Guide to the Letters of Robert Thomson (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Online Items

Robert Thomson, on board the Simlah, to William Bottomley, Belfast (12 pp), 6 October 1851 - 12 November 1851 (Item)

An account of the voyage from October 1, bound for New Plymouth; catching a shark on a hook baited for Albatross; the value of good letters of introduction at ports; the appearance of people at Auckland and in the bush; stock riders; will put more capital into the property if his expectations are answered with his selection at Otago, but there will be a delay before a crop can be planted for the spring; landing through the surf at Taranaki (New Plymouth); the beautiful rich land around Taraneki; a maori wedding; Cooks Straits and Mt. Egmont; Port Nicholson;Wellington where there are frequent earthquakes and land settlement appears unattractive, but the appearance will change quickly as the forests are cleared; fishing in the harbour; wonders if any of the children in the family will join him in time...

William W. Heap, 24 York Crescent, Clifton, to William Bottomley (6 pp), 13 February 1852 (Item)

Congratulations on his election to the Harbour Commission; has been joined by Elizabeth and the children away from the London cold; regrets that he knows of no London position for Bottomley's brother John who is considering going to Australia where gold should bring great prosperity; awaiting news of a new baby for William.

Robert Thomson, Awhiro, Otago, to William Bottomley. (4 pp), 14 February 1852 (Item)

The need for friends at home to contribute towards the building of churches and school houses in New Zealand; Mr. Fenton the minister whom they support with money and a house; many new settlers;an admirable climate for delicate people - it would suit William Heap, Bottomley's brother in law.

Robert Thomson, Dunedin, Otago, N.Z., to William Bottomley (2 pp.), 14 February 1852 (Item)

Details of capital sent for.

William Thomson, 2 College, Glasgow, to William Bottomley (2 pp.), 28 February 1852 (Item)

On raising money for Robert.

William W. Heap, Gordon St., to Elizabeth (4 pp.), 6 April 1852 (Item)

Is losing his 3 year long fight against illness; should get away from the climate and the fatigue of the stock exchange to a life of tranquility in Australia with its better climate and good prospects; would like £1000 to support them for 3 years while running a small business in wool and tallow in Melbourne.

William W. Heap, London, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 1 May 1852 (Item)

His illness which has precipitated his plans to leave the country with his family - wishes to meet him at Birkenhead to discuss them.

William W. Heap, Birkenhead, to William Bottomley (3 pp.), 5 May 1852 (Item)

Although all arrangements are made feels he must postpone the voyage because of his deteriorating health; seeking the title to the home at Holywood.

Robert Thomson, Owhiro, Otago, to William Bottomley (3 pp.), 7 May 1852 (Item)

£100 of bills on Messrs. Day and Bottomley on May 4th;his stock and dairy produce which pays well; his home which is the finest in the district; plan to acquire sheep; retains over £150 of credit; has had an optimistic letter from Thomas in Sydney; his health and strength improve and he aims to overcome his weaknesses; the children at home.

William W. Heap, London, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 12 May 1852 (Item)

Left Birkenhead disappointed at not having been able to complete the arrangements; wishes to establish himself in Australia by raising money on his Life Policy and mortgage Elizabeth's Holywood property and is sorry that William does not approve this arrangement; seeks a copy of Elizabeth's father's will; will let, not sell their London house; told to have rest and quiet.

William Heap, London, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 17 May 1852 (Item)

Regrets their painful correspondence following Bottomley's earlier offer of a personal guarantee; his proposition regarding Elizabeth's Holywood property merely mortgages it in different hands; if he cannot get satisfactory security must abandon the idea of leaving the country for a better climate

William W. Heap, London, to William Bottomley (3 pp.), 21 May 1852 (Item)

Has received an Extract from Bottomley's father's will and now wants an abstract of the title of the Holywood property for the Alfred Assurance Co.; their painful correspondence.

William W. Heap, London, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 28 May 1852 (Item)

The Holywood property which was in the care of Mr. Ferrie who is now in the East Indies; their acrimonious correspondence; the delay in sailing has threatened the chance he had been given of a partnership.

