Guide to the Dorset Military Museum manuscripts



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Dorset Military Museum
Manuscripts of Dorset Military Museum (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1830 - 1930
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

Papers relating to the service of the 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment in New South Wales in 1827-32. They comprise two diaries of expeditions into the interior in 1830 and 1832, and a manuscript and newspaper cuttings on the life of the explorer Capt. Charles Sturt.

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 as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1980 (AJCP Reel: M1172). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Dorset Military Museum. The Keep, Bridport Road, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1RP, England.

For further information, see Dorset Military Museum (

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.


British Regiments: 39th; Dorsetshire Regiment (39th); Exploration: land; New South Wales; New South Wales: exploration; Sturt, Charles, Capt.


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 142, p51.

Biographical / Historical

The Dorsetshire Regiment was formed in Ireland in 1702 by Richard Coote, 1st Earl of Bellomont, and was originally known as Richard Coote's Regiment of Foot. In 1751 the traditional system of naming a regiment after the name of the current colonel was replaced by a numerical system and Richbell's Regiment became the 39th Regiment. Later county titles were added in order to encourage recruitment and in 1805 the 39th Regiment became the 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment (usually known as 'the Dorsets').The 39th Regiment served in the Peninsular War (1808-14), the Gwalior Campaign in India (1843), the South African War (1900-3) and the First and Second World Wars. From 1825 to 1832 it was deployed in New South Wales. Detachments were sent out as guards on convict ships and it took over two years for the entire regiment to reach Australia. Police duties were one of the responsibilities of the troops and Captain J.D. Forbes organised and trained the mounted police. The headquarters of the regiment was in Sydney, but detachments were widely dispersed, extending from Parramatta, Bathurst and Norfolk Island to Hobart. In December 1826 Captain Joseph Wakefield and a detachment of 20 soldiers accompanied Major Edmund Lockyer when he founded a settlement at King George's Sound in Western Australia. In June 1827 Captain H.G. Smyth and 30 soldiers accompanied Captain James Stirling when he took possession of Raffles Bay on the north coast of Australia. Captain Collet Barker of the 39th Regiment took over from Smyth as commandant in 1828 and in the following year took over command at King George's Sound. Barker was one of several officers of the Regiment who undertook exploring journeys in Australia, the most famous being Captain Charles Sturt. In July 1832 the Regiment received orders to transfer to India. In 1881 the 39th Regiment amalgamated with the 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment, retaining the name Dorsetshire Regiment. In 1958 it amalgamated with the Devonshire Regiment to become the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment.The Dorset Military Museum is housed in The Keep, which was originally the gatehouse of the Regiment's Depot Barracks at Dorchester.

Item Descriptions

Richard Cannon. Historical record of the Thirty-Ninth or the Dorsetshire Regiment on Foot. (London, Eyre and Spottiswoode), 1853 (File 1)

Pages 66-73 relate to the Regiment's period of service in Australia, 1827-32.

Capt. J.D. Forbes. 'Much ado about nothing'; account of a journey north to the Liverpool Range, across the Goulburn and Hunter Rivers, and south west to the Upper Macquarie River, to Bathurst and return to Sydney, 15 June-24 July 1830.', August 1830 (File 2)

Captain Forbes was the leader of the expedition and the other members were Ensign L. Maule, Dr. Boyter R.N., and Privates John Boyd, Hugh Jones and Joseph Smalley (108pp).

'Diary of the proceedings of a detachment of the Mounted Police on an expedition in search of a gang of bushrangers supposed to be settled in the interior of New South Wales', April 1832 - May 1832 (File 3)

The diary contains sketches of a fish and a platypus.

Colonel P.R. Phipps. Colonel Sir Charles Sturt, K.C.M.G., late 39th of Dorsetshire Regiment; his life and work of exploration in Australia with an account of the centenary celebrations held in his honour in South Australia in January 1930 (41 pp.), 1930 (File 4)

Typescript with manuscript insertions and map and newspaper cuttings, Dorchester, 1930.