Guide to the Papers of the Natural History Museum: Murray Library (as filmed by the AJCP)


M2770 - M2771

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Natural History Museum. Murray Library
Natural History Museum: Papers of the Murray Library (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1839 - 1912
Collection Number
M2770 - M2771
94 items
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

Surveys 1873-1912 of oceanographic expeditions. The ships include HMS Penguin, HMS Waterwitch, USS Albatross and HMS Egeria.

Papers 1839-43 of Joseph D. Hooker, including drawings, manuscripts, notes and diary of invertebrate animals made during the Sir James Ross Antarctic expedition.

Notes, correspondence, photographs and other records 1891-1910 collected on USS Albatross.

Data 1840-1921 collected by SS Britannia, HMS Egeria, HMS Iris, HMS Myrmidon, USS Nero, HMS Penguin, HMS Rambler, USS Tuscarora.

Data 1890 collected by F.G. Pearcey.

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.

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 Murray Library, British Museum (Natural History), London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1991 (AJCP Reels: M2770 - 2771). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Formerly known as British Museum (Natural History), in 1992 the name changed to the Natural History Museum.

Existence and Location of Originals

Murray Library, Natural History Museum (formerly British Museum (Natural History)) London, England. For further information see the Natural History Museum catalogue (

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.

The identifiers used in this finding aid were accurate at the time of filming. They have been kept to preserve the historical context of the collection. . The new control numbers applied by the Natural History Museum have been identified where possible.


Albatross, USS (ship); Antarctica; Australia; Britannia, SS (ship); Egeria, HMS (ship); Hooker, Sir Joseph D.; Great Britain; Iris, HMS (ship); Myrmidon, HMS (ship); Naturalists; Nero, USS (ship); New Caledonia; New Zealand; Oceanography; Paintings, drawings, and prints; Pearcey, F.G.; Penguin, HMS (ship); Photographs; Rambler, HMS (ship); Ross, Sir James C., Admiral; Royal Navy: exploration and surveys; Royal Navy: voyages; Tuscarora, USS (ship); Waterwitch, HMS (ship)


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 67, p23.

Biographical / Historical

The Murray Library is a closed collection within the library of the Natural History Museum. It was donated to the Museum in 1921 by the Murray Family following the death of the oceanographer Sir John Murray (1841-1914). The collection comprised zoological and oceanographic works, manuscripts, drawings, correspondence, soundings and ocean-bottom deposits.

Item Descriptions

Series. Murray Library Section I, 1873 - 1912

24 items

Filmed selectively.

Subseries 1/70-72. Challenger Office Deposit Samples, 1873 - 1912

24 items
Vol A (387p.), 1873 - 1898 (File 70)
17 items
Index (23p.), 1873 - 1898 (Item)
HMS Penguin S.W. Pacific Ocean, 1894 - 1897 (Item ff. 9-10)
HMS Penguin Pacific Ocean, 1897 (Item ff.17-40)
HMS Waterwitch S.W. Pacific, 1896 (Item ff. 41-56)
HMS Penguin S.W. Pacific, 1898 (Item ff. 57-60)
HMS Penguin near Funafuti, 1896 (Item f.62)
HMS Dart off Great Barrier Reef, 1896 (Item ff.63-66)
USS Enterprise S. Pacific, (1882?) (Item ff.67-70)
HMS Egeria Indian Ocean, 1887 (Item ff.107-112)
HMS Egeria S.W. Pacific, 1888 - 1890 (Item ff.113-140)
HMS Penguin Indian Ocean, 1891 (Item ff.143-144)
HMS Rambler Pacific Ocean, 1890 (Item ff.145-46)
HMS Dart [Pacific Ocean], 1888 - 1889 (Item ff.147-8)
HMS Myrmidon Coral Sea, 1887 (Item ff.149-50)
HMS Waterwitch S.W. Pacific, 1895 (Item ff.195-98)
HMS Penguin S.W. Pacific, 1894 (Item ff.200-214)
USS Tuscarora Pacific, 1873 (Item ff.229-268)
USS Thetis Pacific Ocean, 1892 (Item ff.269-74)
Vol B (384p.), 1888 - 1912 (File 71)
6 items

Details of date, latitude and longitude position, depth and type of deposit and Ca CO3 % of deposit sample.

