Letters received relating to Moreton Bay and Queensland 1822-1860

“The correspondence of the Colonial Secretary is one of the most valuable sources of information on all aspects of the history of the Colony and the State of New South Wales. Chiefly responsible for this was the Colonial Secretary's pre-eminence in public life and the fortunate occurrence of the survival of the greater part of his papers.”NSW State Records website - Colonial Secretary's Correspondence Guide

A number of indexes to locate information relevant to a range of aspects of the history of Queensland, its events and individuals are listed. Use the indexes to locate the relevant documents on microfilm.

Introduction to the records

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the John Oxley Librarian negotiated with the Archives Authority of New South Wales to undertake a filming program to copy all correspondence relating to the Moreton Bay settlement and the area which after December 1859 became known as the Colony of Queensland.  The films held at the State Library of Queensland were designated the A2 series, starting with Reel A2.1, progressing through to A2.53 in chronological order; although one reel might contain records for more than one year.

As the correspondence commenced in 1822 and continued until late 1859 (this continuing project currently covers to 1852 plus 1859), the material is of particular interest to researchers of the years of penal settlement followed by the period after 1842 when the district was opened to free settlers.  In many cases annotations on the back of letters indicate the decision taken by the Governor and the course of action taken.  On occasions, earlier or later documentation between the settlement and headquarters which concerned the same subject was batched and filmed together.

Letters were sent by well-known personalities such as Commandants Miller, Logan, Clunie, Fyans, Cotton, Gravatt and Gorman to Governors Brisbane, Darling, Bourke, Gipps and Denison.  Also reports appear created by Surveyor Generals Oxley and Mitchell, Master Attendant John Nicholson, Doctors Cowper, Murray, Robertson, Ballow and Cannan, the Reverends John Vincent, Johannes Handt and John Gregor plus other eminent pioneers.  Contrasting with official circulars and despatches can be found convict petitions, applications by early settlers and listings of land sales.

This inspiring source, outlining the establishment of the colony of Queensland from its inception, has now been indexed by a State Library volunteer Christine D’Ath to provide easy access to the reels.

For material between 1822 and December 1825, an index created by State Records of New South Wales to The Papers of the New South Wales Colonial Secretary 1788-1825 should also be consulted.

Dr Jennifer Harrison


An index has been created for each microfilm and a number of reels have yet to be indexed. Due to the size of the indexes there may be a number of documents for each reel.

To locate the information needed choose which reel you want (the date range is next to each reel), click on the link to open a pdf, then do a keyword search of the document.

A2 series microfilm

Reels A2.1 – A2.53 Contents of all the reels [PDF 91 kb]

New South Wales – Colonial Secretary
Letters Received 1826 – 1934

  • Letters relating to Moreton Bay and Queensland, 1822 – 1860
    From the Originals in the Archives Office of New South Wales

Reel A2.1 : 1822-1827 plus Special Bundle No. 4/1917.1

Reel A2.2 : 1827-1828 [PDF 332 kb]

Reel A2.3 : 1828-1829 plus Extracts from Special Bundle No. 4/1100.3 (Ships Manifests, 1827 and 1828) [PDF 387 kb]

Reel A2.4 : 1829-1830 [PDF 316 kb]

Reel A2.5 : 1830-1831 [PDF 355 kb]

Reel A2.6 : 1831-1832 [PDF 355 kb]

Reel A2.7 : 1832-1833

Reel A2.8 : 1833-1836

Reel A2.9 : 1836-1838

Reel A2.10 : 1838-1839

Reel A2.11 : 1839-1841 plus Special Bundle 4/7088 (Penal Settlement Regulations M1099)

Reel A2.12 : 1841-1842

Reel A2.13 : 1842-1843, plus Special Bundle 4/7203, Special Bundle 4/7312, and Special Bundle 4/7358.

Reel A2.14 : 1844-1845 plus Special Bundle 4/7358 (NSW Civil Establishment, Returns of the Medical Establishment, 1829, 1831, 1833-35, 1837-48)

Reel A2.15 : 1845-1846

Reel A2.16 : 1846-1847

Reel A2.17 : 1847-1848

Reel A2.18 : 1848-1849

Reel A2.19 : 1849-1850

Reel A2.20 : 1850-1851

Reel A2.21 : 1851 (continued)

Reel A2.22 : 1851 (continued)

Reel A2.23 : 1852

Reel A2.24 : 1852 (continued)

Reel A2.25 : 1852-1853

Reel A2.26 : 1853

Reel A2.27 : 1853 (continued)

Reel A2.28 : 1853-1854

Reel A2.29 : 1854

Reel A2.30 : 1854 (continued)

Reel A2.31 : 1854-1855

Reel A2.32 : 1855

Reel A2.33 : 1855 (continued)

Reel A2.34 : 1855 (continued)

Reel A2.35 : 1856

Reel A2.36 - Yet to be indexed

Reel A2.37 : 1856 (continued)

Reel A2.38 : 1857

Reels A2.39 to A2.40 - Yet to be indexed

Reel A2.41 : 1859 [Partly indexed]

Reel A2.42 : 1859

Reel A2.43 : 1859 [Partly indexed] [PDF 201 kb]

Reels A2.43 [PART] to A2.53 - Yet to be indexed

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