Guide to the Papers of Sir Cyprian Bridge (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Bridge, Cyprian, Admiral Sir, 1839-1924
Papers of Sir Cyprian Bridge
Date Range
11 October 1881 - 22 June 1904
Collection Number
15 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

Journals 1895-1898. Subjects include visits to Australian and New Zealand ports, movement of French and German ships and steam trials.

Letter-books 1881-1898. Subjects include Pacific labour trade, Isabelle massacre, Presbyterian missionaries, trial of seamen on Flora, registration of titles to land by British subjects in Melanesian islands, and steam trials.

Other papers 1894-1904. Subjects include Australian Federation, possible French annexation of New Hebrides, defences of Australia and New Zealand, Australian Naval Agreement Bill, Samoan affairs, surveying, and socialism in Australia.

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

Material selectively filmed at the National Maritime Museum, London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1992 (AJCP Reels: M3061-M3067). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

National Maritime Museum Section 4: Personal collections.

Existence and Location of Originals

National Maritime Museum. Romney Road, Greenwich, London.

For further information, see National Maritime Museum manuscript collection archive [].

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.

The Australian and New Zealand papers from the following collections at the National Maritime Museum have been listed and filmed separately:

FLI: Captain Matthew Flinders, M3033 - M3037 []

FXM: Cicely Fox Smith, M3048 - M3050 []

HTN: Hamilton Family, M3059-3060 []

LUB: Basil Lubbock, M3055-3058 []

PHI: Phipps Hornby Family, M3068 - M3072 []

STK:Admiral John Lort Stokes, M3051-M3054 []

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 2019. 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.


Australia: defence; Australia: Federation; Australia; Australia: visits to; Bridge, Sir Cyprian; Flora (ship); French in the Pacific; Great Britain; Isabelle (ship); Land: Melanesia; Missions and missionaries: Pacific Islands; Naval officers; New Hebrides: annexation; New Hebrides; New Zealand: defence; New Zealand; Pacific labour trade; Presbyterian Church; Royal Navy: Australian Station; Royal Navy: exploration and surveys; Samoa; Socialism


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 51, pp.17-18.

Biographical / Historical

Bridge (1839-1924) joined the Royal Navy in 1851 and was commissioned Lieutenant in 1859. From 1874-1877 he served in Audacious on the China Station. He was in Australia in command of Espiegle from 1881-1885. He was promoted to rear-admiral in 1894 and became Commander in Chief Australian Station 1894-1898. From 1901-1904 he was vice-admiral, CinC China Station. He published Some Recollections (London 1918).

Item Descriptions

Series. Journals, 14 January 1895 - 19 April 1898

4 items

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reels M3061-M3063.

Journal, 14 January 1895 - 30 September 1895 (File 1)

Subjects and places include:

Movements of ships; telegrams and orders sent and received; visit to Sir Robert Duff, Governor of NSW; visit to Hobart; New Zealand; Earl of Glasgow visits Orlando; Port Phillip; Adelaide; Sydney; Court Martial on Wallaroo; movement of German ships; Lord Howe Island; target practice at Norfolk Island; Noumea; Fiji; Tonga; Apia; Rotumah; Vila; Port Sandwich; interviewed Chief Natei of Nelua and Chief Mlevo of Taape re 'treatment of white men by natives of Santa Cruz'; Makiva; visited by Sir William MacGregor; New Guinea; Port Moresby; Townsville; Moreton Bay; Sydney.


Journal, 10 October 1895 - 30 June 1896 (File 2)

Subjects and places include:

Movements of ships; telegrams and orders received and sent; Sydney; movements of German ships; visit to HM Prison at Darlinghurst; Geelong; Italian ship at Melbourne; 'dressed ship rainbow fashion in honour of the arrival of the Right Honourable Lord Brassey, appointed Governor of Victoria'; Port Adelaide; Albany; Fremantle; Sydney; manoeuvres at sea; Norfolk Bay; regatta; Hobart; Lyttelton; Wellington; Napier; Auckland; Sydney; visited by mayor of Sydney; Auckland; Suva.


Journal, 1 July 1896 - 30 June 1897 (File 3)

Subjects and places include:

Movements of ships; telegrams and orders sent and received; manoeuvres at sea; Townsville; Cape Kimberley; Thursday Island; Bowen; Moreton Bay; visited Lord Lamington, Governor of Queensland; Brisbane; Sydney; inspected Garden Island Naval Establishment; movements of French and German ships; Port Lincoln; Port Adelaide; Hobson's Bay; Williamstown; Sydney; Hobart - visit to Governor; Port Arthur; regatta at Hobart 18 January 1897; Wellington; Akaroa; Port Chalmers; Auckland; Sydney; steam trials; Port Adelaide; Port Melbourne; dressed ship for Queen's Birthday; Sydney; lighting and dressing of ships for 60th anniversary of Queen's accession 22 June 1897.


