Guide to the Papers of Frederick A. Edelsten (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Edelsten, Frederick A.
Papers of Frederick A. Edelsten (as filmed by AJCP)
Date Range
1867 - 1868
Collection Number
4 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

Diary kept by Frederick Edelesten on the voyage from London to Adelaide, while travelling in South Australia and Western Australia, and on the return journey from Adelaide to London, July 1867 – October 1868.

The diary is divided into four parts, describing four journeys made by Edelsten, and his signature appears at the end of the each part. With the exception of the first part, there are very few precise dates and it is likely that Edelsten wrote these accounts retrospectively. This is certainly true of the third section in which the diary entries are interspersed with photographs.

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

Material selectively filmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1972 (AJCP Reel: M837). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The private residence of Mr C.R. Edelsten. 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.

Advisory Statement

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this Finding Aid contains material and descriptive information which may be considered culturally sensitive and may cause distress, including names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. This Finding Aid contains terms that reflect authors' views or those of the historical period, but which may not be considered appropriate today. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.


Adelaide, South Australia: photographs; Adelaide, South Australia: visits to; Albany, Western Australia; Botany: Australia; City of Adelaide (ship); Edelsten, Frederick A.; Mercantile firms; Mount Eliza, Western Australia; Paintings, drawings, and prints: Western Australia; Perth, Western Australia: visits to; South Australia; Sri Lanka; Western Australia; Western Australia: photographs; Zoology: South Australia; Zoology: Western Australia


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 154, p.56.

Biographical / Historical

Frederick A. Edelsten (1848-1915) was born in Edgbaston, Warwickshire, the son of Peter Edelsten, a pin manufacturer, and his wife Jane. His family had connections with the Adelaide firm of Edelsten, Kingsborough and Pearson, wholesale drapers and warehousemen, which later became Edelsten & Co. In 1867 he sailed to Adelaide on the clipper City of Adelaide and, a month after his arrival, he was presented to Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was visiting Adelaide. In 1868 he made a trip to the south-east of South Australia and then travelled to Albany and Perth. Soon afterwards, he sailed to Ceylon and France on the SS Bombay and SS Mooltan.

Edelsten returned to Australia in 1869 and was involved in the business of Edelsten and Co. In 1871 he purchased a property in Howard Springs in the Northern Territory, which remained in the family for over a century. By 1876 he was back in England where he married Maria Morgan. For the rest of his life he lived in London and Enfield and worked as a mercantile clerk and later as a merchant. With his two sons he formed the London firm of F.A. Edelsten & Co., Australian and general commission merchants. He made a final visit to Australia with his youngest son in 1906.

Item Descriptions

Voyage from London to Adelaide on the clipper City of Adelaide (Capt. David Bruce), 24 July 1867 - 3 October 1867 (File)

There are references to the weather and the seas, sea sickness, sightings of other ships, church services, games, sightings of Madeira, flying fish, porpoises, albatrosses and Cape pigeons, meetings of the Adelaide Reading Society, the death and funeral of a female passenger, rough seas in the Indian Ocean, the sighting of Kangaroo Island, and the arrival at Adelaide.

Following this is a photograph of the warehouse of Edelston & Co. in Pirie Street, Adelaide.

Journey to the south-east of South Australia, ? - 22 May 1868 (File)

Edelsten and others travelled by coach and on horseback from Adelaide to Mount Lofty, Milang, Lake Albert, the Coorong, Lacepede Bay, Robe, Mount Gambier, Penola, Naracoorte and back to Adelaide. There are references to the landscape, geological features, flora, fishes, Indigenous Australians, accidents, pubs, sheep stations, impressions of Mount Gambier and the Blue Lake.

The start of the journey is not dated and Edelsten refers to days of the week rather than dates, but it appears that the journey ended on 22 May 1868.

Voyage from Adelaide to King George's Sound on the SS Alexandra, travels in the south-west of Western Australia, and the return voyage from King George's Sound to Adelaide on the mail steamer, 25 May 1868 - 20 July 1868 (File)

Refers to Edelsten's impressions of Albany, Perth, Fremantle and Guildford, rides in the Albany district, Western Australian flowers, plant collecting, kangaroo shooting, a meeting with the Governor, John Hampton, meetings with Perth residents, the Swan River, sea shells, trees and timber, and convict gangs.

The most detailed section of the diary describes the journey back to Albany in wet weather, following bad roads and camping in the bush. There are several photographs in this section, including scenes of Albany, Perth, Fremantle and Guildford, a sheep station, and Indigenous Australians.

Journey from Adelaide to London, 17 August 1868 - 3 October 1868 (File)

It describes the short voyage from Adelaide to King George's Sound on the mail steamer, the transfer to SS Bombay and the voyage to Ceylon, impressions of Galle and walks around the town, the transfer to SS Mooltan and the voyage to Aden, Alexandria and Marseilles, sight-seeing in Egypt, and the rail journey across France to Boulogne.

More of the entries are dated in this section, but others just refer vaguely to the day of the week. There are two maps.