Item 2 - Diaries and memoranda

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Diaries and memoranda


  • 1833-1857 (Creation)

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1 microfilm

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Biographical history

Alexander Cheyne (1785-1858), son of John Cheyne of Leith, Scotland, was a captain in the Royal Engineers. In 1834, after retiring from the army he emigrated to Australia and settled first in Western Australia put arrived in Hobart in December 1835 and became Director General of Roads and Bridges and in 1838 Director of Public Works. He was dismissed in 1848 partly owing to the personal animosity of the colonial secretary John Montague. He contracted to supply water to Launceston but suffered from' long delays in payment of bills by the Government. He then became supervisor of Launceston's. swamp draining but was injured and permanently lamed in a coach accident. In 1847 he was appointed director of Hobart Water Works but was dismissed in 1848. In 1852 he became assistant superintendent of road works.' . He was a Presbyterian, superintendent of the Sunday School and a friend of Rev. John Lillie and Dr. Adam Turnbull. for more information see :

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Microfilm copy of papers of Alexander Cheyne held in the Battye Library, Perth. Mainly concerned with Tasmania with brief entries at King George Sound 1834-1835. Survey work. Notes on shipping.

a. Diary (King George's Sound, W.A.) 14 Nov. 1834 -18 Nov. 1835
Memoranda (scattered entries and notes) 1833-1842; 1841-1847
Diary (Hobart). Jan. 1845 - Dec. 1847
These memoranda booklets, and papers consist chiefly of scattered and intermittent memoranda (possibly 'noted for later use in writing up a 'journal beginning with 'a note: 'Nov. 9; 1833 left Scotland in steamer for London; Feb. 9 1834 Left Portsmouth … on the James Pattison, Middleton Master'. Notes of his appointments, journeys, and other memoranda, sometimes written more than once in different forms on different pages continue up to 1847, with an odd page possibly for 1852. There are also notes of the dates of birth or death of brothers and sisters etc. In the middle is a complete detailed diary of his life and work at King George Sound, W.A., 14 November 1834 - 18 November 1835, referring to road works, shipping arrivals, Mr Douglas' sale, John Cheyne (?brother), letters from Dr. Turnbull Governor Arthur's private secretary and on 18 November his departure for Hobart. A note amongst the memoranda states: April - August 1841 'see small memoranda book', but this diary is missing. However the diary begins again in July 1842 and continues until December 1842 and from July 1843 until July 1844 and January 1845 until. I December 1847. This diary includes general entries of his daily life and especially his financial situation and claims for dismissal from his post, with some notes of travelling and references to Scots Church and Rev. Dr. Lillie. In October 1846 Captain Swanston showed Cheyne the plan for the reservoir. This diary is continued, with only a short gap in the manuscript diary C.3/1. . Many of the pages are dark and discoloured and in July 1844 many are torn and scraps only of some pages remain. The quality of the microfilm print is poor.

b. Diary 29 Apr. 1852 - 6 Aug. 1853; 1 Jan. 1855 - 22 Mar. 1855
Written on large narrow folio pages, which have been filmed sideways (necessary to use a reader which can be turned) and the quality of the microfilm print is poor. This diary includes general entries of Cheyne's daily life - referring to preachers at Scots Church, visitors (James Turner's child pulled a coffee pot over itself and scalded itself); and also road works at Ross, Campbell Town etc

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This material is made available for personal research and study purposes under the University of Tasmania Standard Copyright Licence. For any further use permission should be obtained from the copyright owners. For assistance please contact

When reusing this material, please provide the following acknowledgement:
“Courtesy of the UTAS Library Special & Rare Collections - ENTER COLLECTION & REFERENCE NUMBER]”

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Diaries, 1833-1855 [manuscript] Cheyne, Alexander.
Battye Library, Perth, W.A.

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HE Dec 17




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