Guide to the letters of James Roberts (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Roberts, James
Letters of James Roberts (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1850 - 1852
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

Five letters from James Roberts to his family from Adelaide, Port Lincoln and Sydney describing the voyage from England, work conditions, 'the savage aborigines' and the landscape of Australia.

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 Miss M. Roberts, England, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1973 (AJCP Reel: M856). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The private residence of Miss M. Roberts. Wiltshire, 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; Emigrant voyages; Indigenous Australians; Port Lincoln, South Australia; Roberts, James; South Australia; Sydney, New South Wales


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 388, p148.

Biographical / Historical

Nothing is known of the life of James Roberts apart from the fact that he came from the village of Norton St Philip, Somerset. Internal evidence suggests that he worked in the building trade.

Item Descriptions

[James Roberts] (Adelaide) to his family and friends, n.d. (File)

Discusses: voyage from England; impressions of Adelaide; prices of fruit; search for employment; most of houses made of wood; high cost of living; mutual friends.

James Roberts (Adelaide) to his father [William Roberts], November 1850 (File)

Includes: thanks for letter; mutual friends in the colony; plenty of work with good wages; hopes to return in three or four years; unhealthy climate; dust of Adelaide; Adelaide races.

James Roberts [Adelaide] to [unknown], January 1851 (File)

Includes: illness; unhealthy climate of Adelaide; deaths due to heat; has only received two letters from home; repayment of loan.

James Roberts (Port Lincoln) to his parents, n.d. (File)

Includes: move from Adelaide to Port Lincoln; savagery of Indigenous Australians; Australian landscape, birds, animals; very respectable people braking stones on roads; mutual friends.

James Roberts (Sydney) to his parents, 8 January 1852 (File)

Includes: about to move from the gold diggings at Turon to those at Port Phillip; if successful will come home; lack of success at his trade; fall from a scaffold; Australia a far better country than England.