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Papers on North Queensland exploration

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 293

Scope and Contents

Six items relating to exploration in North Queensland, preceded by a list of contents signed 'H. Ling Roth'.

1. "'Map of the Port Mackay District' given to me by Edmund Rawson as the original map made by Captain John Mackay but repudiated by him when published in facsimile in my book. So either Rawson made a mistake or I misunderstood him", 13" x 10½", undated.

2. 'Expedition to Cape York 1862', typescript copied from the 'Brisbane Courier', 15 November 1862, 6 pages.

3. 'Lieut. G.P. Heath's Report on the Pioneer River November-December 1862', a manuscript copy of a report to the Colonial Treasurer, 20 December 1862, 5 pages.

4. 'Lieut. G.P. Heath's Chart of the Pioneer River 1862', a folded lithographed map, 28" x 22", in poor condition.

5. 'Plan of the Mackay District 1877', a folded lithographed map, 22" x 23¾", in poor condition.

6. 'The Mackay Standard Almanac 1879', a folded printed sheet.


  • Creation: 1862 - 1879


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Henry Ling Roth (1855-1925) was the son of an Austrian émigré to Britain. He was educated in London and studied philosophy and natural science in Germany, before being recruited by English businessmen to examine the potential of the Queensland sugar industry. He travelled to Mackay in 1878 and became well-acquainted with John Mackay and other pioneers of the region. Two years later Roth published a positive account of his observations in ‘A report on the sugar industry of Queensland’ (1880). Two papers on the subject were printed by the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1881 and 1883, and Roth refined his conclusions in ‘The sugar industry in Queensland’ (1883). Altogether these works offer considerable insight into the history of the industry. Roth served as Honorary Secretary of the Mackay Planters' and Farmers' Association during 1881-1884. He became interested in the early history of Mackay and Queensland, and published ‘The discovery and settlement of Port Mackay, Queensland’ (1908). During his time in Queensland, Roth developed an interest in anthropology, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 1882. He returned to England in 1884, settling in 1888 in Halifax, Yorkshire, and transformed the Bankfield Museum, first as part-time curator from June 1890, and then as full-time keeper from 1912. He published many papers for the institute and museum, and several influential monographs, including ‘The Tasmanian Aborigines’ (1890).


1 volume(s) (1 volume) : paper

Language of Materials


Former / Other Reference

MSS 85

Other Finding Aids

Donald H. Simpson, ed., 'The manuscript catalogue of the library of the Royal Commonwealth Society' (London, 1975), p. 168.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Related Materials

The R.C.S. Manuscripts Collection includes Roth's volume of newscuttings on the Queensland sugar industry, 1878-1884.


This collection level description was created by RAS and MJC.


Roth, Henry Ling, 1855-1925, ethnologist

Includes index.
2005-09-27 14:07:42+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom