Guide to the Papers of George Collingridge
National Library of Australia
- George Collingridge
- Papers of George Collingridge
- Date Range
- Collection Number
- MS 9395
- 1.4 metres (10 boxes, 1 folio)
- Language of Materials
- National Library of Australia
Scope and Contents
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.
Conditions Governing Access
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn89978).
Conditions Governing Use
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of George Collingridge, National Library of Australia, MS 9395, [box number and series and/or folder number]'.
The papers of George Collingridge were purchased from Hordern House Rare Books in 1999.
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 verdastelo: 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 
Round and round the world, published by Collingridge [1925-1927]
Pictures and places, published by Collingridge 
Pacifika: the antediluvian world, published by Collingridge [1928-1930?]
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.
A manuscript of a work by Collingridge entitled 'Voyages to Australasia: the first voyages of the Dutch East India Company' (File 1) - Box 2
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Papers relating to Alice in one dear land, thought to have been published privately by Collingridge in 1922 (File 1-4) - Box 2, 3
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.
Collingridge lived for a number of years at Berowra, near Sydney.
Papers relating to Collingridge's book Berowra and the unsolved mystery of its amazing ridge, published by Collingridge around 1924 (File 1-2) - Box 3
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.
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.
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.
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.
Note: Series 6 contains part of a manuscript which relates to this work.
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.
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 (File 1-4) - Box 5, 6
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.