A recent gift to the State Library of W.A. has provided W.A. researchers with a unique link in the theological history of our state.
Law firm Minter Ellison, who trace their origins back to early Perth law firm Northmore, Hale Davey and Leake, founded in 1890, have long been in possession of a handwritten copy of a diary written by Rev. John Ramsden Wollaston on his journey from England to Western Australia in 1840 – 1841.
Rev. Wollaston was 50 when he arrived in W.A., having been commissioned by the church to establish a parish in the Bunbury/Australind area, and so founded the Anglican church at Picton. He later moved on to Albany and was subsequently appointed Archdeacon with responsibility for all of Western Australia. As Archdeacon he made 5 tours of his area of responsibility, each tour covering 1000 miles on horseback, largely through virgin bushland.
His diary “Journey from Gravesend to the Swan River, 1840-1841 in the Ship “Henry” (Capt Todd) 26/11/1840-19/4/1841 tells of daily life aboard ship and contains observations of birds, fish, the weather and countries visited on the way to Western Australia.
The handwritten copy donated by Minter Ellison was made by Canon Alfred Burton, a prolific theological historian who published scores of works on the establishment and growth of the church and church schools in W.A.
The diary will now be treated with a view to long term preservation and made available to researchers wishing to further explore the history of Rev. John Ramsden Wollaston.