Guide to the Papers of the Gell and Franklin families (as filmed by the AJCP)


M377-M380, M390

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Online Items

Series A. Reverend John Philip Gell, 1835 - 1898

Notebook, 1835 - 1844 (File 1)

The notebook contains Gell's personal accounts recording his expenses while attending Cambridge University, preparing for his voyage to Van Diemen's Land (1839) and during his first two years in Hobart. They include his expenses on his outfit for the voyage, tuition fees (1840-41), expenditure on schoolbooks (1841) and his account with Rev. Robert Allwood (1844).(c. 150pp)

Shipboard diary, 9 November 1839 - 27 March 1840 (File 2)

This extremely detailed diary records Gell's voyage in the Runnymede (Capt. W.B. Forward) from Sheerness to Hobart. The ship carried 200 convict boys and much of the diary is devoted to Gell's efforts in teaching the boys, medical inspections, thefts and other offences committed by the boys, floggings and other punishments, decisions of the surgeon-superintendent, and conversations (sometimes verbatim) between Gell and some of the boys. In addition, there are references to the weather, the seas, seasickness, living conditions on the ship, meals, accidents and illnesses, Gell's reading and reflections arising from his reading, sighting of Madeira and Trinidad Island, Crossing the Line ceremonies, Christmas Day, the observance of Sundays, sightings of albatrosses and porpoises, the visit to Cape Town, the South African College, sightings of other ships, reflections on religion, education and the regulation of the convict service, sighting of Van Diemen's Land, and Gell's plans on arriving at Hobart.(c. 160 pp)

Letters to John Gell, 1877 - 1898 (File 3)

The letters filmed were mostly written by Tasmanians who had known Gell when he lived in Hobart or who knew of his work in the colony. In some cases, the correspondents were visiting or living in Britain. The letters refer to families and mutual friends, the deaths of old friends, recollections of Christ's College, Bishopsbourne, Tasmanian clergy visiting England, the appointment of bishops in Australian, and Bishops Francis Nixon, Charles Bromby and Henry Montgomery...

Letters of John Gell to his sister Elizabeth Gell, 1838 - 1849 (File 4)

Subjects mentioned in the letters include Gell's voyage to Van Diemen's Land, convict boys, his visit to Adelaide and travels in the country south of Adelaide (1841), Governor George Gawler, Arthur Gell, erection of houses of prayer in Van Diemen's Land, meetings of the Bible Society, Gell's return to England (1848), Arthur Clough, and the incidence of consumption in Van Diemen's Land. (7 letters)

Letters of John Gell to his father and other members of his family, 1839 - 1843 (File 5)

The letters were written to Gell's father, Rev. Philip Gell, his mother Elizabeth Gell, his sister Caroline Gell, his brother Frederick Gell and an aunt. The subjects include preparations for the voyage to Van Diemen's Land, the voyage of the Runnymede, Gell's arrival in Hobart, his first impressions of the town, Sir John Franklin and Lady Franklin, the establishment of Queen's School, Gell's daily duties as a teacher, his visit to Adelaide in 1841, Governor George Gawler, Arthur Gell, the Antarctic expedition led by Capt. James Ross, Gell's visit to Port Phillip, Sydney and the Illawarra (1842), his hopes of ordination, Rev. William Hutchins, Rev. Henry Fry, the dispute between Governor Franklin and John Montagu, the removal of Indigenous Australians to Flinders Island, and missionaries in Van Diemen's Land.(19 letters)

Papers concerning the Queen's School and Christ's College, Hobart, 1840 - 1906 (File 6)

Precis of papers connected with the New College, 1840-43, comprising an introduction by Gell (11 May 1843) and copies of documents, petitions and letters. The petitions to the Governor about the College were signed by residents of numerous districts in Van Diemen's Land. The correspondents include Gell, Sir John Franklin, Sir John Eardley Wilmot, Lord Stanley (London), George Peacock (London), Thomas Arnold (Rugby) and William Kay (Hobart). At the end of the volume are two printed documents: Petition of parents etc Queen's School to Sir John Eardley Wilmot, 1843 (6pp) and Report of the Queen's School, 1842-43 (7pp)...

Letters of orders and certificates, 1843 - 1878 (File 7)

The documents include John Gell's letters of ordination as a deacon (21 Sept. 1843) and a priest (10 March 1844) and his appointment as Rector of Buxted, Sussex (5 Jan. 1878).

