Cargo Manifest Book; 1870s; 2008.18


Port Macquarie Museum


Cargo Manifest Book

About this object

This buckram covered, pre-printed cargo manifest book records the cargo and passengers of the PS Ballina loaded at Port Macquarie from April 1878 to 13 February 1879 for shipping to Sydney.

The book provides an interesting insight into the crops and goods produced by farmers on the Hastings River at that time. The frequency of their shipping gives further insight into the size and scale of their farms and operations.

This book is a rare primary source document detailing local primary produce and evidences not only the crops and goods produced but also those who grew and produced it. Many well known local traders and producers names are written in the book. This book also records the names of Sydney trader and produce agents of the time including [James] Henry Young, local Member of the Legislative Assembly for 24 years.

The book lists each farmer or producer and details their shipments including everything from coops of fowls to cedar boards, pigs to kegs of wine, with maize, wheat, wool, hides and oysters common entries.

The PS Ballina was one of many ships operated by the Clarence and Richmond Rivers Steam Navigation Company (C&RRSN Co.) and one of many ships wrecked at Port Macquarie on the Hastings River bar. This manifest book records the cargo lost on the Ballina’s last journey on 13 February 1879. the casual recording in the book:
“Ballina wrecked this trip 13 Feby 1879”
suggests ship wrecks were an occupational hazard rather than simply an accident.

Shipping and ships such as the PS Ballina were very important to local primary producers as sea freight was the only way to transport their goods to larger markets outside of the Hastings area. Rail freight did not come to the Hastings until 1915.

This manifest book also evidences the practice of using marks or markings rather than names to label and identify freighted goods.

The book was used again in the 1920s to record detail of hours worked and material used by local builders James and Hastings Bourne, trading as Bourne Bros. It suggests that the manifest book was stored, hidden or perhaps lost for about 40 years before being rediscovered and reused as an accounts book.

The book also lists details of building works carried out on a number of local buildings including schools, businesses and homes during the 1920s. Some of these buildings survive either wholly or partially today.

This cargo manifest book also has significant research potential relating to local primary production, farms, cargo and passenger shipping, buildings, people and places.

Debbie Sommers
23 February 2014

Date Made


Medium and Materials

Paper, ink, buckram


340mmL, 210mmW, 20mmD

Credit Line

This book was professionally conserved in 2016 with assistance from the Maritime Museums of Australia Support Scheme (MMAPSS) administered by the Australian National Maritime Museum. The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS) is funded by the Australian Government and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Object Type

Maritime documents

Object number


Copyright Licence  

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