MS 8049
Papers of Rohan Rivett (1917-1977)



Scope and Content Note

  • Papers
  • 1895-1978
  • 6.02 m. (43 boxes), plus 1 security binder and 8 large folio boxes
  • Partly restricted: Series 2-15 and 16/subseries 2-3 are available for reference.
    Series 1, 16/subseries 1 and 17-18 are restricted.

The collection was presented to the National Library by Mrs Nancy Rivett in 1989. Further papers were donated in 1998.

It comprises correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, diaries, photographs and cuttings of Rohan Rivett, Sir David Rivett (father), Nancy Rivett (wife) and Rhyll Rivett (daughter).


Biographical Note

Rohan Deakin Rivett was born in Melbourne on 16 January 1917, the son of David and Stella Rivett. He was educated at Wesley College, the University of Melbourne and Balliol College, Oxford. He was briefly a cadet reporter and then enlisted in the 2nd AIF in June 1940. After the fall of Singapore he was a prisoner of war in Japanese camps for three years. The diaries and notes that he kept formed the basis of his book Behind bamboo, published in 1946.

After the War Rivett worked for the Melbourne Herald and was a correspondent in China in 1947 and in Britain in 1949-51. He married Nancy Summers in 1947. In 1951 he became Editor-in-Chief of the Adelaide News. In 1959 he campaigned against the death sentence of Rupert Stuart, an Aborigine who had been convicted of murder. Following a Royal Commission, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. In 1960 Rivett and the News were charged with seditious libel and malicious libel, but were acquitted. A few weeks later Rivett was dismissed by the proprietor, Rupert Murdoch.

In 1961 Rivett was appointed Director of the International Press Institute at Zurich. He returned to Australia in 1963 and for the rest of his life was a freelance journalist and broadcaster. He had a passion for cricket and reported on a number of Test series. He was the author of several books, including Behind bamboo; an inside story of the Japanese prison camps (1946), The listener in Test cricket book (1948), Australian citizen; Herbert Brookes 1867-1963 (1965), and David Rivett; fighter for Australian science (1972). Rivett died in Melbourne on 6 October 1977.

Albert Cherbury David Rivett (1885-1961) was the son of Rev. Albert Rivett, a Congregational minister. He was educated at Wesley College, the University of Melbourne, and Lincoln College, Oxford. In 1911 he married Stella Deakin, the second daughter of Alfred Deakin. In the same year he was appointed lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Melbourne, becoming Associate Professor in 1920 and Professor in 1924. In 1927 he became the first Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and from 1946 to 1949 he was Chairman of CSIR. He was knighted in 1935.


Series List

Series

Title

1

Family correspondence, 1917-75 (Restricted)

2

General correspondence, 1946-77

3

David Rivett: fighter for Australian Science, 1927-76

4

Manuscripts and typescripts, 1947-62

5

Journalism, 1966-77

6

Broadcasts, 1933-77

7

International Press Institute, 1951-78

8

Subject files, 1936-77

9

Diaries and notebooks, 1930-77

10

School and University, 1928-72

11

Photographs [n.d.]

12

Scrapbooks, 1938-77

13

Cuttings and printed material, 1938-78

14

Miscellaneous

15

Death of Rohan Rivett, 1977

16

Papers of Sir David Rivett, 1895-1972

Subseries 1 Family correspondence, 1895-1967 (Restricted)

Subseries 2 General correspondence, 1915-72

Subseries 3 Miscellaneous, 1928-54

17

Papers of Nan Rivett, 1941-47 (Restricted)

18

Papers of Rhyll Rivett, 1976-81 (Restricted)


Series Description

Series 1 Family correspondence, 1917-75 (Restricted)

This series comprises letters of Rivett to his parents, wife and children during his overseas trips, as well as letters of his children to Rivett and his wife, letters of David Rivett to Rohan Rivett and letters of condolence received after the death of Sir David Rivett.

Item

Description

1

1917-20

2

1921-29

3

1930-32

4

1933

5

Letters of David Rivett to Rohan Rivett, 1934

6

1934

7-8

1935

9

Letters of David Rivett to Rohan Rivett, 1936

10

1937

11

1938

12

1938-39

13

Letters of David Rivett to Rohan Rivett, 1942-43

14

Letters of condolence received after the death of Sir David Rivett, 1961

15

1972

16

1965-75

17-18

Undated letters


Series 2 General correspondence, 1946-77

This series includes correspondence relating to Rivett's writings (Australian citizen, 1965 and the new edition of Behind bamboo, 1972-73), letters from the general public concerning his newspaper articles and radio broadcasts ('Window on Asia' for radio 2BL and 'Window on the west' for radio 2FC) and correspondence with friends and colleagues (including letters relating to Rivett's sacking from News Ltd in 1960).

