Significant manuscripts preserved

Some of the most rare and historic documents in the Samuel Marsden Archives have recently received conservation treatment thanks to a Community Heritage Grant from the National Library of Australia. The conservation work was undertaken by International Conservation Services, who have also preserved our portrait of Thomas Moore and several of our rare books.

The sermon papers of Rev Samuel Marsden (1765-1838), the second chaplain to the colony, have been removed from their plastic sleeves and rehoused in archival quality Mylar (polyester film) sleeves. A custom-made box has been constructed to house them.

Marsden’s sermons in their new enclosures
Three sermons of Samuel Marsden



Captain Henry Waterhouse (1770-1812) arrived in Australia as a midshipman on the First Fleet flagship Sirius, then rose through the naval ranks. He imported the first merino sheep into the colony, and befriended Thomas Moore and his stepson Andrew White. Moore became Waterhouse’s executor and looked after his property in NSW. The collection of letters and legal papers which document land transactions and other business matters sheds a unique light on the daily life of landowners in the early colonial period.

Captain Waterhouse’s will before treatment
Captain Waterhouse’s will after conservation treatment


Bishop William Grant Broughton (1788-1853) was appointed Archdeacon of New South Wales in 1828 and then became the first and only Bishop of Australia. His collection of papers includes the diary he kept during his voyage to Australia on the convict ship John in 1829, and an extensive correspondence spanning several decades. Most of his letters are addressed to his friend Edward Coleridge, others were written to his wife Sarah, and Joshua Watson of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Broughton travelled widely and was acquainted with the leading figures of the day including Sir John and Lady Franklin, and Governor Bourke. He records his encounters with them in his correspondence.

Letter from Bishop Broughton to his son-in-law William Boydell, in a Mylar sleeve

The Waterhouse and Broughton papers have received much-needed professional conservation treatment, including careful humidification and flattening of documents which have been creased. All the documents have been rehoused in archival quality sleeves.

This is the third Community Heritage Grant the Library has received. In 2009, Emeritus Professor Brian Fletcher OAM was commissioned to write a Significance Assessment report, describing how and why the Samuel Marsden Archives is of national importance. Our second grant, in 2017, allowed us to engage Preservation Australia to write a Preservation Needs Assessment report, detailing the ways in which the collections were in need of rehousing or professional conservation treatment.

In 2019, we are applying for further funding to undertake conservation treatment of the Rev Frank Cash film negative collection. The negatives require separation, cleaning and rehousing into archival quality enclosures. We are also applying for funding for a Significance Assessment of the Bible Society Australia collection, which we recently received into our custody.

2 Corinthians

'How to Spot a False Teacher' - 2 Corinthians 11:1-21

Read More