Guide to the Papers of Laurie and Bronwyn Thomas


MS 4921

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Laurie Thomas
Papers of Laurie and Bronwyn Thomas
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 4921
1.35 metres (9 boxes)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Laurie and Bronwyn Thomas, National Library of Australia, MS 4921, [box number and series and/or file number]'.

Item Descriptions

Series I. Correspondence

Subseries Ia. General correspondence, 1946-1973 - Box 1

Letters and postcards received, and a few copies of letters written by Laurie Thomas. The principal correspondents are art gallery directors and publishers, and Cynthia and Sidney Nolan, Will Ashton, Henry Bell, William Rose, Rex Rienits, Ambrose Trappes-Lomax, John Olsen, Sir Russell Drysdale, Ian Fairweather, Derek Bell and Godfrey Miller.

Subseries Ib. Personal letters - Box 1

A small group of letters from Margo Lewers, from ”M”; from Laurie Thomas' solicitors, from ”Nick”; and also several letters relating to financial matters.

Subseries Ic. Sir Daryl Lindsay, 1961-1969 - Box 1

Fifty-four letters from Sir Daryl Lindsay which refer to many personal matters, including applications for appointments including that of Director, National Gallery in Canberra.

Subseries Id. James Quinn, 1950-1956 - Box 1

A file of correspondence, financial statements and lists of paintings, relating to the estate of James Quinn. There are letters from solicitors and Laurie Thomas' co-trustee C.T.H. Senior.

Subseries Ie. Gowrie Travelling Scholarship and other letters, 1939-1949 - Box 1

Correspondence begun while Laurie Thomas was serving in the Intelligence Branch, Royal Australian Navy, concerning the Gowrie Travelling Scholarship. Includes letters and telegrams of congratulations, correspondence with the Gowrie Travelling Scholarship Trust Fund, references, applications for appointments, and correspondence with Cambridge University.

Series II. Notes, drafts of articles

Subseries IIa. Handwritten notes and notebooks - Box 2

containing drafts of articles and reviews not identifiable as being written for newspaper articles or for other publications.

Subseries IIb. Lecture notes - Box 2

loose pages of handwritten poetry, and a quart size book of handwritten poetry. Undated.

Series III. University

Subseries IIIa. Melbourne University, 1937-1939 - Box 3

Lecture notes, both handwritten and roneoed, essays, and some printed items.

Subseries IIIb. University of Western Australia, 1940 - Box 3

Handwritten notes, examination papers in English II, 1940, and a program for the play The Insect Play produced by Laurie Thomas.

Subseries IIIc. Cambridge University, 1946-1948 - Box 3

Lecture notes, essays, typed and handwritten notes made from lectures by Wittgenstein, and two copies of Laurie Thomas' thesis The place of critical theory in the judgement of poetry.

Series IV. Art Galleries

Subseries IVa. Art Gallery of Western Australia, 1952-1956 - Box 3

Correspondence, notes, cheque butts, and newspaper cuttings relating to Laurie Thomas' appointment, work and resignation as the Gallery's Director.

Subseries IVb. Queensland Art Gallery, 1962-1967 - Box 3

Correspondence, reports, minutes of meetings of the trustees, and references for applications for appointments, all relating to Laurie Thomas' work as Director.

Subseries IVc. National Gallery, Canberra, 1965-1969 - Box 4

Applications, references, submissions, reports, printed material, and correspondence relating to Laurie Thomas' application for the job Director, National Gallery in Canberra. Includes correspondence with politicians, the Interim Council of the Australian National Gallery, and the National Art Gallery Committee of Inquiry.

Series V. Journalism

Subseries Va. The Australian, 1967-1973 - Box 6

Letters from readers, and from the management of the newspaper, and statistics, notes and printed material collected to form the basis of newspaper articles on such subjects as the State Art Galleries, and conservation/ ecology.

Subseries Vb. ABC Television programs - Box 7

Includes letters from the ABC and from viewers, notes, transcripts and relates primarily to the series ”Six Australian Painters” (1964) and programs written by Laurie Thomas on the painters Roberts and Streeton (1967).

Subseries Vc. Newspaper cuttings - Box 7

Press articles, art exhibition and book reviews published in the Herald (Melb.) and Sun (Melb.), the Australian Women's Weekly, and the Australian Week-end Review.

Subseries Vd. Dit - Box 7

Bound and indexed volume of the first nine issues of the Royal Australian Navy Bulletin Dit covering the period Sept. 1944 - May 1945, together with cuttings from later issues, and material sent to the editor, Laurie Thomas.

Series VI. Publications

Subseries VIa. Molvig - Box 5

Letters, loose notes, notebooks, tapes, cuttings, photographs, slides, and a printer's block relating to a preposed publication on the life and work of the painter Jon Molvig.

Subseries VIb. Leonard French - Box 6

Exhibition catalogues, letters notes, book of paintings The Campion Paintings and draft chapters of proposed publication on the life and work of the painter and designer Leonard French.

Subseries VIc. Other publications - Box 6

Letters and cuttings relating to the works History of Australian Art and 200 Years of Australian Painting, and to the proposed revival of Art in Australia, in 1954.

Series VII. Other Papers

Subseries VIIa. Overseas trips - Box 7

Letters from gallery directions, painters, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, reports, notes, etc. relating to several trips overseas made during the late 1960's to the USA, Japan, India and Great Britain.

Subseries VIIb. Art Galleries Association of Australia - Box 7

Minutes, bulletin, reports and photocopies of reports.

Subseries VIIc. Subject files - Box 7

Two files of papers (cuttings, letters, roneoed items) relating to (i) government sponsorship of art galleries in Australia, (ii) government support for the film industry in Australia, and the film ”2000 Weeks”.

Subseries VIId. Photographs - Box 8

Photographs of people and of paintings, and including a set of approximately 70 photographs of paintings labelled ”Art Gallery Jubilee Exhibition”.

Subseries VIIe. Printed Material - Box 8

Gallery exhibition programs, leaflets, photocopies of articles, roneoed material, a Current Affairs Bulletin, material on a proposed National Art School Students Union and the Craft Association of Australia, a copy of Jubilee Exhibition of Australian Art (1951) and A new matrimonial ladder by E. Conoanen.

Subseries VIIf. Miscellaneous - Box 9

Papers on Sydney Printmakers; a copy of the funeral sermon of Laurie Thomas' father; items on a Wool Tapestry Design Competition for Australian Artists, 1967; cuttings and an article on the defamation case involving The Australian's review of Peter O'Shaughnessy's production of Orthello; poetry by M. Wilder; and a reference for William Rose.