Guide to the Papers of Rodney Hall
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Rodney Hall
- Papers of Rodney Hall
- Date Range
- Collection Number
- MS 4834
- 8.82 metres (63 boxes + 1 folio box)
- Language of Materials
- National Library of Australia
Scope and Content
The collection includes correspondence, scripts for radio and television, papers relating to Hall's positions as poetry editor of The Australian and chairman of the Australia Council, handwritten manuscripts and typescripts of some of his books, papers relating to the Queensland Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, papers relating to Hall's musical activities, subject files, financial and family papers, cuttings, photographs and printed material.
Hall's published writings represented in the collection are Focus on Andrew Sibley (1968), The Law of Karma, a progression of poems (1968), The autobiography of a gorgon and other poems (1968), The ship on the coin: a fable of the bourgeoisie (1972), A place among people (1975), J.S. Manifold: an introduction to the man and his work (1978), The Collins book of Australian poetry (1981), Just relations (1982), The Australians (1984), Kisses of the enemy (1987), Michael Dransfield: collected poems (1987), Captivity captive (1988), Journey through Australia (1988), Australia, image of a nation 1850-1950 (1989), The second bridegroom (1991), The grisly wife (1993), Sydney harbour (1993) and The island in the mind (1996).
Conditions Governing Access
Access conditions may apply to this collection, please refer to the collection's catalogue record for further information ( ="http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn276321">http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn276321).
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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Rodney Hall, National Library of Australia, MS 4834, [series and/or file number]'.
The Library purchased the papers from Rodney Hall in several small instalments between 1974 and 1998. The bulk of the collection was acquired from Hall in 2000.
The smaller consignments are Series 5 and 6 (acquired in 1977), Series 9 (acquired in 1974), Series 12 (items 1-15 were added in 1988), Series 13 (items 1-11 were added in 1988), Series 14 (items 1-5 were added in 1989), Series 19 (added in 1998), Series 23 (item 22 was acquired in 1974), Series 26 (item 8 was acquired in 1974) and Series 30 (item 1 was acquired in 1974).
The Oral History Collection holds the following recordings:
A lecture on poetry given to students at the Australian National University by seven different poets (including Rodney Hall), 1969 TRC 568/1-3;
Hazel de Berg interview with Rodney Hall, 1972 DeB 562-563;
Interview recorded by Rodney Hall with Robert Adamson, [1973? and 1974?] TRC 562/30-31;
Interview recorded by Rodney Hall with John Manifold, [1973?] TRC 562/18-19;
Book launch of Just relations, including a speech by Rodney Hall, recorded by Bill Tully, 1982 TRC 1162;
Address delivered by Rodney Hall on his novel Just relations to the Canberra Times Literary Luncheon, 1983 TRC 1436/1-3.
Some groups of the files in the collection formed natural sequences, but in general the arrangement of the papers into 30 series and the order of the files within the series has been imposed by the Library.
The bulk of the collection was received loose in boxes, although some of the papers (such as the subject files and some of the drafts) were in manila folders and spring back binders. For preservation reasons the Library has transferred the contents of the files into archival folders. The arrangements of the papers within the file and the file titles have been preserved.
Rodney Hall was born on 18 November 1935 in Solihull, Warwickshire, England. He came to Brisbane, Queensland with his parents in 1947. Between 1948 and 1950 he was a boarder at Brisbane Boys College. After passing the Junior Public Exam in 1951, Hall left school and started work at an insurance company in Brisbane. At the same time he began to learn the clarinet and the recorder.
He joined the National Service in 1954. Between 1958 and 1961 Hall travelled to Europe and India. After his return to Australia he began working as a freelance writer. In 1962 he married Bet MacPhail. They have three daughters.
In the early 1960s Hall worked as a freelance writer and actor, as well as a book and film reviewer. He was often engaged by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Brisbane. Between 1967 and 1978 he was the Poetry Editor of The Australian.
In 1967 Hall was awarded a Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University. While living in Canberra, he played the recorder with early music groups such as Thomas Anonymous and Friends and the Consort of Musick of Canberra. He was also the Musical Director of the Musica da Camera Chamber Orchestra (1981-1983).
