Guide to the Journals of Granville Stapylton (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Stapylton, Granville William Chetwynd
Journals of Granville Stapylton (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1836 - 1838
Collection Number
5 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

Journals 1836 kept by Stapylton while on surveying expeditions under Sir Thomas Mitchell referring to encounters and relations with Indigenous Australians, survey of Lachlan and Murrumbidgee Rivers, journey to Australia Felix, Grampian Mountains, Glenelg River, Stapylton's relations with Mitchell and other members of party.

At the end of the diary in Vol. 3 Stapylton wrote in pencil:

"I may cursorily remark that if a friend were to ask me my sincere statement of the matter I would simply tell him, that if he wished for a foretaste of Hell, I would recommend him to apply for permission to accompany the next Expedition of Discovery under the same Commander with his 24 convicts, and that after six months experience of the system as it relates to the position and comfort of the second in command and organised as this has been according to the peculiar fashion of the Devil himself, who is at present unquestionably walking New Holland in the person of --------------- I am confident he would be enabled to give a pretty correct account of what the Infernal regions present, in the shape of entertainment."

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 at the private residence of Mr H.P. Chetwynd-Stapylton, West Sussex, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1986 (AJCP Reel: M2014). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The private residence of Mr H.P. Chetwynd-Stapylton, Chichester, West Sussex, 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.

Other versions of the journals of Stapylton are held in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and the La Trobe Library, Melbourne. See A.E.J. Andrews, ed. Stapylton with Major Mitchell's Australia Felix expedition, 1836. (Hobart, Blubber Head Press, 1986)

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 Notice

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.


Exploration: maritime; Exploration: Victoria; Explorer; Glenelg River, Victoria; Goulburn River, Victoria; Grampian Mountains, Victoria; Indigenous Australians: New South Wales; Indigenous Australians: Victoria; Lachlan River, New South Wales; Mitchell, Sir Thomas L.; Murrumbidgee River, New South Wales; Stapylton, Granville; Surveyors


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 436, pp170-171.

Biographical / Historical

Granville William Chetwynd Stapylton (1800-1840). Son of Major-General Granville Chetwynd Stapylton and grandson of 4th Viscount Chetwynd. Appointed assistant surveyor in New South Wales in 1828. In 1836 was second-in-command of Sir Thomas Mitchell's expedition to Australia Felix. In 1838 was sent to Port Phillip as a surveyor under Robert Hoddle and was later sent to Moreton Bay. While surveying the coast south of Brisbane he was killed when Indigenous Australians attacked his camp.

Item Descriptions

Volume 1, April 1836 - July 1836 (File)

2 items

Journal of G. Stapylton, 7 April 1836 - 17 July 1836 (Item (i))

The journal describes Stapylton's journey from Sydney to join Major T.L. Mitchell's expedition at the Lachlan River (13 April); plants; encounters with Indigenous Australians; survey of junction of Lachlan and Murrumbidgee Rivers; boredom of looking after depot at Lake Stapylton while Mitchell travelled westward to the Darling River; bird-shooting; return of Mitchell's party (10 June), Mitchell's affray with Indigenous Australians near Lake Benanee; journey up the River Murray and then southwards to Australia Felix; Stapylton's relations with Mitchell; Mitchell's talents as a surveyor; aggressiveness of Indigenous Australians; fauna; fertility of new land; difficulty in identifying rivers; excursion by Mitchell to Grampian Mountains.

Rough diary (pencil, 16pp) (Item (ii))

At end of volume.

Volume 2, May 1836 - April 1838 (File)

5 items

List of stores and equipment. (pencil, 6pp) (Item (i))

Journal of G. Stapylton, 18 July 1836 - 15 August 1836 (Item (ii))

Describes exploration in the Wimmera; geological features; Grampian Mountains; problems with bullocks; conflict with Indigenous Australians; Glenelg River; relations with members of party; future of survey in view of diminishing provisions; importance of discoveries in Wimmera.

Rough diary (pencil, 32pp) (Item (iii))

Journal kept at Lake Stapylton, 23 May 1836 - 10 June 1836 (Item (iv))

This journal is much more detailed and impersonal than the corresponding sections of the journals in Volumes 1 and 3. It provides a record of the work carried out by Stapylton's party, but does not deal with his pastimes or his general thoughts on the expedition.

Rough diary (pencil, 56pp), 1 April 1838 - 14 April 1838 (Item (v))

Describes Stapylton's journey in the Goulburn River district on his way to join the Port Phillip Survey.

Volume 3, September 1836 - October 1836 (File)

2 items

Journal of G. Stapylton, 7 April 1836 - 3 October 1836 (Item (i))

The April-June section is evidently a rewriting of the journal in Vol. 1. There are a number of small differences, a few passages have been condensed, and there are one or two significant additions. A few pages have been removed from the volume e.g. 8-13 April, 26-30 May. The September-October section describes relations with Indigenous Australians; search for a harbour; villainy of convicts; meeting between Mitchell and Hentys at Portland Bay; news of a Tory government in England; speculations about Mitchell's plans for the return journey; Stapylton's distrust of his subordinates; Mitchell's excursion to Mt. Napier; journey through swamps; views of Grampian Mountains; weakness of bullocks; character of Mitchell; Wannon River; departure of Mitchell and light carts, leaving Stapylton and remainder of party at Lake Repose (19 Sept.); Stapylton's boredom at 'fourth edition of a depot'.

List of stores and equipment. (pencil, 9pp) (Item (ii))

Volume 4, October 1836 - November 1836 (File)

4 items

Journal of G. Stapylton, 3 October 1836 - 12 November 1836 (Item (i))

The journal, which seems to be an early draft, refers to the journay of Stapylton's party northwards from Lake Repose; the Otway Range; Stapylton's hatred of Mitchell, a 'fiend in human shape'; Mitchell's jealousy of H. Hume and C. Sturt; Stapylton's dislike of most of his party and conflict with the birdstuffer and tentkeeper; camp beside Goulburn River; Stapylton's connection with the Goulburn Family; junction of Ovens and King Rivers; Stapylton's hopes of a land grant; crossing of River Murray (4 Nov.); journey to Murrumbidgee River.

Draft of a letter to Mitchell concerning the men in Stapylton's party (pencil, 12pp) (Item (ii))

List of supplies required at Goulburn. (2pp) (Item (iii))

Commonplace Book (Item)

Subjects include instructions for an exploring expedition in South Africa; report of Committee of Management of Cape of Good Hope Association for Exploring Central Africa; instruction to Capt. Alexander concerning South African expedition [1834]; computation of altitudes; B. Pascal (1623-1662); gradations of drunkenness; on cure of burns by cotton wool; salt lake in South Africa; domestic servants; River Eurotas; Lubeck Cathedral clock; Mount Etna; Egyptian egg oven; Upas tree; whales; Oriental cosmogeny; Lake Superior.

Volume 5, August 1836 (File)

3 items

Journal of G. Stapylton, 24 August 1836 - 28 August 1836 (Item (i))

Describes journey southwards towards Bass Strait; Rodney Range; apparent lack of harbour; Mitchell's plans for the return journey; plants; Mitchell's excursion to Portland Bay.

Rough diary (pencil, 3pp), 27 August 1836 (Item (ii))

List of furniture, furnishings, tools, equipment, food. (pencil, 21pp) (Item (iii))