Guide to the Papers of David Sissons

MS 3092, MS Acc09.106

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

Papers of David Sissons
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 3092, MS Acc09.106
9.03 metres (60 boxes + 1 file)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

Series 1 (3 boxes) of this collection comprises copies of Sisson's writings from his completed research. The remainder of the collection (57 boxes), comprises source materials accumulated in the course of various research ventures relating to Australian-Japanese relations. They include photocopies, correspondence and holograph notes.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for reference.

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Please note that material created by D. C. S. Sissons is partly permitted to be copied for research purposes (Boxes 1-4) and partly not permitted to be copied for research purposes (Boxes 5-60).

Preferred Citation

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


The papers were donated to the Library by David Sissons.


The collection arrangement and description was determined by David Sissons. In addition, papers originally held in the Manuscript Collection at MS 8230 were amalgamated into this collection by Sissons in June 2006.

Biographical Note

David Sissons was an historian in the Research School of Pacific Studies at the Australian National University (ANU) where his principal fields of research were the history of Australian-Japanese relations and the World War II War Crimes Trials.

Biographical / Historical

Date Event
1950 BA (Hons) University of Melbourne
1951-1955 Tutor, International Relations; Research Officer, Australian Institute of International Affairs
1956 Research Assistant to Professor W. Macmahon Ball, University of Melbourne
1956 MA Political Science, University of Melbourne
1960 Visiting Scholar and Visiting Lecturer, Far Eastern Institute, University of Washington
1961-1965 Research Fellow, ANU, Canberra
1965-1990 Fellow, ANU, Canberra
1991 Following his retirement from the ANU, took up a three-year post to establish an Australian Studies Centre at the Hiroshima Shudo University, Japan
2006 Died in Canberra on 17 October

Item Descriptions

Class MS 3092. Original consignment

Series 1 (3 boxes) of MS 3092 comprises copies of Sissons' writings from his completed research. The remainder of the collection (57 boxes) consists of research files on such subjects as Australians in Japan; Australian trade and immigration policies towards Japan; Australian involvement in the Allied occupation of Japan, 1945-1950; Japanese prisoners of war in Australia; Second World War war crimes trials; and, Japanese espionage in Australia. The collection also includes material gathered for a biography of Professor James Murdoch, the first Australian professor of Japanese. In June 2006 Sissons incorporated his papers held at MS 8230 into this collection.

Contained in 60 boxes.

Series 1. Writings by Sissons, 1956-2006

This series comprises copies of writings by Sissons, which resulted from his completed research. Included are articles, conference papers, lectures and book chapters. They are grouped into sub-series by topic and listed by title.