Journal, 1 July 1897 - 19 April 1898 (File 4)

Subjects and places include:

Sydney; movements of ships; telegrams and orders sent and received; movements of German and French ships; Moreton Bay; visited by Governor; Hervey Bay; exercises at sea; Sydney; route marching at Point Piper; Hobart; Port Adelaide; Williamstown; flags at half mast for death of Duchess of Teck; Port Phillip; Jervis Bay; Sydney; steam trials; arrival of Rear Admiral Hugo S. Pearson on Royal Arthur; transfer of command of Australian Station to Pearson; voyage to England; Albany; Batavia; Singapore; Colombo; Aden; Suez; Malta; Portsmouth.


Series. Letterbooks, 11 October 1881 - 16 April 1898

7 items

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reels M3063-M3065.

Letterbook, 1881-10-11 - 1881-11-23; 1884-09-06 (File 5)

1 item

Pressed copies of letters from Bridge (Espiegle, Devonport, Plymouth, Queenstown) to Commander in Chief.

Subjects include: appointment of crew and servants; requesting an atlas for ward room and other books; tablecloths and other equipment.

(72p., indexed, faint.)

Letter transmitting plan of defences of Noumea, 6 September 1884 (Item f 70-2)

(very faint, illegible).

Letterbook, 26 November 1881 - 20 November 1882 (File 6)

Pressed copies of letters from Bridge (Espiegle, Queenstown, St Vincent, Simon's Bay, Fremantle, Albany, Adelaide, Sydney, Levuka, Suva, Penticost Island, Mallicolo, Havannah Harbour, New Hebrides, Noumea, Sydney, Ugi, York Group) to Admiralty, Commander in Chief and others reporting the proceedings of the ship.

Subjects include: voyage to Australia; birds observed at mouth of estuary of River Ouro; death of James Murphy, falling from mizen crosstrees; bringing back to Fiji the Fijian suvivors of Isabelle massacre; conveying Governor to Savu Savu Bay in Vanua Leva; coaling at Suva; voyage to New Hebrides; report of murder of two Queensland labour agents at Tanna; fugative natives of Ambryne Island stated to have been kidnapped; abduction of woman of Vate by Queensland vessel Madeline; enquiry into outrages committed by whitemen in New Hebrides [while blackbirding] alleged by Reverend Paton, Presbyterian Missionary; troubles caused to Mr Glisson by natives of Vate Island, 'an actual state of war existing between Mr Glisson and several villages of Bushmen'; Isabelle massacre; sale of firearms to natives of New Hebrides by British Subjects; trial of two seamen on Flora.

(500p., indexed, very faint in places, some torn out pages.)

Letterbook, 19 November 1882 - 24 May 1883 (File 7)

Pressed copies of letters from Bridge (Espiegle, Duke of York Island, Cooktown, Moreton Bay, Sydney, Hobart, Wellington, Sydney, Suva) to Commander in Chief and others reporting the proceedings of the ship.

Subjects include: murder of Mr Lyttelton, trader in New Hebrides; trial of two seamen from Flora; problem with screw; comments of Bishop of Melanesia on Bridge's reports on proceedings in New Hebrides; issuing of extra chocolate; apprehension of deserter; voyage from Hobart to Wellington; letters from Gray and Glisson on abduction of woman of Vate by Queensland vessel Madeline; drunkeness of Lieutenant Oxley; deterioration of biscuit about to be supplied from naval store at Sydney 'full of weevils and quite unfit for human food'; numbers of deserters in Australia, 1881-1882 'the present high price of labour in the Australia colonies is admitted by everyone to be the principal cause of the recent frequency of desertion'; short visit to Norfolk Island; steam trials; registration of titles to land by British Subjects in Melanesian Islands; Sophia Island; Ellice Islands.

(249p., indexed, faint in places, incomplete?)

Letterbook, 11 May 1883 - 2 November 1883 (File 8)

Pressed copies of letters from Bridge (Espiegle, Gilbert, Ellice Islands, Peru Island, Sydney) to Commander in Chief and others reporting the proceedings of the ship.

Subjects include: survey of Funafuti; visit to Vaitupu; Pelew Islands; agreement signed at Sava Sava Island of Peru between Bridge and a deputation of the Kau-puli on 5 June 1883; wreck of Orwell on Peru Island; employment of Polynesian labourers in islands to which they do not belong, 'If His Excellency's opinion that 'there should be a law prohibiting with few exceptions all employment of Polynesian natives upon islands other than their own' be ever carried into effect, no people could be more gratified than the officers of ships in the Australian squadron'.

(213p., indexed, pagination erratic, very faint in places)

Letterbook, 12 November 1883 - 18 February 1885 (File 9)

Pressed copies of letters from Bridge (Espiegle, Sydney, Russell, Auckland, Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Lyttelton, Wellington, Sydney, Norfolk Island, Suva, Samoa, Sydney, Brisbane, New Guinea, Cooktown, Sydney) to Commander in Chief and others reporting the proceedings of the ship.

Subjects include: suitability of Western Pacific Islands, east of Fiji, as places of imprisonment; steam trials; voyage to New Zealand; defences of New Zealand; suitable islands west of Fiji as prison stations; purchase of Kauri Timber; selling of 'run' men's effects; Norfolk Island - population, agriculture, government, 'there is practically no budget of receipts and expenditure and no taxation', religion, supplies, 'I trust that it will not be thought improper if attention be invited to our responsibitities to these people'; circumstances of Samoa and the King's proposal; explosives; burning of Kapa Kapa by Hula people; Reverend Mr Chalmers; arrangements at Spectacle Islands; men wishing to remain on Australian station.

