Guide to the Papers of Anthony Hill

MS 9824

National Library of Australia

Created: ©2004.

Collection Summary

Hill, Anthony
Papers of Anthony Hill
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 9824
4.06 metres (29 boxes)
Language of Materials


Scope and Content

The bulk of the papers relate to Hill's published works, forming a comprehensive record of his literary career. There is research material, notebooks, manuscript and typescript drafts, galley and page proofs, correspondence and letters from readers. Major correspondents are Rosemary Creswell (Hill's agent), Max Harris and the numerous publishers with whom Hill dealt. There is a small group of drafts of unpublished short stories, plays and poems and cutting books containing copies of newspaper and journal articles by and about Hill, including reviews of his books.


The collection is available for reference.

Copying and Publishing

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Anthony Hill, National Library of Australia, MS 9824, [series and/or file number]'.


The papers were purchased by the Library from Anthony Hill in 2004.


Hill placed the papers in order prior to handing them over to the Library, and this arrangement has been maintained.

Biographical Note

Anthony Hill is a Canberra-based author. He was born in Melbourne in 1942 and worked as a journalist with the Melbourne Herald before joining the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Canberra in 1972. From 1977 to 1983 Hill owned an antique shop near Yass and from 1989 to 1999 worked as a speech writer for Governors-General Bill Hayden and Sir William Deane. He has published works in several genres including fiction for children and adults, biography, reference, newspaper and journal articles and librettos for musicals.

Hill's published works include:


The Bunburyists, Melbourne, Penguin Books, 1985

Antique furniture in Australia, Melbourne, Viking, 1985

Birdsong, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 1988

The burnt stick, Melbourne, Viking, 1994

Spindrift, Melbourne, Puffin Books, 1996

The grandfather clock, Melbourne, Lothian Books, 1996

Growing up and other stories, Canberra, Ginninderra Press, 1999

Soldier boy: the true story of Jim Martin the youngest Anzac, Melbourne, Penguin, 2001

Forbidden, Melbourne, Puffin Books, 2002

Young digger, Melbourne, Penguin Books, 2002

The shadow dog, Sydney, Viking, 2003


Nganbra a Canberra canticle, music Judith Clingan, 1988

Spirit of place, music Charlie Chan, 1995

The grandfather clock, music Judith Clingan, c2002

Awards Hill has received include:

Young digger

Short listed for the New South Wales Premier's History Prize, Young People's History Prize, 2003

Soldier boy: the true story of Jim Martin the youngest Anzac

Winner of New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, Ethel Turner Prize, 2002

Honour Book, Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award, Eve Pownall Award, 2002

Highly commended, ACT Book of the Year Award, 2002

Short listed for Kids Own Australian Literature Award (KOALA), 2003

Short listed for Reading, Enjoying Australian Literature - Older Readers, 2003


Notable Book, Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards, 1996

The burnt stick

Honour Book, Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award, 1995

Australian Christian Book of the Year Awards, Children's Christian Book of the Year, 1995

Short listed for Australian Multicultural Children's Book of the Year Award, Book of the Year, 1995

Short listed for Human Rights Award, 1995


Notable Book, Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards, 2003

Item Descriptions

Series 1. General correspondence and papers, 1985-2001

This series comprises correspondence relating mainly to Hill's publications and to his participation in literary events and school tours. There is correspondence concerning negotiations with Hill's agent, letters to and from publishers, royalty statements, book awards, editorial comments on books, changes to book covers and books, articles, book reviews, invitations and itineraries for Book Council of Australia and school book tours. There is material relating to Hill's participation in the Canberra Word Festival and the Sydney Writers' Festival and to his company, Passwords Pty. Ltd. This series also includes letters from schools requesting visits and handwritten and illustrated responses from schoolchildren to Hill's books.

Major correspondents include Hill's agent, Rosemary Creswell, publishers Penguin Australia and Lothian, Hill's daughter Jane and Max Harris.

