The Ritchie Family Archive contains nineteenth century diaries, shipboard newspapers and a convict memoir.
The extensive Ritchie Family and Business Correspondence collection contains a rich trove of early genealogical documents dating from 1749; diaries compiled by James Ritchie who founded the family business in 1842, his brother Daniel Ritchie wrote about his opposition to the slave trade in a diary he kept about his travels as a surgeon through the West Indies and Mediterranean, as well as essays concerning convict transportation in the 1840s. Researchers exploring the topic of the slave trade may wish to refer to material in the Bright Family collection.
In his occupation as a surgeon the adventurous Daniel Ritchie travelled the world and recorded his experience in diaries often sketching what he saw. One such was voyage through the Mediterranean 1839-1842 inspired sketches of the landscapes he saw, including this Macedonian view.
Records that provide insight into life during the nineteenth century are the shipboard newspapers an example being the ‘Banquet for the Banished’ about daily life on a convict transport vessel. They provided inhabitants on long ocean voyages with an entertaining means of sharing, news about births, romances, travel tales, poetry, ballads and even a cautionary advice about the morality and perils of swearing.
A diary kept by convict Matthew James Everingham who arrived on the First Fleet Transport Scarborough is a record of life in the New South Wales in the late eighteenth century.
James Ritchie’s diary is an interesting source of information about the Victorian landscape and ecology as it was in the 1840s. Daily notes provide a detailed account of the ‘abundantly watered’ richness of the Western District and its landmarks, sights and sounds. Geographic sights, fauna and flora mentioned include Mount Sturgeon and Mount Elephant, volcanic sites, Blackwood forests, marshes cockatoos, animalcules and even the skeleton of a stranded whale on the coast.
Barrie, Melinda & Garrett, Sophie, ‘A Man, his dog and a diary: James Ritchie’s journey into the Western District, 1841’, University of Melbourne Collections, 2013, p.33, https://library.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/1379054/08_Barrie-Garrett_1841-12.pdf
Weber, Millicent, ‘A Fortune Built on Slavery: The Bright Family Papers and their journey from UK to Melbourne’ The Conversation https://www.dailybulletin.com.au/the-conversation/22049-a-fortune-built-on-slavery-the-bright-family-papers-and-their-journey-from-uk-to-melbourne