Guide to the Papers of Terry Wills Cooke


MS 10257

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Wills Cooke, Terry
Papers of Terry Wills Cooke
Date Range
1794 - 2016
Collection Number
MS 10257
2.88 metres (10 ms boxes + 2 large folio boxes + 1 small phase box + 3 folders + 1 Packet)
Language of Materials
Special Collections (Manuscripts)


Scope and Contents

The collection documents the activities of the Wills family, who were pastoralists from the early 1800s, in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland and includes: letters; personal and financial documents; diaries; maps; photographs; realia; manuscript and typescript notes;Register of deaths of the Cullin-la-ringo massacre, also referred to as the Wills Tragedy; writings, publications, research material and a family tree of Edward Wills. Much of theis material relates to the life and times of Horatio Spencer Howe Wills (1811-1861), pastoralist and politician, and his son Thomas Wentworth Wills (1835-1880), footballer and cricketer, who played a significant role in the development and establishment of Australian Rules Football.

Conditions Governing Access

Access conditions may apply to this collection, please refer to the collection's catalogue record for further information (

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Terry Wills Cooke, National Library of Australia, MS 10257, [class/series/file/item number]'

Item Descriptions

Class 1. Consignment received 2016

Wills Family Letters and Documents, 1797-1860 (File 1) - Box 1

Physical Facet

MS Acc17.036 is housed in the parent collection MS 10257

Wills Family Letters and Documents, 1852-1860 (File 2) - Box 1

Wills Family Letters and Documents, 1861 (File 3) - Box 2

Wills Family Letters and Documents (File 4) - Box 2

Wills Family Letters and Documents, 1881-1916 (File 5) - Box 3

Books; The Currency Lad: A biography of Horatio Spencer Howe Wills 1811 to 1861 by TS Wills Cooke 1997; The Story of an Athlete (A Picture of the Past) by HCA Harrison 1923 (File 6) - Box 3

Wills Family photographs of people, 1870's-1960 (File 7) - Box 4

Wills Family photographs of things and places; filed negatives of same, 1850's-1986 (File 8) - Box 4

Mounted photograph of Lexington, 1852 (File 9) - Box 4

Opalotype image of massacre site (File 10) - Box 4

Original documents and photocopies of original documents of the Wills Family (housed in blue box), 1794-1870 (File 11) - Box 5

Diary covering the overland droving trip from 'Cullinlaringo' Springsure Qld to Euston NSW; Papers relating to the ship 'Hillsborough', 1867 (File 12) - Box 5

Wills family tree (undated but marked 'very old'); Papers relating to the search for Edward Mills, 1930-1998 (File 13) - Folio-Box 11

'A Land so Inviting' - the life and times of Horatio Spencer Wills by CE Sayers, 2016 (File 14) - Box 5

Unpublished biography edited and notated by Terry Wills Cooke (TWC)

Original documents and photocopies of original documents of the Wills Family (housed in blue box), 1871-1914 (File 15) - Box 6

Letters - some original some photocopied; mainly to and from Horace Wills, 1882-1996 (File 16) - Box 6

Most of these letters are from Horace to Sarah

Documents relating to the Cullinlaringo property; notes made by Edward Wills' family; family trees; copies of Birth, Death and Marriage certificates (File 17) - Box 6

Thesis on Marn Grook by John McPherson, 2005 (File 18) - Box 7

The diary of Catherine Roope, both original and typed copy; The Try Excelsior News 1896, 1861-1996 (File 19) - Box 7

A file named by Terry Wills Cook as 'Odd Bits and Pieces about family'; contains a Colonial Bank of Australasia cheque from 1857; Horace Wills' Last Will and Testament; correspondence over a century; early history of Rockhampton, 1888-1998 (File 20) - Box 7

A letter from Edward VIII's private secretary in 1920 thanking Horace Wills for the Aboriginal weapon gifts

Papers relating to the family of Elizabeth Wills nee Wyre; papers relating to Michael Wyre; Life of a Pioneer booklet on HS Wills; In Memoriam book on Sarah Will (File 21) - Box 7

Wills Family Letters and Documents, 1871 (File 22) - Box 8

Wills Family Letters and Documents, 1872-1880 (File 23) - Box 8

Eva Irene Wills (Cooke) Scrapbook (File 24) - Box 9

Bound copies of 'The Birthday Scripture Text Book' and 'A Wallet of Wit' (File 25) - Box 9

Ladies 22 gauge pistol in leather holster (File 26) - Box 13

Pistol always carried in her apron pocket by Sarah E Wills during her time at Coorabelle and Cullinlaringo.

