Colonial Diaries

The State Library holds a number of diaries that provide insight into European perspectives on life in the Swan River Colony. The diarists share their thoughts on the developing settlement and its location, as well as revealing aspects of their personal lives and experiences. 

Some highlights of the collection include:

Mary Ann Friend journal 
1829 - 1831 

Mary Ann Friend kept a journal as she travelled from Portsmouth to Hobart aboard the Wanstead. During the journey she and her husband, Captain Matthew Friend, visited the Swan River Colony within its first eight months. They stayed in the colony for just under seven weeks. Friend’s journal contains one of the earliest accounts of the Swan River Colony. The original journal was acquired by the State Library with the assistance of the Australian Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account.

Frances Louisa Bussell diaries 
18 September – 20 October 1832 
17 December 1832 – 3 February 1833 
3 - 16 November 1833 
17 November - 2 December 1833 
January - 23 December 1835 
7 February - 22 March 1836 
10 April - 4 December 1836 

The Bussells were a prominent family in Western Australia’s colonial history and they were prolific letter writers and diarists. The State Library holds a large collection of private archival material relating to the family (some 13 shelf metres). The diaries by Frances Louisa Bussell, along with other archival records like the Molloy diaries below, were purchased at auction in 2007 with assistance from the National Cultural Heritage Account, the descendants of Frederick Aloysius Weld Bussell, Busselton Shire Council and the State Library of Western Australia

John and Georgiana Molloy diaries 
28 January 1835 - 8 April 1837 
1 July 1837 - 21 February 1840 

Georgiana Molloy was an amateur botanist who collected many specimens for James Mangles in England. Molloy took particular care with describing and packaging the specimens, which made her stand out from others sending plant specimens back to England. She and her husband lived in Augusta for a short time before moving to the Vasse River in 1839.

Last updated on: 7 August 2018