Guide to the papers of Edmund Webber (as filmed by AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Edmund Webber, 1817-1860
Papers of Edmund Webber (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
20 August 1841 - 1842
Collection Number
2 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

Memoirs written while working as clerk in Auckland in 1842. They describe his first 20 years (1817-1837), including his service on the West African survey and the Mediterranean Station.

Journal 1841-1842 kept by Webber on the voyage from Van Diemen's Land to New Zealand on the Favorite in 1841, referring to his life in Van Diemen's Land, meeting with members of the Antarctic expedition led by J.C. Ross, Hobart Observatory, arrival at the Bay of Islands, life at barracks, attempts to obtain a government post, Governor William Hobson, and relations with Maoris.

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 William Cookworthy Museum Old Grammar School, Devon, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1985 (AJCP Reel: M1640). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

The Kingsbridge Museum was formerly known as William Cookworthy Museum Old Grammar School, Fore Street, Kingsbridge, Devon, England.

Existence and Location of Originals

Kingsbridge Museum, Fore Street, Kingsbridge, Devon, England.

For further information see Kingsbridge Museum. []

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.


Antarctica; Auckland, New Zealand; Australia; Bay of Islands, New Zealand; Favorite (ship); Great Britain; Hobart Observatory; Hobson, William, Capt.; Maori; New Zealand; New Zealand: immigration to; Ross, Sir James C., Admiral; Tasmania; Webber, Edmund


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 482, p188. []

Biographical / Historical

Edmund Webber (1817-1860). Born at Kingsbridge. Joined Navy 1830, served on survey ship Aetna (Commander E. Belcher), west coast of Africa, August 1830-October 1831, and as midshipman on Britannia (May-December 1834), Canopus (December 1834-December 1836), Vernon (December 1836-January 1837), and Orestes (January 1837-April 1838) on Mediterranean Station. Emigrated to New South Wales on Favorite, arriving July 1840. Sailed to New Zealand August-September 1841. Worked as clerk in Government offices, Auckland. Joined Tortoise June 1843, returned to England and served as mate on Excellent. Appointed Lieutenant 14 May 1847, Commander 7 September 1857. Served in East Indies 1848-1853, commanded Dolphin on west coast of Africa 1853-1857, and commanded a Contract Mail Service vessel 1858-1860.

Source: Public Record Office. Adm. 9/61 no. 4445. Navy Lists.

Item Descriptions

Memoirs of Edmund Webber covering the years 1817-1837, 1842 (File)

Memoirs written by Webber while working as an unpaid clerk in the Treasury at Auckland in 1842. The volume covers his first twenty years (1817-1837) and describes in detail and a racy style his life while serving on the West African survey under Sir Edward Belcher, his return to England, and his four years on the Mediterranean Station, visiting Malta, Corfu, Turkey, Greece, Sicily, Gibraltar and Spain.

Journal of Edmund Webber, 20 August 1841 - 22 June 1842 (File)

The volume was commenced on the voyage from Van Diemen's Land to New Zealand on the Favorite, and ends with Webber living in Auckland, still hoping for a Government appointment, 22 June 1842.

It describes in considerable detail his departure from Sydney, his life in Van Diemen's Land, meetings with members of the Antarctic Expedition led by J.C. Ross, visits to New Norfolk, Port Arthur and the Hobart Observatory, arrival at the Bay of Islands, the New Zealand landscape, attempts to obtain a Government post, walks, hunting, fishing, reading, life at barracks, land question, criticisms of Governor Hobson, news from England and China, duels, trial of Maketu by Supreme Court, new arrivals in Auckland, Maori war dance, honorary duties at Treasury, and Webber's love for a Maori girl, Etoi.

There are references to the Campbell and Dumaresq families in Sydney, Lady Franklin, J.W. Hooker and the Lempriere Family in Van Diemen's Land, and W. Hobson, G. Cooper and Bishop G.A. Selwyn in New Zealand.