Guide to the Letters of John G. Petingale (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Petingale, John George
Letters of John George Petingale (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1834 - 1869
Collection Number
17 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 1948-1997.


Scope and Contents

Original letters and handwritten transcripts and letters from John G. Petingale, mainly to his family in England. They are written from Sydney, Auckland and London and describe his voyage to Australia, first impressions of Hobart, Sydney and Auckland, his employment as a farmer in Australia and New Zealand, and the landscape and economic conditions of both countries.

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 as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1960 (AJCP Reel: M384). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Mr J. Petingale. London, England

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 2018. 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.


Auckland, New Zealand; Australia: economic conditions; Coghill, John, Capt.; Emigrant voyages; Farms and farming: Australia; Farms and farming: New Zealand; Hobart, Tasmania; Hobart, Tasmania: visits to; London, England; New Zealand: economic conditions; Petingale, John G.; Sydney, New South Wales ; Whangarei, New Zealand


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 370, p141.

Biographical / Historical

John George Petingale (1808-1870) was the son of George Petingale (1779-1861), a farmer of West Bilney, Norfolk. Three of John's brothers emigrated to the United States of America, while John emigrated to Australia. He arrived in Sydney on the Lonoch in November 1833 and for some years had a store at Cowpastures. It seems that he visited New Zealand in 1838 and in 1844 he purchased a waterfront property at Whangarei, north of Auckland. In 1846 he left New South Wales and settled at Whangarei, where he kept a herd of cattle and established a substantial orchard. He was the pioneer of commercial fruit-growing in Whangarei. He sold some of his property in 1859 to a Scottish immigrant, Robert Reyburn. In the following year Petingale visited Australia and England.

Item Descriptions

Biographical notes on John G. Petingale (File 1)

Petingale (Sydney) to his father George Petingale, 12 January 1834 (File 2)

Describes voyage from London on Lonoch; impressions of Hobart; decision to move to Sydney; employed by Captain John Coghill as superintendent of his farms at Kirkham. (copy)

Petingale (Sydney) to Alexander Birnie? (London), 14 January 1834 (File 3)

Thanks for letters of introduction to A. Kemp at Hobart, P. Jones in Sydney and Sir Edward Parry at Port Stephens; employment with Capt. John Coghill; hopes to be independent within year or two. (copy)

Petingale (Auckland) to his sisters, 24 December 1850 (File 4)

Details: lack of news from England; his move to New Zealand in 1847; settled 70 miles north of Auckland with profitable herd of cattle and orchard with great variety of fruit and berries; relations with Maoris; their qualities; refers to brothers in America. (copy)

Petingale (Whangarei) to his sister Bessie, 21 June 1855 (File 5)

Discusses: Father's ill-health; plans to visit England; increase in value of his property; transfer of storekeeping to a French immigrant from Mauritius; produce of his orchard; possibility of exporting fruit to other colonies; difficulty of finding good servants; healthy climate; suggests Bessie come to New Zealand as his housekeeper. (copy)

Petingale (Sydney) to Bessie, 20 March 1860 (File 6)

Discusses his imminent departure for England on Walter Hood; possibility of retiring to England. (copy)

Petingale (Auckland) to his sister Eliza, 30 April 1863 (File 7)

Discusses: conflict with Maoris caused by Imperial ministers and their legislative experiments; Bishop G.A. Selwyn and the missionaries have deluded charitable public at home; expects to spend winter in Sydney. (copy)

Petingale (London) to his sister, 9 August 1860 (File 8)

Details his plans to leave London in six weeks; how he is tired of sight-seeing and wretched weather. (copy)

Petingale (Melbourne) to his sister, 15 December 1860 (File 9)

Details: arrival in Melbourne; imminent departure for Auckland; reports of chaos in New Zealand. (original + copy)

Petingale (Auckland) to his sister, 6 August 1861 (File 10)

Death of their father; war in New Zealand. (original)

Petingale (Auckland) to Eliza, 8 February 1862 (File 11)

Discusses: Petingale's dislike of Fulmodeston, Norfolk; letter from brother in America; move of Eliza and Bessie to Thorpe Hamlet; suggests they visit Europe. (original)

Petingale (Auckland) to Eliza, 5 October 1862 (File 12)

Discusses: the effect of American Civil War on their brothers; situation in New Zealand; possibility of moving to Australia; influenza attacks; his attachment to agricultural pursuits. (original)

Petingale (Auckland) to Eliza, 1 December 1862 (File 13)

Details: imbecility of Imperial Government in bribing and making concessions to Maori rebels; seeks news from England. (original)

Petingale (Auckland) to Eliza, c. 30 April 1863 (File 14)

Original of item 7.

Petingale (Auckland) to his sister Jane, 2 March 1863 (File 15)

Discusses: Jane's illness; Bishop G.A. Selwyn and missionaries looked on with suspicion by both Europeans and Maoris; treatment of Selwyn in Taranaki; visit of Maori delegation to England. (original, incomplete)

Petingale (Auckland) to Eliza, 2 March 1864 (File 16)

Thanks for newspapers; hopes of revisiting England; news of brothers in America; mutual friends. (original)

Petingale (London) to his sister, 9 August 1860 (File 17)

Original of item 8. The letter is dated 9 August 1869 while the copy is dated 9 August 1860. As Petingale was definitely in England in 1860, this date seems more likely.