MS 6607

Papers of Jack Hibberd (1940- )

Scope and Content Note

Papers of Jack Hibberd


6.2m (46 boxes) + 2 folio items

Correspondence restricted: permission of the donor required during his lifetime.

These papers have been acquired by the Library, by purchase and through the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme, in the period 1980-95.

The papers include correspondence, drafts of plays and novels, theatre programs, reviews, newspaper cuttings, notebooks and other papers. Correspondents include: J.D. Hainsworth, Graeme Blundell, Laurie Clancy, Helen Garner, Patrick McCaughey, Martin Friedel, John Tittenson.

Biographical Note

Playwright, poet and novelist. Born in Warracknabeal, Victoria, Hibberd studied medicine at the University of Melbourne, and practised as a doctor in Melbourne from 1964 until 1973. He was closely associated with the Australian Performing Group until 1976. His plays include A stretch of the imagination (1973) and Dimboola (1974). More recent works include the novels Memoirs of an old bastard (1989), The life of Riley (1991), and Perdita (1992). He has also published translations of poems by Baudelaire, Le vin des amants (1977), and with Garrie Hutchinson, The barrackers' bible: a dictionary of sporting slang (1983).


The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature, second edition, p. 367-68.

John Hainsworth, ed., Hibberd, 1987.

Paul McGillick, Jack Hibberd, 1988.

Box 1

Diary, 1967. There are a few typescript pages of diary entries for 1967.

A Wellington boot - This is Hibberd's first attempt at drama. The original manuscript containing both annotations by Hibberd (biro) and criticisms by David Kendall (pencil) is included. Also included is an annotated typescript draft and a manuscript revision of Act 4.

White with wire wheels - The original title of the first of Hibberd's plays to be performed as the spectacularly successful White with wire wheels was The new girl. Includes:

the original manuscript (according to Hibberd this was written, before revision, in about a fortnight);
the first typescript draft with manuscript and typescript revisions;
second draft containing manuscript revisions;
third draft including revised and additional scene one;
folder of press cuttings, reviews, programs, publicity material, contracts, etc.

Box 2

Notebooks - 5 notebooks consisting predominantly of manuscript poems. Some of these contain textual revision. Some of these poems were submitted to and published in Meanjin, Twentieth Century, Quadrant, The Bulletin, Southerly and The Australian. Also included are one or two short stories, some prose, in particular, commentaries on the cinema plus handwritten sections of A Wellington boot.

Typescript drafts - 6 folders of typescript drafts of poems. Most are revisions of typescript versions of manuscript poems contained in the notebooks. Some, however, appear only in typescript form. For some poems there are as many as three separate drafts.

Addition 9 March 1981

Box 3

Production copies of plays:

i) 'Brainrot : an evening of pathology and violence and love and friendship'. Annotated, with directions for actors. (Includes 'Jack Juan');

i) White with wire wheels. Annotated, with directions for actors.


i) 'No time like the present'. Unfinished novel, original manuscript 70p., together with a short dramatic sketch 'Foghorns and seagulls';

ii) Notebook (1967-68) containing sketches, jottings, etc.;

iii) Notebook (1968): Below the belt (Melbourne University Review) by Jack Hibberd;

iv) 'Ideas for Jack's new and dirty theatre'. Extracts, sketches, drafts of poems;

v) Notebook of film criticism, short plays, sketches.

Correspondence - Correspondents include Graeme Blundell, Laurie Clancy, Peter Carrigan, Kerry Dwyer, Helen Garner, Patrick McCaughey, Geoffrey Milne. (Restricted).

Addition 7 March 1983

Box 4

Dimboola -

a) Original manuscript of Dimboola, entitled 'The Reception', written in London, 1968, exercise book containing extensive revisions, jottings etc.;

b) Exercise book containing revisions for Dimboola; also drafts by Hibberd for some wine reviews;

c) Spring-back folder containing Dimboola typescript (part photocopy).

Death-rattle or the last days of Epic J. Remorse, written in London, 1968-69. Extensive 100p. manuscript with corrections. Also one folder of notes and drafts for 'Freedom and all that', London, 1967-68.

The Great Dividing Range - manuscript in two exercise books of a play based on Ned Kelly, written in London in 1968; extensive revisions. Also notebook containing drafts for articles, reviews, etc.