Rodney Hall was appointed Chairman of the Australia Council in 1991 and he held the position until 1994. He was made OAM in 1994.
Since the late 1970s Hall has lived at Bermagui, on the south coast of New South Wales.
His published volumes of poetry include The Law of Karma, a progression of poems (1968), The autobiography of a gorgon and other poems (1968), The ship on the coin: a fable of the bourgeoisie (1972) and A place among people (1975). Some of his novels include Just relations (1982), Kisses of the enemy (1987), Captivity captive (1988), The second bridegroom (1991) and The grisly wife (1993). He collaborated with the photographer David Moore to produce Australia, image of a nation 1850-1950 (1989) and Sydney Harbour (1993). He also wrote travel books (such as Journey through Australia (1988)), a biography of the artist Andrew Sibley (1968), numerous articles and other writings, as well as editing a number of publications including Michael Dransfield: collected poems (1987).
Hall has won a number of literary prizes, including the 1973 Grace Leven Poetry Prize for A soapbox omnibus, the Cook Bicentennial Celebrations Competition Prize for A place among people (1975), the 1982 Miles Franklin Award for Just relations and the 1988 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Captivity captive.
Oxford companion to Australian literature (1995), p. 338
Who's who in Australia 2002, p. 827
Throughout his adult life Hall has maintained an extensive correspondence with other writers, publishers and friends. The letters deal with business matters, publications and personal news. Other correspondence can be found in Series 4, 26 and 27.
The correspondents include Robert Adamson, Murray Bail, Faith Bandler, Carmel Bird, Alec Bolton, R.F. Brissenden, Vincent Buckley, Clem Christesen, Tim Curnow, Dymphna Cusack, Helen Daniel, James Devaney, Pat Dobrez, Rosemary Dobson, Geoffrey Dutton, Dorothy Green, Gwen Harwood, Dorothy Hewett, Vivian Hopkirk, Rae Desmond Jones, Antigone Kefala, Thomas Keneally, Michael Kieran Harvey, Roger McDonald, Humphrey McQueen, David Malouf, Aubrey Mellor (Artistic Director of Playbox), David Moore, James Murdoch, Matt Ottley, Olaf Ruhen, Clem Semmler, Geoffrey Tozer, Barbara Williams, Judith Wright, Bolt and Watson (London) and Faber and Faber (London).
Of special note are the numerous Sappho cards from Gwen Harwood, usually featuring engravings from 19th century magazines.
The series comprises scripts for ABC radio and television (including the Natural Science Series and education programs for children), book reviews, film reviews, reader's reports, some correspondence, pay slips and printed material.
Some of the scripts were originally housed in spring-back folders. For preservation reasons, the papers have been transferred to archival folders. The Library has preserved the order of the papers within each folder.
Hall was appointed Poetry Editor of The Australian in 1967 and held the position until 1978. This small series contains poems sent by the public and related correspondence, as well as Hall's pay slips. The authors of the poems and the correspondents include R.A. Simpson, John A. Fuerst, John Blight, Gwen Harwood, R.F. Brissenden, Thomas Shapcott, Robert Adamson, Vivian Smith, Geoffrey Dutton and Max Williams.
Hall was appointed Chairman of the Australia Council in 1991 and held the position until 1994. The main groups of papers in the series are agenda papers and minutes of meetings (Files 54-77), correspondence (Files 1-7), subject files (Files 16-53), general papers (Files 8-15) and printed material (including annual reports and ephemera).
Some of the papers in this series were in files and some were loose. Wherever possible, the Library has preserved the arrangement of papers that were kept in files. It has imposed its own arrangement on the loose material.
The correspondence files include enclosures such as cuttings, reports and notes. The main correspondents are Darani Lewers, Max Bourke, Diana Temby, Lin Onus, Sandra Forbes, James Murdoch, Wendy Fatin, Bob McMullan, and David Simmons. Copies of out-letters written by Hall and Max Bourke are also included.
The general papers comprise reports, cuttings, papers on the achievements of the Council, discussion papers, press releases, arts facts sheets, as well as some correspondence and faxes.
The subject files includes cuttings, reports, notes written by Hall, memoranda and some correspondence.
