Source Information

Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office Tasmania, Despatches of the Governor's Office, 1823-1855 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data:

Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office, LINC Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

A full list of sources can be found here

About Tasmania, Despatches of the Governor's Office, 1823-1855

This collection consists of four series of despatch records that were sent from and received by the Governor's Office of what is today Tasmania. These despatches (alternatively referred to as dispatches), are rich with historical details on the running of the Governor's Office, and the impact of government on the lives of ordinary people, dating from the era when Tasmania was still known as Van Diemen's Land.

The documents in this collection are arranged by series, then are, for the most part, in chronological order.

Series Included in This Collection

Despatches Received from the Secretary of State

The despatches in this series (GO1) span from 1823 to 1840. They were bound into volumes roughly in chronological order, without any distinction between categories. Most of the despatches are of the numbered series, though the numbering is inconsistent. Also included are some unnumbered items (circulars, separate despatches, and other categories). With a few minor exceptions, all Secretaries of State began a new series on their appointment. Some also began a new series with every new year, while others carried the same series over several years or even over the whole period of their office. The practice of beginning a new series for a new Governor did not became standard until 1847.

Despatches Received from the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies

The despatches in this series (GO2) span from 1823 to 1835 and are arranged chronologically. Most of the despatches take the form of recommendations of settlers for free grants of land or other Government favour. Other despatches supplement the numbered despatches in series GO1.

Despatches Received from the Secretary and Under-Secretary of State Relating to Advances to Emigrants

The despatches in this series (GO3) span from 1831 to 1834. This series was commenced by the Secretary of State "in order to preserve a due distinction in the directions which you shall receive for the expenditure of Money in the encouragement of Emigration". The despatches authorise the Lieutenant Governor to make advances to ships masters and agents in respect to immigrants and give particulars of the persons concerned; name trade, age and family are included. An index to the 400 odd families that arrived under this scheme was compiled and is included.

Governor's Duplicate Despatches Received by the Colonial Office

The despatches in this series (GO33) span from 1825 to 1855. These despatches do not strictly belong to the Governor's Office. They are the records of the Colonial Office, deposited in the Public Record Office, and presented to the State. But they have been included by the archive in this Record Group because it would be unrealistic not to do so. In a despatch to the Governor in April, 1909 the Secretary of State asked him to bring to the attention of his Ministers the fact that the British Government wished to dispose of duplicate Colonial Office correspondence with the colonial Government. The Secretary of State suggested that Tasmania might be glad to have these records, bound in 83 volumes. The Premier indicated that the Government appreciated the action of the Colonial Office, and that the Agent-General had been instructed to ship the volumes to Hobart. This was done in November of 1909. Other States took advantage of a similar offer. The chief value of these duplicates is that enclosures are present, it having been strictly laid down that both original and duplicate should be complete, in case the latter reach its destination first. Some of these despatches are in fact the originals, the series being made up of whichever copies arrived second. Enclosures make up the bulk of the series, as they are far more numerous and substantial than those sent in the Secretary of State's despatches to the Governor. Despatches addressed to the Under-Secretary are included during the period that this channel was in use.

The information in this description comes from the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office Catalogue.