At its core, a diary encompasses information about events, observations, thoughts and actions recorded chronologically. The most diligent diarists do achieve a quotidian output,10 but more often there will be gaps and catch-up entries where several are written up retrospectively. A record created chrono- logically of course covers many kinds of record making, stretching back to the development of writing when climatic, astronomical and other cyclical phenomena were observed and recorded. The two principal types are those kept for purely personal reasons (eg. the intimate journal of thoughts and feel- ings or the travel diary) and those maintained for official busi- ness reasons (eg. an appointments diary or a log book). Within the second category particularly, there exist innumerable technical variants.
Engineer Log of Great Britain SS Commencing Aug 21st 1852 First Voy. To Australia, the composite log/journal kept by the 19-year-old Reginald Bright (1833–1920), opened at the entry for Thursday 30 September (1852) and recording, on the left, technical data about the operation of the ship which employed steam, and on the right, consumption of stores, fuel and general remarks.
Bound private ledger July 1876–June 1885 maintained by Felton Grimwade and Co., opened to show periodic payments for insurance and rent, 1876–1877.
James Graham Melbourne Port Phillip Cash Book Commencing 6 April 1839, opened to show cash payments received from the Bank of Australasia for July 1840.
Prescription book kept by Charles Ogg, a prominent Collins Street chemist, opened to show entries from Sunday 14 March to Tuesday 16 March 1926. Item 23 Accounting Journal, 1856–1862, maintained by the biscuit manufacturer T. B. Guest, displayed closed to reveal the reinforced leather binding. tem 24 Business/personal diaries, 1952, 1953 and 1955 maintained by Howard Dicker (1903–1981), a small sheep and cattle farmer based at Stewarton, north central Victoria. Item 25 A selection of printed diaries — part stationery, part advertis- ing, part fashion statement — drawn from the University Archives’ holdings, private collections of staff, and in case of the pre-teen lockable intimate diaries, a supermarket!