The main correspondents include Tom Dixon, Harry Geddes, Don Hackett, Sir Keith Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, Ray Robinson and Donald Tyerman.

The series also includes correspondence with Sir Donald Bradman (1953-77), colleagues from the Herald and Weekly Times and Adelaide News Limited, as well as overseas journalists.

Item

Description

1

1946-66

2

1967-69

3-4

1970-75

5

1976-78

6

1965

7-8

Letters, mostly from the general public concerning Rivett's radio broadcasts ('Window on Asia' for 2BL and 'Window on the west' for 2FC) and his newspaper articles

9-10

Correspodence concerning Rivett's writings, including the new edition of Behind bamboo, 1946, 1963-77

11

Correspondence with the Canberra Times, 1969-77

12

Correspondence with the Economist, 1965-70

13

Correspondence with the Department of Foreign Affairs, 1966-77

14

Correspondence with Tom Dixon and Harry Geddes, 1970-77

15

Correspondence with News Limited and the ABC, 1957-61

16

Correspondence with Don Hackett, 1963-70

17

Correspondence with Sir Keith Murdoch, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch (1952-60). Also includes Rupert Murdoch's letter 5 July 1960) informing Rivett that he has been removed from his position of Editor-in Chief with News Limited in Adelaide

18

Correspondence with Ray Robinson, 1972-77

19-20

Letters from friends and colleagues received after the sacking, 1960

21

Correspondence with Donald Tyerman, 1964-77 (Addition August 1998)

22-24

Correspondence with friends and colleagues in Australia and overseas, 1960-77 (Addition in August 1998)

Security binders

1-2 Correspondence with Sir Donald Bradman, 1953-77 (Added in August 1998)


Series 3 David Rivett, fighter for Australian Science

Rivett's biography of his father was published by in 1972. This series contains typescripts, notes, research material (including copies and extracts of Sir David Rivett's correspondence and typescripts of interviews with Sir David's friends and colleagues), cuttings and correspondence relating to Rivett's research for the biography of his father.

The correspondents include Sir Mark Oliphant, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch and Clyde Cameron.

Item

Description

1

Extracts of Sir David Rivett's correspondence, 1927-45

2

Extracts of Sir David Rivett's correspondence with Lord Bruce, 1928, 1948-54

3

Correspondence with Sir Mark Oliphant, 1951-54

4

Correspondence and typescripts of interviews with Sir David's friends and colleagues, including Edward G. Bowen, R.J. Vickery, E.J. Hartung, J.A. Prescott and Lady (Flora) Bassett (daughter of Sir David O. Masson), 1965-67

5

Research and correspondence, 1972-72

6

Letters received after the publication of the book, including thank you letters from friends for copies of the book, 1972-76

7

Miscellaneous correspondence and cuttings, 1946-48


Series 4 Manuscripts and typescripts

This series contains manuscripts and typescripts of articles and miscellaneous writings by Rivett, including Australia, 'Menzies', 'China' and 'Women they came back to'.

Drafts of 'Writing about Australia' and Rivett's BA Hons thesis 'Camille Desmoulins' (1937) were received in August 1998.

Item

Description

1-3

Drafts of Australia

4

Drafts of 'Menzies' for the Argus, 1946

5-11

Drafts of 'Menzies' for the Argus, 1950-56

12

Drafts of 'Menzies' for the Argus and the Age, 1957

13-14

Drafts of 'Menzies' for the Age, 1958-59

15

Drafts of 'Australia's loss: the Menzies years', 1946-60

16-18

Miscellaneous drafts of articles for the Age, 1960-62

19-21

Miscellaneous drafts

22

Photographs used with his writings

23-26

Drafts of writings on China, 1947

27-28

Drafts of an unpublished novel 'Women they came back to'

29

Drafts of a story about Catherine Sarah Deakin entitled 'Deakin's confidante', c. 1971

30-41

Drafts of miscellaneous, possibly unpublished, early writings, including 'The eight of us' and 'Two women'

42-45

Drafts of miscellaneous writing, including 'Writing about Australia' and Rivett's thesis 'Camille Desmoulins', 1937 (see also MS 1213; Added in August 1998)


Series 5 Journalism, 1966-77

The series comprises drafts of book reviews and articles.