File 1. General correspondence, 1985-1995

File 3. Passwords Pty. Ltd., 1995-1997

File 4. Canberra Word Festival, 1996-1997

File 5. Schools and school children, 1997-2001

File 6-7. Sydney Writers' Festival, 2001

Series 2. The Bunburyists, 1983-1995

Contained in this series are papers relating to Hill's book of anecdotes about country life entitled The Bunburyists, which was illustrated by Peggy Earl and published by Penguin, Melbourne in 1985. There is the original manuscript draft, edited typescript and correspondence, mostly with the publishers and Rosemary Creswell.

File 1. Three notebooks containing manuscript drafts, 1983

File 2. Edited typescript

File 3. Correspondence, 1983-1995

Series 3. Antique furniture in Australia, 1983-2002

Hill's reference book, Antique furniture in Australia, was published by Viking, Melbourne in 1985. Second and third editions of the book were published by Penguin, Melbourne in 1993 and 1997. Contained in this series is the original manuscript draft and later edited drafts together with correspondence, mostly with publishers.

File 1. Notebook containing manuscript draft

File 2-3. Edited manuscript and typescript drafts, 1983-1984

File 4. Correspondence, 1983-1994

File 5. Correspondence and revisions for the second edition, 1992

File 6. Correspondence and revisions for the third edition, together with royalty statements, 1997-2002

Series 4. Birdsong, 1985-1998

This series comprises drafts and correspondence relating to Hill's novel Birdsong, which was published by Oxford University Press, Melbourne in 1988. A notebook relating to Birdsong is contained in series 16.

File 1. Manuscript draft, 1985-1986

File 2. Edited typescript of second draft, 1986

File 3. Edited typescript of third draft

File 4. Correspondence and papers, 1987-1998

Series 5. Nganbra: a Canberra canticle, 1987-1995

In 1988 Hill self-published his libretto for a choral work entitled Nganbra: a Canberra canticle. Judith Clingan composed the music and it was first performed at the Canberra Theatre in 1988. Concerned with the Aboriginal past, it was Hill's first work for theatre. Contained in this series is correspondence regarding performances of the work, typescripts and published copies of the libretto, programs and reviews of the first performance. A notebook relating to Nganbra is contained in series 16.

File 1. Correspondence, 1987-1995

File 2. Typescripts, libretto and correspondence

Typescripts and copies of the published libretto

Correspondence, programs and reviews relating to the first performance, 1988

Series 6. Spirit of place, 1993-1995

Spirit of place, Hill's second work for theatre, was written to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the consecration of St John's Church, Canberra in 1845. A dramatic sound and light presentation using the church and the churchyard, the work was performed as part of the 1995 Canberra Festival. Hill wrote the libretto and the music was composed by Charlie Chan. This series comprises correspondence regarding the staging of the production, a manuscript draft, typescripts of the libretto, script, performance notes and publicity material.

File 1. Manuscript draft, 1993

File 2. Script and performance notes

File 3. Correspondence, typescript of libretto, and publicity material, 1993-1995

Series 7. The burnt stick, 1990-2003

This series comprises correspondence and manuscript and typescript drafts of The burnt stick, a children's book illustrated by Mark Sofilas. It was published by Viking, Melbourne in 1994. The bulk of the correspondence is with publishers both in Australia and overseas, but there are also a number of letters from children about the book. There are copies of the American edition, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1994 and the Japanese edition, published by Kin-No-Hoshi Sha in 2003. There is also a copy of Our country, a publication containing student work by Yirara College students, Alice Springs, which is based on extracts from The burnt stick. A notebook relating to The burnt stick is contained in series 16.

