Guide to the Letters of Henry Thomas and Horatio Holyoake (as filmed by AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Holyoake, Henry Thomas Goves
Holyoake, Horatio
Holyoake Family
Letters of Henry Thomas and Horatio Holyoake (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1854 - 1885
Collection Number
6 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

Correspondence from Horatio and Henry Holyoake to their brother George and to their mother. The letters, written from Ballarat, Blackwood and Melbourne, describe work and life on the Victorian goldfields and comment on Victorian parliamentarians and politics. They refer to the high standing of G.J. Holyoake in Australia and the support that he had received in the Argus, and contain news of family matters.

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.

For example:- M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February-23 September 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1962 (AJCP: M392). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Co-operatives UK, Manchester.

For further information see National Co-operative Archive (

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 George Holyoake, including letters of Horatio Holyoake, held at the Cooperative Union Ltd., were filmed by the Australian Joint Copying Project on M865.

Finding Aid Note

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP). 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.


Argus (Melbourne), newspaper; Ballarat, Victoria; Blackwood, Victoria; Holyoake, George J.; Holyoake, Henry T.; Holyoake, Horatio; Melbourne, Victoria; Victoria: politics and government; Gold and goldfields: Victoria; Banks, Sir Joseph; Home, Sir Everard, 1st Baronet; Royal College of Surgeons; Surgeons


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 231, p. 86.

Biographical / Historical

Brothers of George Jacob Holyoake (1817-1906), the English social reformer. In 1854 Henry opened a store at Ballarat and later had a bookshop in Melbourne. In 1863 he was working as a master saddler.

George Jacob Holyoake (1817-1906) was born in Birmingham, the son of a printer. He received a basic education and then worked in the Eagle Foundry. In 1836 he joined the Mechanics Institute and about this time became interested in the ideas of the social reformer Robert Owen (1771-1858). In 1839 he became a lecturer for the Owenite Central Board in Worcester, later moving to Sheffield, Glasgow and London. He edited The Movement (1843-1845) and The Reasoner (1846-1861), expounding his views on cooperation and secularism. In 1849 he established a printing firm with his brother Austin Holyoake. In London he was associated with many reform organisations and was acquainted with Liberal parliamentarians and writers such as John Stuart Mill, G.H. Lewes and Harriet Martineau. Holyoake's later years were mainly devoted to journalism and lecturing on liberalism and the cooperative movement. He presided over the Cooperative Congress in Carlisle in 1887. He was the author of Self help for the people (1858), The history of cooperation (1875) and The origin and nature of secularism (1896).

Horatio Holyoake (1822-1892), one of the brothers of George Jacob Holyoake, emigrated to Australia and worked on the Victorian goldfields in the 1850s. In later years he was a newsagent in Melbourne.

Henry Thomas Groves Holyoake (1831-1881), one of the brothers of George Holyoake, worked as a printer in London before emigrating to Victoria in 1853. He had been active in the Chartist movement in England and in Victoria he was a leading figure in the Ballarat Reform League and the goldfields Reform League. He started a newspaper, the Diggers Advocate Goldfields Weekly. At the time of the Eureka uprising, he was in Bendigo, seeking to raise funds for the Ballarat miners. In later years he was a bookseller and a master saddler in Melbourne.

Item Descriptions

Horatio, Henry and Eliza Holyoake (Melbourne) to their mother Catherine Holyoake, sisters and brothers, November 1854 (File 1)

This letter details: their struggles over the last twelve months; suggests that hint be given to intending emigrants to stay home; thousands of immigrants landing every day; Mr Nicholls has had dysentery; have not heard from Austin or George Holyoake; they have few possessions but is not as hungry as when he landed; Horatio is thinking of going to diggings; Henry has opened a store at the Ballarat diggings.

Horatio Holyoake (Ballarat) to Catherine Holyoake, 22 April 1885 (File 2)

Horatio's letter discusses: how he has tried many trades since arrival; wishes he had been a digger from the outset; fight between the digger and troops; Sir Charles Hotham is returning to England which is a good thing; rough society at diggings with tents regularly broken into; forced to sleep with a loaded revolver under his head; Austin and George Holyoake have never written; expects Henry Holyoake will get married.

Henry Holyoake (Melbourne) to George Holyoake, 25 March 1863 (File 3)

This letter: sends Argus with report of his marriage; wonders if their mother is still alive; his work as a master saddler; Horatio and Eliza Holyoake are up the country. (incomplete)

Horatio Holyoake (Blackwood, Victoria) to George Holyoake, 26 November 1867 (File 4)

This letter details: promises to send newspapers; the Reform Bill in Britain; the 'racy lot' of members of Victorian Parliament and how he is living in an out of the way place.

Horatio Holyoake (Melbourne) to George Holyoake, September 1881 (File 5)

This letter discusses: a recent meeting with Henry Holyoake living in Bourke (Street?); he has opened a saddlery shop; Horatio's work as a contractor; lectures [by George] published in newspapers; Eliza's illness; family members.

Henry Holyoake (Melbourne) to George Holyoake, 18 May 1873 (File 6)

Henry's letter discusses: his regrets that he has not corresponded; Henry's vindication of George in the Argus; George's fame in Australia; Henry's wife and children; working in his trade; earnings; poor health of George and Austin Holyoake; requests news of their siblings.