The various collections that collectively make up the Port Phillip papers are a major strength and collecting focus of the Australian manuscripts collection. They are key records of early European settlement in Victoria. John Batman's journal and John Helder Wedge's field book are among these records.
They include accounts of the first contact between the Aboriginal people of Victoria and the Europeans, and the establishment of the area now known as Melbourne.
Also included are accounts of William Buckley emerging from the wilderness after years of living among the Aboriginals. Buckley's reminiscences, as told to George Langhorne, are among them.
Many of these collections are now digitised, giving everyone access to these extremely fragile documents. Using high-resolution digital photographs of the original items, the Library has created interactive versions that can be explored online.
Included amongst the Port Phillip papers are the first handwritten issues of the Melbourne Advertiser, complemented by the papers of early immigrants to Port Phillip, including John Pascoe Fawkner and Georgiana McCrae.