Guide to the Diaries of W. J. Cotton (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Cotton, W.J. (The Goshawk)
Diaries of W. J. Cotton (as filmed by AJCP)
Date Range
May 1874 - January 1876
Collection Number
2 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

Personal diaries of W J Cotton kept while on board Goshawk. The two diaries appear to be contained in a single volume.

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

Material filmed at the private residence of M.W. Gregory, England, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1977 (AJCP Reel: M857). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Filmed at the private residence of M.W. Gregory, Hampshire, 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 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.


Aden; Algiers, Algeria; Bangkok, Thailand; Cadiz, Spain; Cape Town, South Africa; Cotton, W.J.; Cowes, England; Darwin, Northern Territory; Goshawk, yacht; Java: visits to; Malta; Mauritius; Melbourne, Victoria; Northern Territory; Norway; Singapore: visits to; Sri Lanka; Suez Canal; Thailand; Diary


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 115, p.42.

Biographical / Historical

The Goshawk was a 140 ton top-sail schooner registered with the Royal Mersey Yacht Club. When the vessel called in at Darwin in September 1975, the Northern Territory Times described it as the finest vessel to have ever entered its waters. Its owner was Thomas George Fermor-Hesketh (1849-1924), who in 1876 succeeded his brother as the 7th Baronet. He was an extremely wealthy landowner, a keen yachtsman and a collector of zoological specimens. He also had an interest in music and the ship had a Christy Minstrel band. On a world cruise on the Goshawk in 1879-81 Hesketh-Pearson visited San Francisco and met Florence Sharon, an American heiress. They were married in 1880. In the following year Fermor-Hesketh was appointed High Sheriff of Northamptonshire.

The master of the Goshawk on its 1874-1876 cruises was W.J. Cotton. He was a keen photographer developing his own film on board the .

Item Descriptions

Diary of the voyage of the Goshawk to South East Asia, 21 December 1874 - January 1876 (File)

The Goshawk sailed from the Isle of Wight and visited Cadiz, Algiers, Malta, Port Said, the Gulf of Aden, the Maldive Islands, Point De Galle (Ceylon), Batavia (19 April 1875), Singapore (27 May 1875), Bangkok (18 June 1875), Manila (13 July 1875), the Pellew Islands, Malacca, Port Darwin (2 Sept. 1875), Surabaya, Mauritius and Capetown.

The diary is not an official log but the private diary of Cotton. It refers to the weather, sightings of ports and coastlines, the performance of the vessel, encounters with other ships, taking of photographs, letters received and sent, the activities of T.G. Fermor-Hesketh, crossing the Equator, impressions of Batavia and relations with Javanese people, illnesses of crew members (swamp fever), impressions of Bangkok and the Siamese people, meetings with princes, social events, a typhoon in the Philippines, birds of paradise, difficulties in sailing into Port Darwin (Cotton had not expected to visit Australian waters and his charts were deficient), visitors to the ship, social life in Palmerston, a concert by the Goshawk Minstrels, disciplinary problems, and the interest of Fermor-Hesketh in acquiring a cattle station. Fermor-Hesketh and the crew stayed in Darwin for about a month.

Diary of the voyage of the Goshawk to the Arctic Circle, 13 May 1874 - 19 August 1874 (File)

The Goshawk sailed from the Isle of Wight to the town of Hammerfest and the island of Spitsbergen on the north coast of Norway.