Guide to the Papers of the Foreman Family


MS 5563

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Charles and Jane Foreman
Papers of the Foreman Family
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 5563
0.03 metres (1 folder)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record ( for the access conditions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of the Foreman Family, National Library of Australia, MS 5563, [box number and series/item number]'.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Letters from Charles and Jane Foreman

Charles Foreman on board ship 'Hope , Hobson's Bay, Melbourne, to 'Father, Mother .... all', 10 July 1855 (Item 1)

Account of the voyage from Gravesend to Melbourne, leaving on 30 March, with Jane's mother.

Charles Foreman, Brighton, Australia to 'Parents... and all', 7 September [1855] (Item 2)

Has worked as a carpenter; Jane, as a nurse, and her mother is waiting on a lady at Creswick Creek; have not heard of Edwin yet - will probably be on the diggings; mother may not stay long; economy is dull; description of Brighton; wild life; aborigines; meeting with Offen (?) who does well on the diggings to which they will go; Tavisden Hodges; anxiety about the war; would not advise migration because of lack of work. With a note from Jane Foreman will like Australia if they do well.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton Diggings, to 'Parents... all', 4 November 1855 (Item 3)

Have a house and works with Edwin on the diggings in the shaft; crushing quartz for gold. Would not recommend men to come out while the country is so dull. Have a goat and will keep chickens; their house; kangaroos.

J. Foreman, Mount Egerton Diggings, to 'Parents.... all', 21 January 1856 (Item 4)

Their Christmas; big fire at Ballarat; gold digging and possibility they may put up their own crushing machine; are selling chickens and eggs; death of Sir Charles Hotham; wreck of the Schomberg; bad postal service; Australia would be good for Uncle Richard and his family. With a note added from Jane.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton, to 'Parents and all', 9 March 1856 (Item 5)

Still working quartz and have a fair prospect for making money; buying in stores for the winter. Going to Australia was the best step he ever took - it is the country for a working man; does better on the diggings than in a trade. With a note from Jane.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton Diggings, to 'Parents.... all', 10 April 1856 (Item 6)

George could not have a farm in the English manner if he came to Australia; chances are not as good at the diggings as before; hunting. With a note from Jane.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton Diggings, to 'Parents.... all', 23 June 1856 (Item 7)

Edwin digging at Avoca; their group now reduced to 5; new legislation governing the goldfields; travelling by road.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to parents and all, 21 September [1856?] (Item 8)

News from home; new crushing machine; gold finds; Palmer's trial. With a note from Jane.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton, to 'Parents... all', 23 November 1856 (Item 9)

Could be able to return in 1860 with £ 800 or £ 2000 as fortune favours; Edwin doing well at Chinaman's Flat. With a note from Jane - have moved the tent closer to work; trial of absconded convict who assaulted Mrs. Honey; clothes.

J. Foreman, Mount Egerton, to 'Mother Father Sisters Brothers', 25 February 1857 (Item 10)

Quarts has not met their expectation so men have left to find a better site; had a son William on February. 12 which her mother intends to take to England in 1860; Cornish miners; her mother to live at Ballarat.

C. Foreman, Inkerman Diggings, Donolly, to his parents, 18 April 1857 (Item 11)

Had left Mt. Egerton for Chinaman's Flat; Jane and son have been ill with dysentry; her mother should join them and they will put up a store for her; gold digging. With a note from Jane on the journey to Donolly [Dunolly].

C. Foreman, Inkerman Diggings, Dunolly, to 'Parents All', 26 May 1857 (Item 12)

Have bought 12 acres at £ 2.12.6 per acre, to be cleared and cultivated and later resold at a higher price; price of vegetables; letter lost in the mail.

J. Foreman to Charles' family, 26 May [1857] (Item 13)

Has moved tent again; her son William is nearly 4 months old and has had four homes already; diggings are very dull; Albert would probably like the country; are four miles from Dunolly; cooking.

J. Foreman, to 'Mother Father', 22 July 1857 (Item 14)

Missed writing last month as were moving; Charles away at a new rush called Jim Crow and Edwin will probably follow; her father had considered emigrating to Australia but her mother thinks he lacks confidence; Albert would like Australia; her daughter; life has made them appear weatherbeaten.

