Source note for The Diary of Mary Thomas

Mary Thomas left London Docks for South Australia on the Africaine on 28 June 1836, travelling with her husband, Robert Thomas, four children and five employees. Her diary, written in pencil, gives an account of the voyage rich in detail of people and events.

In 1866 she transcribed her diary for her son, William Kyffin Thomas, in what Penelope Hope described as ‘a firm, unfaltering hand’. William edited the transcript of the diary and a collection of letters from his mother for publication in 1915 as The Diary and Letters of Mary Thomas (1836-1866): being a record of the early days of South Australia. It has been reprinted several times since, and it is the 1983 fascimile of the 1925 edition of this publication that is drawn on here. A small number of passages which are clearly commentary on the events of 1836 from the perspective of three decades later have been omitted; they are indicated thus: …

The original diary is held in the State Library of South Australia (PRG 1160/1). Extracts from the published diary were included in Peneope Hope’s 1968 publication The Voyage of the Africaine: a collection of journals, letters and extracts from contemporary publications.

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