Papers relating to Rivett's 1959 campaign against the death sentence of Rupert Stuart, an Aborigine who had been convicted of murder, were added to the series in August 1998. They include notes and drafts of Rivett's writings, letters from members of the public, family, friends and colleagues and newspaper cuttings.

Item

Description

1-2

Drafts of book reviews, 1971-75

3

Drafts of articles entitled 'Profiles '75'

4

Drafts of 'Queensland safari' for the Canberra Times and The Sun, 1966

5-12

Drafts of newspaper articles, including some for the Canberra Times, for such as 'Mawkish bull about Taiwan's gangsters' for 'Among neighbours' series, 'These are the most anxious of us all', 'Journeying' and 'Vietnam' [n.d.].

13-17

Miscellaneous drafts

18-37

Papers on the Stuart case, including notes made in Court, drafts of Rivett's newspaper articles and letters of congratulations from friends, colleagues and members of the public after his name was cleared. (Added in August 1998)


Series 6 Broadcasts, 1933-77

This series contains drafts of news commentaries and other broadcasts ( including 'News and views' and 'This week with Rohan Rivett') for the ABC, 3GL and the BBC.

Item

Description

1-21

Drafts, mostly for 'This week with Rohan Rivett', 1933-77

22

Articles for BBC broadcasts [n.d.]

23

Miscellaneous drafts

24

Typescript of 'Bonanza '68' for Radio 4, 1968 (Added in August 1998)


Series 7 International Press Institute, 1951-78

Rivett was the Director of IPI, Zurich in 1962-63. The series contains correspondence, minutes of meetings, reports, addresses, press releases, cuttings, a photograph album , papers relating to the history of IPI and its constitution.

The main correspondents include T.C. Bray, Mochtar Lubis, Per Monsen, Allan Hernelius and Donald Tyerman.

Item

Description

1

Correspondence, 1965-70. Correspondents include IPI representatives in Kenya: Frank Barton and Switzerland: Antony Brock and Eileen Cameron)

2

Correspondence with American and Canadian representatives, 1964-67

3

Correspondence, mostly with T.C. Bray of Brisbane Courier Mail, 1964-70

4

Correspondence with Mochtar Lubis, 1963-67

5

Correspondence with Per Monsen, 1965-67

6

Correspondence, 1974-78 (correspondents include Ranald McDonald)

7

Correspondence with representatives from the Philippines, 1967

8-9

Correspondence with Taiwanese representatives, 1970

10

Correspondence with Indian representatives (C. Sarkar and S. Ramanathan), 1966-70

11

Minutes of Executive Board Meetings, reports, addresses and papers of General Assembly meetings, 1965

12

Copy of an address given by Donald Tyerman, minutes of Executive Board meetings, copies of Director's reports and seminar papers, 1954-63

13

Miscellaneous IPI papers

14

A copy of IPI Constitution, 1974

15

Press releases, 1977-78

17

Photo album [n.d.]

18

Tape of interview with Rivett, 1977

19

Papers relating to IPI sent to Mrs Rivett, 1978

20-21

Correspondence with Donald Tyerman, Allan Hernelius and other correspondents, 1962-63 (Added in August 1998)

22

Miscellaneous papers (Added in August 1998)

23-24

Copy of Rivett's address to IPI's 11th and 12th General Assembly meetings, Paris and Stockholm 1962-63 (Added in August 1998)


Series 8 Subject files, 1936-77

Rivett kept the files, containing cuttings, notes and other papers, in this series on the following subjects:

Item

Description

1

The Age Book of the year award, 1976

2

Beefsteak Club, 1968-71

3

Papers relating to Bowen, Queensland

4

Copyright relating to Rivett's writings, 1975

5-13

Notebooks and scrapbooks relating to cricket, 1926-33

14

Fitzroy Football Club, 1959-77

15

Food for India, 1966-69

16

Old Wesley Collegians Association, 1936, 1979

17

Pensioners, 1963-67

18

A copy of a report entitled 'People of the North Committee' published by the North Queensland Local Government Association, 1965-66

19-20

Queens College, University of Melbourne, 1936-38, 1974-77

21

Charters Towers, Queensland , 1966

22

Royal Society of Arts, 1972-75

23

Royal Masonic Lodge, 1975-76

24

Joan Saxton Speaker's Agency

25

Newspaper clippings and correspondence relating to the Stuart case, 1960, 1974

26

The Stuart Case by K.S. Inglis, 1961

27

Typescripts relating to Townsville, Queensland, 1965


Series 9 Diaries and notebooks, 1930-77

The series includes diaries and notebooks, including those kept by Rivett on a visit to London in 1938 and Singapore as a correspondent for the ABC in 1942.

