Guide to the Papers of Dame Joan Hammond


MS 8648, MS Acc97.111

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

Joan Hammond
Papers of Dame Joan Hammond
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 8648, MS Acc97.111
4.60 metres (21 folders, 5 folio boxes)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

The collection comprises biographical notes, correspondence, programs, published scores, press cuttings, scrapbooks, photographs, diaries, speeches and writings. These relate mainly to Dame Joan's career as an opera singer and later as a teacher but also to her schooldays at PLC Pymble, Sydney (now Pymble Ladies' College), her achievements in golf, and the Ash Wednesday bush fire in 1983. The bulk of the papers relate to the period from 1983 to 1993 as much of Dame Joan's material was destroyed in the Ash Wednesday bush fires.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Dame Joan Hammond, National Library of Australia, [call number, box number and series and/or file number]'.


The papers were donated to the Library by Dame Joan Hammond and her family in 1994 in two consignments. The first consignment consisted of papers from Dame Joan's Melbourne home and the second of papers from her weekend home at Flinders.

Finding Aid Source(s)

Please note: This finding aid may comprise or contain descriptive information provided by donors, researchers and/or volunteers.

Collection Retrieval Advice

Please note: each consignment in this collection has a separate box number sequence (i.e. there may be multiple Box 1s). Please cite the relevant Class number as well as the Box number when requesting retrieval of material from the collection.

Biographical Note

Dame Joan Hammond was born in Christchurch, New Zealand on 24 May 1912. Her family moved to Sydney when she was very young. She attended the Presbyterian Ladies College, Pymble from 1924 to 1928. She began her musical career as a violinist spending three years with the Sydney Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1936 she went to Vienna where she studied with the Vienna Boys Choir. She made her operatic debut in London in 1938. In 1939 she opened the first night at The Prom s at the Royal Albert Hall. During World War II she made many recordings and gave concerts for the troops. After the war she toured throughout the world and was guest artist at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Liceo, Barcelona; the Netherlands Opera; the New York City Centre; the Vienna State Opera; the Bolshoi, Moscow; and the Elizabethan Theatre Trust. She was awarded the Sir Charles Stanley Award by the Worshipful Company of Musicians, London as outstanding musician of the Year, 1970; the Coronation Medal 1953; OBE 1953; CBE 1963; CMG 1972; DBE 1974; Hon. Mus. D. (W.A.) 1979.

Item Descriptions

Class MS 8648. Original consignment

Comprises diaries, correspondence, biographical notes, concert programs, scrapbooks, press cuttings, photographs, music scores, teaching material for the Victorian College of the Arts, speeches and other papers. The papers relate mainly to Dame Joan's career as an opera singer and teacher, but also cover such topics as Presbyterian Ladies' College, Pymble, the loss of Dame Joan's house in the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, the Australian Opera, Victoria State Opera, golf, and Dame Joan's friendship with Lolita Marriott.

Contained in 19 boxes, 2 fol. boxes.

Class [unnumbered]. Original consignment

Biographical notes, opera notes, program for the conferring of honorary degree on Dame Joan at the University of Western Australia in 1979 (File 1) - Box 1
Series 2A. CORRESPONDENCE, 1983-93 - Correspondence kept in Dame Joan's Melbourne home, 1983-93

Arranged alphabetically. Outwards Files 1 to 7, inwards Files 8 to 29.

Outwards: A-B (File 1) - Box 1
Outwards: C-F (File 2) - Box 1
Outwards: G-K (File 3) - Box 1
Outwards: L-N (File 4) - Box 1
Outwards: 0-R (File 5) - Box 1
Outwards: S-U (File 6) - Box 1
Outwards: V-Z (File 7) - Box 1
Inwards: A (File 8-9) - Box 1, 2
Inwards: B (File 10) - Box 2
Inwards: C (File 11) - Box 2
Inwards: D (File 12-13) - Box 2
Inwards: E-F (File 14) - Box 2
Inwards: G (File 15) - Box 2
Inwards: H (File 16) - Box 2
Inwards: I-K (File 17) - Box 2
Inwards: L (File 18) - Box 3
Inwards: M (File 19-20) - Box 3
Inwards: Mc-N (File 21) - Box 3
Inwards: O (File 22) - Box 3
Inwards: P (File 23) - Box 3
Inwards: Q-R (File 24) - Box 3
Inwards: S (File 25-26) - Box 3
Inwards: T (File 27) - Box 4
Inwards: U-V (File 28) - Box 4
Inwards: W-Z (File 29) - Box 4
Series 2B. CORRESPONDENCE, 1983-93 -Correspondence kept in Dame Joan's Flinders Home, 1983-1994

This correspondence was kept by Dame Joan in five expanding files. The material has been maintained in alphabetical order in five separate groupings to reflect this original order. Correspondence in Files 45 to 48 was loose and has been arranged according to the identity of the sender. Correspondence and other material relating to the Victorian School of Art and the Australian Opera has been extracted and included in series 13.