Estate of Sir John Franklin in Van Diemen's Land and South Australia, 1844 - 1870 (File 8)

The papers concerning properties in Van Diemen's Land comprise a deed of arrangement between Gell and others and Lady Franklin (29 Oct. 1855), accounts of Lady Franklin with her agent Ronald C. Gunn (Launceston), 1844-55, and correspondence of Rev. John Simpkinson (Northampton), Ronald Gunn (Launceston) and George Rickards (London), 1856-59...

Miscellaneous papers, 1842 - 1898 (File 9)

Drawing of the Tasmanian Museum, 16 March 1842, with a copy of the inscription on the foundation stone and a note on the occasion of the laying of the stone...

Series B. Eleanor Isabella Gell, nee Franklin, 1836 - 1860

Diaries of Eleanor Franklin, 1836 - 1850 (File 1)

Diary kept by Eleanor Franklin on the Fairlie on the voyage to Van Diemen's Land, including a visit to Cape Town, 26 August 1836 - 24 January 1837 (Item)

The volume also contains entries for the periods 26 Oct.-2 Nov. 1839 and 24 March 1842-19 Feb. 1843, written when Franklin was living at Government house, Hobart.

Diary kept by Eleanor Franklin at Government House, Hobart, including a visit to South Australia, 4 June 1838-16 March 1842, 1841 (Item)
Diary kept by Eleanor Franklin on a journey to South Australia, 13 Dec. 1840-4 June 1841, with later, intermittent entries for the period Jan. 1844-March 1850. (Item)

Letters from Eleanor Franklin to her relatives in England, 1837 - 1843 (File 2)

The letters were written to her aunts Hannah Booth and Elizabeth Franklin and her cousin Catherine Franklin. They refer to the voyage to Van Diemen's Land in 1836-37, social events, visits to the theatre, visitors to Government House, her cousin Sophia Cracroft, her studies, Lady Franklin's overland journey from Port Phillip to Sydney in 1839, mutual friends, her friendship with John Gell 'very agreeable, lively and clever', the establishment of a college in Hobart and a magnetic observatory at Rossbank, visits by Captains James Ross and Francis Crozier, her visit to South Australia in 1841, her father's dispute with the Colonial Secretary John Montagu, and the removal of the Tasmanian Indigenous Australians to Flinders Island. Some of the letters are crossed and of poor legibility.

Letters from Eleanor Franklin to Reverend Philip Gell, 1846 (File 3)

The letters were written after Franklin had returned to England and refer to news of Gell's son, John Gell, an appeal for funds for Christ'' College, Hobart, and her father's voyage to the Arctic Ocean.

Letters to Eleanor Franklin, 1837 - 1843 (File 4)

Sir John Franklin (Launceston) to Eleanor Franklin, 1837-42: urges Eleanor to improve her handwriting; Tamar Valley; paintings of John Glover; Franklin's travels in the country; Lady Franklin's headaches. (3 letters)...

Miscellaneous papers (File 5)

Invitation to a ball received by Eleanor Franklin from Captains Ross and Crozier, 1 June [1842] (Item)
Drafts of notes from Eleanor Franklin to Capt James Ross and Capt. Francis Crozier to accompany her parting gifts of a flower stand and representation of wattle (Item)
Mourning card, in memory of Mrs John Philip Gell who died on 30 August 1860 (Item)

Series C. Arthur Daniel Gell, 1845 - 1849

Diary of Arthur Gell, 1845 (File 1)

This extremely detailed diary, kept from 16 February-18 April 1845 when he was on leave from his employment in Adelaide, documents Arthur Gell's visit to Van Diemen's Land. It refers to his arrival at the Derwent River, views of Hobart, his meeting with his brother John Gell, John's house, a visit to a school established by Rev. William Dry, a public meeting about taxes, walks to New Town, the Government Domain and Mount Wellington, a meeting of the Legislative Council, visits to St David's Church, Hobart Museum and an orphan school at New Town, dinners and other social encounters with Bishop Francis Nixon, meetings with people considering migration to South Australia, and journeys to Sorell, Richmond, Longford and Launceston. There are references to William Kermode, William Crowther, Rev. Robert Davies, Ronald C. Gunn, Thomas Archer and John Whitefoord.