Index (24p.), 1888 - 1912 (Item)
SS Britannia S.W. Pacific, 1901 (Item ff.1-30)
HMS Rambler Tizard and Macclesfield Banks, 1888 (Item ff.115-116)
HMS Penguin Pacific, 1891 - 1903 (Item ff.117-142)
USS Nero Pacific, 1899 - 1900 (Item ff.260-352)
USS Albatross Pacific, 1891 - 1910 (Item ff.353-380)
HMS Iris S. Pacific, 1912 (Item ff.383-4)
Index (45p.) (File 72)

A-Z index by survey ship giving date and place of voyage.

Series. Murray Library Section 2, 1839 - 1912

57 items

Subseries. Sir Joseph D Hooker, 1839 - 1844

11 items

Sketches of invertebrate animals made during the Sir James Ross Antarctic Expedition, 1839-1843 and diaries of voyage.

Box 95

Biographical / Historical

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911), the son of Sir William Hooker, studied medicine at Glasgow University. In 1839 he was appointed assistant surgeon on HMS Erebus, commanded by James Clark Ross, on its expedition to the Antarctic. After his return to England in 1844 he worked on The botany of the Antarctic voyage (6 vols.) He was later assistant director (1855-65) and director (1865-85) of the Royal Botanic gardens at Kew.

Drawings made during Sir James Ross Antarctic Expedition (File 1)

Drawings of invertebrate animals, some give location. (including 'Sydney', 'off New Zealand',etc.) (87p.)

Hooker's Mss. as received from Spence Bate (File 2)

Ms. notes and drawings, giving date, location, and description of specimens. (53p. and 15 drawings)

Antarctic Zoology Diary, April 1840 - August 1841 (File 3)
3 items

a. [Diary], 8 April - Dec 1840 (pencil and ink)b. [Transcribed copy of Diary], 23pc. Between Sydney and New Zealand, Aug 1841. 48p

Descriptions of specimens

Drawings madeā€¦during Antarctic Expedition, 1839 - 1844 (File 4)
2 items

Schizopoda and larva of Macrura

48 Drawings, some with descriptions and measurements., 1839 - 1844 (Item (a))

Includes list of drawings of Sir JD Hooker made during Antarctic Expedition.

Diary, 10 August 1841 - 3 March 1842 (Item (b))

Between Sydney and New Zealand; between New Zealand and Chatham Islands.

Ammended version of [3(c)]. Details of specimens caught in dredges. (24p.)

Amphipoda (File 5/ Folder: 41)

41 Drawings and sketches.

Ascidians, Pyrosoma salpae (File 6)

29 drawings and sketches.

Hooker(?) Drawings (File 7)

3 drawings and ms. note.

Subseries Box 127. SS Albatross, 1888 - 1910

5 items

Filmed selectively.

Biographical / Historical

The SS Albatross, which was launched in 1882, was possibly the first vessel built specifically for marine research. In 1899, under the command of Jefferson Moser and under the scientific direction of Alexander Agassiz (1835-1910), she sailed from San Francisco to the Marquesas Islands, Society Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, and the Ellice, Gilbert and Caroline Islands, before reaching Yokohama in March 1900. Thousands of dredgings were undertaken on the voyage. The marine specimens collected on the voyage were placed in the museum of natural history at Harvard University, which had been founded by Agassiz's father.

Note and correspondence (File 3)

Concerning despatch of manganese nodules collected by Albatross on South Sea voyage (c. 1899-1900) from Museum of Comparative Zoology Cambridge Mass to Sir John Murray, 1901-1902. (4p.)

Dr William Mackie (Elgin) to Sir John Murray, 17 September 1910 (File 4)

Re Albatross specimens and eleven photographs of deposits.

