It should be noted that these papers are principally those used in the compilation of the colonial estimates submitted to the Legislative Council, and do not therefore fully document the departments and services financed partly or wholly from Imperial funds.
The Colonial Secretary would send a circular to the heads of all colonial departments calling for their estimates for the approaching financial year (January to December)
they were expected to include salaries and all other expenses giving both the existing arrangements and any proposed deviations from it. It is the returns to such circulars that make up the bulk of this series
also included, however, are returns of expected revenue, e.g., from the Customs Department, Internal Revenue Office, Post Office
Colonial Secretary's drafts of the finalised general estimate
correspondence from departments explanatory of particular items
comparative statements of the present and preceding years
correspondence and memoranda concerning financial and accounting administration generally. The correspondence that occurs incidentally throughout these volumes is often quite important in other connections
for example, vol. 7 contains a Lieutenant-Governor's memorandum suggesting basic alterations in the administration, and vol. 12 contains a letter from Thomas Arnold accompanying his estimate for the Board of Education and outlining the changes he intended to introduce into colonial education. After 1847, too, the influence of the Lieutenant-Governor (Denison) in financial administration is very marked. The draft and apparently miscellaneous nature of these papers is of importance in showing the various stages of formulating the finalised estimate laid before the Legislative Council.
These records are part of the holdings of the Tasmanian Archives