The University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) wishes to express its appreciation to the Ritchie family for their generous philanthropic gift which has made the creation of online finding aids to the Ritchie family and business papers possible.
Contained within the papers of this well-known Western District pastoralist family are early genealogical documents dating from 1749; and diaries compiled by James Ritchie who founded the family business in 1841 and his brother Daniel Ritchie who 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.
Other records that provide insight into life during the nineteenth century are the shipboard newspapers which were the social media of their day. 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.
These news stories offer us a unique glimpse into daily life on board a nineteenth century transport ship and colourful detail on places visited during the voyage, such as this account from a stopover in Madeira a small island located near Portugal. ‘Here all is sunshine, the green bananas with their feathery tops, the visitor he has bid farewell to Europe’.
There are 8 finding aids in total for the Ritchie collection and these can be accessed directly via UMA’s online collections database using the following links. To arrange a visit to read the records please contact our Reading Room which is located at the Baillieu Library on ph. 8344 6848 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Links for Ritchie collection finding aids:
1974.0084 Ritchie Family and Business Papers
1975.0115 Alan Ritchie Correspondence and Business Records
1977.0068 Ritchie Family Records
1984.0107 Farm Administration Records
1984.0122 Farm and Budget Records
1985.0083 Ritchie Business Agriculture and Investment Records
1986.0136 Ritchie Family and Business Correspondence
2014.0026 Alan Ritchie Family and RB Ritchie & Son Business Records