William W. Heap, Malvern, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 5 June 1852 (Item)

Regrets hurried unpleasant and misunderstood correspondence; is in Malvern to consult a hydropathic physician Dr. Gully who advises him to go to Australia for the climate.

Robert Thomson, Owhiro, Otago, to Anna Bottomley, Belfast (8 pp.), 13 June 1852 - 22 June 1852 (Item)

His house, garden and property; plans to build a school house, to be also used as a chapel, have been marred by sectarian differences which he is opposing and in making his house available for services. Sending a newspaper [missing] in which he is attacked; plans to buy a few more sheep and another horse; birth of a son to his servants; evenings with Mr Valpy the principal man of means there, and Mr Jeffries.

William W. Heap, Malvern to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 6 June 1852 (Item)

Production of the title to the Holywood property; great benefit from Dr Gully's treatment and so hopes to sail in the autumn.

William W. Heap, Malvern, to William Bottomley (8 pp.), 26 June 1852 (Item)

Has received the title of the Holywood property to give him collateral security in the mortgage on his life policy in order to protect Elizabeth; could not stand another winter in England because of his chest; will wait until he reaches Melbourne to decide whether to open a store or join an established house; accounts of business in Melbourne leave him feeling optimistic; glad to hear of Tom's favourable news; will sail on about October 1st; cabin prices have been increased to £150 for 2 people; children on their way to Belfast.

Robert Thomson, Owhiro, Otago, to William Bottomley (3 pp.), 12 July 1852 (Item)

Has raised two bills totalling £50 for wethers and pigs; bad state of the roads; a severe winter; has had the first public service at his house.

Robert Thomson, Owhiro, Otago, to Elizabeth Bottomley (4 pp.), 18 July 1852 (Item)

Speculating on where the members of the family are, and seeking portraits; a rougher life than at home but with a freedom from anxiety; life on the property; will be services at the house on alternate Sundays for some time; sects of the Scottish Church disposal of the £2 payment on each acre under the Otago land schemes.

Robert Thomson, Owhiro, Otago, to William Bottomley (2 pp.), 20 July 1852 (Item)

Has drawn on bills for further £100 to Frederick Richardson.

Thomas D. Bottomley, Sydney, to William Bottomley (8 pp.), 25 August 1852 - 30 August 1852 (Item)

Their father's death; Melbourne is overcrowded and would be unsuitable for Elizabeth Heap and the children. William Heap should take them to Sydney where they could be comfortable and he can travel to Melbourne by steamer in about 60 hours; William should form a business connexion in London if he has not already left; works for McArthur and Atkinson and has seen how profitable colonial business is - William should try a small adventure as a trial sending a variety of clothing and cloth for which he would remit in gold dust; should see John on his business visit to Melbourne; will send home some Australian seeds which will be new to botanists.

William W. Heap, London, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 25 September 1852 (Item)

Had considered joining brother Charles in Natal but his letters of advice were delayed; his father will accompany him with the girls as he does not think he is fit to venture alone; they sail on the Barrackpore from London on October 20.

William W. Heap, 11 Pelham Crescent, Hastings, to William Bottomley (6 pp.), 13 October 1852 (Item)

Has not completed arrangements because of serious illness; will not sail before the beginning of November; medical advice has been to go overseas, and financial provision is being made to bring his family home if the worst happens; business advice from brother Charles. Enclosing an account of expenditure for the voyage.

William W. Heap, Hastings, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 18 October 1852 (Item)

Still thinks there is no risk in taking to Melb. £250 of money set aside for Elizabeth to buy gold dust to send home at a profit of 15%; further financial arrangements; Elizabeth has gone to Gravesend to farewell his sisters who sail on Saturday.

William W. Heap, Hastings, to William Bottomley, 19 October 1852 (Item)

Has received a harsh note from Bottomley's mother arising from his plan to remit in gold dust; she threatens to send the children back if he does not fulfil the engagement to the letter. Includes a note on expenses.