Letters and notes sent to Hall concerning the Australia Council's General Manager position
Letter and essay, entitled 'New directions 1952-1962: an exploration of the art movement known as abstract expressionism'
James Murdoch was engaged as a consultant to do a feasibility study on the project
The biography of the painter and teacher, Andrew Sibley was published by Queensland University Press in 1968. This series contains Hall's correspondence with Sibley and the University of Queensland Press (1968), a typescript, two black and white photographs of one of Sibley's works 'The dance', reviews, cover of the book and a mock-up.
The autobiography of a gorgon and other poems was published in 1968 by F.W. Cheshire. The series includes correspondence with the publisher, typed drafts, reviews and black and white photographs of Rodney Hall.
For preservation reasons the spring back binders were replaced with archival folders.
The small series consists of typescript of The ship on the coin, the first novel written by Hall and reviews. It was published in 1972 by University of Queensland Press.
Originally entitled 'Collocott', Hall's second novel was published in 1975 as A place among people. It won the Cook Bicentennial Celebrations Competition. The series comprises a handwritten draft, a typescript and reviews.
For preservation reasons the spring back binders were replaced with archival folders.
The series comprises a typescript of Hall's biography of the Australian poet and collector of bush ballads, J.S. Manifold (1915-1985). A recording of Rodney Hall's interview with John Manifold, [1973?] can be found in the Oral History Collection (TRC 562/18-19).
Rodney Hall selected the poems for The Collins book of Australian poetry, which was published by William Collins in 1981.
Most of the papers in folders 5-6 were in a rather disordered state and some of them were mixed with the papers in Series 13. The Library has endeavoured to reconstruct the original order.
The series includes correspondence, research material and drafts. The correspondents include R.M.W. Dixon (concerning Professor Dixon's translation of poems from Australian Aboriginal languages into English), Bruce Dawe, William Collins and Fontana Paperbacks.
The novel Just relations (1982), with a working title 'Blood relations', won the 1982 Miles Franklin Award. The series comprises eight notebooks containing handwritten drafts, typescripts (some with corrections), reviews of the book (1982-1983), index cards and other papers.
For preservation reasons, the typescripts that were originally housed in spring back folders have been transferred into archival folders.
The Australians is a travel book by written by Hall and illustrated with photographs taken by Rene Gordon. In writing the book, Hall was assisted by Tony Kewlemans. It was published by Currie O'Neil in 1984.
The novel was first published in 1987. The series includes typescripts, proofs, reader's report, dust jackets and Hall's application to the New South Wales Minister for the Arts for financial assistance to enable him to work full time on the novel.
The poet Michael Dransfield died in 1973 when he was only 24 years of age. His three volumes of poetry are Streets of the long voyage (1970), The inspector of tides (1972) and Drug poems (1972). Michael Dransfield: collected poems was selected and edited by Rodney Hall and was published by University of Queensland Press in 1987.
Although Captivity captive (1988) was the last book of a trilogy, it was published before the first (Series 19) and the second (Series 20) books. It won the 1988 Victorian Premier's Literary Award.
Journey through Australia is a travel book, which was published simultaneously in 1988 in Melbourne by William Heinemann and in London by John Murray. The series contains correspondence with Duncan McAra (John Murray Publisher, 1986), a notebook and research material (notes, cuttings, travel brochures and maps, 1983-1987).
The photographer David Moore was commissioned by William Collins to produce Australia, image of a nation 1850-1950. It is a visual record of all aspects of life in Australia: urban and rural life, domestic life, employment, leisure, transport, communications, celebrations, religion and social events, race relationships, calamities and war and peace. Rodney Hall wrote the text for the book.
The novel, the first book of a trilogy (see Series 16 and 20), was published by McPhee Gribble in 1991. The series comprises two notebooks and typescripts.
The novel, the second book of a trilogy (see Series 16 and 19), was published by Macmillan in 1993. The series comprises miscellaneous notes.
Rodney Hall wrote the text for Sydney Harbour and it is illustrated with photographs taken by David Moore. The book was published by Chapter and Verse in 1993 in association with the State Library of New South Wales. This small series contains typescripts with corrections.