Subseries 1-1. Defence
File 1. MA thesis: 'Attitudes to Japan and defence, 1890-1923 (3 vols), 1956
File 2. 'Australian fears of Japan as a defence threat, 1895-1971', Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, 1972
File 3. Kamikaze Project, Australian War Memorial, 1997
File 4. 'Japanese intentions towards Australia in 1942', Australian War Memorial, 1997
File 5. 'The higher direction of a Multinational Expeditionary Force: the JCOSA-BCOF Experiment, 1945-47'
File 5a. Australian War Memorial's unique collection of the Records of the Allied Translator and Interpretor Section (ATIS)
File 5b. 'The Pacific Pact', Australian Outlook, Vol 6, pp20-26, 1952
Subseries 1-2. Japan and Australia
File 6. 'History of Australian-Japanese relations', Australian Heritage, 1971
File 7. An immigrant family: The Takasukas
File 8. 'Japanese', in J. Jupp (ed), The Australian people: encyclopaedia of the nation, its people and their origins, Sydney: Angus Robertson, pp635-37
File 9. Lectures: History of Australian-Japanese relations, delivered 1971-1973
File 10. 'Karayuki-san: the Japanes prostitutes in Australia, 1887-1916', Historical Studies, Vol. 17, Nos. 68 and 69, 1977
File 11. 'Japanese in the Northern Territory, 1884-1902', South Australiana, March 1977
File 12. 'The Japanese in the the Australian pearling industry, Queensland Heritage, May 1979
File 13. 'The Japanese in Australia, 1871-1946', ANZAAS Conference, Perth, 1973
File 14. 'Japanese acrobatic troupes touring Australasia, 1867-1900', Australasian Drama Studies, No. 35, 1999
File 15. 'The immigration question in Australian diplomatic relations with Japan, 1875-1919', ANZAAS Conference, Brisbane, 1971
File 16. 'Australian-Japanese relations: the first phase, 1859-1891', 1978
File 16a. 'Early Australian contacts with Japan', Hemisphere, Vol. 16, No. 4, Apr 1972
File 17. 'Episodes', 1979
File 18. 'Immigration in Australian-Japanese relations', Japan and Australia in the seventies, Sydney: Angus Robertson, pp 193-210, 1972
File 19. 'Australian contacts with Japan in the nineteenth century', Symposium: 'Towards a new vision', Jul 1997
File 20. 'Japan and the Australian wool industry, 1868-1936' (unpublished), 1978
File 21. 'James Murdoch (1856-1921): historian, teacher and much else besides, Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, 4th series, Vol. 2, 1987
File 22. 'Manchester-v-Japan: the imperial background of the Australian Trade Diversion Dispute with Japan, 1936, Australian Outlook, Vol. 30, No. 3, Dec 1976
File 23. 'Private diplomacy in the 1936 Trade Dispute with Japan, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 27, No. 2, 1981
File 23a. 'The Australian-Japanese Trade Negotiations, 1935-36: the negotiators, their objectives and their administrative environments' (unpublished), 1975
Subseries 1-3. Australian War Crimes Trials
File 24. 'The Australian War Crimes Trials and Investigations, 1942-1951', 2006
File 25. Australian Archives Guide 9: World War II War Crimes Trials (not proceeded with), 2000
File 26. 'Japanese war criminals charged under the War Crimes Act 1945 by Australian military authorities', edited by D.C.S. Sissons
File 27. 'Sources on Austalian investigations into Japanese war crimes in the Pacific', Journal of the Australian War Memorial, Issue 30, Apr 1997
File 28. 'The Australian War Crime Trials', Sydney Morning Herald, 16 Aug 1985
File 29. 'Encyclopaedia of war crimes in modern history', 2002
File 30. 'Observations on the trial of Lt. Gen. Nishimura (Parit Sulong Massacre)', by D.C.S. Sissons (unpublished), 1997
File 30a. 'War Crime Trials' in Australian Encyclopaedia, Sydney: Grolier, 4th ed, 1982
File 30b. English-language typescript draft and Japanese-language edition of 'The co-prosperity sphere as seen from Australia: offences against the civilian inhabitants in Japanese-occupied Territory...'
Subseries 1-4. Break-out of Japanese POW at Cowra, 1944
File 31. Sundry articles and lectures by D.C.S Sissons
Subseries 1-5. Foreign ships in Japanese waters in Bakumatsu period
File 32. 'The voyage of the Cyprus mutineers...', 2006
File 33. The Lady Rowena and the Eamont, 1997
Subseries 6. Signals intelligence in World War II
File 34. 'The Special Intelligence Section at Army Headquarters, Melbourne, 1942-1946: its origins and history', 2006
File 34a. 'More on Pearl Harbour' [Rushbridger's Pearl Harbour thesis], Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 9, No. 2, Apr 1994
Subseries 1-7. Australia in world affairs
File 35. 'Australia and Japan, 1961-65' in G. Greenwood N. Harper (ed.), Australia in World Affairs 1961-65, Melbourne: Australian Institute of International Affairs, pp377-396, 1968
File 36. 'Japan' in W.J. Hudson (ed.), Australia in World Affairs 1971-75, Sydney: Australian Institute of International Affairs, pp231-270, 416-420, 1980
Subseries 1-8. Japanese Government and Politics, 1945-1968
File 37. Articles

'The dispute over Japan's Police Law', Pacific Affairs, Vol. 32, No. 1 (March 1959), pp34-35

'Recent developments in Japan's Socialist Movement', Far Eastern Survey, March & June 1960, pp40-47, 89-92