File 1. Drafts, 1990

Original manuscript draft, 1990

Edited typescript of first draft, 1990

Page proofs

File 2-5. Correspondence, 1992-1998

File 6. Copy of American edition, 1994

File 7. Copy of Japanese edition, 2003

File 8. Our country

Series 8. The grandfather clock, 1987-2002

Hill's novel, The grandfather clock, was published by Lothian Books, Melbourne in 1996. Based on a grandfather clock owned by Hill, the book was illustrated by Mark Wilson, with the cover illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe. This series contains the early manuscript draft, subsequent drafts, photographs of clocks and edited galley proofs.

Hill and Judith Clingan wrote the libretto and Clingan the music for a musical drama of the same name, based on the book. Included in this series are copies of the libretto and correspondence and publicity material relating to a performance of the work by Voicebox Youth Opera in Canberra in 2002.

File 1. Manuscript draft, 1987

File 2. Typescript draft, 1987

File 3. Edited typescript, 1995

File 4. Photographs of clocks

File 5-6. Galley proofs, 1996

File 7. Proofs

Final page proofs, annotated by Hill with 'The horrors of a creative typesetter...'

File 8-9. Correspondence and papers, 1987-1999

File 10. Typescript of libretto

File 11. Correspondence, abridged performance script, program and flyer for Canberra production, 2002

Series 9. Spindrift, 1993-2001

Spindrift, a children's book illustrated by Mark Sofilas, was published by Puffin, Melbourne in 1996. Contained in this series are manuscript and typescript drafts of the book, correspondence with publishers, letters from children, reviews, royalty statements and a copy of Magpies, which contains an article about the book. A notebook relating to Spindrift is contained in series 16.

File 1. Manuscript draft, 1994

File 2. Edited typescripts of first and second drafts, 1995

File 3-4. Correspondence and papers, 1993-2001

File 4. Magpies, Vol. 11, Issue No. 2, May 1996

Series 10. Growing up and other stories, 1989-1996

Contained in this series are drafts and correspondence relating to Hill's collection of short stories entitled Growing up and other stories, which was illustrated by Melissa Strauss. Initially, Penguin Books edited but ultimately did not publish the book because Hill did not agree to a request to include an over-arching introductory chapter to unite the stories. It was subsequently offered to other publishers and eventually published by Ginninderra Press, Canberra in 1999. There is a copy of Time to tell, published in 1985, which includes Hill's short story 'Growing up'. A notebook relating to Growing up and other stories is contained in series 16.

File 1. Manuscript drafts of short stories, 1984-1996

File 2. Typescripts of short stories, 1989

File 3-4. Typescripts of short stories, edited by Penguin, c1991

File 5. Correspondence, 1986-2003

File 6. Typescript of a short story entitled 'Royal Tour', together with correspondence related to its publication (1996) and Time to tell (1985)

Series 11. Soldier boy: the true story of Jim Martin the youngest Anzac, c1900s-2003

Soldier boy was Hill's first biography and his first book to be composed directly onto the computer. It was published by Penguin Books, Melbourne in 2001. The book evolved from an idea for a Vietnam novel entitled 'Twenty-one', later changed to 'War games', which was never finished. Parts of 'War games' were used for Soldier boy, which recounts the story of James Martin who, although only fourteen, put his age up to eighteen and enlisted for the First World War. He died of enteric fever ten weeks short of his 15th birthday. Contained in this series is correspondence with publishers, reviews and several drafts which plot the evolution of the novel. There is a large amount of research material, which comprises official war records, notebooks, interviews with descendants of Martin, correspondence and photographs.

Hills research for the book resulted in the handing over to the Australian War Memorial of Martin's medals, which had been presumed lost. They had been in the possession of his great-nephew, Stephen Chapin, who had received them from Martin's sister Alice.

