HMS Beagle is best known as the ship on which naturalist Charles Darwin sailed during 1831 to 1836. As a survey ship the Beagle undertook significant work in Australian waters.

The sources below, many of which are held in the museum library, will help you find information on Darwin's voyage, the ship, its crew and the other voyages it made.


About the Beagle
HMS Beagle: The story of Darwin's ship
Keith Stewart Thomson; drawings by Townsend Moore. London, Phoenix, c2003.
508.0924 DAR
A detailed history of the Beagle and ship's company.

HMS Beagle: Survey ship extraordinary
Karl Heinz Marquardt. London, Conway Maritime Press, 1997
623.822 MAR
This title in the Anatomy of the ship series gives detailed instructions on how to build a model of the Beagle.

Darwin's voyage and it's significance

The voyage of the Beagle: Darwin's extraordinary adventure in Fitzroy's famous survey ship
James Taylor. London, Conway, 2008
508.0924 DAR
This new publication features the following chapters: The origin and design of HMS Beagle; Robert FitzRoy: Evolution's captain; FitzRoy's officers and crew; Charles Darwin: naturalist and companion; The art of surveying the sea; Earle & Martens: FitzRoy's painting men; The legacy of the Beagle.

Darwin and the Beagle
Alan Moorehead, Ringwood Penguin Books, 1970
508.0924 DAR

In the wake of the Beagle: Science in the southern oceans from the age of Darwin
Edited By Iain McCalman, Nigel Erskine. Sydney, UNSW Press, 2009.
Not yet published

Darwin's armada: How four voyagers to Australasia won the battle for evolution and changed the world
Iain McCalman. - Camberwell Viking, 2009.
508.0924 DAR
This new publication looks at Darwin, Huxley, Hooker and Wallace and how they forged the Darwinian revolution in Australasia.

Accounts of voyages in the Beagle

Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's ships, Adventure and Beagle, Vol. 1: Proceedings of the first expedition, 1826-1830, under command of Captain P. Parker King
New York: AMS Press, 1966.
508.0924 DAR

Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's ships, Adventure and Beagle, Vol. II: Proceedings of the second expedition 1831-1836, under command of Captain Robert FitzRoy
New York: AMS Press, 1966.
508.0924 DAR

Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's ships, Adventure and Beagle, Vol. III: Journals and remarks, 1832-1836
Charles Darwin
New York: AMS Press, 1966.
508.0924 DAR

Discoveries in Australia: With an account of the coasts and rivers explored and surveyed during the voyage of HMS Beagle in the years 1837-38-39-40-41-42-43...
John Lort Stokes. London T. and W. Boone, 1846. 2 vols.
Adelaide Libraries Board of South Australia, 1969.
RARE 919.4042 STO

The Beagle letters/Charles Darwin
Edited by Frederick Burkhardt with an introduction by Janet Brown
Cambridge, UK; New York, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
508.0924 DAR

A narrative of the voyage of HMS Beagle
(Passages from the narrative by Captain Robert FitzRoy RN, together with extracts from his logs, reports and letters; additional material from the diary and letters of Charles Darwin; notes from Midshipman Philip King and letters from Second Lieutenant Bartholomew Sullivan) Selected and edited by David Stanbury.
London: Folio Society, 1977.
RARE 910.45 FIT

The voyage of the Beagle
Charles Darwin
New York New American Library, 1972.
508.0924 DAR

Charles Darwin's The voyage of the Beagle: The journals that revealed nature's grand plan
Michael Kerrigan; photography by Wolfgang Kaehler
Glasgow, Saraband, c2005.
508.0924 DAR

Darwin in Australia

Charles Darwin in Australia
F.W. Nicholas and J.M. Nicholas.
Port Melbourne, Vic. Cambridge University Press, 2002.
919.4042 NIC

Crew of the Beagle

FitzRoy: The remarkable story of Darwin's captain and the invention of the weather forecast
John and Mary Gribbin.
London, Review, 2003.
508.0924 FIT

Mariners are warned! John Lort Stokes and HMS Beagle in Australia 1837-1843
Marsden Hordern
Carlton, Vic. Melbourne University Press at the Miegunyah Press, 1989.
919.4042 HOR

Syms Covington of Pambula, assistant to Charles Darwin on the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, 1831-1836
Compiled by B.J. Ferguson for Merimbula-Imlay Historical Society Incorporated. 2nd ed. rev. and enl. Merimbula, N.S.W: The Society, 1988.
508.0924 FER

Official Logs

The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) holds microfilms of original logs held in UK collections. Click on the two links below to see what records are held by Libraries Australia and which libraries hold copies.

Internet resources

Below are some useful web-based Darwin and HMS Beagle resources.

The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online is a comprehensive and well respected website.

The Darwin Correspondence Project is a joint UK and American academic initiative that contains details of about 14,500 surviving letters.

Another good website, About Darwin, aims to provide a more personal look at the man and his work.

The Beagle Project aims to build a replica of the HMS Beagle that will sail the world and inspire global audiences.

The Natural History Museum’s Natural History Pioneers Charles Darwin site has lots of useful information on Darwin and the Beagle including an interactive Beagle voyage.

The National Archives and Learning Curve in the UK have produced a podcast geared for school students. Download Darwins Voyage: HMS Beagle 1831-36 for an entertaining and fresh look at Darwin's voyage using accounts drawn from official documents such as the ships logs held at the National Archives.

Another podcast worth downloading is a BBC Radio 4 program Hunting the Beagle which traces Dr Robert Prescott's (University of St Andrews) ten-year search for the timbers of the ship in the mud on the Essex marshes.

Basic facts about the HMS Beagle, including the length, date of build, vessel type and its fate can be found on the UK's National Maritime Museum website.

The Wikipedia entry on the Beagle has a concise history of the vessel and links to Wikimedia commons resources.

The Waepedia entry on The voyage of the Beagle has links to electronic copies of many original texts.

Family history resources

The family and local history handbook 11
Edited & compiled by Robert Blatchford and Elizabeth Blatchford.
Nether Poppleton: Robert Blatchford Publishing, [2008]
REF 929.1072041 BLA
Contains a short article titled "Was Your Ancestor a Crew Member on HMS Beagle in 1831?".

A transcript of the muster for the HMS Beagles' 1831 voyage. Another listing, with some illustrations, is available on the Usborne family history site.

The online version of the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography features an entry on Robert FitzRoy.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition has an entry on Lort Stokes. Search the Dictionary for information on crew and others associated with HMS Beagle, including the artists Conrad Martens and Augustus Earle.