Baudelaire: Le Vin des Amants. Poems from Baudelaire by Jack Hibberd. Notebook containing articles in draft form and versions of poems by Hibberd, based on Baudelaire for the publication of Gryphon Books, 1977, entitled Le Vin des Amants, a copy of which is also included (the book appeared in an edition of 600 numbered copies signed by both author and artist).

Original synopsis or plan for White with wire wheels and cinema projection slide used to advertise Brain Rot at Union Theatre and Carlton Cinema, 1968: two pieces of ephemera which have a symbolic interest.

Addition 4 November 1983 and 5 October 1984

Box 5

A toast to Melba - Includes first and second draft, the final copy and production script and notes.

Three popular plays - Includes draft and typescript.

One of nature's gentlemen - Includes typescript.

The overcoat - Includes Typescript.

A stretch of the imagination - Includes manuscript and production copy typescript.

The Les Darcy Show - Includes manuscript and typescript.

Box 6

Peggy Sue - Includes first draft manuscript, 1981 revision typescript and 1982 revision typescript.

Klag - Includes two manuscripts and a typescript.

Box 7

Captain Midnight V.C. - Includes two manuscripts (original and full revision) and two typescripts.

Customs and Excise - Includes manuscript, typescript and a typescript of Proud flesh (a later version of Customs and Excise).

Addition 6 February 1987

Box 8

Folder 1 'No time like the present'

Folder 2 Sin

Folder 3 'A toast to Melba'

Folder 4 'A man of many parts'

Folder 5 The barracker's bible - book reviews

Folder 6 The barracker's bible - book reviews, notes, etc.

Folder 7 The barracker's bible - press cuttings, notes, royalty statement June 1983

Folder 8 Photographs - The barracker's bible ; The three sided coin

Box 9

Folder 9 Notebook, posters, quotes, etc.

Folder 10 The barracker's bible by Jack Hibberd and Garrie Hutchinson, 1983;

The Overcoat Sin by Jack Hibberd, 1981;

Photographs - The barracker's bible;

Scrapbook, including posters.

Box 10



'A toast to Melba'

The barracker's bible

Addition 4 April 1989

Box 11

'Memoirs of a Carlton bohemian'

Programme notes, 1967

Early poems, 1965-67, manuscript and typescript

The umbilical cord, 1968, manuscript and typescript

Poetry, songs, etc., 1968, including 'Long time no see : a sketch'

Political review, 1972, typescript

Women, 1972, spiral-bound typescript

Peggy Sue, corrected typescript/production copy, 1974

Poetry manuscripts, 1975

Baudelaire, manuscript and typescript of poetry and correspondence, 1977

Theatre poems and songs, 1979, manuscript and typescript drafts

Squirts, drafts, correspondence, notes and clippings, 1981

Typescript drafts of 'The common touch'

Box 12

Liquid amber, manuscript and typescript drafts, 1982

'Jack Hibberd: a critical survey', B.A. thesis by David McLean, 1982

'The old school tie', manuscript, 1983

Squibs, correspondence and promotional material, 1984

'Twenty-one tomorrow' - manuscript and typescript of autobiographical introduction to Paul McGillick's book, 1987

Notes for talk to Guild Theatre Society, 1981

Correspondence re performances of Hibberd's plays, 1979-84

Aspect: art and literature, No. 25, 1982

Inscribed copies of Hibberd by J.D. Hainsworth (Methuen, 1987) and Jack Hibberd by Paul McGillick (Rodopi, 1988)

Addition 31 May 1990

Box 13

Cuttingbook containing film reviews by Jack Hibberd for Farrago, 1967-68

Typescripts and drafts of Marvellous Melbourne

Copy of Mum '67

Copy of Aspect: art and literature No. 25, 1982

Drafts and typescript of 'Odyssey of a prostitute'

Box 14

Thesis BA (Hons) by C.J. Shine entitled 'Jack Hibberd and non naturalism in Australian drama: 1967-1977', Canberra, ADFA, 1986

Drafts of 'Silver threads among the gold'

Final draft of Dimboola

Captain Midnight V.C. - drafts, notes and other material

Typescript of Liquid amber

Drafts of 'Memoirs of a Carlton bohemian'

Addition 10 December 1990

Box 15

Correspondence with The Age, 1988

Correspondence and performing rights re Dimboola, 1975-89 and A strtech of the imagination

