Guide to the Papers of the Towle Family (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Towle, Edward
Towle, Benjamin
Papers of the Towle Family (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1852 - 1858
Collection Number
18 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

Diaries and correspondence. The diaries were kept by Edward Towle, describing the journey from Liverpool to Australia in 1852 and a visit to Java and Singapore in 1853. The letters of Edward and Benjamin Towle to their mother and sister contain news from the goldfields at Creswick and Ballarat.

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 Commadore N Towle, England, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1989 (AJCP Reel: M2345). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Previously held at the private residence of Commadore N. Towle. Southhampton, England. The papers are now held by the National Library of Australia Collection Reference: MS 9576 (

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.


Ballarat, Victoria; Creswick, Victoria; Great Britain, SS; Australia: immigration to; Liverpool, England; Towle Family; Towle, Benjamin; Towle, Edward; Gold and goldfields: Victoria; Singapore: visits; Java: visits to


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 463, p. 181.

Biographical / Historical

Edward and Benjamin Towle sailed on SS Great Britain for the Australian goldfields in 1852. Benjamin Towle died in Australia in 1853 and Edward Towle returned to England.

Item Descriptions

Series A. Journals

Diary of a voyage to Australia on board the Great Britain steamer by Edward Towle, August 21-October 12? 1852 (File 1)

Departure from Liverpool; arrangements on board; entertainments; food and drink; crossing the line; putting in to St Helena due to insufficient coal being loaded; visit to Napoleon's house; landing at the Cape.


Typed transcript of (1) (60p.) (File 2)

Account of a visit to Java and Singapore by Edward Towle (see letter 7 of 28 July 1853) (52p.), October 1853? (File 3)

Description of Java - its vegetation and natives; description of Batavia, stay at Rotterdam Hotel; business dealings with Mssrs Zorn and Sauer partners in firm of E. Moorman & Co.; suffers Batavia fever; description of opium trade; voyage to Singapore; visit to Chinese timber merchants and other business in Singapore.

Typed transcript of (3) (File 4)

Series B. Letters

Edward Towle, St Helena, to Mary (sister), 23 September 1852 (File 1)

Had to return to St Helena as not enough coal was loaded to make the journey to the cape; activities on board Great Britain.

Edward Towle, on board 3 days from Melbourne, to Mary, 11 November 1852 (File 2)

Has got a party together to go to the diggings; Ben is to go into sheep business.

Edward, Geelong, to Mary, 8 December 1852 (File 3)

Difficulty in leaving Great Britain due to number of passengers; reception by cousins Fred and Tom at Geelong; high prices of goods in Melbourne; travelling to the diggings; lawlessness; Edward returns to Geelong with a bad hand; intends to return to diggings.

Transcript of part of (3) (File 4)

Edward, Geelong, to Mary, 2 March 1853 (File 5)

Illness at diggings at Creswick's Creek; encounters with a snake; more to Eureka; more to new gully - winter's flat; digging holes; programme of day's work; finding gold.

Typed transcript of (5) (File 6)

Edward, Geelong, to Mary, 28 July 1853 (File 7)

Planning to go to Singapore by Ararat (see A. 3); has written a journal of stay at Creswick Creek of 20 pages; escort from McIvor diggings was attacked by gang of 20 men; death of Ben.

Edward ? (incomplete), Ballarat, to Mary, 11 March 1858/6 (File 8)

Tom intends to establish a drapery store, would be a good investment for mother; description of Ballarat; he can get no employment.

Edward, Ballarat, to ?, n.d. (May 10 later in letter) (File 9)

With case for (legal opinion) of Mr Balguy re Edward's dispute with Mr Rose during his partnership with Dr Towle under firm of E Towle & Co.; Edward now in partnership with Mr Osborne; has a store of his own. (incomplete)

Benjamin Towle, Geelong to mother, 24 February 1853 (File 10)

Edward and he have come down from Ballarat diggings for stores; enjoying way of life; have to sleep with loaded pistol; flies; does not intend to settle in Australia.

Series C. Miscellaneous Pages

(a and b) [Description of diggings] (8p.) (incomplete) (File 1)

Return to Eureka from Geelong; party gone to Creswick Creek; description of new camp and digging holes.

[being considerably surprised...] (4p.) (incomplete) (File 2)

Thoughts on a journey to Ballarat to save what he can 'from the wreck'.

[grazing not far distant...] (2p.) (incomplete) (File 3)

Hospitality of a Scottish shepherd on the lawless Road to Meredith; mention of 'misfortunes'.

Series D. Portraits of Edward and Benjamin Towle