Unlock the Past Cruises

Australian Handbook 1886

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Covering New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, West Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, New Zealand, and Fiji Islands, the Australian Handbook and Almanac and Shippers and Importers Directory for 1886, the seventeenth year of issue, is a guide with all kinds of interesting and unique information.

Apart from a descriptive account and statistical information for New Zealand and each of the Australian colonies and their towns, you will also find details on climate, education, religion, agriculture, population, societies and clubs, parliamentary and official departments, local self-government, telegraphic and postal details, police, banking, shipping, mining and land regulations, newspaper, manufacturers, emigration, as well as naval and military forces. You will also find details of the governors, consuls and ecclesiastical appointments of the time.


ROLLESTON, a post town formerly known as THE BROWN, is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Brown River, which is a continuation of the Comet River. A correspondent describes it as being the centre of a large squatting district, there being several large stations around it. It is a well grassed and watered district, and admirably adapted for squatting pursuits. The township, which is perhaps one of the oldest in the colony, contains two stores, a blacksmith's and saddler's shop, one public house, lock-up, with one constable in charge, and a provisional school (No.92), with 15 children on the roll.

The Directory and Business Guide portion of the Handbook is a comprehensive listing of importers, exporters and shippers. For the importers and exporters it lists their name, address and what they trade (sewing machine thread, engravings and works of art, bibles and books, wicker ware, glassware and more) - exporters from England and Scotland and importers throughout Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

Features of this Handbook include:

  • emigration information “likely to be of service to intending Emigrants”
  • land regulations for each state and New Zealand
  • mining regulations for each state and New Zealand
  • Australasian ministries
  • wool statistics
  • historical outline and chronology of events in Australian history
  • obituaries of people who died between November 1884 and November 1885
  • hundreds of advertisements

This handbook gives a snapshot of the world of our ancestors in the mid 1880s.