Guide to the Diary of Thomas Perceval Fielden (as filmed by AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Fielden, Thomas Perceval
Papers of Thomas Perceval Fielden (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1925 - 1926
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

Journal, 30 April 1925-10 March 1926, describing his journey from London on the Cormorin, calling at Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney; and his travels around eastern Australia and return voyage from Brisbane via Darwin, Batavia, Singapore to London. The 647-page journal has an index at the beginning to places, people, concerts and lectures, and contains a number of photographs of acquaintances, wildflowers and places visited. Some of the people mentioned in the journal are Rev. 'Tubby' Clayton, Dr Harold Davies, Sir Dudley de Chair, Dr A.E. Floyd, Sir Robert Garran, Bernard Heinze, Frank Hutchens and Michael Terry. The typescript contains detailed and lively descriptions of the many centres he visited, including country towns, with candid comments on Australians he met and their attitudes to matters such as industrial strikes and rivalry between State capitals.

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.

For Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February-23 September 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed at the private residence of Mr R.J. Fielden, Kent, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1974 (AJCP Reel: M939). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The private residence of Mr R.J. Fielden; Kemsing, Kent.

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.


Adelaide, South Australia: visits to; Botany: Australia; Brisbane, Queensland: visits to; Clayton, Tubby, Rev.; Cormorin (ship); Darwin, Northern Territory; Davies, Harold, Dr; De Chair, Sir Dudley R.S.; Fielden, Thomas P.; Floyd, Alfred E., Dr; Fremantle, Western Australia; Garran, Sir Robert R.; Heinz, Sir Bernard T.; Hutchens, Frank; Java: visits to; Melbourne, Victoria: visits to; Music; Photographs; Royal College of Music; Singapore: visits to; Strikes; Sydney, New South Wales: visits to; Terry, Michael; Western Australia


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 167, p. 61.

Biographical / Historical

Music teacher and examiner. Professor of Pianoforte at the Royal College of Music 1921-52. As an examiner in music for the Associated Board of the Royal Academy, London, he toured Australia and New Zealand 1925-26, giving piano recitals as well as examining students.

Thomas Perceval Fielden (1883-1974) was born at Chichester and educated at the Royal College of Music and Jesus College, Oxford. He studied piano at Berlin and subsequently gave recitals in Germany, France and the United Kingdom. He was director of music at various public schools, including Fettes (1908-12) and Charterhouse (1928-47). He was Professor of Pianoforte at the Royal College of Music from 1921 to 1952. He was the author of a number of books on music including The science of pianoforte technique (1927) and Music and character (1929).

For many years Fielden was an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music). It was in this capacity that he toured Australia in 1925.

The Board first took steps to establish music examinations in Australia in 1897. Despite some resistance from universities and other local organisations, it went on to play a major role in music education in Australia until 1951. Examiners who toured Australia, apart from Fielden, included Arthur Benjamin and Thomas Wood.

Item Descriptions

Diary of Thomas Perceval Fielden, 30 April 1925 - 10 March 1926 (File 1)

Typescript journal, with photographs, 30 April 1925 – 10 March 1926.

The journal begins with Fielden's journey from London to Sydney (30 April – 8 June 1925), travelling by rail to Marseilles and by sea on SS Malwa (Marseilles- Colombo) and SS Comorin (Colombo-Sydney). It includes his impressions of Port Said, Aden, Colombo, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, the daily routine of shipboard life, piano recitals, and fellow-passengers, such as Prince George (later Duke of Kent) and the explorer Michael Terry.

Fielden travelled widely and almost continuously in the six months that he was in Australia. Among the dozens of cities and towns that he visited were Sydney (8 June), Armidale, Glen Innes, Stanthorpe, Toowoomba, Brisbane (14 June), Mackay (15 July), Cairns (20 July), Herberton (22 July), Townsville (30 July), Cloncurry (7 August), Longreach (13 August), Coolangatta (21 August), Grafton, Newcastle (29 August), Blue Mountains (9 September), Melbourne (19 September), Castlemaine (12 November), Bendigo, Swan Hill (18 November), Gippsland, Stawell, Adelaide (29 November), Angaston, Gawler (4 December), Flinders Ranges (7 December), Jamestown (10 December), Clare (12 December), the Murray towns (18 December) and Melbourne (20 December).

The journal is extremely detailed and wherever he travelled Fielden recorded his impressions of the towns and countryside, drives in the surrounding districts, and meetings and conversations with musicians, music teachers, officials and members of the public. He often recorded conversations verbatim. There are numerous references to his visits to schools, convents and colleges, the performances of students, vocal competitions, relations with local representatives of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, concerts, recitals and talks that he gave that he gave at various places. More particularly, he wrote about his experiences of Australian trains and hotels, sugar plantations, a cattle station and his first plane flight in Queensland, an exhibition of paintings of Thea Proctor, a bitter seamen's strike and action taken against the union's leaders, the 1925 Federal election, social and sporting events, receptions and dinners. There are references to the relations between local musical organisations, such as the British Music Society of Victoria.

Some of the people whom Fielden met during his journeys were the Reverend 'Tubby' Clayton, Michael Terry, Arthur Hull, A. Wesley Roberts, Gregory Ivanoff, Clive Carey, James and Louise Dyer, A.E. Floyd, Arthur Jordan, the Prockter Family, Alexander Leckie, Harold Davies and E.T. Sweeting.

Fielden returned to England on the SS Malabar, leaving Sydney on 3 January 1926. The ship made a number of lengthy stops and he wrote in some detail about time he spent at Thursday Island, Darwin, Surabaya, Batavia, Singapore, Suez and Gibraltar. The journal concludes with his general reflections on Australians (pp 617-37).

There are many photographs throughout the journal, but the reproductions are poor.