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Papers of the Bunbury Family

Identifier(s): MS 13530


Scope and Content

This collection comprises of:

  1. Letters of Capt. Richard Hanmer Bunbury to his wife Sarah Bunbury, 1840-1857 (41 letters);
  2. Letters of Capt. Richard Hanmer Bunbury to his father Sir Henry Bunbury, 1840-1850 (52 letters);
  3. Letters of Capt. Richard Hanmer Bunbury to his step-mother Lady Bunbury, 1840-1844 (5 letters);
  4. Letters of Capt. Richard Hanmer Bunbury to his father-in-law R. C. Sconce, 1839-1840 (7 letters);
  5. Letters of Capt. Richard Hanmer Bunbury to George Repton, 1842-1843 (3 letters);
  6. Letters of Sarah Bunbury to her father R. C. Sconce 1840-1846 (54 letters);
  7. Letters of Sarah Bunbury to her mother and to Sir Henry and Lady Bunbury, 1840-1850 (8 letters);
  8. Letter of Hanmer and Sarah Bunbury, 1840-1843 (18 letters);
  9. Letters of Rev. R.K. Sconce to R. Hanmer Bunbury, 1844-1846 (4 letters);
  10. Miscellaneous letters to R. Hanmer Bunbury, 1824-1856 (7 letters);
  11. Miscellaneous letters to Sarah Bunbury, 1843-1870 (17 letters);
  12. Miscellaneous documents, including baptistal certificate of Bunbury, wills, passports, etc.


  • 1824-1870


  • Bunbury Family (Family)


Restrictions apply to parts of this collection. Please contact library staff for more information.

Biographical Information

Captain Richard Hanmer Bunbury (1813-1857), normally known as Hanmer, was the youngest son of Lieutenant General Sir Henry Bunbury (1778-1860), 7th Baronet, author of works on military history, and his first wife Louisa Emilia Fox. Hanmer served in the Royal Navy. On 19 December 1838 he married Sarah Susanna Sconce (bapt. 1816- ), normally known as Sally or Sukey. Hanmer and Sally, together with their son Harry, Sally’s brother Robert Knox Sconce (bapt. 1818-1852), later Anglican minister at St Andrew’s Sydney, and his wife Elizabeth, emigrated to Port Phillip on the Argyle, arriving in March 1841. Hanmer was appointed a magistrate in 1841, Superintendent of Water Police at Williamstown in 1842 and Harbour Master at Williamstown in 1844. He owned a station at Mount William named Barton Hall after his home in England. After a trip to England in 1857, he returned to Victoria and died in Melbourne the same year.

Sarah Susanna Bunbury was the daughter of Robert Clement Sconce, Chief Commissary of the Navy at Malta, and his first wife Sarah Knox.

The family lived first in Brunswick Street, New Town (now Fitzroy), then at ‘Stanney’ on the Darebin Creek. In September 1842 they moved to Williamstown. After Hanmer’s death, Sally and the children left Victoria to live in England.

Further papers of Richard Hanmer Bunbury, 1827-1839, including letters to his father, are held by Princeton University Library, U.S.A.


Entries for Richard Hanmer Bunbury and Sarah Susanna Bunbury. The dictionary of Australian artists: painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870, ed. Joan Kerr. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Entry for Robert Knox Sconce. Australian dictionary of biography, ed. Douglas Pike, vol. 2. Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1967.


70 cm.




The Bunbury family papers were microfilmed for the Australian Joint Copying Project Miscellaneous Series (AJCP M 1909-1911) and a set of photocopies made for the National Library of Australia’s collection (NLA MS 8098) in 1986. Some letters may not have been included in the collection of original documents acquired by SLV. This list is based on the one created by NLA for the AJCP.

General Physical Description note

70 cm, 3 microfilm reels; (35 mm.)


  • Bunbury Family (Family)
Guide to the Papers of the Bunbury Family
Description rules
Aacr2, Lcsh
Language of description
Script of description

Repository details

Part of the Australian Manuscripts Collection, State Library Victoria Repository

328 Swanston Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000 Australia
03 8664 7002