Papers of Harold Blair (1924-1976)
- 33cm (1 box) + 2 folios
- Available for reference
The papers were donated by Mrs Dorothy Blair in 1995
The papers cover Blair's musical career, his work on behalf of
Aboriginal children, and his speeches and statements on Aboriginal
issues. Five albums contain cuttings, programs, photographs
and, to a lesser extent, letters, speeches, and leaflets. The
three general albums have been indexed. The other two albums
cover Blair's 1951 New York tour and his Commonwealth Jubilee
tour of Australia in the same year.
Miscellaneous items include three small notebooks with notes and
jottings, Australian Broadcasting Commission material, exercise
boks from courses attended, and a copy of his biography Dark
Man White World.
Harold Blair, Aboriginal tenor and activist, was born at the Cherbourg
Aboriginal Mission in Queensland in 1924. Encouraged by Marjorie
Lawrence he studied at the Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne,
and in the United States. In 1949 he married Dorothy Eden, a
fellow singing student at the Conservatorium, and went on to teach
there from 1956. He was a very popular stage performer.
In 1962 Blair started the Aboriginal Children's project which
provided Melbourne holidays for Mission children. He stood as
the Labor candidate for the seat of Mentone in the 1964 Victorian
Sate elections, losing only on preferences to the sitting member,
the Minister for Transport. He died in Melbourne in 1976 at the
age of 51.
1. Cutting book 1945-49 containing cuttings, programs, ABC
contracts, and Conservatorium reports, covering Blair's early
music career in Queensland and Victoria.
2. Cutting book 1951 covering a 26 recital tour of all States for
the ABC, for the jubilee year of the Commonwealth.
3. Album 1972-76 includes correspondence, ceritficates of
appreciation, congratulations on receiving the Order of
Australia, death and funeral notices, and obituaries.
Correspondents include Peter Karmel, B. M. Snedden, and E. G.
Dexter. Congratulatory messages include telegrams from Lord and
Lady Casey, William McMahon, Ian Viner, and David Combe.
4-6. Three small personal notebooks with notes and jottings, 1958-59
7-9. Course exercise books, Monash Teachers' College, and Melbourne
10. ABC material including concert programs, 1950-51.
11. Dark man white world: a portrait of tenor Harold Blair by
Kenneth Harrison, 1975.
12. Cutting book 1951-71 containing newspaper coverage of Blair's
bid to enter Parliament; invitations, programs and reviews.
13. Album of Blair's 1951 New York tour, including his only public
appearance at the Town Hall, New York City, 18 March 1951, in a
Benefit Preview Concert for the cultural exchange program of the
Australian Society of New York. Album includes photographs,
information on the Society, and cuttings.
Guide compiled April 1996. Last updated 22 August 1996