Guide to the Manuscript of Leslie James Wilmoth (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Wilmoth, Leslie James
Manuscript of Leslie James Wilmoth (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
Collection Number
1 item 1 manuscript (120pp.)
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

Using printed and some original sources Wilmoth describes early Dutch, Spanish and English explorations in the Pacific, discoveries of Captain Cook, the background to transportation and the preparation and arrival of the First Fleet.

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-23 September 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1960 (AJCP Reel: M399). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Private Residence: Mr. Victor J. Wilmoth, Rest Harrow, Jordans, Beaconsfield Bucks.

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 Note

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.


Cook, James, Capt.; Dutch in the Pacific; Exploration: maritime; First Fleet to New South Wales; Pacific Ocean; Spaniards in Asia and the Pacific; Transportation of convicts; Wilmoth, Leslie J.; Convicts


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 504, p. 195.

Biographical / Historical

Leslie James Wilmoth (1881-1963) was born and educated in Melbourne. He worked as a geologist in many countries, including Australia, the Netherlands East Indies, Japan, South Africa, the Gold coast and South America. In his later years, when he had settled in London, he was a director of Lomax, Erskine & Company, a publisher of technical journals. He was an active member of the Royal Empire Society in London and was chairman of its Library Committee (1950-56) and deputy chairman of the Council (1953-56). He was awarded the OBE in 1956.

Wilmoth had a long interest in the early history of Victoria and Australia generally. He wrote an unpublished work, 'John Gardiner, pioneer and overlander' (1937), a copy of which is in the City of Boroondara Library in Melbourne. Another copy, held in the Royal Commonwealth Society Library, was filmed by the AJCP on reel M1695. A manuscript entitled 'The Gardiners of Gardiner's Creek' (1959) and related research notes are held in the Mitchell Library. They were filmed by the Australian Joint Copying Project on reels M395-96. A manuscript written by Wilmoth, together with correspondence, on the history of early wharves in Victoria is held in the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. In 1961 Wilmoth gave a talk at the Royal Commonwealth Library on the discovery of Australia and copies of the text are in several libraries. (The Royal Empire Society changed its name to the Royal Commonwealth Society in 1958.)

Item Descriptions

Manuscript of Leslie James Wilmoth, c. 1950 (File)

Leslie J. Wilmoth. Manuscript entitled 'The Finding of Australia', n.d. (120pp.)

The manuscript is arranged in two parts. The first surveys the maritime exploration of the Pacific and ends with the first voyage of Captain Cook. The second and shorter part deals with the decision to form a penal colony at New South Wales and the voyage of the First Fleet in 1787-1788.

Although it is not dated, it appears that Wilmoth wrote the work in the 1950s, when he was living in London. There is no bibliography or list of sources, but occasional footnotes refer to books and maps held in the library of the Royal Commonwealth Society. Wilmoth appears to have based the first part on published works, such as the writings of George Collingridge and R.H. Major and publications of the Hakluyt Society. In the second part he quoted from some original documents, which suggests that he may have done some research in the Public Record Office in London.

Chapter headings:


P.7-The Pacific Ocean

P.14-Early rumours

P.20-The dawn

P.31-The North West Passage

P.37-The curtain rises

P.44-Coming of the Dutch

P.50-A Spanish expedition

P.61-The English reach the East

P.70-Later Dutch voyages

P.72-British interest in Australia

P.76-Captain James Cook

Part 2

P.85-The occupation


P.93-Preparations for colonisation

P.101-The voyage

P.106-Note: The name 'New South Wales'

Rough copies of maps (6), including those of J. Rotz (1542) and R. de Vaugondy (1752)