C. Foreman, Inkerman, Dunolly, to 'Parents all', 22 July 1857 (Item 15)

Hard to acquire land - theirs is productive but digging pays more if you are successful; new rushes, have lost their horse; son William is very fine; Offen is quite well; Chinese on the goldfields.

C. Foreman, Dunolly, to 'Parents all', 20 September 1857 (Item 16)

Poor postal service; produce from their land; mining is dull; lost horse; his son grows fast.

J. Foreman to Charles' mother, 2 November [1857] (Item 17)

Charles and Edwin are digging 8 miles away where they will make 18 ounces from one hole; they want for nothing; son William said to be much like his uncle Edwin; have found their horse.

C. Foreman, Dunolly, to 'Parents all', 28 November 1857 (Item 18)

Poor mail; have had good finds of gold at Coohranes, where it is of good quality.

J. Foreman to Charles' 'Mother, Father Sisters Brothers', 31 November 1857 (Item 19)

The men away digging so she must remain alone, to look after the land; are buying a cow; have had 2 payable holes so may be home before 1860; son has been vaccinated as the smallpox is raging; bushfires in the very hot weather. Sending 4 samples of material of new frocks; she is in poor health.

J. Foreman, to Charles' 'Parents c.', 4 January 1858 (Item 20)

Water scarce; a dull Christmas; went to races at Newbridge; Dr. Grant; Mrs Honey, who wishes to return to England. Parched land from the drought and bushfires by the tent.

C. Foreman, Inkerman, to 'Parents... all', 9 February 1858 (Item 21)

No luck on the diggings - are at Havlock Flat; a double murder in an attack by bushrangers; crimes attributed to overpopulated goldfields. With an addition from Jane on bushfires; eye complaints; timid at night alone because of murders.

J. Foreman, Inkerman, Dunolly, to 'Parents and all', Tuesday, [1858?] (Item 22)

Charles gone to Mount Egerton to fetch her mother; have no clock so are ruled by the sun; beautiful weather; talk of the Princess's marriage; a new quartz reef.

J. Foreman, Inkerman Donaly, to 'Parents... and all friends', 12 July 1858 (Item 23)

Charles is at Mt. Egerton; her mother; Charles has golden hole at Pleasant Creek; will have no more children until she returns to England; Willy begins to talk - was thrown from a cart when the horse ran away but was unhurt; eyes sore from blight.

J. Foreman, Inkerman, Goldborough, Old Dunoly, to 'Parents and all', [1858?] (Item 24)

Glad to hear that George has married; Charles and Edwin away working at Pleasant Creek and she will move there; no place of worship and have only been able to attend once since entering the colony; son Willy - the first thing children learn here is to swear; Indian corn parched through lack of rain; crime.

C. Foreman, Gordon Diggings, to wife Jane and the boy, [July? 1858] (Item 25)

Will come for her the following week. Several other restaurants at Gordons; home has nearly been completed, and is near to her mothers; accident to [son] Bill; she should sell up; has a job at £ 1 a day.

C. Foreman, Gordon Diggings, Mount Egerton, to 'Parents all', 15 August 1858 (Item 26)

Returned to Egerton following a rush there, and built a restaurant for Jane's mother, the first restaurant there and doing well, with Jane helping and Charles building and digging; Edwin finding gold at Pleasant Creek; horse is lost again; farm product prices sunk because of increased production; may return in 1860; would like to shoot, but is no game.

C. Foreman, Gordon Diggings, to 'Parents all', 1 December 1858 (Item 27)

Great rush to Port Curtis and Edwin is there; Jane's mother still has the restaurant and he works a quartz claim; better work for a man in Australia.

C. Foreman, Gordon Diggings, Mount Egerton, to 'Parents all', 9 January 1859 (Item 28)

Edwin left Port Curtis - 'a regular duffer', and returned to Pleasant Creek; men have found gold at Mt Egerton, reworking the claims, including where their house had stood; Jane's mother has left the restaurant and is housekeeper on a farm With a note from Jane - unlucky in diggings; son Willy ill with inflammation of chest at Christmas.

