Guide to the Guide to Diary of James Pettet (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Pettet, James
Papers of James Pettet (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
Collection Number
1 item
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

Written in a Lett's diary, it begins with Pettet's journey from Melbourne to Adelaide and Western Australia (exact port unknown). The diary continues along the Western Australian coast and onto Yeda Station, a Kimberley Pastoral Company property on the Fitzroy River, for shearing. His time at the station is covered, including an incident with some of the locals.

Persons mentioned include: Daly Buller, Harry Cuzens and Anthony Cornish. The diary also contains financial accounts, verse and a few pages of Aboriginal vocabulary.

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 N. West, England, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1976 (AJCP Reel: 972). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The private residence of Mr N. West. 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.


Buller, Mr; Cornish, Anthony; Cornish, Hamlet; Cossack, Western Australia; Cuzens, Harry; Daly, Mr (WA); Derby, Western Australia; Farms and farming: Western Australia; Fitzroy River, Western Australia; Indigenous Australians: vocabularies; Indigenous Australians: Western Australia; Kimberley Pastoral Company; Maudon (ship); Murray Squatting Company; Pettet, James; Roebourne, Western Australia; Shearers; Western Australia; Wool and woolgrowing: Australia; Yeeda property, Western Australia


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 371, p141.

Biographical / Historical

Labourer and shearer. Pettet worked for the Murray Squatting Company and for the Kimberley Pastoral Company in Western Australia.

Item Descriptions

Diary kept by James Pettet while sailing from Melbourne to Western Australia, 17 June 1882 - 18 December 1882 (File)

Written in a Lett's diary, the diary commences with brief entries recording Pettet's voyage on the SS Maudon from Melbourne to Adelaide and Western Australia (the port is not named), 17-25 June 1882. It resumes on 30 July with more detailed entries describing his voyage on the Jessie, a chartered schooner, along the north-west coast of Western Australia from Cossack, near Roebourne, to the Fitzroy River. He refers to his companions on the voyage, Daly Buller, Harry Cuzens and Anthony Cornish, who were all heading to a shearing camp at Yeda Station, a Kimberley Pastoral Company property on the Fitzroy River. They began shearing on 2 September in very hot weather, with the temperature reaching 104 degrees on 5 September. Subsequent entries refer to continued high temperatures and Pettet's daily activities such as shooting birds, ducks, an emu and a crocodile, fishing, moving sheep and searching for water, laying poison for dingoes, sighting a comet, and encounters with Australian Aboriginals. There are no entries from 12 October to 9 December, when Harry Cornish, McDermott and Pettet set out in search of Indigenous Australians. Cornish was killed by an Indigenous Australian on 14 December. The last entry is dated 18 December, with a storm raging.At the beginning of the diary are some financial accounts, followed by an account of a journey eastwards from Yeda, 10-16 October 1882, and a few pages of Australian Aboriginal vocabulary. At the end of the diary is some verse, followed by a detailed account of the same journey, starting on 10 October, from Yeda, heading in a north-easterly direction.