The novel The island in the mind comprises three parts: 'Terra incognita', 'The lonely traveller by night' and 'Lord Hermaphrodite'. It was published by Macmillan in 1996.
The series comprises handwritten drafts, typescripts, notes, cuttings and some correspondence relating to Hall's various writing activities. They include plays for radio and television, a chapter on Judith Wright for The literature of Australia, lectures, his collaboration with the Australian composer Andrew Ford in 'Whispers', and the libretto for 'We are Adam's children', an opera for radio.
Series 24. Queensland Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, 1964-1970
This small series reflects Hall's strong interest in Aboriginal issues and in particular his association with the Queensland Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, which was affiliated with the Federal Council for the Advancement Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI).
The papers comprise newsletters of the Queensland Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, minutes of meetings of FCAATSI, cuttings, ephemera, notes, photographs and printed material.
Hall is a musician with a particular interest in the recorder and early music. His musical activities have included teaching music at summer schools of the University of New England, University of Adelaide, Canberra School of Music and the Canberra College of Advanced Education.
Hall came to Canberra in 1967 when he took up a Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University. While living in Canberra, he joined early music groups such as Thomas Anonymous and Friends and the Consort of Musick of Canberra. Between 1981 and 1983 he was the Musical Director of Musica da Camera Chamber Orchestra.
Between 1986 and 1990 Hall was employed by the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University as the text translator and editor for their Fourteenth Century Recording Project.
The series comprises correspondence, notes, manuscripts and published recorder music, leaflets, concert programs and other papers.
Correspondence concerning Hall's work as a tutor in recorder and early music at the summer school
The papers in this series include correspondence, cuttings, drafts of his writings, brochures, leaflets, notes and travel souvenirs (including air tickets and receipts). Many of the files relate to Hall's participation in various writers' festivals and conferences.
The papers were originally stored in manila folders. For preservation reasons the Library has transferred the contents of the files into archival folders. The arrangements of the papers within the file and also Hall's subject headings have been preserved.
Hall chaired the 'Meet the author' session with Humphrey McQueen in the 1996 Writers' Week
Correspondence with David Moore concerning An Australian place: the Upper Hunter Valley (1991) for which Hall wrote the text
Hall attended the 'Olympian Authors' Week', which was held in conjunction with the XV Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.
The papers relate to a tour of the Ceduna district organised by the National Book Council in 1986
Hall visited China in 1988 for a residency at the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University in Shanghai. He also attended a Conference on Australian Literature in Beijing. The papers include correspondence with Chinese writers and students
Hall and his wife, Bet, have played an active role in the annual Festival in Bermagui
Hall attended the Fifth Symposium on Commonwealth Literature entitled 'Modern Commonwealth poetry' in Kiel, West Germany in 1982
Correspondence with lawyers concerning a lawsuit by Angus and Robertson
Rodney Hall attended the Kimberley Writers' Week, organised by Magabala Books, in Broome
Correspondence concerning Festival of Australian Literature at the Poetry Centre in 92nd Street Y in New York
Copy of Hall's letter of application to the Geraldine Pascall Foundation
Papers accumulated while Hall was a part-time teacher of Professional Writing course at the Canberra College of Advanced Education, c. 1981-1983
Papers relating to Hall's collaboration in the production of 'Adorations' with the Indian classical dancer, Ramli Ibrahim
Hall was invited to be one of the judges for Ted Turner Publishing's Tomorrow Awards. The file includes correspondence (1989-1991) with Thomas H. Guinzburg and Mary Jane Batson
Hall contributed an article entitled 'News from a comfortable frontier' in Casa Vogue
Correspondence (1987-1988) with David Headon concerning a speech given by Hall at the WANA Second National Symposium
The papers relate to Hall's participation in a conference in January 1992
The series includes papers dealing with the Bermagui house (building permit, invoices and receipts for building material), financial papers, tax papers and family papers (postcards from daughters and school reports).
The cuttings in this series comprise some articles about Hall, but they mainly deal with political and other general subjects of interest to him. Reviews and other cuttings relating to Hall's books can be found in the relevant series.
Almost all the photographs are of Rodney Hall.