Letter from Arthur Gell, 1848 (File 2)

Arthur Gell (Adelaide) to A.L. Elder, 30 Oct. 1848: Gell's affairs on South Australia on the eve of his departure for New Zealand; property of Sir John and Lady Franklin in South Australia.

Letter about Arthur Gell, 1849 (File 3)

Lady Richardson to Elizabeth Gell, 1 Oct. 1849: sends part of letter from Miss Eyre (Bath) concerning a report of the loss of the Calypso on a voyage to New Zealand and the death of Arthur Gell.

Memorial to Arthur Gell (File 4)

Print depicting a memorial to Arthur Gell (1822-1848) in Holy Trinity Church, Adelaide.

Series D. Sir John Franklin, 1800 - 1955

Letters from Sir John Franklin to his family, 1800 - 1836 (File 1)

The letters filmed mostly date from 1800-4 were written to Franklin's parents, brother and sister. They relate to arrangements for Franklin to join the Polyphemus at Yarmouth (1800), preparations for the voyage of HMS Investigator (1801), delays in the departure, Franklin's impressions of Madeira and Cape Town, his training in navigation and astronomy, shortages of provisions, news from home, a survey of the Great Barrier Reef, his return to England (1804), the detention of Capt. Matthew Flinders at Mauritius, the knowledge gained while visiting 'the dreary and uncultivated regions of New Holland', and his loss of clothes and linen in the wreck of the Porpoise. There is also a letter (11 Nov. 1836) from Franklin to his aunt on the voyage of the Fairlie and his arrival at Cape Town, and a copy of a newspaper article on a new museum of the Royal Society of Tasmania and the erection of a statue of Franklin in Franklin Square, Hobart. In addition to the letters of Franklin, there are two letters from Matthew Flinders. (typescript copies)

Letters from Sir John Franklin to his family, 1820 - 1839 (File 2)

The letters filmed date from 1836-39 and were written by Franklin in London and Hobart to his sister. They refer to his rejection of an offer of the governorship of Antigua (1836), his arrival in Hobart, news of Jane and Eleanor Franklin and Sophia and Tom Cracroft, preparations for the Queen's Birthday celebrations, Lady Franklin's overland journey to Sydney in 1839, Franklin's annual tour of Van Diemen's Land, and misrepresentations of the colony in the English press. (manuscript copies in the hand of Philip Lyttelton Gell)(5 letters)

Letters from Sir John Franklin to his sister Hannah Booth, 1836 - 1838 (File 3)

The letters refer to preparations for Franklin's departure from England, the voyage of the Fairlie, the stop at Cape Town, arrival at Hobart, the colony 'a prey to dissensions and violent political party feeling', family news, and the death of Henry Booth.(5 letters)

Letters from Sir John Franklin to Rev. Philip Gell, 1844 - 1845 (File 4)

The letters refer to the deferral of a visit, Franklin's satisfaction with his future son-in-law, John Gell's hopes for a college at Hobart, and Franklin's hopes for his Arctic expedition. 2 letters.

Drafts of letters of Sir John Franklin, 1837 - 1840 (File 5)

The letters were addressed to Lord Minto (the father of Henry Elliot, Franklin's private secretary), Matthew Forster (Hobart) and W. Dallas Bernard (Launceston). 4 letters.

Letters of Franklin to Sir John Richardson, 1820 - 1844 (File 6)

Sir John Richardson (1787-1865) was a Scottish doctor, naturalist and explorer. He sailed with Franklin on his two expeditions in search of the North-West Passage in 1819-22 and 1825-26. His second wife, Mary Booth, was a niece of Franklin...

Letters of Franklin to George W.B. Boyes, Colonial Secretary, 1842 - 1843 (File 7)

The letters were written while Franklin was touring the colony. They refer to his travels, the appointment of magistrates, the capture of escaped convicts, an expedition to the Franklin and Gordon Rivers, an expedition to Recherche Bay, and press reports that Lord Stanley had recalled Franklin. (typescript copies) 5 letters.

Letters to Sir John Franklin, 1812 - 1847 (File 8)

Capt. Matthew Flinders (London) to Franklin, 13 January 1812 (Item)
Capt. William Parry (Lynn) to Franklin, 24 November 1836 (Item)

Recommends Thomas Macquoid, High Sheriff of New South Wales.

