Pacific Manuscripts Bureau (Pambu)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are kindly advised that this website includes images, sounds and names of people who have passed.

All users should be aware that some topics or historical content may be culturally sensitive, offensive or distressing, and that some images may contain nudity or are of people not yet identified. Certain words, terms or descriptions may reflect the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written, but are now considered inappropriate in today's context.

Key to library resources

Access anywhere with a library card In the Library (or anywhere with a Library card for NSW residents)
Available to access in the library Only in the Library
Publicly available online Publicly available

Whaling in the Pacific

The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau collection includes a large collection of records known as the New England Microfilming Project.  This collection comprises records created by American whalers, traders, sealers, sandalwooders and naval vessels.  Coverage is mostly mid to late 19th century but does include a few records from the 18th Century.

This collection is available on microfilm when you visit a Member Library such as the State Library of NSW.  

You can search broadly for whaling log books via the Pambu online catalogue but not all destinations are listed so use the guides listed below. 

Whaling Guides: 

Ask us at the Special Collections Area in the Mitchell Library for access to the following guides: 

American whalers and traders in the Pacific: a guide to records on microfilm by Robert Langdon (Location: Special Collections Area: Micro Ref Books 3:1/10)

This is the comprehensive key to all documents microfilmed as part of the New England Microfilming Projects.  It includes

  • index to the ships
  • index to captains and log keepers
  • index to places visited
  • index to miscellaneous material

Where the whalers went: an index to the Pacific ports and islands visited by American whalers (and some other ships) by Robert Langdon (Location: Australian Reference Special Collections Area: Q387.5404/1)

  • Exact dates of visits to each place
  • Wider geographical coverage than American whalers and traders

Copying Whaling Log Books

No copying may be undertaken without the written permission of the institution that holds the original records.