File 1. Research material: original records and photographs of James Martin and his family

File 2-5. Research material: photographs and copies of official records

File 6-7. Research notes relating to Martin, including some correspondence, 1996-2000

File 8-12. Notebooks

File 13. Early draft entitled 'War games'

File 14. Typescript of first draft of Soldier boy with corrections and additions, 1999-2000

File 15. Typescript draft, 2000

File 16. Typescript with editor's comments

File 17-18. Final typescript draft with research notes and comments on editor's suggestions

File 19-20. Edited second and third page proofs

File 21-26. Correspondence and papers, 2000-2003

File 27. Reviews and teaching aids which include references to the book

Series 12. Young Digger, c1914-2002

Hill's second biography recounts the story of Henri Tovell, a young French boy orphaned during the First World War. The boy attached himself to several British Army units before being adopted as a mascot by No. 4 Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps, whose members nicknamed him 'Young Digger'. Air mechanic Tim Tovell and his brother Ted took a shine to the young boy, eventually smuggling him out of France and into Australia where he grew up with the Tovell family at Jandowae on the Darling Downs in Queensland. In 1928, Henri was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 18. Entitled Young Digger, the book was published by Penguin Books, Melbourne in 2002.

This series contains a large amount of research material which includes records of service for four soldiers: Timothy and Edward Tovell, Norman Johnson and Hector Wilson. There are also war service and other official records, notebooks, copies of articles and book chapters, copies of letters written by Henri (1925-1926) together with letters relating to his death, transcriptions of interviews with Timothy Tovell's daughters Nancy Elliot and Edith Lock and photographs of a visit to Tovell's family home at Jandawae. There are a number of photocopies of photographs, most taken from the Australian War Memorial Photographs Database. There are three different drafts of the book - the first of 86,000 words, the second of 60,000 words and the third where the structure was changed from linear form (beginning in Germany) to a circular form (beginning at Fremantle and shifting from present to past and back again, following a suggestion from the editor). Included is a four-CD audio recording of the book, read by Roger Cardwell and published by ABC Enterprises, Sydney in 2003.

File 1-3. Research material

File 4-5. Photocopies of photographs

File 6. Transcripts of interviews with Nancy Elliot and Edith Lock and photographs taken at Jandowae

File 7-12. Notebooks

File 13-15. Typescript of first draft

File 16-17. Typescript of second draft

File 18-19. Typescript of second draft, with corrections

File 20-21. Typescript of third draft, with corrections

File 22-23. Typescript of third draft with editor's comments

File 24-25. Typescript of third draft with new Chapter 1 and additions

File 26. Typescript of author's master copy, 2001

File 27-30. Edited galley and page proofs

File 31. Editor's master set of proofs, 2002

File 32-36. Correspondence, 2000-2003

File 37. CD audio recording

Series 13. Forbidden, 1999-2003

Forbidden is a children's book set in the 20th century on a Scottish Island. Illustrated by Mark Sofilas, it was published by Puffin Books, Melbourne in 2002. The bulk of this series comprises various drafts of the book. There is correspondence and papers relating to research and editing and publication of the book. Included is a two-CD audio recording of the book, read by Dennis Olsen and published by ABC Enterprises, Sydney in 2003 and a copy of Notable Australian Children's Books 2003, which makes reference to the book.

File 1. Typescripts, 1999-2000

Typescript of second draft, 1999-2000

Typescript of revised second draft, 2000

File 2. Typescripts

Typescript of third draft

Typescript of third draft, with editor's queries

File 3. Typescripts

Typescript of third draft with revisions

Final draft, 2000

File 4-6. Edited galley and page proofs, 2001

File 7. Correspondence and papers, including an early typescript draft, 1999-2001

File 8. Correspondence and miscellaneous, 2002-2003

Correspondence, 2002-2003

CD audio recording

Notable Australian Children's Books, 2003

Series 14. The shadow dog, 1998-2003

The shadow dog was originally conceived as a children's book in 1999 entitled 'Songs for Sebastian', written about a stray dog by the same name which Hill acquired. The book went through various stages of revision, none of which were taken up by publishers. Hill eventually offered it to publishers as a book for adults and it was published by Viking, Sydney in 2003, with illustrations by Andrew McLean.