Correspondence with Martin Friedel, 1980-86

Correspondence with John Hainsworth, 1984-88

Correspondence re Klag, 1970

Correspondence with John Milson, 1982-83

Correspondence with Len Radic, 1984

Correspondence with John Tittenson, 1983-88

Correspondence with Volk and Welt, 1988-90

Correspondence re Yarra Bend

Miscellaneous correspondence, 1970-90

Box 16

Drafts, typescripts and cuttings of Australian theatre, including

'Melbourne - Sydney', 1980

'Lionel's luck'

Baudelaire's 'Le vindesamants' poems

Box 17

Drafts, typescripts and cuttings including

'Mississippi Jones'

'Mother Supremo'

Peggy Sue

A stretch of the imagination

Box 18

Drafts, typescripts, and cuttings including

'Table talk'

'Unbespoke dufflecoat'

'The three sisters'


Box 19

Files containing drafts and cuttings of book reviews

- Australian drama 1970-75 by Leslie Rees

- Australian national dictionary

- Breakfast in hell by Myles Harris

- Bertolt Brecht in America, by James K. Lyon

- Charivari by Martin Buzacott

- Collected poems and prose by Harold Pinter

- Death in Brunswick by Boyd Oxlade

- The golden age of Australian opera

- Liberté, Libertés by John Tittenson

- The Macquarie dictionary

- Melba: the voice of Australia by Terese Radic

- Nightmarkets by Alan Wearne

- No laughing matter by Joseph Heller and Speed Vogel

- On the nature of things erotic by F. Gonzalez-Crussi

- The Oxford book of marriage

- The Penguin book Australian Satirical verse

- The shooting party by Anton Chekov

- VN: the life an art of Vladimir Nabokov by Andrew Field

- Miscellaneous reviews

Box 20

Miscellaneous files, including:

- Files on Community Theatre

- Rejection and acceptance slips, 1966-71

- Registration of copyright

- Miscellaneous drafts sent to Hibberd

- Address book and pocket diaries, 1965 and 1974

- Australian Mythologies Conference: Hibberd 1981


1 photo album

Box 21

Miscellaneous cuttings and printed material, 1970-84

Addition 21 June 1991

Memoirs of an old bastard

Box 22

Drafts and typescripts

Box 23

Reviews, 1989-90



10 vols of scrapbooks containing typescripts

Copies of the book - published by McPhee Gribble, 1989


Box 24

Drafts and cuttings for his wine and food article 'Grapeshots' written for the Age, 1986-87

Addition 26 June 1992

Box 25

Published copy, manuscript and typescripts of The life of Riley

Box 26

TV sketches

Papers relating to Sin and Smash hit!

Addition 28 January 1993

Box 27

Drafts and typescripts of Perdita (1992), a sequel to Memoirs of an old bastard

Copy of bound typescript

Copy of the book

Addition 30 April 1993

Box 28

Drafts and typescripts of 'The genius of human imperfection' (not published)

Addition 14 May 1993

Typescripts and letters (from Martin Flanagan and Chris Wallace-Crabbe, 1992) relating to 'The genius of human imperfection'

Correspondence, 1992-93. The correspondents are David Williamson and Barry Humphries.

Drafts and typescripts of Ginger: a musical diversion (1992)

Addition 6 June 1994

Box 29

'Un effort de l'imagination', translation by Patricia Clancy.

Perdita: copy-edited typescript and corrected galleys.

Death rattle or the last days of Epic J. Remorse: page proofs, 1990.

'Where have all the critics gone?': manuscript reply to Leonard Radic's article 'Where have all the good writers gone?' (Age, 8 Oct 1988).

Box 30

'Malarky barks' (male sonata for 'Musical Parts'): manuscript, 1980-83.

'The genius of human imperfection': two spiral-bound typescripts, 1993, 1994; one loose-leaf typescript.

Box 31

The illustrated history of medicine: review, 1994.

Accidental death of an anarchist: review, 1994.

Poems, 1993-94.

Australian Football League Grand Final 1993: article.

Melba column, The Australian: article, 1993.

Newspaper cuttings, 1970-73, 1986-87, 1994

Addition 8 May 1995

Box 31

Mona, Gertrude and Mary Lou: manuscript, 1993; typescript, 1994; spiral-bound typescript, 1994.