William W. Heap, Hastings, to William Bottomley (2 pp.), 22 October 1852 (Item)

Has sent £350 to Messrs. H.J. Watts & Co. in London; Barrackpore may sail from Dartmouth on the 31st; has had misgivings on whether he would be able to go on board.

Elizabeth Heap, Dartmouth, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 29 October 1852 (Item)

On the unhappy correspondence in the summer; the journey to Dartmouth where the Barrackpore is expected tomorrow.

Robert Thomson, Owhiro, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 17 November 1852 (Item)

Has not received two £100 remittances which he had requested; has had to draw bills on the firm for £40; has sought payment for his share of their father's books; details of monies due to his credit; his farm stock; expense of his servants leaving.

Thomas D. Bottomley, Sydney, to William Bottomley (19 pp.), 16 February 1853 - 22 February 1853 (Item)

Their father's death; wise decision of William Heap to leave Elizabeth at home until he has settled in the colony; expects to see William and his daughters in Sydney; John returns to England on the Templar; Geelong; Williamstown; Melbourne and the inhabitants of that city - Sydney has a better class of people and is quieter; the diggings which are a lottery; geological site of gold finds, which have puzzled scientists; men have left good situations to go to the diggings and new arrivals have sold their clothes to reach them; no work for young office workers but plenty for labourers; uncertain economic state of the colony; there is no hydrophobia despite a great dog population in such a hot climate; climate of Sydney and Melbourne; good prospects for emigrants with experience but the idea that gold is to be picked up without trouble is a false one; still hopes to do some good for himself [In the addition of February 22:] Has heard from Charlie Heap in Melbourne who went aboard the Barrackpore to find his weeping father and sister who told him of the death of William Heap; the death of William Heap at sea on the Barrackpore - the family are making enquiries about Sydney; John is going into the bush as a shepherd.

Robert Thomson, Owhiro, Otago, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 14 April 1853 (Item)

Will have to draw a bill for £100 if money does not arrive; his farming has utterly failed during poor season when sheep and cattle have starved; the house has been more expensive than expected, but the settlers have done well as prices are high; is frittering away money in the uncertain and tedious pursuit of agriculture which at best can only yield a moderate return; sheep would be more profitable; agriculture might pay if carried out on a large scale—a gentleman farmer needs twice the capital he would need at home as the cost of labour is so high; should have taken a good run of govt. land for 14 years and run stock; crops he has planned for the next season; roads very bad; limit journey away from the property; still hope for ultimate success if he keeps his health.

Thomas D. Bottomley, Sydney, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 20 April 1853 (Item)

Has a good salary in general business but wishes to do better; sending him an order for silk fabric clothing to be packed in tin cases.

Thomas D. Bottomley, Sydney, to William Bottomley, 11 May 1853 (Item)

Price of goods has advanced enormously and he can offer him 15% commission on the items ordered, which order he repeats; the Heaps have not yet got a house but Harry has an office and is waiting for consignments; has given up the idea of a visit home; John has returned to Sydney.

Thomas D. Bottomley, Sydney, to William Bottomley (8 pp.), 26 May 1853 (Item)

Glad that William is thinking of having a small adventure to Sydney and may send consignments to him; explanation of some trouble in business before coming to Sydney where he has worked to acquire a good character and has gained great experience if not put much money by; is going to Shoalhaven where most of the produce comes from and open a store - will send produce by steamer to Henry Heap in Sydney acting as his agent; complete apathy in the political world locally; saw young [Spruce?] in Melbourne, Clerk in the Secretaries Office and his two sisters who live with families as companions or governesses; hears of Robert Thomson; Henry Heap is settled but not the others in the family; John is clerk to H.J.H.; he sent Australian seeds which should be valuable.

John Heap, Macquarie Place, to William Bottomley (3 pp.), 31 May 1853 (Item)

Elizabeth and the children are continually in his thoughts, grieves for William Heap; Thomas and John are in Sydney - John has become reckless but Harry Heap gives him an allowance and employment until something better turns up; John is writing to friends to send consignments to Harry so Harry will command both markets; he will help him and hopes that William Bottomley will too.