Item

Description

1-4

Pocket diaries and a notebook, 1930-35

5-6

'Trip to London' diaries, 1938

7

Typescripts of diary kept while Rivett was in Singapore as the ABC correspondeny in 1942. The diary begins with an account of his departure from Darwin on 5 January 1942, stopping in Surabaya and Jakarta. It includes news of the fall of Singapore which were sent back to Australia. The diary ends on 10 February 1942.

8

Notebook containing some diary entries, Rivett's accounts and cricket scores, 1947-72

9-35

Pocket diaries, 1951-77

36-38

Notebooks, 1934-35

39

Address book

40

Desk calendars, 1960, 1970


Series 10 School and University, 1928-72

This series includes papers relating to Rivett's education.

Item

Description

1

Rivett's examination papers, University of Melbourne, 1933-36

2-14

University lectures notes (subjects include European History)


Series 11 Photographs

The series comprises of family photographs (mostly not identified) and photograph albums (some of the albums were added in August 1998) and postcards from Rivett's travel overseas.


Series 12 Scrapbooks, 1938-77

Rivett contributed articles and book reviews to newspapers and journals. The scrapbooks contain cuttings of these articles and book reviews.

Folio

Description

1

Press clippings, 1938-1949

2

Articles and editorials, 1951-64

3

Press clippings, 1947-66, including: overseas despatches from Indochina, Geneva, Manila, Colombo, Detroit, China; The Canberra Times clippings, July 1965-May 1966; material relating to ABC censorship and the Suez crisis

4

Press clippings, 1955-58, including: overseas despatches from Europe, Asia, USA, SEATO; material relating to ABC censorship row; book reviews, 1956-58

5

Press clippings, 1955-57, including: material relating to Four Corners television program and ABC censorship row; news editorials; book reviews; North Western Australia trip; demise of The Argus

6

Press clippings, 1946, 1960-65, including: reviews of Behind Bamboo; family photographs

7

Press clippings, 1960 concerning News Ltd. libel (See also Series 5)

8

News editorials, 1956-58

9

Press clippings, 1954, including: overseas despatches from Geneva UNESCO conference and from Vienna, Southeast Asia; an open letter to Prime Minister Robert Menzies; articles relating to the Sunday paper battle

10

News editorials, 1954-55

11

Press clippings, 1952-56, including: news editorials, 1952-56; Sunday Mail editorials; book reviews and articles from The Listener, 1952-55

12

Press clippings, 1960-63; photographs of International Press Institute visits to India, 1962, 1963; address given to IPI 11th General Assembly, Paris, 1962; material relating to trips to Hamburg, Bolzano, 1963

13

News editorials, 1958-59

14

News editorials, 1959-60

15

Press clippings, including: The Canberra Times, 1966-68; test match commentaries, 1965-66; Victorian football final analyses, 1966-68

16

Canberra Times press clippings, 1968-71; Old Wesley Collegians memorabilia

17

Canberra Times and other clippings, including: obituaries, Interprobe articles; invitations and photograph of visit to Manila, October 1976

18

Nation Review and other clippings, 1966, 1971-75

19

Press clippings, including: reviews of Australian Citizen; The Journalist's Craft; This Is Australia; Writing About Australia; Behind Bamboo; Australia and the Monarchy; David Rivett : Fighter For Australian Science; material relating to the Commonwealth Literary Fund

20

Cricket commentaries, 1970-75; Canberra Times articles, 1971-73

21

News book reviews, 1958-67

22

Book reviews, 1972-77; Canberra Times and other press clippings, 1974-77

23

The Journalist, 1974-77

24

Press clippings, photographs, school reports, correspondence relating to the Rivett Family, 1917-76; photographs taken at UNESCO Conference, Manila, 1976; first dust cover of original edition of Behind Bamboo, 1946

25

Press clippings, 1967-71 (Added in August 1998)


Series 13 Cuttings and printed material, 1938-78

The series contains loose cuttings, including those relating to the controversy over the planned tour of Australia by the South African cricket team in September 1971 (Added in August 1998), and miscellaneous printed material.


Series 14 Miscellaneous

The miscellaneous series includes passports, financial papers and medals.


Series 15 Death of Rohan Rivett, 1977

The series contains letters of condolences received by Nan Rivett following the death of her husband. The letters of Neil Kelly were added in August 1998.