(400p., indexed, pagination erratic, some very faint pages, concludes in next volume)

Letterbook, 17 February 1885 - 14 September 1885 (File 10)

Pressed copies of letters from Bridge (Espiegle, Sydney, Thursday Island, Singapore, Aden, Malta, Devonport) to Commander in Chief and others reporting the proceedings of the ship.

Subjects include: desertion of Private Browning; fine to be paid by Peru Islander for pillaging Orwell; men wishing to remain on station; extra issue of chocolate; alterations that have been made to ship; release of pigeons put on board by Mr Gray, Secretary of NSW Pigeon Society; voyage home.

(200p., indexed, rest of volume blank, some faint copies, continues from previous volume.)

Pressed copies of letters from Bridge (Orlando, Albany, Singapore, Perim; Malta) to Admiralty and others. (Some in code), 10 January 1898 - 16 April 1898 (File 12)

Subjects include: books transferred to Rear Admiral H. Pearson on gving up command of Australian Station; visit to Batavia; movements of other ships; visit of Prince Henry of Prussia to Singapore.

(86p., pagination erratic; rest of volume blank, some faint pages)

Series. Telegrams, 17 January 1898 - 11 April 1898

1 item

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M3065.

Copies of telegrams received and sent by Bridge, 17 January 1898 - 11 April 1898 (File 13)

Subjects include: arrival at Albany; mail; Orlando's movements on voyage home.


Series. Letters received, 1 September 1894 - 22 June 1904

3 items

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reels M3066-M3067.

Miscellaneous A-Z. (c700p.), 1 September 1894 - 1 March 1899 (File 16)

Correspondents include: Lord Brassey; H.S. Berkeley; Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton; J.W. Combe; Wilfred Collet; Lord and Lady Glasgow; Eroni Loganimoce the RoloTui of Lau; Sir William MacGregor; Lord Lamington; Sir Gerald Smith; John B. Thurston; Chief Justice Samuel Way; Sir William J. Wharton; Biship Cecil Wilson.

Subjects include: Federation; life in the Solomon Islands; naval matters in New Zealand and the pacific; various mapping expeditions.

A-F, 27 February 1895 - 3 December 1903 (File 18)

8 items

Filmed selectively.

Lewis Beaumont (Admiralty House, Sydney) ack. KCMG; suitability of coal from mines south of Sydney for R.N. ships; Federation (8p.), 30 November 1901 (Item)
French Consul (Sydney) re Chamberlain (10p.), 31 August 1903 (Item)
Walter Bridges (Trawalla) re Sir George Clarke; visit of Japanese squadron (4p.), 24 May 1903 (Item)
C.B. Buckley (Singapore) re ship movements (6p.), 1903-03-26; 1903-04-04 (Item)
Sir George Clarke, (Melbourne). (70p.), 4 December 1902 - 3 December 1903 (Item)

Subjects include: Fisher's entry scheme for naval engineers; visit of Japanese squadron; tour of Eastern District; 'Federation is not working well, partly because of the limitations of the politicians who are trying to run the Federal government and partly also becauseā€¦the country was not ripe for the change'; strike by engine drivers; white labour clause; naval agreement; his recall to serve on committee to reorganise War Office.

Charles Cust (Sandringham and London) re pictures of Duke and Duchess of York for Admiralty House, Sydney (7p.), 13 February; 3 March [n.y.] (Item)
Fleetwood Edwards (Windsor) re picture of the Queen for Admiralty House, Sydney, 27 February 1895 (Item)
Arthur D. Fanshawe (Admiralty House, Sydney) re meeting; Naval Agreement Bill; stayed with Clarkes 'delightful people'; Queensland coal, 1903-08-05; 1903-09-04 (Item)

S-Z, 22 April 1903 - 22 June 1904 (File 19)

2 items

Filmed selectively.

Sir Samuel J. Way (Adelaide). (42p.), 22 April 1903 - 22 June 1904 (Item)

Subjects include: Position of state Governors vis a vis Governor General; strike by railway men in Victoria 'it is a contest between the Executive and railway employees as to which shall govern the country'; [Irvine] is the man of the hour in Australia'; swearing in of Sir George Le Hunte; visit from Sultan of Johore; precedence of Chief Justices; precedence of the Admiral, Governors and Lieutenant Governors; Kingston's resignation; 'Sir George Le Hunte has taken captive all hearts'; visit from Japenese squadron; constitutional relations; advises Bridge to take a State Governorship at end of duty on China Station 'a man is not altogether shelved when he comes out to the colonies'; socialism in Australia; land hunger; Japanese manpower.

Correspondence concerning precedence in New Zealand (11p., copies), 22 May 1903 - 25 July 1903 (Item)

Correspondents include: Sir Robert Stout (Wellington) J. Chamberlain (Colonial Office), Sir Samuel J. Way (Montefiore).