Record of submarine tow-net stations of the US Fish Commission Steamer Albatross. (Printed, 5p.), March 1891 - April 1891 (File 5)
Investigations of the Albatross; record of hydrographic soundings (Printed, 4p.), 1 July 1888 - 30 June 1889 (File 6)
USS Albatross cable survey California to Hawaiian Islands., (7p.), 1891 (File 10)

Gives station number, Lat. and Long. coordinates, and depth.

Subseries Box 128. SS Britannia, 1901

7 items

Filmed selectively.

Biographical / Historical

The SS Britannia, commanded by J.E. Leach, was engaged by the Pacific Cable Board in 1901 to determine the sites of the cable stations along the proposed route. The stations were located at Southport, Queensland, Norfolk Island, Doubtless Bay, New Zealand, Fiji, Fanning Island and Vancouver. The laying of the cable was completed in October 1902.

Tracing of chart showing soundings: Norfolk Island to Fiji (File 2)
Pacific Cable Survey,, 1901 (File 3)

Sounding log south part, Qld., to Norfolk Island; Norfolk Island to Fiji; Norfolk Island to New Zealand; Norfolk Island to Fiji; Fiji to Fanning Island; Fanning Island to Vancouver, 18 May-29 Aug 1901. (59p.)

Remarks on deep sea deposits in general and their distribution in the Pacific Ocean, 1901 (File 4)

With notes on the samples collected by SS Britannia, by Sir John Murray. (46p.)

[Description of deposits by sounding] (30p.) (File 5)
Sounding sheetings, South part, Qld. to Honolulu, (29p. sheets), 18 May 1901 - 30 August 1901 (File 6)
Soundings Queensland - Norfolk Island, Norfolk Island to Fiji, (printed, mss alterations, 5p.), 18 May 1901 - 23 June 1901 (File 8)
[Proof copies of notes on deposits by sounding]. (8p.) (File 9 and 10)

(10 has ms. alterations)

Subseries Box 136. SS Egeria, 1887 - 1888

6 items

Biographical / Historical

The sloop HMS Egeria was launched in 1873. From 1887 to 1890, under the command of Pelham Aldrich, it was engaged in surveying work in Australian and New Zealand waters.

Sounding sheets from North Island New Zealand to Wolverene Bank, Rough and perfect copies. (15p.), 21 June 1888 - 1 September 1888 (File 1)
Soundings obtained on 1st-6th cruises (14p.) (File 2)
Details of analysis of samples taken on Soundings (101p.), October 1887 - December 1887 (File 3-21, 23-43)

Not in date order

List of Foraminifera found in the sounding taken, no. XLIV, Lat. 35 39' S Long. 119 51' E. (3p.), 21 December 1887 (File 22)

With list of Foraminifera from Globigerina ooze obtained in Lat 20 0' 0' S Long. 67' 33' 0' E. (2p.)

[Note on deposits off Christmas Island] (3p.) (File 44)
Rough notes on deposits by Station, III, (34p.), 11 October 1887 - 30 December 1887 (File 45)


Subseries Box 141. HMCS Iris, 1912

2 items

Biographical / Historical

HMCS Iris was a cable ship, built in 1902 and owned by the Pacific Cable Board. It was responsible for the maintenance of the trans-Pacific cable.

Sounding sheets (5p.), January 1912 (File 1)

(Pencil, faint)

Soundings taken by HMCS Iris from Mariwai west coast NZ towards Bondi NSW (5p.), 8 January 1912 - 21 January 1912 (File 2)

Subseries Box 144. HMS Myrmidon, 1887

1 item

Biographical / Historical

The gunboat HMS Myrmidon was launched in 1867. Converted to a survey vessel, it served on the Australian Station in 1885-88 and carried out hydrographic surveys. In April 1887 it collided with HMS Tyne near Wilson's Promontory.

