Index to the Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825
The index is arranged alphabetically by surname and subject. To conduct a full text search use the form at the foot of this page.
Microfilm copies of the Correspondence can be viewed in our reading rooms. Printed versions of the index are also available in the reading rooms.
Alternatively, the Archives Resources Kit, which comprises the core of the State's historical records is available in 40 community access points including our Regional Repositories throughout country New South Wales. A number of other institutions and organisations around the State also hold parts of the kit and copies of State archives.
Copies are available via the Colonial Secretary Papers copy service.
The powers of the first Governors of New South Wales under the terms of their commissions and instructions embraced almost everything necessary for the exercise of government in a remote and virtually independent command. Thus the scope of the surviving records maintained by their Secretaries is wide, reflecting all aspects of the administration of the infant colony.
Ten different men served as Secretary to the Governor, or to the colony, or 'to Government', in the 22 years before Governor Macquarie arrived, with an average tenure of office of less than two years, allowing for vacancies. The arrangements were not conducive to good record-keeping.
The arrival of Governor Macquarie at the end of 1809 brought to the office of Secretary to the Governor probably the ablest and most experienced man who had yet filled it, one who was to hold it for the longest period, and who, as its last occupant under the old style, was to be the link between the older casual system of court appointments and the new method of permanent appointment by commission from the Crown. In his 11 years of office, the methodical John Thomas Campbell greatly improved the situation in respect of the public records of the colony, and the greater part of the surviving records date from this period.
Generally, a new order and regularity was established in the performance of the public business during the 12 years of Macquarie's administration. He was succeeded by Sir Thomas Brisbane on 1 December 1821.
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