Peggy Sue: typescript, 1981.

Box 32

A man of many parts: manuscript and typescripts, 1977-79.

Mothballs: manuscripts and typescripts, 1980-81.

Glycerine tears: manuscripts and typescripts, 1981-82.

Lavender bags: manuscript and typescript, 1981.

Smash hit: manuscripts and typescript, 1979-80 (two folders).

'Australian dictionary of Australians': selected quotations, 1983.

Box 33

New poems, 1993.

William Trevor, The news from Ireland: review, ca. 1986.

Diana Crumpler, Chemical crisis : one woman's story, humanity's future?: review, ca. 1994.

'Das Hochzeits-Essen' (Dimboola), trans. Walter Brandin: typescript.

'Uno sforzo d'immaginazione', trans. Adriana Donizetti: typescript, 1977.

'P E R I P A T O S T H S F A N T A S I A S ' (A stretch of the imagination), trans. George Theodoridis: typescript.

A stretch of the imagination on television: newspaper cuttings, 1991.

Interview with Lyn Hard, Australian Defence Force Academy, 1992: video and photographs.

Addition 27 March 1996

Box 34

Correspondence, 1977-95. Correspondents include Len Radic, Carillo Gantner, John Willett and Jean-Paul Delamotte. Copies of some of Hibberd's own letters are included.(Restricted)

Applications for performing rights, royalty fees, 1977-80

Addition 6 December 1996

Box 35

Manuscripts of 'Odyssey of a prostitute' (incomplete play, 1975), typescript of 'Baudelaire poems' (nd), manuscript and typescript of Slam dunk (1994).

Correspondence, programs, cuttings, flyers, and synopses relating to Hibberd's plays, Liquid amber (1983), A stretch of the imagination, German translation (1988), The old school tie and Glycerine tears (1989).

Manuscript, typescript and cutting of reviews by Hibberd of plays and books (1995)-


Good works

The Granta book of the family

The Passion...and its deep connection with Lemon Delicious Pudding

Summer of the seventeenth doll

Rethinking life and death

The information


Program notes for Romeo and Juliet in the Botanical Gardens (1994) (not sighted 2010)

Report on the manuscript book on multiple chemical sensitivity (not sighted 2010)

Programs, flyers, cuttings and a newsletter for the 21st anniversary of La Mama (1988)

Addition 10 March 1997

Box 36-37

The great allergy detective book

Manuscript, Jan-April 1995

Typescript, April-Sept 1995

Research material and notes

Copy of publication

Box 38

Plays by Hibberd

Captain Midnight. Two typed drafts and published play by Yackandandah Playscripts

A man of many parts. Manuscript and typed drafts

A stretch of the imagination. Cuttings, letters and scripts, 1973-

Box 39

Plays (cont)

Hotel Paradiso, 1956. Manuscript draft and production script

Medical follies: a comic treatment. Manuscript and typed drafts

'No time like the present', 'This great gap of time', 'Three old friends', 'O', 'Just before the honeymoon', 'See you tomorrow at Maxims', 'The common touch', and 'Breakfast at the Windsor'.

Newspaper cuttings on Louis Nowra, 1980-85

Letter to Age re Literature Board, 1993

Score for Sin (folio item)

Box 40

Reviews by Hibberd

Honour by Joanna Murray-Smith and Scenes from a separation by Andrew Bovell and Hannie Rayson (November 1995). Included are the published

plays and a response from Rayson

Pacific Union by Alex Buzo (September 1995). Includes a letter from Buzo

and the published play

Dead white males by David Williamson (August 1995)

Bad boy bubby. Review of screenplay for the film

The incorruptible by Louis Nowra

Companion to theatre in Australia by Currency Press (books and book reviews)

The woman who walked into doors by Roddy Doyle

Cosi by Louis Nowra

Romance of the Sydney stage by Humphrey Hall and Alfred Cripps

Australian Drama Studies Vol 1. (publications)