Rough and perfect copies of sounding sheets made of north coast of Australia and Banda Sea (6p.), October 1887 - November 1887 (File 1 and 2)

Subseries Box 145. USS Nero, 1905

2 items

Biographical / Historical

USS Nero was a steel steam collier, built in 1895 and acquired by the United States Navy in 1898. From 1900 to 1905 she made a number of voyages to the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, Samoa, Mare Island and Japan.

James M Flint. A contribution to the oceanography of the Pacific: compiled from data collected by the USS Nero while engaged in the survey of a route for a trans-Pacific cable, 1905 (File 1)

Bulletin of the US National Museum, no. 55 (76p.) (Annotated.)

Nero deposits (7p.) (File 2)

Subseries Box 146. HMS Penguin, 1896 - 1899

4 items

Biographical / Historical

HMS Penguin was launched in 1876 and was converted to a surveying vessel in 1890. In 1896-98 she made a number of voyages to the island of Funafuti in support of the boring expeditions sponsored by the Royal Society. She was transferred to the Australian Naval Forces in 1908.

James B Shand (Granton) to Chumley, with Penguin Ca Co3 determinations, 23 May 1899 (File 1)
James B Shand (Granton) to Chumley with notes on Ca Co3 determination on deposits, 12 April 1899 (File 2)
GC Frederick (Admiralty) to Sir John Murray forwarding Penguin specimens, 20 July 1896 (File)
Deposits taken by HMS Penguin in the neighbourhood of Funafuti and southwar towards Fiji (10p.), 1896 (File [3])

Subseries Box 148. HMS Rambler, 1905

2 items

Filmed selectively.

Biographical / Historical

The gunboat HMS Rambler was launched in 1880 and was converted to a surveying vessel in 1884. From 1886 onwards she served on the China Station, sometimes making cruises to the East Indies. She was sold in 1907.

Rough notes on Grauton Water and Gordon Patches (2p.) (File 2)
Report on deposits from Gordon Patches (near Labuan), by LW Collet and GW Lee (5p.), 6 September 1905 - 22 December 1905 (File 3)

Subseries Box 155. USS Tuscarora, 1873 - 1876

3 items

Biographical / Historical

The sloop USS Tuscarora was launched in 1861. In 1872 she was assigned to the South Pacific Station and in the following year she surveyed the north-west coast of America to determine a suitable route for a submarine cable. In 1874 she took soundings for a cable route between the United States, Japan and China. The Tuscarora was transferred to the North Pacific Station in October 1874 and was based at Honolulu. In 1875 she carried out survey work in the south Pacific, visiting Samoa, Fiji and Australia and making over 500 ocean floor soundings and temperature readings.

USS Tuscarora soundings (7p.), August 1873 - December 1873 (File 1)
Deep sea soundings of USS Tuscarora, December 1875 - February 1876 (File 2)

In the Pacific between Hawaiian Is., Phoenix Is Fiji Is., New Caledonia, and Moreton Bay NE Australia. (4p.)

Tuscarora soundings [Pacific Ocean] (53p.), 1873 - 1876 (File 3-19)

Subseries Box 160. Ross' Second Voyage [to Antarctica], 1840 - 1843

1 item

Biographical / Historical

The British expedition to the Antarctic in 1839-44 was led by James Clark Ross in HMS Erebus and Francis Crozier in HMS Terror. The ships first visited the Antarctic in 1841. After spending some months at Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand, they returned in 1842, exploring the Great Ice Barrier (Ross Ice Shelf), the Falkland Islands and the South Shetland Islands.

List of soundings (5p.), 21 December 1840 - 22 July 1843 (File 1)

Subseries Box 161. Wilke's Antarctic voyage, 1838 - 1842

2 items
Soundings in the Southern seas (2p.) (File [1])
Soundings of Wilke's Antarctic voyage (1p.), 1838 - 1842 (File [2])

Subseries Box 184. FG Pearcey. Notes on Pulvinulina menardii, 1890

2 items

Biographical / Historical

Frederick Gordon Pearcey (1857-1927) was born near London. He was the youngest member of the Challenger expedition (1872-75) and was employed as a taxidermist and general scientific assistant. After the voyage he worked with Sir Wyville Thomson and Sir John Murray in the Challenger office in Edinburgh. He later worked as the assistant curator of zoology in the Bristol Museum.

