Guide to the Journal of Beaumont Featherson (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Featherston, Beaumont Thomas
Journal of Beaumont Featherston (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
5 January 1889 - 9 April 1894
Collection Number
1 item
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Journal of Beaumont Fetherston, January 1889 - April 1894, mainly kept on his travels in Europe, Egypt, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Places visited include: Albany; Amoy; Auckland; Cairo; Colombo; Constantinople; Fiji; Kyoto; Malta; Melbourne; Nagasaki; Napier; Naples; Sydney and Wellington.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

The journal may not be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner and anyone wishing to do so should write in the first instance to the Warwick County Record Office, Priory Park, Cape Road, Warwick CV34 4JS.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Material selectively filmed at the private residence of Captain B.A. Fetherston-Dilke,Warwickshire, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1979 (AJCP Reel: M1134). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The private residence of Captain B.A. Featherston-Dilke. Warwickshire, England

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding-aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Adelaide, South Australia: visits to; Albany, Western Australia; Aukland New Zealand: visits to; Australia; Australia: visits to; Brisbane, Queensland: visits to; Cape of Good Hope; Christchurch, New Zealand: visits to; Cricket; Featherston, Beaumont; Fiji; Great Britain; Hobart, Tasmania: visits to; Hope, John, 7th Earl of Hopetoun, 1st Marquess of Linlithgow; Horse racing; Melbourne, Victoria: visits to; Music; Napier, New Zealand; New Zealand; New Zealand: visits to; Rotorua, New Zealand; Samoa; Sydney, New South Wales: visits to; Theatre; Wellington New Zealand: visits to; White Heather (ship); Wilberforce, William


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 165, p.60.

Biographical / Historical

Beaumont Thomas Fetherston (1839-1918) was born at Packwood House, near Lapworth, Warwickshire, which had belonged to his family since it was built in about 1560. He was educated at Rugby and Downing College, Oxford. He did not follow any particular profession and for most of his life was a man of leisure. He was a prominent member of the Rugby Cricket Club and played regularly for the Free Foresters.

In his middle years Fetherston travelled extensively. In 1889 he spent six months sailing around the Mediterranean and Black Seas and he made another trip to Italy, Egypt and Malta in 1890. In 1891 he made a long voyage to Asia and the Pacific, visiting China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. He returned to Australia in late 1892 and remained there until April 1894. He spent most of that time in Melbourne and for several months was private secretary to the governor, Lord Hopetoun.

In 1892, following the death of his elder brother, Fetherston became the owner of Maxstoke Castle in Warwickshire. Built in the fourteenth century, Maxstoke was acquired by the Dilke Family in the seventeenth century. The Dilke and Fetherston families later became closely related. Beaumont Fetherston lived mainly in London and only occasionally stayed at Maxstoke. He never married. Following his death, ownership of Maxstoke passed to his nephew, Percival Fetherston-Dilke.

Item Descriptions

Journal of Beaumont Fetherston, mainly kept on his travels in Europe, Egypt, Japan, Australia and New Zealand., 5 January 1889 - 9 April 1894 (File)

In general, the journal has an entry for each day. The longest breaks are from September to December 1890, when Fetherston was living in England, and in September and October 1893, when he was in Melbourne. The entries are mostly short and often very brief. They record his activities and the people whom he met, and sometimes his impressions of places that he visited, but he did not record conversations or his reflections on people or places. The exceptions are a number of short manuscripts inserted in the journal, some of them headed 'Tramp on the White Heather', which appear to be the drafts of articles that Fetherston wrote for the New York Herald and the London newspaper Daily Graphic. These pieces are more detailed, polished and legible, whereas the daily entries are often rough and of poor legibility.

The first part of the journal describes Fetherston's voyage from London to Egypt, via Naples, on the Ormuz in January 1889, his life in Egypt, where he stayed for about four months, his journey to Rhodes, Constantinople, Sebastapol, Malta, Naples and Plymouth, and his life in England following his return in June 1889.

The next part describes his second journey to Egypt, leaving London in January 1890 and returning home in June 1890.

The third part, which begins in January 1891, records a much longer journey on the steam yacht White Heather. Fetherston's party included Cecil Leigh, the owner of the vessel, Percy Moore and John Eyre. They sailed to Malta, Port Said, Colombo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Amoy (Xiamen), reaching Japan in early May. They spent about two months in Japan, visiting Nagasaki, Kobe, Kyoto, Yokohama and Tokyo. The White Heather then sailed south to Samoa and Fiji, where they stayed a few weeks, before sailing on to Sydney. Fetherston spent about five months in Australia and New Zealand, visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and Auckland. The entries mostly describe his social activities, such as dinners at various government houses, garden parties, walks, clubs, cricket matches, including a Test match between Australia and England, tennis, and the Melbourne Cup and other race meetings. There are references to Lord Hopetoun, the governor of Victoria, and other governors, Sir George Grey, the former governor and premier of New Zealand, Admiral Lord Charles Scott, and various political, legal and church dignitaries. The White Heather stopped at Albany in March 1892, where Fetherston met Sir John Forrest, and then sailed to the Cape of Good Hope and Plymouth.

After a short stay in England, Fetherston set off again for Australia on 30 September 1892. Sailing via the Suez Canal and Colombo, he reached Melbourne on 6 November 1892. He stayed in Australia for about 16 months and for much or all of this time he was attached to the staff of Lord Hopetoun. He often accompanied Hopetoun on his tours of Victoria and on visits to Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart. In January 1893 they set off on a three month tour of New Zealand, visiting Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Napier, Mount Tarawera (which had erupted in 1886), Rotorua and Auckland. The entries are similar to those in the previous part, recording visits to government houses, meetings with governors such as Lord Glasgow and Sir Robert Hamilton, dinners, walks, tennis, race meetings, cricket matches, and theatrical performances. The Victorian entries touch on many official functions which Fetherston attended with Lord Hopetoun and there are frequent references to the staff at Government House, including Lord Northesk, Captain Edward Wallington, Captain Granville Forbes and Agnew Ralston. The journal ends in April 1894, when Fetherston was returning to England.