Robert Thomson, The Liverpool and London Fire and Life Insurance Co. Sydney, to William Bottomley (2 pp.), 11 October 1853 (Item)

Seeking consignments of goods - wines and spirits would have the best markets also Irish fabrics which, while he holds a position, should be sent to Harry Heap with whom he has a business arrangement in which they will share the profits.

Robert Thomson. The Liverpool and London Fire and Life Insurance Co., Sydney, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 22 November 1853 (Item)

Seeking consignments; coming to Sydney is the best thing he has done since leaving England; is getting a return on his stock in New Zealand; has a very good position in the company and a good salary but very little set aside. Can feel a turn in his affairs which will more than make up for the losses of the past years which arose from living beyond his means; is hoping to make money by trade and land; wishes to receive goods in lieu of money realised from his share of their father's books, with details of his plan to capitalise on it; came to Sydney on a sudden decision on advice from Thomas Bottomley.

Robert Thomson, Sydney, to William Bottomley (2 pp.), 22 November 1853 (Item)

Sending a list of goods which will sell well - they must be well packed by an agent for £5 commission; suggests slates, (sent as ballast) bricks, cane bottomed chairs, sail canvas and rope, and gas fittings. Includes a note added to say that a copy has been sent per Chusan and overland mail in addition to the letter by the Great Britain.

Robert Thomson, Sydney, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 1 February 1854 (Item)

Cannot tell what he will be doing in trade until he receives an answer to his request for business and funds; bricks and slates must be shipped at less than regular prices as the end of emigration and the decrease in the need for storage will make them less profitable, but the market must recover in time; has every confidence in Henry Heap; increased satisfaction with position and prospects as he has become Life Manager and Accountant in the business and also takes on outside accountancy work; glad that Henry and friends had not been uneasy at his giving up in New Zealand; writing to James to congratulation him on his marriage.

Robert Thomson, Sydney, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 25 February 1854 (Item)

Glad that the family approve his giving up his expensive farming in Otago without consulting them; his account which gives him more credit that he had anticipated; the orders placed against the money realised in the sale of his father's books should be cancelled if not too late; trade is dull now but should do some good business in association with Henry Heap; hopes to see friends at home in less time than he has been away; Thomas is with John who has had an operation.

Robert Thomson, Sydney, to William Bottomley (3 pp.), 17 March 1854 (Item)

His account; the orders placed against the sale of his father's books should stand; seeks a testimonial which might help him into the principal situation in the company when it becomes vacant shortly.

Robert Thomson, Sydney, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 17 March 1854 - 20 March 1854 (Item)

A letter, almost identical to Robert Thomson, Sydney, to William Bottomley [3 pp.], and marked 'Duplicate per Overland Mail', but with an addition of 20 March on money and a testimony.

Robert Thomson, The Liverpool and London Fire and Life Insurance Co., Sydney, to William Bottomley, 1 April 1854 (Item)

Have decided to marry despite his slender means; seeking to raise money.

Robert Thomson, Australian Mutual Provident Society, 353 Pitt Street, Sydney, to William Bottomley (4 pp.), 2 September 1854 (Item)

Testimonials have arrived; has got a better position by his own exertions; is working to calculate for retiring annuity fund for Govt. clerks, to be incorporated into an Act of Council, and this should lead to other duties; life is happier and easier since his marriage.

Robert Thomson, A.M.P. Office, Sydney, to William Bottomley (2 pp.), 24 October 1854 (Item)

Seeking bill for £23.6...

Robert Thomson, Australian Mutual Provident Society, Pitt Street, between King and Hunter Streets, Sydney, to William Bottomley (6 pp.), 20 November 1854 (Item)

News of a little daughter for William and Anne; his account with William which is said to be over-drawn; has been doing the largest insurance business ever done in that part of the world; hopes soon to get another Secretaryship which will enable him to live comfortably and within his means; seeks a fire agency from William Thomson; sorry that James is involved in litigation.