C. Foreman, Gordons Diggings, to 'Parents Sisters Brothers', 6 March 1859 (Item 29)

Climate; Edwin gets a little gold at Ararat; he is at a Bullarook Forest quartz reef; railways being built to diggings; prices are low; financial position; does not think Jane's mother will return; cricket becoming popular.

C. Foreman, Gordon Diggings, to 'Brother Sister', 6 March 1859 (Item 30)

(Elizabeth Owlett nee Foreman and William). Their marriage.

C. Foreman, Inkerman, Dunolly, to 'Parents.... all', 3 May 1859 (Item 31)

'Bull dancing'; horse is found again; description of Pleasant Creek to which they will probably return; they are unlucky with the diggings; caught 2 rabbits.

C. Foreman, Gordon Diggings, to his brother, 15 May 1859 (Item 32)

Death of his son, and birth of daughter Clara; man can make a better living in Australia; does not shoot in Australia; working a quartz reef.

C. Foreman, Gordons Diggings, to 'Parents all', 22 June 1859 (Item 33)

Children have a better chance in Australia; a law suit pending to claim a debt from a friend; W. Withenden may visit England from America; Albert should come to Australia if he is willing to work and take responsibility - if he decides to come should sail in the Royal Charter or Great Britain; little daughter gets on 1st rate.

C. Foreman, Gordons Diggings, to 'Parents and all', [August 1859] (Item 34)

Better mail service from England; hopes England will not go to war; defencelessness of Australia - most diggers have arms; election pending; land policy, prices and wages - Edwin and he earn 15/ - a day fitting up a hotel which buys the comforts but not society of England; Jane unwell but baby Clara is fit; price of farm beasts and grains. With a note from Jane on the death of son Willy on 23 March, & birth of Clara on 15 April.

J. Foreman to 'Parents Sisters Brothers Friends', 12 October 1859 (Item 35)

Not felt well since the birth of Clara, perhaps caused by grief from the death of Willy; Charles is away on alluvial diggings; Edwin is to marry Margaret Young and will live nearby.

C. Foreman, Gordon Diggings, to 'Parents all', 11 December 1859 (Item 36)

Edwin married; works at anything and is just contracted to clear land for a cricket field; Jane and mother visited Ballarat; shooting game - use of possum skins by natives to make blankets; railways will open up land for more settlement; new chums; changing times; price of farm produce and cattle. With a note from Jane.

C. Foreman, Gordons, to sister and brother, 12 February [1860] (Item 37)

Attribute improved health to the new residence; the settlement of Gordons and the diggings; Edwin With end en who has recently married; visit to Ballen with a storekeeper friend; their son who would have been three now if he had lived; child drowned in a claim; bush fires.

C. Foreman, Gordon Diggings, to 'Sister all', 16 March 1860 (Item 38)

Thanks for father's likeness; last expedition was not successful; working on the diggings; his daughter grows 1st rate.

J. Foreman. Gordons, to 'Parents and all', 15 May [1860] (Item 39)

Domestic news; Charles away at Jim Crow for a month where prospects are good - Edwin may move there before Maggy's confinement and they may follow; will send a likeness of daughter Clara; England cricketers are to visit Victoria.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton, to 'Parents Sisters Brothers', 8 July 1860 (Item 40)

Has lost confidence in digging and so he and Edwin are storekeeping which plays well; sell spirits without a licence; will call the store Kent Store and feature a horse on the flag; mother is housekeeper to a butcher; attended a ball; Mr. Withend en should come to Victoria if he wishes to vindicate his conduct to his family.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton, to 'Parents all', 16 September 1860 (Item 41)

Going on well with the store, and like it; Edwin has a son William; mother wants a house and has asked her husband to come out; prices; war in New Zealand; volunteers being raised to protect Australian colonies; Clara grows well.

J. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to her sister, 25 January [1861?] (Item 42)

Charles is visiting Ballan; she visited Geelong with Clara and Mrs. W(?) for Christmas, their mother spent a month in Melbourne; presents; very hot weather; many people returning to England.

