Guide to the Collections of the Royal Irish Academy (as filmed by the AJCP)


M945 - M946

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Royal Irish Academy
Collections of the Royal Irish Academy (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
Collection Number
M945 - M946
7 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

Papers relating to colonial administration in Western Australia 1828-49. The papers are divided into four groups:

Papers including: establishment of the Swan River colony and the affairs of the settlement to 1847; allocation of land; list of passengers on the Parmelia; reports on progress of the colony; and copies of the Western Australian Almanack 1842 and 1844.

Papers relating to Madden's term as Colonial Secretary in Western Australia 1847-49. Includes material on: administration; land prices; convicts; sheep farming; the work of the Jesuits; and documents on Madden's resignation.

Correspondence 1846-49 mainly between Madden and Rev. John Brady on: the Roman Catholic mission in Western Australia; education of Catholic children; official attitude towards the Ladies of Mercy; letters concerning land at Victoria Plains; and other church matters.

Papers relating to: Indigenous Australian affairs 1832-49 including: legal status of Indigenous Australians; flogging as a form of punishment; the work of the Wesleyan Mission; and reports by Madden on improvement of conditions and education of Indigenous Australians.

Newspaper cuttings, notes and unpublished essays written by Madden 1848-55; correspondence by Madden; literary, historical, political and travel notes, including references to Antarctic exploration.

Notes (82 p.) for the autobiography of Thomas F. Meagher, containing details of his early life and education, political beliefs, the formation of the Irish Confederation, and his arrest with O'Brien and Mitchel on a charge of sedition.

Extract of a letter from Meagher to William German 28 October 1851 about a boat built in Hobart for communication between his farm and cottage; letter from Meagher to Charles Gavan Duffy about his escape from Tasmania in 1852; note about a presentation by the people of Victoria to W.S. O'Brien 1855.

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.

Cited 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

Filmed at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1976. (AJCP reel M945-46). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Royal Irish Academy. 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.For further information see Royal Irish Academy 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.

Other papers of Madden, held at Trinity College Library in Dublin, were filmed by the Australian Joint Copying Project on reel M854 (

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.

Advisory Statement

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this Finding Aid contains material and descriptive information which may be considered culturally sensitive and may cause distress, including names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. This Finding Aid contains terms that reflect authors' views or those of the historical period, but which may not be considered appropriate today. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.


Antarctica; Australia Brady, John, Rev.; Convicts: Tasmania; Convicts: Western Australia; Duffy, Sir Charles Gavan; Education; German, William; Indigenous Australians: missions and missionaries; Indigenous Australians: Western Australia; Ireland; Irish Confederation; Jesuits, religious order; Ladies of Mercy, religious order; Land: Western Australia; Madden, Richard R.; Meagher, Thomas F.; Missions and missionaries: Western Australia; Mitchel, John; O'Brien, William S.; Officials; Parmelia (ship); Roman Catholic Church: Australia; Royal Irish Academy; Surgeons; Tasmania; Victoria Plains, Western Australia; Wesleyan Mission; Western Australia; Western Australia: politics and government; Western Australian Almanack (1842, 1844)


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 397, pp152-153.

Biographical / Historical

The Royal Irish Academy was founded in 1785 and granted a royal charter in the following year. Its aims were the promotion and investigation of the sciences, polite literature and antiquities and the encouragement of discussion and debate between scholars of diverse backgrounds. Its council was composed of eleven members representing the sciences and ten members representing the humanities. It was originally based in a house in Grafton Street, but in 1851 it moved to an eighteenth century house at 19 Dawson Street. In 1890 its collection of museum objects and antiquities were moved to the Dublin Science and Art Museum (now the National Museum of Ireland).

From its earliest years the library of the Academy was a major centre for research in many disciplines, especially Irish history, archaeology, language and culture, and natural history. It is famous for its collection of medieval manuscripts and in addition holds a comprehensive collection of Irish publications, several outstanding formed collections, and a wide range of journals. The Transactions of the Academy were first published in 1787, followed by its Proceedings in 1836, and it has published various journals, the Dictionary of the Irish language, and many monographs. It is also actively involved in cooperative projects, such as the Dictionary of Irish biography and Documents on Irish foreign policy.

