The RGSSA Library holds over 200 manuscripts, including three manuscripts of Sir Joseph Banks and a number of Australian explorers’ diaries including John McDouall Stuart’s diary, 1860-1861. Details are available through this link, Manuscripts, to the "Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (South Australian Branch) Inc"., compiled by Phyllis Mander-Jones. This includes the index published in 1981 and the supplement complied in 2006. Copies of this are available from the Society or the Society's manuscript holdings and can be searched on-line on the Register of Australian Archives and Manuscripts (RAAM).
Sir Joseph Banks. Notes describing the recovery of diamonds in Brazil with annotated list of the accompanying 3 watercolours and 5 drawings (RGSSA manuscript item 5c). Captain Cook and the Endeavour stopped at Brazil on the way to the ‘Great South Land’. Banks took the opportunity to observe the methods of diamond mining. This document has added significance as it was, no doubt, on board the Endeavour as she sailed up the east coast of Australia in 1770.
Sir Joseph Banks, Journal of a voyage to Newfoundland and Labrador…1766.
This voyage laid the groundwork for Banks’ best known work aboard James
Cook’s Endeavour. This journal was bought by S. W. Silver for
three guineas at a Sotheby's sale on 14 April, 1886 and is a part of the
York Gate Library now in the Society's possession. It was published in
1971 by Faber.
Daniel George Brock. Diary. The armourer and natural history collector on Charles Sturt’s expedition to Central Australia 1844-45. It was subsequently published by the Society as To the desert with Sturt. Brock was quite critical of Sturt and kept his diary concealed throughout the expedition. The men were supposed to hand all diaries over at the end of the expedition to assist the leader in writing the account of the expedition but Brock retained his and it was donated to the Society by descendants in 1938.
William Christie Gosse. Rough diary and Fair copy of his 1873 expedition on which he discovered and named Ayers Rock (Uluru). Uluru is an Australian icon, and this first description of it by a European is a significant piece.
George French Angas. Eight unpublished watercolours of Rio de Janeiro painted by Angas at Rio in 1845. Society also holds ten watercolours he painted for his book The Kaffirs Illustrated (1849), including one that was not published in the book. Complements holdings by Art Gallery and SA Museum of Angas watercolours.