Guide to the Papers of Sir Roderick Murchison, 1st Baronet (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1st Baronet
Papers of Sir Roderick Murchison, 1st Baronet (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1832 - 1870
Collection Number
4 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

Correspondence dealing with Australian exploration, gold and other mineral discoveries, collecting of fossils and appointment of geologists.

Correspondents include Sir William Denison, Sir Redmond Barry, Charles Sturt, W.S. Macleay, Sir George Bowen, J.L. Stokes, J. Crawfurd and Sir Ferdinand von Mueller.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the British Library. For more information visit: How I use the images I order?-The British Library [].

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

Material selectively filmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1981 (AJCP Reels: M1686). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

British Library, 96 Euston Road, London. Collection reference: Add MSS 46125-46128. For further information see Sir Roderick Murchison at the British Library (

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.


Australia: exploration; Australia: geology; Barry, Sir Redmond; Bowen, Sir George F.; Crawfurd, J.; Denison, Sir William T.; Exploration: land; Fossils; Geologists; Golds and goldfields: Australia; Macleay, William S.; Minerals; Murchison, Sir Roderick, 1st Baronet; Stokes, John L., Admiral; Sturt, Charles, Capt.; Von Mueller, Sir Ferdinand, Baron


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 332, p125.

Biographical / Historical

Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871), 1st Baronet (created 1866). Served in British Army, 1807-14. Began scientific studies in 1820s, attending lectures at Royal Institution, and was made a Fellow of the Geological Society in 1825. Undertook many geological fieldtrips, often in conjunction with Adam Sedgwick, in Britain and Europe, including Russia, and published Silurnian system (1838), Geology of Russia and the Ural Mountains (1845) and 180 papers on geology and geography. President of the Geological Society 1831-33, 1841-43, President of the British Association 1846, President of the Royal Geographical Society 1843-45, 1851-53, 1856-59, 1862-71, Director General of the Geological Survey, Museum of Practical Geology and Royal School of Mines 1855-71.

Item Descriptions

Volume I, 1851 - 1870 (File Add MS 46125)

13 items

Filmed selectively.

Sir Redmond Barry (Melbourne) to Murchison, 4 January 1870 (Item ff.117-20)

Seeks advice on syllabus for proposed Ballarat School of Mines.

Although described individually, this letter was originally microfilmed with a page from another letter. The last page of the letter described can be found at the beginning of nla.obj-752395205

Sir George Bowen (Brisbane) to Murchison, 30 April 1860 (Item ff.197-98)

Thanks for Terra Australia; progress of Queensland.

Sir George Bowen to Murchison, 1 December 1860 (Item ff.199-202)

Sends reports of exploring expedition to north east coast; establishment of Pt. Denison; proposed settlement on Gulf of Carpentaria; spread of pastoral frontier; extension of telegraph to Rockhampton; route of Indo-Australian telegraph should pass through Queensland; political stability and economic growth of Queensland.

Angela Burdett-Coutts to Murchison, 30 April 1869 (Item ff.326-29)

Funeral of Sir James Brooke; his achievements in Sarawak.

J.E. Cairnes (Dublin) to Murchison, 9 November 1858 (Item ff.356-57)

Research on consequences of gold discoveries in California and Australia.

Chambers and Finke (Adelaide) to Murchison, 20 May 1861 (Item f.377)

Sends specimens collected by A. McD. Stuart on overland expedition; introduces S.W. White.

Chambers and Finke to Murchison, 26 November 1861 (Item ff.379-80)

New expedition led by Stuart to cross Australia; hopes of founding settlement at River Adelaide on north coast; deaths of Burke and Wills.

W. Cowper to Murchison, 5 October 1860 (Item ff.424-25)

Erection of statue of Sir John Franklin.

Sophia Cracroft to Murchison, 2 June 1856 (Item ff.457-58)

Search for Sir John Franklin; Lady Franklin refers to discovery of La Perouse's ships 40 years after disappearance.

Sophia Cracroft (San Francisco) to Murchison, 22 August 1861 (Item ff.467-70)

Request by King of Hawaii that Queen Victoria be sponsor to his son; American Civil War; establishment of church at Hawaii by Lady Franklin; wishes Murchison would visit Hawaii.

Although described individually, this letter was originally microfilmed with a page from another letter. The last page of the letter described can be found at the beginning of nla.obj-752395389.

J. Crawfurd to Murchison, 24 June 1851 (Item f.481)

Proposed paper on geography of Borneo.

J. Crawfurd to Murchison, 17 June 1863 (Item f.487)

Establishment of settlement on north coast of Australia.

J. Crawfurd to Murchison, 18 June 1863 (Item f.489)

Sends manuscript, including sheet on origin of word moa.