A-C (File 30) - Box 7
D-F (File 31) - Box 7
G-H (File 32) - Box 7
J-Mc (File 33) - Box 7
N-P (File 34) - Box 7
Q-R (File 35) - Box 7
S (File 36) - Box 8
T-Z (File 37) - Box 8
A-M, 1987-93 (File 38) - Box 8
N-Z, 1987-93 (File 39) - Box 8
A-Mc, 1989-93 (File 40) - Box 8
N-Z, 1989-93 (File 41) - Box 8
A-Z, 1991-93 (File 42) - Box 9
A-Z, 1992-93 (File 43) - Box 9
Journal interleaved with letters, 1983-92 (File 44) - Box 9
Notebook containing draft letters, 1985-88 (File 45) - Box 9
Letters from students, 1984-93 (File 46) - Box 9
Correspondence with fans, 1986-92 (File 47) - Box 9
Letters written by Lolita Marriott, 1983-86 (File 48) - Box 9
Press cuttings 1936 and 1991, journals, 1984 Principal's Report (See also Series 8 - Photographs) (File 1) - Box 4
Series 4. PROGRAMS, 1930s-1960s
1930s (File 1) - Box 4
1940s (File 2) - Box 4
1950s (File 3) - Box 4
1950s (File 4) - Box 5
1960s (File 5) - Box 5

Press cuttings, articles and publicity sheets from the 1930s to 1990s and six scrapbooks, mostly relating to Dame Joan's life and career. One scrapbook entitled '1931 - Joan Hammond' contains original press cuttings and programs from 1931 to 1939. Four of the remaining five scrapbooks are made up of photocopies of press cuttings. There is one file of miscellaneous cuttings.

1930s and 1940s (File 1)
1950s and 1960s (File 2)
1970s, 1980s and 1990s (File 3)
1930s to 1980s - miscellaneous (File 4)
Large press cuttings (File)
Five scrapbooks (File)
Press cuttings, articles, biographical material and programs relating to her New Zealand visits in 1946, 1973, 1981 and 1983 (File 1) - Box 6
Press cuttings and newsletter about the loss of Dame Joan's house in the bushfire at Airey's Inlet in 1983. Some burnt pages of books and scores are also included (File 1) - Box 6
Publication entitled Ash Wednesday 1983 bushfires (File)

Included are a framed oil portrait of Dame Joan which was copied from a photograph reproduced on the dust-jacket of her autobiography , an original costume design, an acrylic on cardboard and one object, a trophy engraved 'Greatest patience - 1984-87 - Dame Joan Hammond'. These items have been transferred to the Library's Pictorial Section.

Photographs, including Dame Joan attending various functions, personal group photos, photographs of Dame Joan before travelling overseas 1939, Dame Joan in various production costumes (File 1-2) - Box 6
Large photographs (File)
Series 9. SCORES
Three published scores (Don Giovanni, La Traviata, Manon Lescaut) marked up by Dame Joan (File 1-3) - Box 6
Publications (File 1) - Box 19
Opera notes, record catalogues, greeting cards (File 2) - Box 19
Journals, reports (File)

Class [unnumbered]. Second consignment

Correspondence between Dame Joan and Presbyterian Ladies College Pymble, 1990-93, Commemorative Day Service Program, 75th Anniversary Information Guide and Newsletter 1991 (Second consignment) (File 2) - Box 18
Series 4. PROGRAMS, 1930s-1960s
1940s-1990s (File 6) - Box 18
Scrapbook with loose newspaper cuttings interleaved (File 5) - Box 17
Extracts from scrapbook, 1945-60 (File 6) - Box 17
1949-74 (File 7) - Box 17
1983-1986 (File 8) - Box 17
1987-93 (File 9) - Box 17
Newspaper clippings re opera world, 1992-93 (File 10) - Box 17
Various publications (File 11) - Box 19
Press cuttings and publication entitled Ash Wednesday, 1983 (File 2) - Box 18
Letters to Dame Joan expressing sympathy at the loss of her house, 1983 (File 3) - Box 18
Photographs of Dame Joan at Deakin Uni, Dame Joan's boat the "Pankina", negatives of house and garden (File 3) - Box 19
Series 10. DIARIES, 1983-92

Dame Joan kept two diaries for each year over the period 1983-90. These are personal diaries embossed with her name and diaries presumably used by her in her work at the Victorian School of the Arts. Also included in this series is a trip diary which records details of her travel to London, Vienna and Paris in 1985 and 1986.