Addition 24 June 1999

Box 41

Reviews and articles by Hibberd

Free association: an autobiography by Stephen Berkoff

The story of the night by Colm Toibin

Down by the river by Edna O’Brien

Reading in the dark by Seamus Deane

The heretic by David Williamson

Come to dazzle by Corille Fraser

The bend for home by Dermot Healy

The La Mama collection edited by Liz Jones

Oxford companion to Irish history edited by S.J. Connolly

The call by Martin Flanagan

Ulysses by Denis Rose

This side of brightness by Colum McCann

The star factory by Ciaran Carson

Greatest benefit to mankind

Anna Bishop by Richard Davis

Anton Chekov by Donald Mayfield

Mr Darwin’s shooter by Roger McDonald

Melville’s at the Continental: a restaurant review

Hibberd’s reaction to reviews of the film The sound of one hand clapping

Printed material

Alienation in literature: A. Samuel Beckett, B. Jack Hibberd

The theatre of Louis Nowra by Veronica Kelly, with drafts of review by Hibberd

Issue of Eureka Street May 1999, with page of poems by Hibberd

Jay-walking Blues poems by Kevin Murray, includes note from author

Box 42

Drafts of works by Hibberd

‘A history of the western world in ninety minutes – A Man of Many Parts’ spiral bound 1998

‘A history of the western world in ninety minutes – A Man of Many Parts’ Proof read by David Kendall, Nov 1998

‘A man of many parts – A history of the western world in ninety minutes’ 1998 early drafts

‘Dimboola the Musical!’ spiral bound, proof read by David Kendall, 1999

‘Dimboola the Musical!’ drafts, July-September 1998

‘Captain Midnight: a screenplay’, corrected by David Kendall January 1999

‘Captain Midnight: a screenplay’, drafts September 1998

‘Following Rilke: poems’

‘The genius of human imperfection’

Four poems and a blurb for the launch of ‘The genius of human imperfection’

Box 43

Photographs of Hibberd and family

Miscellaneous cuttings, letters, cards and poetry by Hibberd, 1996-99. Correspondents include Kevin Murray, John Clark and family members, incudes copies of Hibberd’s letters.

Letters, cuttings and blurbs, 1993-98, concerning The genius of human imperfection

Notes, clippings and letters concerning the production of A stretch of the imagination, March 1997

Miscellaneous letters, postcards, souvenirs and facsimiles, 1974-May 1999. Correspondents include family members, Kevin Murray and Les Murray and includes copies of Hibberd’s letters.

Various additions

Box 44

Correspondence and cuttings relating to the 'Performing arts in Australia' which was published in Meanjin 1/84 (letters restricted)

Correspondence 1980-89 (letters restricted)

Typescript of Smash hit and a letter from Dennis Olsen (1980) (letters restricted)

Correspondence 1988-91 (letters restricted)

Correspondence, 1990 re The life of Riley (letters restricted)

Box 45

Folder marked 'miscellaneous papers and theatre correspondence' including reviews of The life of Riley, 1991, correspondence 1972-92, clippings, notes and an article 'Jack Hibberd's anti-naturalism' by Paul McGillick, 1978 (letters restricted)

Clippings, manuscript music, correspondence, programs and photographs relating to The overcoat, 1978-82 (letters restricted)

Papers relating to Odyssey of a prostitute, 1984-87 (letters restricted)

Correspondence relating to the 1981 publication of The overcoat and Sin by Currency Press (letters restricted)

Papers relating to Man of many parts, 1980-84 (letters restricted)

Papers relating to Hibberd's tour of New Zealand with the Australian Performing Group, 1975 (letters restricted)

Papers relating to Mothballs, 1981-82 (letters restricted)

Correspondence with Nimrod Theatre, 1981-84 (letters restricted)

Box 46

Liquid amber, revision for A country quinella: typescript and letters, 1993-94 (letters restricted)

'I.M. Australia': manuscript, typescript and letters, 1990 (letters restricted)

'The prodigal son' and 'The dutiful daughter' ('Trios' for 'Musical parts'): manuscript, typescript and letters, spiral-bound typescript, 1993-94 (letters restricted)

General correspondence, 1993-94 (letters restricted)

Squibs: typescript and letters, 1983-84 (letters restricted)

Memoirs of an old bastard and Perdita: correspondence, 1988-91 (letters restricted)

Correspondence, newspaper cuttings, 1982-83 (letters restricted)

Litigation correspondence, 1995-Oct 1996 (letters restricted)

Miscellaneous correspondence on medical and literary issues, 1995-96 (letters restricted)

March 1996
Updated April 2010