The Welsh in Australia: a bibliography

Compiled by Ceris Gruffudd

Introduction

This bibliography, started in 1982 following a visit to Australia when I visited libraries, museums and archives to review material of Welsh interest, has been expanded as a result of dealing with readers' enquiries at the National Library of Wales and also by the addition of items published for and since the Australian Bicentennial (1988).

The bibliography appeared in The historical and cultural connections and parallels between Wales and Australia (Edwin Mellen Press, 1991), but items have been added to this present version. The bibliography deals specifically with Australia, although there are passing references to New Zealand. Books, periodical articles and theses are included together with manuscripts specific to the subject divisions. No attempt has been made, however, to include all manuscripts as these are listed in Phyllis Mander Jones' Manuscripts in The British Isles relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. (Canberra, 1972) and in RAAM (Register of Australian Archives & Manuscripts)

The entries have been listed alphabetically under seven subject headings - Transportation, Diary and Letters, Genealogy, Travel and Description, Religion, 'The Welsh in Australia', and Biographical. The entries for books comprise the author's name, book title, place of publication, publisher's name, year of publication and pagination. Entries for journal articles contain author's name, title of article, name of journal, volume and part number, and date of publication.

The biographical entries at the end list Australian Welsh people in volumes 1-11 of the Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB) and the Dictionary of Welsh Biography up to 1940. Names in square brackets indicate second generation Welsh Australians or persons born outside Wales. The Welsh in Australia did not have, unlike their counterparts in the United States of America, a flourishing publishing industry and the early period produced only two periodicals - Yr Australydd (1866-72) and Yr Ymwelydd (1874-76), both published in Victoria. Bob Owen, antiquary and book-collector, lists Yr Ymgeisydd as having been published in Castlemaine in 1865, but no copies have survived.

The only book of Welsh interest that I came across having been published in Australia during the last century is John Jones Thomas (Caraddaeg), Britannia antiquissima: or a key to the philology of history (sacred and profane); Melbourne: Henry Tolman Dwight, 1860. 2nd edition, 1866.

A note in the NSW State Library reads, "The author seeks to prove from a study of the Welsh language and Welsh traditions that the Welsh of Cymry are identical with the Cimmerians and that these were prehistoric civilized people in Europe and Asia Minor". The note "end of the first vol" on p. 216 is the only indication that there was to be another volume. Only the first volumes of both editions are listed in the British Library, National Libraries of Australia and Wales, the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and in Ferguson's Bibliography of Australia.

John Jones Thomas was born at Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth and according to Yr Ymwelydd I (1874/5), p. 191, was the brother of Mesac Thomas (later Bishop of Goulburn, NSW); John Jones Thomas is described on the title page as 'late Her Majesty's Inspector of Denominational Schools'.

There are three manuscript collections in the National Library of Australia (NLA) containing material on the Welsh in Australia. The Evan Thomas Collection, N301.453429 E92 comprises seven boxes and four volumes of material assembled by Evan Thomas. Thomas, born in Ysbyty Ifan, was for many years the secretary of the Cambrian Society of Victoria. The records of the Society and associated societies were preserved by him and are also in the NLA; MSS. 2595.

Mrs Olwen Watson, of Sydney, donated her parents' papers to the National Library of Australia in 1983 - the Maldwyn Rees Papers; MS6781. Blodwen and Maldwyn Rees had been active in Welsh life in Australia and were responsible for editing and publishing The Welsh Australian (1935-42).

Christmas 2014 and
New Year 2015

The Library will close on Tuesday 23 December, at 6pm, and re-open on Friday 2 January, at 9.30am.

A merry Christmas to everyone

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