Belgian made bulldog style pocket revolver with folding trigger. 1 3/4inch barrel, 6 shot fluted cylinder, and checkered birds beak walnut grips.

Two zamia nuts; one is carved with homestead and emu, 1876 (File 27) - Box 9

H Wills' Almanac for 1872; H Wills' Rough Diary 1885 and 1887 (File 28) - Box 9

Cullinlaringo diary, 1867 (File 29) - Box 9

describing an epic droving trip from Cullinlaringo to Wentworth with over 10,000 sheep

Two ledger/account books, 1884 (File 30) - Box 9

Meadows-Baker family Tree, 2009 (File 31) - Box 10

Photocopied clippings on the Wills family, booklet on the Centenary of Kew; Geelong Football Club Annual reports; Melbourne Cricket Club, 1860's-2011 (File 32) - Box 10

Photocopied issues of The Currency Lad 1832; original copy of The Newsletter of Australia 1861; small photo album of Sidney as a boy; small leather wallet containing Mr and Mrs Horace Wills' visiting cards; Antill and Harrison family tree; Framed results card of the (first ever) Grand Cricket Match Victoria Vs NSW in the Domain January 14, 1857, 1832-1860's (File) - Folio-Box 11

Newsletter of Australia 1861 describing the Burke and Wills journey and the 1861 massacre

Photograph album (File 33) - Folio-Box 12

Cullinlaringo and Corabelle homesteads, zamia tree, Aboriginal staff, wool teams, governess and children, massacre site -Contains photographs of Aboriginal persons now deceased

Photograph album (File 34) - Folio-Box 12

Bloomfield River (Far North Queensland) plantation, pineapple gardens, mills, kanakas from New Hebrides; Springsure station - Contains photographs of Aboriginal persons now deceased

Photograph album (File 35) - Folio-Box 12

Cullinlaringo lagoon and creek; children; show rams, Aboriginal stockman with Sarah Wills' horse; the massacre site; stock yards and wool shed - Contains photographs of Aboriginal persons now deceased

Hebe Eugenie Wills (Ransford) large photograph album, 1885-1948 (File 36) - Folio-Box 12

Photographs of Hebe; lock of hair; Baptismal and First Communion Certificates; Homeopathic Hospital Nursing Certificates; Marriage documents and photographs 1910; pieces of her wedding dress; a lock of Hebe's golden hair; ship's menu 1930

Class 2. Consignment received 2017

Published family histories x 3; Supplement to the Geelong Advertiser on AFL legends (2008) (File 37) - Box 10

The Pockley Family in Australia 1842-1976; The Antill Family Australia 1809; Roots of the Mighty Oak, the Ancketill, Anketell and Antill families 803-1990

File of miscellaneous papers related to the Wills family; copied articles, information about the mistress and children of Thomas Wills (File 38) - Box 10

Class 3. Consignment received 2018

Bound family tree of Edward Wills (File 39) - Box 10

This consignment comprises the bound family tree of Edward Wills from 1740-2018 (incomplete) compiled by Terry Wills Cooke.

Class 4. Consignment received 2019

Photocopy of a page listed in the Register of deaths in the district of Rockhampton (File 40) - Folio-Box 12

This collection comprises a photocopy of a page listed in the Register of deaths in the district of Rockhampton, dated 17 October 1862. Those listed include pasroralist Horatio Wills; his overseer David Baker and his wife Catherine, their son Iden and daughter Elizabeth. They were among 19 killed in the Cullin-la-ringo massacre also referred to as the Wills Tragedy, reported by Tom Wills with explanatory notes by Terry Wills-Cooke.