C. Foremen, Mount Egerton, to 'Parents All', 17 March 1861 (Item 43)

Store enlarged - the life agrees with Jane; ball tomorrow for St. Patrick's day.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton, to 'Parents all', 8 May 1861 (Item 44)

The new letter the letter is written on; have acquired the post office; Jane will be confined shortly; Mother staying till recovers from the ague; life is more independent in the colonies and will not return until he can do so with advantage. Written on printed News letter of Australasia No.57, May 1861.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton, to 'Parents.... all', 23 July 1861 (Item 45)

Jane has another child Elizabeth; mother works as a cook at Ballarat; England cricket team expected. Written on printed News letter of Australasia No. 58, June 1861.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to his parents, 22 February [1862] (Item 46)

Edwin's wife had a daughter on the 21st; English mail arrived late and feared it had been caught by American privateers; rumours of Anglo-American war; popularity of cricket; Jane stayed a week in Ballarat with her mother; may take a new business at Jime Crow which he will manage while Edwin manages at Mt. Egerton.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to his 'Parents and all', 23 March [1862] (Item 47)

Have decided not to open a business at Jim Crow; Christmas; English touring cricket team; Ballarat merchants moving to Queensland to take up sheep grazing and have suggested they do the same, following the pattern of earlier land settlement in Victoria - Edwin and Charles wish to go, but not the women.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, 'Parents and all', 24 August 1862 (Item 48)

Thanks for portrait of mother; American war; prospects better in Victoria than Queensland; shooting wild duck; is trying to make money so could return; Mr. Withenden wishes his wife to return to England.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Parents and All', 22 December 1862 (Item 49)

Alarmed at news of father's illness; Mr. Witherden wishes to come to the colony; grain prices.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Parents and all', 25 January [1863] (Item 50)

The serious illness of his father; glad that George and Lewis had visited them. Summer has been very dry; have purchased an eight share in a golden hole for £ 90.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Mother Sisters Brothers', 20 February 1863 (Item 51)

His father's death; expecting another child; trading for £ 250 a month and increasing.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Sister Brothers and all', 22 May 1863 (Item 52)

Marriage of Prince of Wales; birth of daughter Margaret; a mining share.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Sister, Mother all', 23 July 1863 (Item 53)

Family portraits; English cricketers are coming; daughter Elizabeth has been very ill but has recovered; business improves - is better than digging; many are going to New Zealand after the gold.

C. J. Foreman, Mt. Egerton to 'Mother and all', 24 August [1863] (Item 54)

Bereavement; Alfred should set a good example to Albert who should seek a living; transfer of money; mutual friends. Far better chance to succeed in Australia.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Sisters all', 24 October 1863 (Item 55)

Received portrait of sister Angelina; England cricketers to visit soon; both children have been baptised; Edwin's wife expecting her third child.

J. Foreman, Mount Egerton, to 'Mother Sisters Brothers', 22 February 1864 (Item 56)

Death of Charles' father; her daughters Clara, Lizzy and Maggy, and Edwin's children Willy, Jane and Elizabeth; enlarging premises; Edwin is also Electoral Registrar for district and they have the Post Office; mother gone to Melbourne.

C. Foreman, Mt, Egerton, to 'Sister Brothers All', 24 April 1864 (Item 57)

The Foreman family in the Cranbrook area; his daughter Clara; furniture; homes in Mt. Egerton; employing men on bridge and road works; Edwin managing the store; is to buy a new express wagon for £ 45-£ 50 for carrying goods; Jane's mother not very well.

C. Foreman, Kent Store, Mt. Egerton, to his mother, 24 June [1864] (Item 58)

Receipt of likenesses; Charles is foreman of a gang of men contracted repairing tracks, using some of his debtors; shares in the firm; domestic arrangements; hope to have their own business one day; new American wagon; the store.

J. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to his sister, 23 July [1864] (Item 59)

Charles still on contracted work; Edwin in Melbourne buying goods which were delivered from the station by bullocks; expect to hear of another little Owlet.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Sister and All', 23 September 1864 (Item 60)

Jane's mother not well; wishes to get enough money to retire to England; contracting work.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Sister and All', 21(?) November 1864 (Item 61)

Jane's mother not in good health; share in claim is paying well; gold digging.

