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Norfolk Island: Outline of its history from 1788 to 1884, Sydney : Thomas Richards, Government Printer, 1885

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y308698A

Scope and Contents

220 x 275 mm leather-bound book of 51 pages. The book is illustrated by one double-page and 13 full-page autotypes from original photographs, the printed surface of plates 2-14 approx. 22 x 165 mm. The reproductions are of varying quality, probably depending on that of the originals; at their best (e.g. plate 14) they are virtually indistinguishable from actual prints. They were taken and printed by Mr A. Dyer, Photo-Mechanical Operator of the Government Printing Office (see p.43). The page numbers after each plate are, firstly, that which the illustration faces and, secondly, the page on which reference is made to it (some of the references are very brief and uninformative; where they add information this has been included in the description). The book was probably produced as a result of the visit of Lord Augustus Loftus (see plates 11-12), to whom it is dedicated.

From 1856 to 1914 (when it became a Commonwealth External Territory) Norfolk Island was attached to New South Wales. The Governor of New South Wales also being the Governor of Norfolk Island. The post was held from 1879 to 1885 by Lord Augustus Loftus (1817-1904). His visit to the island, from 21-24 April 1884, was the first by a Governor since Lord Belmore in October 1870. Loftus was not satisfied by the conditions on Norfolk Island and sent Henry Wilkinson, visiting magistrate to Lord Howe Island, to report on it in 1885.


  • Creation: 1885


Conditions Governing Access

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Biographical / Historical

The book was compiled by Joseph Spruson (1840-1896), assistant registrar of copyright, New South Wales.


1 volume(s) (14 images in 1 volume)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The cover of the book is worn and the title page is loose, otherwise the book is in good condition.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Added to the Library of the Royal Commonwealth Institute by purchase in July 1904.

Related Materials

This book was exhibited for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh on 14 May 1957. The Duke was particularly interested in the buildings shown in Y308698A/1. He can be seen drawing attention to the buildings, which he found in a much more dilapidated state on his visit to the Island, at RCS V (b) 5.

Related Materials

There is an album of photographs of Lord Augustus Loftus' visit to Norfolk Island in the Library of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


For further information on the history of Norfolk Island see: Hoare, Merval (1969), Norfolk Island: an outline of its history 1774-1968, [St. Lucia, Q.] : University of Queensland Press.


This collection level description was entered by KS using information from the original typescript catalogue.

Date information

DateText: Date refers to year of publication..


Spruson, Joseph, 1840-1896; Dyer, A, fl 1885, photo-mechanical operator

Includes index.
2003-07-22 12:37:01+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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