorative art, c1926
Australian origins of the winged-disk
4 Australian planisphere
Bibliotheca Australiana Vetustissima
The beast of Gevauda
5 The black labour question
The blooming of the red gum, 1901
Christopher Columbus and de Queiroz compared
6 The early cartography of New Guinea
Early Hawkesbury River farmers
Early notions concerning the shape of the earth
7 Eating in Australia
The emu and the kangaroo: their early history
The enchanted reeds: a legend of the South Seas
8 Esperanto jokes
The Federal Capital (in the hand of Collingridge’s daughter, Catherine Collingridge)
Good words gone astray
The Hereford map of the world
9 How we lost New Guinea
Ideas floating in air
An Inca tale
The Island of Women: a legend of the Pacific
10 The islands that went astray
It wasn’t the hippopotamus: a tale from Paris
Jonah and the whale
11 Lope de Vega
The Marseillaise (see also ‘The speech of the President of the French Republic’)
A nation’s art
12 No man’s land: an early French attempt at settlement in Australia
The Northern Territory: Australia’s front door
Notes on the rise and spread of certain early emblematic carvings
13 An old map of the world
The oldest house in Australia and some of its companions
The Papal States
14 Paul Soleillet, the pioneer
The Pope and Australian lines of demarcation
The rain tree
15 The resurrection of Poland
The romance of giant birds under the Southern Cross, 1928
The romance of the Great South Land
16 Romance of Terra Australis and the discovery of Australia
Round about the Philippines in the days of early Spanish conquest
Ruskin
17 Something about bezoars
The Southern Cross as a guide to early navigators
The sixth sense and Impressionism: a warning
18 Speech of the President of the French Republic: translated from French
official documents [President Poincaré]
The splendid Australian
19 Strange words borrowed from the French
Tasman’s visit to the three Kings
Vierge
20 A visit to Styx
Vlaming’s post
War in the air
21 What’s wrong with the Irish?
Wood engraving
The wreck of the Vianen on the northwest coast of Australia 300 years
ago

Series 16 Miscellaneous papers

This series contains a small collection of miscellaneous notes, fragments of manuscripts and several empty folders with titles of articles on the front.

2 folders


Series 17 Sales records

This series comprises a collection of small notebooks recording sales of various of Collingridge’s publications.

1 folder


Series 18 Biographical material, 1895-1923

This series comprises a small collection of photocopied newspaper articles and a reprint of a photograph of Collingridge, c1918. The articles include a review of Collingridge’s book The discovery of Australia and items about Collingridge.

1 folder


Box List

Box

Series

Folder

     

1

1

1-7

2

2

1

2

3

1-2

2

4

1

2

5

1-3

3

5

4

3

6

1-2

3

7

1

3

8

1-4

4

8

5-10

4

9

1

5

10

1-2

5

11

1-4

5

12

1

6

12

2-4

6

13

1-2

6

14

1

7

15

1-7

8

15

8-14

9

15

15-21

10

16

1-2

10

17

1

10

18

1

     

December 1999