Guide to the Papers of Daniel Southwell (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Southwell, Daniel
Papers of Daniel Southwell (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1783 - 1793
Collection Number
3 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

Letters and diaries describing: the voyage to Botany Bay; encounters with Indigenous Australians; cultivation of crops; shortage of provisions; voyage to the Cape of Good Hope; discovery of Lord Howe Island; wreck of HMS Sirius at Norfolk Island; and Southwell's return to England in 1791.

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

Filmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1981 (AJCP Reel: M1538). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

British Library, 96 Euston Road, London. Collection Reference: Add MS 16381; MS 16382; MS 16383. For more information see Daniel Southwell 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.


Botany Bay, New South Wales; Cape of Good Hope; Farms and farming: New South Wales; First Fleet to New South Wales; Indigneous Australians: New South Wales; Lord Howe Island; Norfolk Island; Royal Navy: voyages; Sirius, HMS (ship); Southwell, Daniel


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 430, p168.

Biographical / Historical

Daniel Southwell (1764?-1797). Entered Royal Navy in 1780. Midshipman on HMS Sirius 1787, appointed mate on the voyage to New South Wales. He visited the Cape of Good Hope 1788-89 and was placed in charge of the lookout station at South Head, Port Jackson, 1790. Left Sydney on the Waaksamheyd in March 1791. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1794 and died of war wounds at Lisbon in 1797.

Item Descriptions

Series Add MS 16381. Letters, 1783 - 1793

Mostly written by Southwell to his mother, Jane Southwell, and uncle, Rev. Weeden Butler. The subjects include Southwell's appointment as midshipman on the Queen in 1783 (pp. 4-11), the voyage to New South Wales in the Sirius in 1787 with descriptions of Santa Cruz, Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope (pp. 12-26), the arrival at Botany Bay, La Perouse's expedition, the departure of P.G. King for Norfolk Island and encounters with Indigenous Australians (pp. 27-29), the voyage to the Cape of Good Hope in the Sirius in 1788-89 (pp. 30-39), the shortage of provisions, the wreck of the Sirius at Norfolk Island, the cultivation of crops,Indigenous Australians, Southwell's hopes of promotion, the deaths of seamen, the difficulties faced by settlers at Norfolk Island, N.S.W. rivers, the future of the colony, the wreck of the Guardian, Governor Phillip, John Palmer, William Dawes (pp. 44-94), Butler's discussion with Sir Joseph Banks on the future of N.S.W. (p.98), a deputation to Capt. Hunter about rations (pp. 103-4), the voyage to England in 1791 (pp. 105-14), Southwell's efforts to obtain a Lieutenancy (pp. 123-34).

Series Add MS 16382. Four diaries kept by Southwell, 1788 - 1791

The entries are intermittent and often brief. They cover part of Southwell's time in Australia, the voyage to the Cape of Good Hope in Oct.-Nov. 1788, and the voyage to England in 1791.

Series Add MS 16383. Copies of letters written by Southwell to his mother and uncle, 1787 - 1790

Most of the original letters are in MS 16381, but there are some variations and four of the originals are missing (pp. 63-122, 208). The two letters of 12 July 1788 (pp. 63-122) refer to the supplies bought at the Cape of Good Hope in 1787, the arrival at Botany Bay, meetings with aborigines and La Perouse, kangaroos and birds, the first buildings at Sydney Cove, and the discovery of Lord Howe Island.