Guide to the Guide to My life: a record of events and the experience of John Henry Chatterton (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Chatterton, John Henry
My life: a record of events and the experience of John Henry Chatterton (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1835 - 1921
Collection Number
6 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

Autobiography based on diaries kept on Chatterton's visit to Australia and letters he wrote to his family in England 1835-1855.

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 at the private residence of Mr David Vines White, England, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1989 (AJCP Reels: M2395). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The private residence of Mr David Vines White. 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.


Adelaide, South Australia: visits to; Chatterton, John H.; Hobart, Tasmania; Hobart, Tasmania: visits to; Melbourne, Victoria; Melbourne, Victoria: visits to; Tasmania


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 95, p.33.

Biographical / Historical

My Life: A Record of Events and the Experiences of: John Henry Chatterton. Chatterton (1835-1928) was born in London. In 1852 he journeyed to Australia, visiting Adelaide, Melbourne and Tasmania before returning to England on SS Great Britain in 1855. After a short stay in England he visited Canada. On his return to England he entered the Insurance business and was secretary to the Millers Association.

'My life' was written from rough diaries kept at the time and from his letters home, which have not survived.

Chatterton came to Australia, visiting Adelaide, Melbourne and Tasmania, in 1852.

Item Descriptions

Vol 1, 1835 - 1854 (File)

Birth, 7 Feb 1835, at Islington; family history; early childhood and schooling; family tree; clerk in stepfather's wine and spirit business; Great exhibition, 1851; gets 'Gold fever' goes to Australia on Calcutta, 3 Oct 1852; description of ship; gales, food, weather, drunkenness amongst crew due to sale of spirits by passengers; shooting birds, fishing; ceremonies of crossing the line; Christmas celebrations; 3 Feb Kangaroo Island. 8 Feb landing at Adelaide; decided to stay after bad reports of Melbourne; description of Adelaide; working at cutting wood; working for Solomons & Co Auction Mart; attendance at North Adelaide Church; friends and acquaintances; life in different lodgings; description of Christmas adventures, Dec 1853. Letters received from home: Jan 1854 voyage to Melbourne on Rebecca; wharf clerk with De Pass Brothers - duties; became census enumerator, May 1854; journey to Bulla Bulla; meeting with surveying party; other excursions in the country on census duties.


Vol 2, 19 June 1854 - 24 January 1855 (File ff.1-96)

Voyage on Lady Bird to Launceston, description; visit to theatre; on to Hobart; expedition up Mount Wellington; return to Melbourne; visit to diggings at 'Forrest Creek' and Simpsons; description of refreshment tents; held up by bushrangers while playing cards at Graham's Refreshment Tent, 31 Aug 1854: return to Melbourne; arrival of SS Great Britain; in quarantine for small pox; voyage to England on Great Britain, 27 Oct 1854-24 Jan 1855; description of other passengers- returning diggers; playing games; weather; committee of passengers formed to keep order in lower cabin; sighting of icebergs; Christmas celebrations; landing at Liverpool.

Finding Aid Note

Filmed selectively.

Letter from Tasmanian relatives, 4 July 1855 (File ff.97-100)

William Wade (Native Point) to J.C. family news; his position as tutor to Gibson family.

News from friends in Australia; business in Adelaide; prices higher as result of bad harvest (File ff.157-162)