J. Foreman, Kent Store, Mt. Egerton, to his mother, 24 December [1864] (Item 62)

Family affairs; illness of her mother at Geelong; father speaks of coming out; business is busy and also hold land; quit on the diggings for want of water; domestic news.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Sister and All', 24 April 1865 (Item 63)

Their life since they came to Australia - have one of largest business establishments within 15 miles circuit; have the Post Office and Edwin is Electoral Registrar; have a horse and express wagon; about to start a bakery; have a golden hole; drought; food prices; men need to be able to do any work in order to succeed.

, C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Sister all', 23 July 1865 (Item 64)

A likeness of his parents; had a son on 28 June; Jane's mother's health has improved; domestic life; his new bakery business.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Sister and all', 24 September 1865 (Item 65)

Business good and is to apply for a wine and spirit licence so they can end their illegal trade; have leased 40 acres of land from the government.

J. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to [Charles'] mother, 25 September 1865(?) (Item 66)

Thanks for present; family estate after the death of her mother; prices.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Mother All', 24 January 1866 (Item 67)

Jane's mother ill from a throat abscess; opened a butcher's shop; daughter Clara; all the children have been to see Punch and Judy show.

J. Foreman, Kent Store, to Charles' mother, [1866] (Item)

Death of her mother from throat condition; disposal of money; would be well off it it were not for the creditors.

J. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to 'Sister and All', 27 August 1866 (Item 68)

Thanks for bill of exchange; their land, butchery and bakery; mother's death.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton to 'Parents All', 1 January 1867 (Item 69)

Christmas; post may be improved under the new Australian and Southampton Mail Company; wages. With a note from Jane on Christmas dinner with mother.

C. Foreman, Mount Egerton, to 'Parents all', 20 January 1867 (Item 70)

Fast ship on new Australian Mail Company; has considered hop growing but thinks the area unsuitable; may buy more land; good prospects for agricultural labourers; tobacco.

J. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to her sister, 24 March [18??] (Item 71)

Sorry his mother has been poorely; her mother is in Melbourne; buying for the business; exchange of likenesses.

C. Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to his brother and sister, 24 May [18??] (Item 72)

Thanks for news of their life since he left England and birth of their son; illness of his father and Angelina - the latter should not marry a carpenter for there are thousands unemployed in Australia.

C. Foreman to his mother, n.d. (Item 73)

His brother Albert should come to Australia where baking is a first rate trade. They have nearly £ 100 in gold and money.

Foreman, Mt. Egerton, to brother Lewis, n.d. (Item 74)

His news from home. The diggings, with description of the tent, prices etc.; the machine will give them a good income; Edwin has left on another rush.

Series 2. Letters From E.O. and M. Withenden

E.O. Withenden, Balland, to Chas. Foreman, Cranbrook, Kent, England, 20 March 1855 (Item 1)

Still on the diggings working on quartz veins - men in his party; prices; building themselves a hut; may come home if gold does not pay; Ballarat riot; diggers and diggings.

E.O. Withenden, Bendigo, to 'Brother c', 16 January, 1857 (Item 2)

Moved to Bendigo; very hot crossing the plains.

E.O. Withenden, Mt. Egerton, to his father, 24 July 1862 (Item 3)

Making a very good living in the store trade and with the Post Office; his mother works in a Ballarat hotel as a cook; unlikely ever to come home; Mt. Egerton diggings; cricket.

M. Withenden, to Mr Withenden, 20 August 1862 (Item 4)

Money of her father's, from wood cut in England; health is good; cooks 12 or 14 hours a day; does not advise coming to the country - is not what it was.

Series 3. Miscellanea

The Phrenology of C. Foreman, 4 August 1853 (Item 1)

Invitation to the Gordon Subscription Ball, 11 September 1858 (Item 2)

Envelope addressed to Kent, 1857 (Item 3)

Envelope addressed to Kent, 1858 (Item 4)

Envelope addressed to Kent, 1864 (Item 5)

Poem: In my loneliness, 7 January, 1864 (Item 6)

Poem: Return to England, n.d. (Item 7)

Sheet 12 x 7.5 cms. of 3 coloured pictures of women, n.d. (Item 8)

Two fragments of papers with writing, n.d. (Item 9)