This series comprises a notebook containing early ideas for the book, edited drafts, photographs, photocopies of illustrations for the book and correspondence, mainly with publishers.

File 1. Notebook, 1998

File 2. Typescripts and illustrations

Typescript entitled 'Songs for Sebastian', together with photographs

Typescript of The shadow dog

Photocopies of illustrations

File 3. Proofs, 2003

Series 15. Other writings

Contained in this series is a small group of manuscripts and typescripts of unpublished works by Hill, together with copies of Reading time and Where I belong: writing and art by children of the Murray-Darling Basin, both of which contain contributions by Hill.

File 1. Manuscript notebook and edited typescript of a play entitled 'Four seasons', 1978

File 2. Manuscript notebook and edited typescript of a play entitled 'Mount Eagle', 1978

File 3. Manuscripts and typescripts of unfinished and abandoned short stories, mid 1980s

File 4. Manuscripts and typescripts, c1987-1988

Manuscripts and typescripts of a group of poems entitled 'Circus', c1987

Manuscripts and typescripts of a play entitled 'Marco Polo', 1988

Manuscript notebook of a play entitled 'Rats', nd

File 5. Manuscripts and typescripts of a group of poems entitled 'Images: photographs from an exhibition'. Includes copies of photographs. Notes relating to the poems are held in series 16., c1988

File 6-7. Manuscript and typescripts of an opera entitled 'Herod', c1990. Notes relating to the opera are held in series 16, c1990

File 8. Typescripts and other papers, c1985-2001

Typescripts of short stores, c1985

Typescripts of an untitled poem (19pp) and two songs, nd

Copy of Reading time, Vol. 39, No. 3, Aug 1995

Copy of Where I belong: writing and art by children of the Murray-Darling Basin, 2001

Series 16. Notebooks, c1983-c1995

This series comprises 13 notebooks, each of which contain research notes, passages of draft text for his books, drafts of poems, story ideas and miscellaneous jottings.

File 1. c1983

File 2. 1984 - includes notes and ideas for an abandoned novel entitled 'Aspects of love'

File 3. 1985 - includes notes relating to Birdsong

File 4. c1985

File 5. 1986

File 6-7. c 1987

File 8. c1988 - includes notes relating to Hill's opera entitled 'Herod' and a book of poems entitled 'Images: photographs from an exhibition'

File 9. 1989 - includes drafts of stories which were later published in Growing up and other stories and the first draft of the opening for The burnt stick (originally entitled 'The fire stick')

File 10. 1989

File 11. 1992 - includes early notes relating to Nganbera

File 12. 1993

File 13. c1995 - includes notes relating to Spindrift

Series 17. Cutting books, 1975-1999

In this series are cutting books containing newspaper and journal articles written by and about Hill, reviews of Hill's publications and performances of his musical works. In volume 2 there is ephemera relating to a farewell luncheon given to Hill by the Governor-General Sir William Deane and two letters written to Hill by Major General Michael Jeffery whilst he was Governor of Western Australia.

Item 1. 1975-1985

Item 2. 1985-1999

Container List

Series File/Item Box
1 1-5 1
1 6-7 2
2 1-2 2
2 3 3
3 1-4 3
3 5-6 4
4 1-3 4
4 4 5
5 1-2 5
6 1-3 5
7 1-8 6
8 1-4 7
8 5-9 8
8 10-11 9
9 1-3 9
9 4 10
10 1-4 10
10 5-6 11
11 1-3 11
11 4-12 12
11 13-16 13
11 17-20 14
11 21-24 15
11 25-27 16
12 1 16
12 2-5 17
12 6-14 18
12 15-19 19
12 20-24 20
12 25-29 21
12 30-33 22
12 34-37 23
13 1 23
13 2-5 24
13 6-8 25
14 1-2 25
14 3-5 26
15 1-2 26
15 3-7 27
15 8 28
16 1-13 28
17 1-2 29