Capt. John Hindmarsh (Adelaide) to Franklin, 19 August 1837 (Item)

Sends copy of a despatch to Lord Glenelg concerning his suspension of the Colonial Secretary.

Hannah Booth to her brother John Franklin, 11 November 1837 (Item)

News of death of one of Franklin's officers; Anne Flinders at the deathbed of her daughter Henrietta; death of Henry Booth; includes a letter to Eleanor Franklin.

Capt. John Washington to Capt. Montagu, 24 August 1839 (Item)

Returns letter of Franklin about Alexander Maconochie.

Note from Capt. Dumont D'Urville, n.d. (Item)

Introduces Edward Singleton, ensign in the 51st Regiment, leaving for Van Diemen's Land.

J.W. Carter (Ryde) to Franklin, 28 July 1842 (Item)
Rev. John Gell (Hobart) to Franklin, 10 June 1845 (Item)

Refusal of Gell and others to attend Queen's Birthday levee on account of presence of 'improper persons'; atrocious insinuations against Sir John Eardley Wilmot; attempt by Wilmot to deprive Gell of his salary, impossibility of realising Thomas Arnold's dream of a college in the colony, petition against probation system, Lady Franklin's property in South Australia.

Rev. John Gell to Franklin, 13 February 1847 (Item)

Franklin's donation of £500 and subscriptions from colonists for Christ's College, establishment of the Franklin Scholarships, progress of College

Miscellaneous papers, c. Jun 1837 - Dec 1955 (File 9)

Portraits of Capt. John Franklin and Capt. William Parry, Polar explorers (engravings), 16 March 1842 (Item)
Memorandum on the character of Sir John Franklin (2pp), n.d. (Item)
Letter from Emily Sellwood to her aunt Hannah Booth, c. June 1837 (Item)

Letter from Sophia Cracroft referring to Franklin's tour of Van Diemen's Land, his enthusiastic reception, and the beauty of the countryside.

Manuscript notes concerning the arrival of the Anna Robertson at Table Bay carrying an issue of The Times with an article censuring the appointment of Sir John Eardley Wilmot as Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land, 1 March [1843] (Item)
Extract from a letter describing feeling in Van Diemen's Land about Franklin's departure, 15 July 1843 (Item)
Agreement signed between Franklin and Charles Ferguson, master of the barque Rajah, to convey Franklin and his family from Port Phillip to England, August 1843 (Item)
Silk program of 4th Tasmanian Anniversary Regatta (poor legibility), 1 December 1841 (Item)
Satin program of Tasmania's Centenary Regatta (poor legibility), 22 February 1938 (Item)
Letter from Arthur Wright (Conigsby) to his cousin [P. Lyttleton Gell], 25 July? 1899 (Item)

Encloses 'key' to a plan of the old Government House at Hobart.

Letter from T.W. Wellsted (Hobart) to P. Lyttleton Gell, 20 December 1916 (Item)

Encloses postcards of Franklin's Monument, Hobart, and Government House, Hobart, erected in 1852.

J.B. Thwaites. In the footsteps of Sir John Franklin: a tour through western Tasmania, Walkabout pp.29-32, 1 December 1955 (Item)

Series E. Lady Jane Franklin, 1836 - 1899

Letter from Lady Franklin, 1836 (File 1)

Lady Franklin to her sister-in-law Hannah Booth, 3 June 1836: farewell on departure from England; development of Eleanor Franklin; health of Sir John Franklin.

Letters to Lady Franklin, 1844 - 1852 (File 2)

Sophia Cracroft to Lady Franklin, n.d.: publication of Sir John Franklin's correspondence with Lord Stanley; amendments to pamphlet...

Miscellaneous papers (File 3)

Manuscript copy of an extract from the New Zealand Gazette describing the departure of Lady Franklin from New Zealand, 13 March 1841.H. Willingham Gell. Lady Franklin, Britannia, vol. 4 (7), July 1899, pp. 98-100.Philip Lyttelton Gell. Recollections of Lady Franklin, n.d. (manuscript, 17pp)

Phyllis Mander-Jones (AJCP Officer). Notes about the Gell Archives compiled by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, with special reference to papers of Australian interest (3pp), 23 February 1961 (File)