Richard Robert Madden (1798-1886), the son of a silk manufacturer, was born in Dublin. He was educated in a private school and studied medicine at Paris, Naples and London. As a young man, he travelled widely in the Middle East and he published an account of his travels in 1829. He practised as a surgeon in London from 1828 to 1833 and then went to Jamaica as a special magistrate. In 1836 he was appointed superintendent of the liberated Africans and judge arbitrator in Cuba and published a number of works on slavery. In 1841 he was sent to West Africa to inquire into the administration of British coastal settlements and from 1843 until 1846 he was the Lisbon correspondent of the Morning Chronicle.

In 1847 Madden was appointed Colonial Secretary of Western Australia and he arrived in Perth in March 1848. The colony, which at that time had a European population of 3706, was ruled by an oligarchy, led by the military commandant and acting governor, F.C. Irwin. Madden had a strong interest in the welfare of the indigenous people and supported Bishop Brady's plans for a Catholic mission. He urged the new governor, Captain Charles Fitzgerald, to disallow Irwin's draft ordinance that authorised the summary flogging of Aboriginal labourers. He also initiated a census and the public auction of Crown lands. However, his stay in the colony was a short one. In December 1848 he learned that his son had drowned in the Shannon River and in the following month he took leave and returned to Ireland. He resigned his office in March 1850.

Madden was secretary of the Loan Fund Board at Dublin Castle from 1850 until 1880. Most of his time in his later years was spent on research on modern Irish history. He was the author of The United Irishmen, their lives and times (1842-60), The literary life and correspondence of the Countess of Blessington (1855), A history of Irish periodical literature from the end of the seventeenth to the middle of the nineteenth century (1867) and Literary remains of the United Irishmen of 1798 (1887). His memoirs were published posthumously in 1892. He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the Society of Medical Science.

Reference: Bob Reece. The colonial career of Richard Robert Madden, Australian Journal of Irish Studies, vol. 4, 2002, pp. 18-28.

Item Descriptions

Fonds MS 12. Meagher Papers, 1877

2 items

Notes for the biography of Thomas F. Meagher. (File MS 12/P9)

Thomas Meagher (1823-1867) was one of the Irish political convicts transported to Van Diemen's Land in 1849. The notes, interspersed with several newspaper cuttings, are pasted into a copy of the 1877-78 report of the Victorian Railways They are headed 'Meagher's politics' (79pp) and are followed by two pages headed 'Meagher's disposition and character' and copies, in another hand, of two undated letters written by Meagher in Richmond Gaol to John Dillon and Doherty (?).

Thomas Meagher to Charles Gavan Duffy, n.d. (File MS 12/P19)

His escape from Van Diemen's Land in Jan. 1852. (38pp + 6pp postscript)

Fonds MS 24. Madden Papers, 1828 - September 1855

5 items

Series MSS.24. Newspaper cuttings, notes, unpublished essays and correspondence, 21 March 1848 - September 1855

5 items
Newspaper cuttings and unpublished essays by Madden, 28 October 1851 (File Ms. 06)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

Meagher to William German, 28 October 1851 (Item f.311)

construction of a boat in Hobart that he now uses to communicate with his Kilkenny man on the island. (extract)

Newspaper cuttings and unpublished essays by Madden, 21 March 1848 (File MS. 07)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

Madden (Fremantle) to acting governor Colonel Frederick Irwin, 21 March 1848 (Item f.285)

Arrival on barque Orient; his appointment as Colonial Secretary.

Newspaper cuttings and unpublished essays by Madden (File 08)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

Note on a gold cup presented to William Smith O'Brien by his friends in Victoria after his release, September 1855 (Item f.269)
Correspondence (File 09)
1 items

Filmed selectively.

