In 1866 Ambrosius van Delden, a Dutch colonial resident of Java, undertook a journey from Java to Australia. He was on a mission to negotiate the grant of a subsidy for establishing a regular steam-ship line between Java and Australia with the governments of the Australian Colonies. During his six-month visit to four Australian Colonies he kept a diary which has survived. van Delden met with a broad spectrum of society and was invited into many people's homes and official government residences. He recorded the smallest details of nature, social customs, trade and industry, and in passing commented on the turbulent political issues of the time.