Guide to the Papers of Transit of Venus 1882 (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Papers of Transit of Venus 1882 (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1882 - 1987
Collection Number
9 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

The material filmed by the Australian Joint Copying Project includes: Papers c.1883-1911 of Charles Grover including notes on Australian life, a sketchbook and reminiscences of his visit to Australia in 1882 in which he referred to the observatories in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the journey to Jimbour in the Darling Downs, encounters with Indigenous Australians, and the unsuccessful attempt to observe the Transit of Venus in December 1882 with sketches of observatories, Jimbour and Thursday Island; Notes of Sir Cuthbert Peek on journey to Australia in 1882 and observations of southern stars; photographs, postcard and cutting.

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 Reverend John Gover, Scotland, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1993 (AJCP Reel: M2837585). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The private residence of Reverend John Grover. Roxburghshire, Scotland.

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.


Astronomers; Australia: visits to; Brisbane Observatory; Brisbane Observatory; Darling Downs, Queensland; Grover, Charles; Jimbour, Queensland; Melbourne Observatory; Melbourne Observatory; Paintings, drawings, and prints; Peek, Sir Cuthbert; Photographs; Queensland: Australian Aboriginals; Queensland: Indigenous Australians; Sydney Observatory; Sydney Observatory; Thursday Island, Queensland; Transit of Venus;


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 464, p.181.

Biographical / Historical

The astronomers Charles Grover (1840-1921) and Sir Cuthbert Peek (1855-1901) visited Australia to observe the Transit of Venus in 1882.

Item Descriptions

Series A. Charles Grover (1840-1921)

3 items

50 Years an astronomer: notes and recollections by C. Grover. (55p.) (File 1)

Includes: his birth and early life at Chesham, Bucks; apprenticed to brush maker; interest in astronomy; Great Comet of 1861; purchasing telescopes; Hartwell; employed by Mr Browning adjusting telescopes for scientists; attended meetings of Royal Astronomical Society; interest in Transit of Venus in 1874; organisation of party to go to Queensland to observe Transit of Venus in 1882, Captain Morris, Lieutenant Darwin, Cuthbert Peek; Grover invited to go; sailing on Liguria from Tilbury 24 August 1882; taking observations on board; splendours of Southern sky; small pox at Cape Town prevents landing; Melbourne, 8 October, 'Little London of the Southern Hemisphere'; visit to the Observatory; the Great reflecting telescope; Sydney, 16 October; met Ramsay, curator of Australian Museum; 'he said the authorities were very liberal to the Museum'; the Public Library; Chinese in Sydney; Sydney Observatory; voyage to Brisbane on Katoomba; site of Jimbour chosen for observatory; railway journey '[Mr Peek] had ridden the whole way up on the buffer beam in front of the engine and said he never saw such magnificent scenery before'; Macalister Station in Darling Downs; transporting equipment by dray across Downs; description of Jimbour; erection of portable observatory; the party became great sensation and centre of attraction; Morris and Darwin erect their equipment; visited by Indigenous Australians; condition of local Indigenous Australians, 'they are fast dying out before the advancing white man and civilization'; buriel customs; cannibalism; Peek, Morris and Darwin visit Bunya Mountains; preparations for observing Transit; 6 December cloudy and 'morning of 7th not a glimpse of the sun or the Transit of Venus was visibleā€¦the day wound up with the heaviest thunderstorm I ever saw'; packing up for return journey; splendours of Jimbour; left 20 December; Brisbane; electric light turned on on 23 December; natives in town 'one man with a large brass plate suspended around his neck by a chain with the inscription 'King George and Queen Helena' presented by Jas Campbell'.

Notes of Australian Life. (11p.) (File 2)

Impressions of Australia - Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane; 'everything is English'; employment prospects; prices; problems with water supply in Brisbane; advice to migrants.

Sketchbook. (c60p., faint pencil) (File 3)

Includes sketches of: Madeira; St Vincent; Simon's Bay; Isle of Amsterdam; Hobson's Bay; Melbourne Observatory; Sydney Observatory; Brisbane Observatory; Jimbour, Queensland, 1 December; Thursday Island, 13 January 1883; Java; Aden; Suez Canal, 15 February 1883.

Series B. Sir Cuthbert Peek (1855-1901)

1 item

The Southern Cross: notes of a voyage to Australia with observations of Southern Stars. (63p., faint in places.), 1882 (File 1)

Includes: notes on southern observations; his desire to visit Australia; joining party of Captain Morris and Lieutenant Darwin to Queensland; boarding Liguria 24 August; Madeira; St Vincent; entertainments on board; Simons Town; gales; loss of seaman overboard; subscription raised to reward crew who attempted to rescue him; observations in Southern skies; Melbourne; Melbourne Observatory; the great telescope.

Series C. Miscellaneous

5 items

Photographs of party, (Peek seated on left with Charles Grover standing behind him) and the temporary observatory (File)

Photograph of Charles Grover in old age (File)

Postcard of Jimbour House (File)

Grover's second saloon ticket for voyage to Australia on Liguria, 15 August [1882] (File)

Cutting from Independent re sale at Christie's of 'gold medal set with rose diamonds presented to J.Scott Taylor, Second Officer of SS Liguria by First and Second Class Passengers in recognition of his bravery in attempting to rescue a shipmate on 25 September 1862' . (sic), 4 December 1987 (File)