Copy of a letter of Madden on education of the poor of all religious denominations in Ireland, with a reference to instruction in New South Wales, n.d. (Item ff.481-95)
Literary, historical, political and travel notes (File 013)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

South Pole discoveries, n.d. (Item ff.161-67)

Series N1. Papers relating to Western Australia, Section 1, 1828 - 1849

The papers include the proposed prospectus for the settlement of the colony of Victoria in Western Australia (n.d.), an extract from the report of Charles Fraser on the botany, geology and general character of the country bordering the Swan River, Geographe Bay and Cape Naturaliste, notes on the settlement of Western Australia taken from J.L. Stokes. Discoveries in Australia (1846), a list of the first settlers who were passengers on the Parmelia (1829), correspondence about the formation of the settlement (1828-29), a journal of events connected with the Public Service (1829), extracts from despatches of Capt. James Stirling (1829-38), an extract from the Royal Instructions to Capt. Stirling (28 April 1831), a letter to Stirling from the Western Australian Institution requesting a library and reading room (1831), notes on the origin of the colony (1833), a despatch from Sir Richard Bourke (Sydney) to Lord Stanley about education (1833), an extract from a report of Capt. F.C. Irwin on Indigenous Australians (1835), letters about expeditions to the interior of the colony, a letter of Edward J. Eyre on a survey of Albany (1841), correspondence of Capt. J. Lort Stokes of HMS Beagle (1841) and copies of the Western Australian Almanac (1842, 1844).

Series N1. Papers relating to Western Australia, Section 3, 1828 - 1849

The papers include a draft of a letter from Madden to Lord Grey (1848), papers on communication with England via Batavia and Singapore, Post Office revenue and expenditure, expenditure on military and civil administration (1847), a letter by Madden on the management of convicts from Parkhurst and Pentonville prisons (11 April 1848), a circular concerning violence towards Indigenous Australians (12 July 1848), papers regarding the sale of the brig Thistle, a report on the Rottnest Island establishment (25 Sept. 1848), correspondence on mineral resources of Western Australia, a geological map of Western Australia by Ferdinand von Sommer, a letter from A. O'Grady Lefroy on the prospects of sheep farmers (1 Jan. 1849), claims by James Stokes for compensation for the loss of his distillery, the draft of Madden's letter resigning as Colonial Secretary (12 Jan. 1850), the draft of a submission to Lord Grey for a pension, and addresses to Madden published in The Inquirer.

Series N1. Papers relating to Western Australia, Section 4, 1828 - 1849

Papers relating to the Roman Catholic Mission in Western Australia, 1847-50, including many letters and memoranda by Bishop John Brady. The subjects of the correspondence include State assistance for Catholic education, the need for a separate Catholic burial ground, relations between Bishops Brady and Serra and between Brady and the acting governor, Col. Frederick Irwin, a proposal for a school for Australian Aboriginal girls under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy, a petition to Queen Victoria from Catholic residents seeking an inquiry into public administration of Western Australia, complaints by Catholics of excommunication by Bishop Brady, and a disputed grant of land adjoin the mission station at Victoria Plains. In addition to Madden and Brady, the correspondents include Terence Farrelly, Archbishop J.B. Polding (Sydney), Rev. Thomas Heptonstall (London), Capt. Charles Fitzgerald, Sister Ursula Frayne, Bishop Joseph Serra and Rev. John Joostens.

Series N1. Papers relating to Western Australia, Section 5, 1828 - 1849

Papers relating to Western Australian Aboriginals, 1832-49, including lists of Indigenous Australians, vocabularies, instructions to the Protector of Aborigines (1840), publications, memoranda, despatches and correspondence. The subjects of correspondence include the legal status of Indigenous Australians, Madden's opposition to 'the flogging ordinance' proposed by the acting governor, Colonel Irwin (1847), the Wesleyan Mission and education of Indigenous Australian children, the treatment of Indigenous Australians in other Australian colonies, protection and the civil rights of Indigenous Australians, a plan for civilising the Indigenous Australians drawn up by Bishop Augustus Short (1848), burial customs of Indigenous Australians, an ordinance for the summary trial and punishment of offending Indigenous Australians (1849), and a report by Madden on the condition of the Indigenous Australians of Western Australia. The correspondents include Madden, John Hutt, Peter Brown, Col. Frederick Irwin, Lord Grey (London), Rev. John Smithies, Rev. George King, Charles Symmons, John Bussell (Bunbury) and J.R. Phillips (Albany).