Guide to the Benjamin Dunstan papers (as filmed by AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Dunstan, Benjamin, 1864-1933
Papers of Benjamin Dunstan (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
10 September 1913 - 22 May 1923
Collection Number
14 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

Notebooks containing lists of fossil collections.

Correspondence 1913-1923 with R.J. Tillyard. Subjects include Tillyard's work in Nelson, New Zealand, and dispatch of fossil specimens to London.

Printed material.

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 at the Palaeontology Library, British Museum, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1990 (AJCP Reel: M2493). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Palaeontology Library, Natural History Museum. Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London.

For further information see Papers of Benjamin Dunstan at the Natural History 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 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; Dunstan, Benjamin; Fossils; Geologists; New Zealand; New Zeland: geology; Nelson, New Zealand; Tillyard, R.J., Dr


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 148, p54.[]

Biographical / Historical

Benjamin Dunstan (1864-1933) was born at Vaughan Victoria and is supposed to have shown an early interest in geology. He graduated from Sydney Technical College in 1887 with honours in Geology, Mineralogy and Mining and was first employed by Cox and Seaver as assayer and draughtsman. He succceeded SH Cox as lecturer in geology at Sydney Technical College, probably in 1891; joining the Queensland Geological Survey in 1897. He was appointed Acting Government Geologist in 1902; his title was altered to Chief Government Geologist in 1915.

In Queensland he investigated the geology of Central and Northern Queensland; preparing the geological maps of Gymple Goldfield and three editions of the Geological Map of Queensland. He provided geological information for palaeobotanical reports for several scientists, including RJ Tillyard. In 1901 he commenced compilation of the Queensland Mineral Index which was finally published in 1913.

He reorganised the Geological Survey during his tenure, improving its efficiency and establishing a proper reference library; he advocated the use of technology and used aerial photography to map the newly discovered Mount Isa mineral field in 1924. He retired in 1931.

Item Descriptions

Series A. Notebooks

9 items

Catalogue of fossils with figures (File (a))

(Indexed. 155p)

Supplementary collection (37p.) (File (b))

QGS fossil collection (54p.) (File ( c ))

List of box contents. At back: two plans of fossil insect bed, Ipswich (6p) (File (d))

List of fossil collection (48p.) (File (e))

List of fossils… Collections distributed … St Petes Insects (File (f))

(pp11-124, other pages blank)

List of fossils with sketches (File (g))

(p. 7-37, plus 58p)

Queensland type fossils, figured, described or referred to (90p) (File (h))

List of Cretaceous fossils and locality index (74p) (File (i))

Series B. Miscellaneous, 1917 - 1921

4 items

List of Trilobites sent to B Dunstan by J Mitchell (1p), 14 January 1919 (File (a))

Recent, post tertiary and tertiary mollusca etc (File (b))

Includes: lists of mollusca from raised beds at Maitland; marsupial remains; Cretaceous, Queensland and South Australia; Jurassic plants, NSW; Trilobites


Catalogue of small fossils 'D' (File ( c ))

(19p, typescript)

Mesozoic insects of Queensland by RJ Tillyard, Proceedings of Linnaean Society of NSW, 1917 - 1921 (File (d))

Benjamin Dunstan's copy with MS annotations and inserted list of fossil insects described. Benjamin Dunstan supplied Tillyard with the fossils from the Ipswich Beds.

(198p, printed)

Series C. Correspondence between Benjamin Dunstan and Tillyard (Nelson, NZ; Hornsby), 10 September 1913 - 22 May 1923

Subjects include: publication in Proceedings of 'Mesozoic Insects of Queensland'; fossils presented to Cawthron Museum by Benjamin Dunstan and Yale University; discussion on variations on species; Benjamin Dunstan's lecture at Ipswich Town Hall on the Insects; Tillyard's work in Nelson as Chief of Biological Dept; Benjamin Dunstan fossil hunting at Bundamba Beds; Tillyard urges Dunstan to send fossil specimens to British Museum(Natural History); comments on Ipswich fossils 'absolutely beyond price to Entomology'.

(157p. letters from Benjamin Dunstan are carbon typescripts; some faint typescript).