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The Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825,
from the State Records Authority of New South Wales

Part 1: Letters sent, 1808-1825

"The Papers are the foremost collection of public records which relate to the early years of the first settlement and are an invaluable source of information on all aspects of its history."
Peter Collins, former Minister for the Arts in New South Wales

From the First Fleet in 1788 to the establishment of settlements in Sydney, Hobart and Brisbane, this project describes the transformation of Australia from a prison settlement to a new frontier which attracted farmers, businessmen and prospectors. The Colonial Secretary's Papers are a unique source for information on:

  • Conditions on the prison hulks and control of the convict system;
  • Relations with a distant 'home-land' and with the aboriginal population;
  • Exploration and commercial development;
  • Public health issues, liquor control and diet;
  • Labour laws, wage rates and a new judicial system;
  • the 'female factory' and the place of women in the new society.

Part 1 covers the out-letter books or ‘letters sent’ from the Governor and his principal aide, the Colonial Secretary to others within the colony or to ‘foreign parts’, which included England and other colonies. The letters date from 1808 to 1825 and tell us much about the way in which the colony perceived itself and the demands that were placed upon it.

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