Guide to the Diary of Alexander Turner (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Turner, Alexander
Diary of Alexander Turner (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
20 July 1883 - 17 November 1883
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

Diary of Alexander Turner, a passenger on the Eastern Monarch, on a voyage from Glasgow to Townsville, Queensland.

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

Filmed at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1979 (AJCP Reel: M1131). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

At the time of filming, the diary was held at the Scottish Record Office. The name of the Scottish Record Office was changed to the National Archives of Scotland in 1999. In 2011 it merged with the General Register Office for Scotland to form the National Records of Scotland.

Existence and Location of Originals

National Records of Scotland, General Register House, Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Collection Reference: GD1/806. For further information see Alexander Turner at the National Records of Scotland. []

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 Note

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.


Australia; Eastern Monarch (ship); Emigrant voyages; Glasgow, Scotland; Magnetic Island, Queensland; Townsville, Queensland; Turner, Alexander


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 466, p. 181. []

Item Descriptions

Diary of Alexander Turner, 1883-07-20-c. 1883-11-17 (File)

The diary refers to the ship's departure from Glasgow, a clash between the captain and one of the crew, the weather, concerts, the sailors' Dead Horse ceremony, the sighting of other ships, the capture of an albatross, storms, a cricket match, injuries to passengers, the dangers of shifting cargoes, the sighting of the Tasmanian coast and later Stradbroke Island and the Queensland coast, porpoises, deaths of children on board the ship, and the arrival at Townsville (23 Oct. 1883).

Owing to an epidemic of measles on the Eastern Monarch, the passengers were kept in quarantine for nearly a month. The later entries refer to Turner's washing-up duties, the monotony of porridge and treacle, fears of a typhoid epidemic, quarantine on Magnetic Island, Indigenous Australians on Magnetic Island, meals, snakes, and the eventual landing at Townsville.

At the end of the diary is a table showing the daily longitude and latitude during the voyage.

Although the authorship of the diary is attributed to Alexander Turner on the first page, at the end it is signed 'Andrew Turner' and there is a photograph with the caption 'Andrew Turner of Oxton, Lauder, Berwickshire'.