MS 8261
Papers of Don Watson (1949- )



Scope and Content Note

  • Papers
  • 1963-90
  • 4.48 m (32 boxes)
  • Series 1-8 and 10 Restricted; Series 9 closed

The papers of Don Watson were given to the Library under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme in 1990.

The Watson papers comprise manuscripts, typescripts, cuttings, research material and correspondence relating to his biography of the Melbourne radical Brian Fitzpatrick, his book on Scots in Australia, Max Gillies scripts and speeches written by Watson for John Cain.

Biographical Note

Don Watson was born in 1949. He was an academic historian until 1983 and has since been a freelance writer of history, comedy, films, reviews and newspaper columns.

Watson has written a number of books including Brian Fitzpatrick(1979), The story of Australia (1984) and Caledonia Australis(1984). He wrote speeches for John Cain, scripts for both T.V. and stage performances of Max Gillies, scripts for the BBC Project and the co-author of the scripts for 'Manning Clark's history of Australia the musical'. He worked as a consutant on Meanjin and was also involved in the initial planning of the Melbourne Comedy Festival.


Series Description

Series 1. Brian Fitzpatrick, 1973-90 (Restricted)

Sub-series 1.        Research material (In alphabetical order)                   
Sub-series 2.        Manuscripts and typescripts                                 
Sub-series 3.        Correspondence (In alphabatical order)                      
Sub-series 4.        Galley proofs and thesis                                    
Sub-series 5.        Card index                                                  

Series 2. Caledonia Australis, 1980-87 (Restricted)

Sub-series 1.        Research material (In alphabetical order)                   
Sub-series 2.        Manuscripts and typescripts                                 
Sub-series 3.        Correspondence                                              
Sub-series 4.        Card index                                                  

Series 3. The story of Australia (Restricted)

Series 4. Max Gillies, 1985-89 (Restricted)

Sub-series 1.        Manuscripts and typescripts                                 
Sub-series 2.        Correspondence and agreements                               
Sub-series 3.        Notebooks                                                   
Sub-series 4.        Reviews and programmes                                      
Sub-series 5.        Miscellaneous                                               

Series 5. John Cain, 1985-89 (Restricted)

Sub-series 1.        Speeches and addresses                                      
Sub-series 2.        Research material and correspondence                        

Series 6. Manning Clark's History of Australia Musical (Restricted)

Series 7. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (Restricted)

Series 8. Other writings by Don Watson (Restricted)

Series 9. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1975-85 (CLOSED)

Series 10. Miscellaneous files, 1973-88 (Restricted)

Series 1. Brian Fitzpatrick, 1973-90 (Restricted)

Watson's interest in Fitzpatrick began in the mid 1970's with the research for a PhD thesis which he completed in 1976. His biography, entitled Brian Fitzpatrick, a radical life, was published in 1979.

This series includes a copy of Watson's thesis, extensive correspondence with associates of Fitzpatrick, research material, drafts and galley proofs of the book, as well as correspondence with the publisher Hale and Iremonger.

The correspondents includes Manning Clark, Sir Keith Hancock, Dorothy Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Fitzpatick, Noel McLachlan, Warren Osmond and Geoffrey Serle.

Series 2. Caledonia Australis, 1980-87 (Restricted)

This series includes research material, notebooks, manuscripts, typescripts and correspondence relating to Watson's book on Scottish settlers in Australia. It was published by Collins in 1984.

The research material has been arranged in alphabetical order according to subjects.

The correspondents includes Manning Clark, Lisa Highton and John Timlin.

Series 3. The story of Australia (Restricted)

The story of Australia was written for school children. The series includes research notes, drafts and correspondence relating to the book.

Series 4. Max Gillies, 1985-89 (Restricted)

The series contains a large collection of Max Gillies scripts written by Watson, both for television and stage performances together with original drafts, notebooks, correspondence, reviews and programmes.

The correspondents include John Timlin and Michael Shrimpton.

Series 5. John Cain, 1985-89 (Restricted)

This series contains speeches and addresses written by Watson for John Cain, and research material including cuttings, correspondence and notebooks.

The correspondents include Terry Moran and Evan Walker.

Series 6. Manning Clark's History of Australia Musical, 1983-88 (Restricted)

The series contain notebooks and correspondence relating to the scripts written by Watson for the Musical, which opened in Melbourne in 1988.

The correspondents include Manning Clark and Yvonne Dann.

Series 7. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (Restricted)

This series contains a file of miscellaneous leaflets and cuttings relating to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Don Watson was involved with the initial planning of the Comedy Festival and was co-author of the scripts for the Max Gillies concerts given during the Festival.

Series 8. Other writings by Don Watson, 1986-89 (Restricted)

This series includes typescripts of a screenplay entitled "Gippsland" and typescripts written for the B.B.C. Radio Australia Project.

Series 9. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1963-85 (CLOSED)

This series contains letters received by Watson and copies of some of his letters.

The correspondents include Peter Corris, Drew Cottle, Jim Davidson, Robert Darby, Robin Gollan and Demos Kroukos.

Series 10. Miscellaneous files, 1973-90 (Restricted)

The series contains miscellaneous correspondence, photocopies, leaflets and cuttings, including a file on A.L.P. advertising for the 1989 Queensland State Election and a file containing seminar guides used by Watson while he was a lecturer in Australian cultural history at the Footscray Institute of Technology in 1981.

Box List

        SERIES                  SUB-SERIES          BOX                        
           1                         1              1-6                        
           1                         2              6-8                        
           1                         3              9                          
           1                         4              10-11                      
           1                         5              12                         
           2                         1              13-14                      
           2                         2              15-17                      
           2                         3              17                         
           2                         4              18                         
           3                                        19                         
           4                         1              20-21                      
           4                         2              21                         
           4                         3              21                         
           4                         4              22                         
           4                         5              22                         
           5                         1              23-24                      
           5                         2              24                         
           6                                        25                         
           7                                        25                         
           8                                        26-28                      
           9                                        28-29                      
          10                                        30-32