Guide to the Diary of Edmund Henry Peters (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Peters, Edmund Henry
Diary of Edmund Henry Peters (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1852 - 1853
Collection Number
1 item
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

Journal 25 Oct. 1852-30 Dec. 1853. The entries record Peter's arrival in Melbourne and travels around the diggings, and return to Melbourne. The journal also describes Peter's return voyage to England via Cape Horn 4 Sept. 30 Dec. 1853. Although concentrating on the writer's state of health and details of medication, the journal also contains comments on the colony, the diggers, prices paid for various commodities, living conditions and news from the diggings. The reel includes a copy of his gold licence dated 7 Dec. 1852.

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 at the private residence of Dr J.E.C. Peters, Isle of Wright, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1972 (AJCP Reel:M830). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Filmed at a Private Residence: Dr J.E.C. Peters, Isle of Wight

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.

The National Library of Australia holds a journal (MS 7130) of the 1852 voyage of the Windsor from England to Australia, kept by the 2nd Mate, Alexander Weynton. Weynton lists Peters as one of the second class passengers on the ship. His fellow-passengers included the Pre-Raphaelite artists Thomas Woolner, Edward La Trobe Bateman and Bernhard Smith (

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 fiding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Cape Horn; Golds and goldfields: Victoria; Melbourne, Victoria: visits to; Peters, Edmund H.; Peters, John; Sandridge, Victoria; Diary


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 366, p. 140

Biographical / Historical

Edmund Henry Peters (1820-1904) was the son of the Reverend John Peters (1791-1861), the rector of Quenington, Gloucestershire. In 1834 John Peters resigned the living for doctrinal reasons and moved to Cirencester, Gloucestershire. His wife died in 1846 and in 1852, in a Plymouth Brethren service, he married Mary Bowly, who was a well-known hymn writer. Edmund Peters was a graduate in medicine from the University of Edinburgh. In 1852 he sailed to Australia on the Windsor and joined his brother John on the journey to the gold diggings. Edmund spent only a few weeks on the Victorian goldfields and he returned to England in 1853. He later settled in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Item Descriptions

Diary of Edmund Henry Peters kept on the Victorian goldfields (File)

Diary of Edmund Peters kept on the Victorian goldfields, at Melbourne, and on his return voyage from Melbourne to London, 25 October 1852 – 30 December 1853.

The diary, which is partly written in ink and partly in pencil, begins with Peters's disembarkation from the Windsor and arrival in Melbourne. It gives his unfavourable impressions of Melbourne and its residents and describes his departure for the diggings (21 November 1852), life on the Fryers Creek goldfields (near Castlemaine), encounters with diggers, purchases of stores, reports of gold discoveries, his return to Melbourne (7 January 1853) leaving his brother working on the goldfields, his prolonged poor health, the effects of opium treatment, rents and prices in Melbourne, the weather, his detestation of Melbourne, his move to Sandridge (Port Melbourne), lodging houses, his efforts to return to England as a ship's doctor, and the arrangements for his departure. The last part of the diary describes Peters's voyage back to England via Cape Horn on the and mostly deals with his ailments, the kindness of fellow-passengers, and the seas and weather. The diary ends with the ship's arrival at the Downs, near the entrance to the Thames Estuary. In addition to the diary, there is a miner's licence issued to Peters on 7 December 1852.

There are a number of gaps in the diary. For instance, there are no entries between 8 February and 13 March 1853. Dating can be difficult, as Peters usually just gave the day of the week, rather than the precise dates. Part of the first section of the diary (November – December 1852) is written on the blank facing pages, while there are three loose pages at the end of the volume also dating from the same period.