Diaries (File 1-21) - Box 10, 11

Dame Joan for many years recorded questions asked of her regarding singing and her answers. When writing a follow up book to her autobiography A Voice, A Life she formulated the idea of incorporating these questions and answers into a book.

Handwritten and typed questions and answers (File 1-2) - Box 12
Typed draft with contents page and biographical note (File 3) - Box 12
Carbon book containing handwritten questions and answers (File 4-5) - Box 12
Journal containing handwritten notes for book (File 6) - Box 12
Series 12. TEACHING, 1983-93

Dame Joan was head of Vocal Studies at the Victorian College of the Arts from 1975 to 1989 and part-time teacher and vocal consultant from 1990 to 1993. In 1985 she was invited by the University of Adelaide to be acting Special Artistic Adviser for workshop productions of the University Opera School.

Correspondence between Dame Joan and the Victorian College of the Arts, memos, exam papers, 1983-93 (File 1) - Box 13
Correspondence with students and prospective students, student references, faculty memos and correspondence, 1988-90 (File 2) - Box 13
Correspondence between Dame Joan and Dean of the School, 1986 (File 3) - Box 13
Letters from students to the Academic Board; memos and notes, 1988-92 (File 4) - Box 13
Correspondence, guest lists and programs relating to master classes conducted at University of Adelaide, 1985 (File 5) - Box 13
Bundle of questions and answers; file - 'Semester 1 June 1986' (File 6) - Box 13
Notes entitled 'Art songs', 'Arias and Keys' (File 7) - Box 14
Assessment and recital programs, 1986-89 (File 8) - Box 14
Handwritten notes on Puccini (File 9) - Box 14
Notebook on student auditions and assessments, 1985-86 (File 10) - Box 14
Notebook on student auditions and assessments, 1987-88 (File 11) - Box 14
Handbooks of Victorian College of the Arts (File 12) - Box 14

Joan Hammond was Artistic Director of the Victoria State Opera from 1971 to 1976 and an honorary life member of both the Australian and Victorian State Opera. In 1986 the Victorian Opera Foundation created the Dame Joan Hammond Award to honour her contribution to opera. In 1983 she became a member of the Australian Opera National Council.

Correspondence between Dame Joan and the Victorian State Opera and copies of correspondence between the Victorian State Opera and the Australian Opera, Program of Endowment Dinner 1992, minutes of directors meeting 1983 and brochures for the Gala Dinner The Joan Hammond Award 1986 and 1987 (File 1) - Box 14
Letter from Dame Joan to the Victorian Opera Foundation, agenda of annual general meeting, 1991 and 1992 (File 2) - Box 14
Letters to Dame Joan from the Australian Opera, transcript of proceedings of the National Council of Opera in 1989, report on future options of the Australian Opera 1985 and writings of Dame Joan on the Australian Opera (File 3) - Box 14
Newspaper clipping and news sheets relating to the Australian Opera (File 4) - Box 15
Series 14. SPEECHES, 1988-93
Notes, palm cards and invitations (File 1-2) - Box 15
Series 15. GOLF, 1991-93

Dame Joan won the Junior Golf Championship of New South Wales when still a schoolgirl. She subsequently won the NSW Golf Championship in 1932, 1934 and 1935 and was runner-up in the Australian Championship in 1933.

Letters from the Royal Sydney Golf Club, 1993; newsletter, card and booklet, 1992 (File 1) - Box 15
Draft short stories relating golfing experiences, circa 1991 (File 2) - Box 15
Short stories in final form entitled "The Fozzle", "A Golf Match" and "The Casual Golfer", May 1991 (File 3) - Box 15
Royal Sydney Golf Club membership list (File)
Series 16. LOLITA MARRIOTT, 1993

Dame Joan met Lolita Marriott in 1932. They had a common interest in golf and became firm friends. After Dame Joan returned from overseas in 1946 Lolita became her constant companion accompanying her on her travels and to all her performances and assisting her in many ways. Lolita Marriott died in 1993.

Memorial Book, containing death certificate and essay on Lolita Marriott's life (File 1) - Box 16
Cards and letters of condolence to Dame Joan, and Get Well cards and letters to Dame Joan (File 2-6) - Box 16
"Scholarship Gastronomy" Media Kit, Information Kit prepared for Committee and Judges including correspondence, 1991 (File 3) - Box 19
Legal document, passport, medical report, prints of crest (File 4) - Box 19

Class Acc97-111. Consignment added 1997

Comprises cards, letters, an appointment diary, address book, tributes, testimonials, photographs, souvenirs, cassettes and inscribed books. Also included are some large framed pictures and mementos.

Contained in 2 boxes, 3 fol. boxes.