Collection RS19 - Calder Papers

Index to RS19

Identity area

Reference code



Calder Papers


  • 1843-1877 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

6 files & 1 bound over sized volume

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

James Erskine Calder (1808-1882), surveyor, was born on 8 June 1808 at Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England, ninth of eleven children of Alexander Calder, quartermaster at the Royal Military College. He was educated at village schools and in 1822-26 at the college after it had moved to Sandhurst. He then joined the Ordnance Survey in England, and his interest in this work led his father to seek from the Colonial Office an appointment for him at the Swan River settlement or in some other colony. Calder was offered and accepted appointment as assistant surveyor in Van Diemen's Land on 5 June 1829. A month later he sailed in the Thames for Hobart Town, at half pay on the voyage. On 21 November he took up his position at full pay under the surveyor-general, Edward Dumaresq. Calder became one of the colony's most distinguished early surveyors.
He also maintained a great interest in the Tasmanian Aboriginals and pleaded for the use of their place names; his Some Account of the Wars, Extirpation, Habits, &c., of the Native Tribes of Tasmania (Hobart, 1875) was a collection of material that had appeared in the Mercury, Australasian, and Tasmanian Tribune in 1872-75. His Language and Dialects Spoken by the Aborigines of Tasmania was published as a parliamentary paper in 1901.
For more information see :

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Presented by Miss G.F.Calder

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Collection includes letters and cards relating to government house, scrap book of newspaper cutting and a bound volume of Aboriginal vocabularies

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions of access and use area

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Conditions governing reproduction

This material is made available for personal research and study purposes under the University of Tasmania Standard Copyright Licence. For any further use permission should be obtained from the copyright owners. For assistance please contact

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Dates of creation revision deletion

HE Apr.2020




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