'The Pacifist Clause of the Japanese Constitution: legal and political problems of rearmament', International Affairs, Vol. 37, No. 1 (January 1961), pp45-59

File 38. J.M. Maki (ed), Court and constitution in Japan: selected Supreme Court Decisions, 1948-60, Seattle, University of Washington, 1964, items 5-6, 12-15, 24, 26
File 39. 'Human Rights under the Japanese Constitution ', Papers on modern Japan 1965, pp50-69
File 40. 'Dissolution of the Japanese Lower House', Papers on modern Japan 1968, pp91-137

Series 2. Japanese foreign policy and public opinion, 1914-1922

Two boxes

Series 3. Trade Diversion Dispute, 1935-1936

Six boxes

Series 4. The Takasukas - an immigrant family

One box

Series 5. Japanese prostitutes in Australia

One box

Series 6. Professor James Murdoch(1856-1921)

Three boxes

Series 7. Cowra break-out

One box

Series 8. Special Intelligence Section at Army Headquarters, Melbourne, 1942-1946

One box

Series 9. Queensland's entry into the 1894 Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce

One box

Series 10. Australian War Crimes Trials, 1945-1951

The large group of files in this series contain papers relating to Sissons' research into Australian War Crimes Trials. The files are arranged alphabetically, by file title.

Australian War Crimes Section (box 20)

Adachi-Ambon (box 21)

Ambon (box 22)

Ambon - Bismark Sea (box 23)

Borneo (box 24)

Burma-Siam Railway (box 25)

Bougainville (box 26)

'C' (box 27)

'C' - 'E' (box 28)

Finding aids and inventories (box 29)

'G' - Laha (box 30)

Manus - Miscellaneous (box 31)

Morotai Trials - 'P' (box 32)

Rabaul Trials (box 33)

Reconnaissance parties - Wewak Trials (box 34)

Series 11. Webb Inquiries into War Crimes

One box

Series 12. Sir William Webb and International Military Tribunal for the Far East

Two boxes

Series 13. Australian fears of Japan as a defence threat, 1895-1971

Includes papers relating to Australia in Japanese military plans (1941-1942).

One box

Series 14. Japanese language and linguists in Australia

Includes papers relating to the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section .

One box

Series 15. Japanese in Queensland

Includes papers relating to Thursday Island

Six boxes

Series 16. Japanese in Western Australia

Two boxes

Series 17. Japanese in South Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales

One box

Series 18. Japanese and Immigration Restriction Act

Includes papers relating to admission, deportation, alien registration, censuses etc.

Three boxes

Series 19. Foreign ships in Japanese waters in the Bakumatsu period

Two boxes

Series 20. Japanese-Australian Pearling and Law of the Sea Negotiations, 1951-1962

One box

Series 21. Australians in Japan

One box

Series 22. Japanese in Australia - Japanese sources

One box

Series 23. Japanese in Australia - photographs

One box

Series 24. Japanese in Australia - internees

One box

Series 25. Japanese residents in Victoria

One box

Series 26. Japanese residents in New Guinea

One box

Series 27. Japanese in Australia - war brides

One box

Class MS Acc09_106. Consignment added 2009

The Acc09.106 instalment comprises three audio cassettes containing a lecture delivered by Sissons during a seminar on "A-J [Australia-Japan] relations" at Monash University on 11 October 1997; and, a coverless booklet with annotations by Sissons on the "Tokyo trial" of 1946-1948 by Solis Horwitz [1950].

Contained in 1 file.

Container List

Series Subseries File Box
1 1.1 1-5a 1
1 1.2 6-7 1
1 1.2 8-23a 2
1 1.3 24-30b 3
1 1.4 31 3
1 1.5 32-33 3
1 1.6 34-34a 3
1 1.7 35-36 3
1 1.8 37-40 4
2 4-5
3 6-11
4 12
5 13
6 14-16
7 17
8 18
9 19
10 20-34
11 35
12 35-37
13 38-39
14 39
15 40-45
16 46-47
17 48
18 49-51
19 52-53
20 54
21 55
22 56-57
23 58
24 59
25 60
26 60
27 60