Volume II, 1861 - 1867 (File Add MS 46126)

6 items

Filmed selectively.

Sir Dominic Daly (Adelaide) to Murchison, 26 December 1862 (Item ff.1- 2)

Sends journal and chart of expedition of A.McD. Stuart.

Sir William Denison to Murchison, 10 August 1867 (Item ff.37-38)

Autobiography; decline in N.S.W. gold returns.

Sir William Denison to Murchison, 19 August 1867 (Item ff.39-40)


Lady Franklin (San Francisco) to Murchison, 29 July 1861 (Item ff.273-80)

Visit to Hawaii; request by King of Hawaii that Queen Victoria sponsor his son; possibility of King visiting England.

Harriet Grote to Murchison, 01-15 (Item ff.346-47)

Murchison's prediction of gold in N.S.W.

A.K. Johnston to Murchison, 30 October 1861 (Item ff.488-89)

Appointment of Dr. Hector to New Zealand.

Volume III, 1832 - 1869 (File Add MS 46127)

14 items

Filmed selectively.

A. Langel to Murchison, 12 January 1866 (Item f.50)

Introductions sought by Prince de Condé travelling to India, China, Java, Philippines, Australia.

J. Lockhart to Murchison, 1 March 1852 (Item ff.107- 8)

Article in Quarterly Review on effects of Australian gold discoveries on free trade policies.

Sir Richard McDonnell (Adelaide) to Murchison, 26 October 1860 (Item ff.142-43)

Need for boundaries of South and Western Australia to be extended to north coast; expedition of A.McD. Stuart; criticism of Chambers.

L. Mackinnon to Murchison, 3 August 1867 (Item ff.150-53)

Claims of F. von Mueller to knighthood.

W. Macleay (Sydney) to Murchison, 3 April 1841 (Item ff.160-61)

Fossils collected by Beagle on north coast of Australia; fossil fish found at Newcastle.

J. McMaster to Murchison, 22 August 1861 (Item ff.166-67)

Seeks advice on agricultural potential of Queensland.

Capt. J. Mangles to Murchison, 1832 (Item ff.182-83)

Minerals collected at Swan River.

F. von Mueller to Murchison, 28 August 1867 (Item ff.239-40)

Plans to reorganize Leichhardt search expedition; visit of General Carey.

Although described individually, this letter was originally microfilmed with a page from another letter. The last page of the letter described can be found at the beginning of nla.obj-752395764.

G.C. Mundy to Murchison, 17 April 1852 (Item ff.241-42)

Inclusion of note on gold discoveries in book Our Antipodes.

Duke of Newcastle to Murchison, 26 May 1861 (Item f.269)

Presentation of gold medal to A. McD. Stuart.

Admiral E. Ommanney to Murchison, 12 March 1869 (Item ff.294-95)

Memorial to Sir James Ross.

Lord Palmerston to Murchison, 4 October 1861 (Item f.342)

Proposed visit to England of King of Hawaii.

Memorandum by Sir James Ross concerning bottles thrown from Erebus in 1842 and found near Cape Liptrap, 10 June 1846 (Item f.475)

C. Ruland to Murchison, 31 January 1860 (Item ff.483-84)

Request by German geologist Dr. Taeuzsch to accompany British expedition to Fiji.

Volume IV, 1852 - 1870 (File Add MS 46128)

8 items

Filmed selectively.

W.H. Smyth to Murchison, 7 August 1852 (Item ff.81-82)

Expeditions sent to search for L. Leichhardt.

Lord Somerset to Murchison, 2 June 1860 (Item f.91)

Thanks for report on New Zealand iron ore.

J.L. Stokes to Murchison, 8. Dec (Item ff.144-45)

Sends correspondence with W.E. Gladstone on steam communication with Australia and establishment of settlement on north coast; French interest in Australia.

P.E. Strzelecki to Murchison, 12 November 1861 (Item ff.155-56)

Erection of memorial to Lord Herbert.

C. Sturt to Murchison, 9 February 1861 (Item ff.161-62)

Introduces Burr, Deputy Surveyor of South Australia; A. McD. Stuart's journey across Australia; aborigines of Cooper's Creek.

E. Deas Thomson (Sydney) to Murchison, 20 April 1866 (Item ff.195-96)

Appointment of A. Thomson to University of Sydney.

W. Wheeler to Murchison, 19 May 1870 (Item ff.285-86)

Wishes to join Livingstone relief expedition; experience of Australian exploration.

Sir John Young (Sydney) to Murchison, 21 September 1863 (Item f.356)

Sends sections of Newcastle coalfield; Mackenzie's survey of Illawarra district.