National Library of Australia
The collection includes letters to Sir Arthur, newscutting books and loose cuttings, photographs, programmes, invitations, menus and various pamphlets collected by Sir Arthur. The papers relate to his period as Lord Mayor of Melbourne, his term as a Member of the House of Representatives, and his involvement with the War Damage Commission, the Commonwealth Rationing Commission, the British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines, the National Australian Airlines Commission, and the C.S.I.R.O.
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn2040360).
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s).Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], MS 7296, National Library of Australia, Papers of Sir Arthur Coles, [box number and series and/or file number]'.
The papers of Sir Arthur Coles were donated by his wife, Lady Coles, to the National Library after his death in 1982.
A recorded interview with Sir Arthur is available from the Oral History Section of the National Library.
Arthur William Coles was born in 1892 in Geelong, Victoria, and was educated at Geelong College. He served in the First World War, after enlisting as a private, and fought at Gallipoli and in France. After being wounded three times, he received his lieutenant's commission and returned to Australia in 1919.
After his return, Coles joined his uncle and two brothers in opening the first of the stores that were to become the Coles marketing chain. After the Coles Company was established in 1921, he helped build up the company and in 1928 he opened a Sydney store, which he managed for three years. During the years 1931-44, Coles was Managing Director of the Coles Company.
In 1938 Coles was elected Lord Mayor of Melbourne, having served as a Councillor for several years previously. He held the position for three terms until 1940, when he resigned to take up a seat in Parliament. In 1940 he ran for and won the seat of Henty (Victoria) as an independent. In 1941 he was one of two Independents who held the balance of power in the House of Representatives, and whose decision to vote against the Government toppled the Fadden Ministry.
Coles retired from the Coles Company in 1944, after becoming the Chairman of the Commonwealth Rationing Commission and the War Damage Commission. After completing the work of these two commissions, he resigned from Federal Parliament to chair the British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines and the Australian National Airlines Commission. In 1952 he was appointed Chairman of the Melbourne Olympic Games Committee, from which he resigned in 1953.
In 1956, Coles was appointed a part-time member of the Executive and Advisory Councils of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, from which he retired in 1965.
Coles married Lillian Knight in 1919, and had three sons and three daughters. He was knighted in 1960 and died in 1982.
References: Who's Who (1956)
The general correspondence is arranged chronologically. Many of the letters are letters of thanks, congratulations or notices of appointments sent to Coles. Letters were received from public figures such as Artie Fadden, Sir Robert Menzies, Ben Chifley and Gough Whitlam. There is also some personal correspondence from friends, including a letter to Lady Coles and two drafts of letters sent by Sir Arthur Coles. There is no family correspondence.
This series consists of newscuttings, books, loose cuttings and photographs from the period when Coles was Councillor and Lord Mayor of Melbourne. The photographs and newscuttings are arranged in chronological order. The series breakdown is as follows.
This series consists of two newscutting scrapbooks that cover Sir Arthur's visit to London in 1941, while he was a Member of Parliament.
Covered in this series are Sir Arthur's collection of newscuttings, covering the years during which he was a Member of the House of Representatives. It includes his election pamphlets, and some photographs and loose newscuttings. Newscuttings and photographs dealing with Sir Arthur's involvement with the War Damage and Rationing Commissions are included under those headings, unless they have been pasted into the following scrapbooks. The series breakdown is as follows.
The series consists of a group of cuttings about rationing.
Contained in this series are photographs and Sir Arthur's copies of the Regulations and Reports of the Commission. The series breakdown is as follows.
In this series are contained all the documents relating to Sir Arthur's involvement, as Chairman, with the British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines (1946-50) and the Australian National Airlines Commissioner (1946-50). Series breakdown is as follows:
Within this series are contained loose newsclippings and photocopies covering the period during which Sir Arthur was Chairman of the Melbourne Olympic Games Committee.
This series contains printed matter collected by, or presented to Sir Arthur about the CSIRO during the period in which he served as a part-time member of the Executive and Advisory Councils of the CSIRO
Includes photographs, invitations, cuttings and printed matter
Plaque presented to Sir Arthur by the United Airlines as a token of his membership to their 100,000 Mile Club.