Series 16 Papers of Sir David Rivett (Partly Restricted)

This series has been arranged into the following Subseries:

Subseries 1 Family correspondence (Restricted)

This series mostly comprises Rohan Rivett' letters to his parents, as well as letters of Sir David and Lady Rivett to Herbert and Ivy Brookes and letters of Lady Rivett to Sir David. Other correspondents include Rohan Rivett, Ken Rivett and Walter Murdoch.

Folder

Description

1

Miscellaneous letters, 1895-1909

2

Letters to Lady Rivett (nee Deakin), 1905-27

3

Letters of David Rivett to the Brookes, 1910-48

4

Letters addressed mostly to Herbert Brookes, 1930-56

5

Letters of Rivett to his parents, 1924-41

6

Letters of Rivett to his father, 1933-42, 1946-49

7

Miscellaneous letters to David Rivett, 1946-47

8

Letters of Rivett and his brother Ken to their parents, 1951-67

9

Miscellaneous letters to Sir David and Lady Rivett, 1946-48

10

Letters to Sir David and Lady Rivett, 1946-69. Correspondents include Rohan Rivett, A.E.V. Richardson, N.V. Sidgwick. G. Nicholls, John Dedman and Walter Murdoch.

Subseries 2 General correspondence

The main correspondents include D.O. Masson, Lord Casey and D.F. Martyn.

Folder

Description

11

Letters to Sir David, 1915-18, 1932-51

12

Letters to Sir David, 1932-47

13

Letters to Sir David, 1943

14

Letters to Sir David, 1949-51

15

Letters of D.O. Masson to Sir David, 1919-21

16

Correspondence with D.F. Martyn, 1950-54

17

Correspondence relating to sale of the Eleanor and David Rivett Memorial Library, 1971-72

Subseries 3 Miscellaneous

This series includes papers relating to the CSIRO and typescripts of articles and addresses given by Sir David Rivett.

Folder

Description

18

List of books from the library of Eleanor and David Rivett

19

Miscellaneous cuttings, 1936

20

Notes by A.J. Holloway

21

Papers relating to CSIRO (including some correspondence and cuttings), 1948-54

22

Draft of an address "Some problems ahead" delivered to the National Council of Women, 27 March 1941

23

Typescripts of articles and addresses by Sir David, 1928-48

24

Miscellaneous typescripts, 1946-49

25

Letter of Sir David Rivett to H.R. Marston, 1946 (Added in August 1998)


Series 17 Papers of Nancy Rivett, 1941-77 (Restricted)

This series includes Nancy Rivett's letters to Lady Rivett, catalogues of an exhibition of her watercolours and miscellaneous cuttings.


Series 18 Papers of Rhyll Rivett, 1976-81 (Restricted)

Rhyll Rivett is the daughter of Rohan and Nan Rivett. The series contains copy of a report of the Commission of Enquiry into East Timor (1980), papers relating to Rhyll Rivett's work with the Indo Chinese Refugees (1976-81) and her travel itinerary [19?] (Added in August 1998)


Box List

Box

Series

Items

Access

1

1

1-9

Restricted

2

1

10-19

Restricted

3

2

1-5

4

2

6-13

5

2

14-20

43

2

21-24

6

3

1-7

7

3

8-15

8

4

1-9

9

4

10-16

10

4

17-23

11

4

24-29

12

4

30-38

13

4

39-41

37

4

42-45

13

5

1-4

14

5

5-12

15

5

13-17

38

5

18-25

39

5

26-33

40

5

34-37

15

6

1-2

16

6

3-7

17

6

8-15

18

6

16-23

40

6

24

19

7

1-10

20

7

11-19

40

7

20-22

41

7

23-24

21

8

1-13

22

8

14-22

23

8

23-27

24

9

1-8

25

9

9-40

26

10

1-15

27

11

1-8

41

11

9-15

28

13

1-7

29

13

9-13

42

13

14-15

29-30

14

1-9

42

14

10-12

31

15

1-6

32

16

1-10

Restricted

33

16

11-18

34

16

19-26

35

17

1-4

Restricted

35-36

18

Restricted

Folio Box

Series

Items

1

12

1-3

2

12

4-7

3

12

8-10

4

12

11-12

5

12

13-16

6

12

17-19

7

12

20-22

8

12

23-25

Security Binder

Series

Description

1-2

2

Correspondence with Sir Donald Bradman

Guide prepared February 1992 / Revised December 1998 and February 1999