Notes on Pulvinulina menardii and Pullenia obliguloculata (File 1)

Including incidence in Pacific Ocean (7p.)

FJ Pearcey (Manchester) to Chumley sending four charts showing distribution of foraminifera, 29 December 1890 (File 2)

Subseries Box 209. List of soundings, 1894 - 1903

3 items

Filmed selectively.

HMS Penguin, SW Pacific, Sydney to New Zealand, South Australia (3p.), 1900, 1901, 1903 (File 1)
Soundings 1894 continued. Soundings made by Penguin (2p.) (File 2)
Soundings obtained in 1894 (File 3)

Soundings made by Scotia, Volta, Scotia, Dart, Penguin, Dart, Waterwitch, Investigator, Egeria, Penguin, Egeria. (4p.)

Subseries Box 213. Quest. 1921-22, etc., 1921

1 item

Filmed selectively.

SS Clan McIver soundings from Southern Ocean - Great Australian Bight, and report on sea bottoms (6p.), 29 September 1921 (File 4)

Includes 4 photographs.

Subseries Box 218. Funafuti Niue Papers, 1898 - 1900

3 items

Biographical / Historical

In 1895 the Royal Society set up a Coral Reef Committee to test the theory of 'subsidence', put forward by Charles Darwin in 1842, by surveying a coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean. An expedition to Funafuti Island was led by William Sollas of Oxford University in 1896 and two further expeditions were led by Edgeworth David of Sydney University in 1897-98. The drillers reached a depth of 340 metres and the discovery of remains of shallow-water marine organisms validated Darwin's theory.

Prof. JW Edgeworth David (Univ. of Sydney) to Judd, 28 November 1898 (File 1)

Re shortage of money to finance expedition, Finckh expedition to Funafuti, geological sections of Niue. (6p.)

Niue specimens (2p.) (File 2)
Sketch map of section at Niue (1p.), 26 January 1900 (File 3)

Series. Murray/Challenger Manuscript Cupboard, 1861 - 1896

13 items

H.N. Burrows Deep sea soundings, (46p.), 1890 - 1896 (File)

Includes material from the voyages of:

HMS Dart (SW Pacific, 1892)

HMS Egeria (China Seas, 1893)

HMS Egeria (Mediterranean, 1894)

HMS Penguin (NW Australia, 1890)

HMS Penguin (Arafura Sea, 1891)

HMS Penguin (Eastern Archipelago, 1893)

HMS Stork (Indian Ocean, 1891)

HMS Waterwitch (Atlantic Ocean, 1894)

HMS Waterwitch (South Pacific, 1895)

HMS Penguin (South Pacific, 1895-1896)

Includes charts, plans and correspondence to Burrows from Hydrographic Dept., Admiralty

Biographical / Historical

Henry William Burrows (1858-1941) joined the British Museum (Natural History) in about 1882 and worked there as a palaeontologist for his whole career.

Series. Macfarlane Museum of Natural History, Stirling, 1861 - 1862

3 items

Filmed selectively.

Letter book no. 2, 1861 - 1862 (File)

3 items
[John Macfarlane] (Bridge of Allan) to Cpt. Thomas Brown (Manchester Museum of Natural History), 25 July 1861 (Item ff.143-5)

Re collecting activities on behalf of the museum by Lady Alexander in Auckland, NZ.

[John Macfarlane] to EL Layard, 19 October 1861 (Item ff.156-60)

Re his appointment as secretary to Governor of New Zealand, Sir George Grey and requesting he procures specimens of Apteryx for his museum. (ff. 158-9 blank)

James Murray to E Layard thanking him for letter from Auckland, 19 April 1862 (Item ff.221-4)

Regrets to hear that it is impossible to obtain specimens of Kiwis due to hunting by natives. (ff.222-3 blank)