Guide to the Papers of Allan Martin


MS 9802

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Allan William Martin
Papers of Allan Martin
Date Range
1954 - 2002
Collection Number
MS 9802
13.09 metres (51 boxes + 23 index card boxes)
Language of Materials
Special Collections (Manuscripts)


Scope and Contents

The papers of Allan Martin fall into two groups: personal papers, mostly dating from the period 1975-2000, and research materials and indexes that he compiled while writing the biography of Robert Menzies. The personal papers comprise correspondence, notes, drafts of articles, reviews and photographs. Among the correspondents are Manning Clark, John Hirst, Ken Inglis, Peter Ryan and Geoffrey Serle. The research materials comprise copies of personal and official papers, parliamentary debates, newspaper articles, journal articles and other sources on the life of Menzies, together with extensive card indexes.

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Allan Martin, National Library of Australia, MS 9802, [box number and series and/or file number]'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Allan Martin carried out much of his research on the life of Robert Menzies in the National Library and became closely acquainted with its reading rooms and staff. In 1998 he acknowledged a debt to his friends in the Manuscript Room 'who over months, nay years, took it in their stride that I had become something of a permanent fixture in their hallowed precincts'. It was therefore appropriate that in 2001 Martin should lodge his extensive research materials and indexes on Menzies in the Library. They now form series 10-13 of the Martin Papers. In 2003 his wife Beryl Rawson presented the correspondence and other files that form series 1-9 of the papers.

The National Library holds the personal papers of Sir Robert Menzies (MS 4936). They include papers that had still been with the family when Martin was writing the biography and papers accumulated by Frances McNicoll when she was working on the unfinished biography in the 1970s.

The Library holds an oral history interview recorded with Martin by Neville Meaney in 1986 (TRC 2053-1). It also has recordings of interviews that Martin made with Sir Henry Bland, Ian Fitchett and John Oldham and a lecture he gave to the Canberra and District Historical Society in 1987.

The indexes compiled by Allan Martin to the correspondence of Sir Henry Parkes are held in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, 9 boxes, MLMSS 4312.

There are extensive collections of papers of Jean Martin in the National Library (MS 7912) and in the Noel Butlin Archives Centre at the Australian National University.


The research materials on Robert Menzies were arranged and indexed in the most meticulous way by Martin and his research assistants Patsy Hardy and Pam Crichton. That arrangement has been maintained by the Library. The papers received in 2003 were in a filing cabinet in Martin's home and were filed in several sequences, mainly by date or alphabetically but in places erratically. All files have been kept intact, but the order of files has to some extent been imposed by the Library.

Biographical Note

Allan Martin was born in Forbes, New South Wales, on 27 August 1926, the son of a schoolteacher. He was educated at country schools and served briefly in the Royal Australian Air Force. He then attended the University of Sydney, where he studied history under Stephen Roberts. After gaining his MA, he enrolled as the first doctoral student in history at the Australian National University. He gained his doctorate in 1956, with a thesis on nineteenth century New South Wales politics.

Martin lectured at the University of New South Wales (1955-58), the University of Melbourne (1959-64) and the University of Adelaide (1965-66), before being appointed the foundation Professor of History at La Trobe University in 1966. He was Dean of the Faculty of Humanities in 1970-71. His early publications included Parliamentary factions and parties: the first thirty years of responsible government in New South Wales, 1856-1889 (1966), co-written with Peter Loveday, and Essays in Federation (1969). Throughout most of these years he was engaged on a major biography of Sir Henry Parkes. To gain more time for researching and writing, he returned to the Australian National University in 1973 and in 1975 became a Senior Fellow in History in the Research School of Social Sciences, where he stayed until his retirement in 1991. He was a Visiting Fellow in the Law Program in 1992-93. Henry Parkes: a biography was published in 1980.

In 1983 Martin was asked by the Menzies Family to write a biography of Sir Robert Menzies, a task that was to occupy most of his time for the rest of his life. Volume 1 of Robert Menzies: a life appeared in 1993 and Volume 2 in 1999, one of the great Australian political biographies. He wrote several other shorter works on Menzies and had a strong interest in the art of biography.

Martin was a Fellow of both the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. In 1998 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). He was awarded, posthumously, the Centenary Medal in 2003.

Martin married Jean Craig in 1955 and they had two sons. Jean Martin, who was Professor of Sociology at La Trobe University, died in 1979. In 1983 Allan Martin married Beryl Rawson, who was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and subsequently Head of the Department of Classics at the Australian National University. He died in Canberra on 31 May 2002.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Correspondence, 1954-2002

The series contains personal correspondence of Martin, mostly dating from the last 25 years of his life when he was living in Canberra. Most of the correspondence is with other historians and students, but there are occasional letters from public figures. There are a few references. Martin sometimes kept copies of his own letters. Many of the letters deal with his work on the biography of Robert Menzies and the writings of other historians on related subjects.

Martin created files for some of his correspondents, while other letters were filed under the initial letter. Near the end of his life he filed some letters by date. The files have been kept intact.

Among the correspondents in the alphabetical files (1-24) are Marian Aveling (Quartly), John and Margaret Barrett, Geoffrey Bolton, Richard Bosworth, Paul Bourke, Chris Connolly, L.F. Crisp, Ann Curthoys, Brian De Garis, Greg Dening, Peter Edwards, Richard Ely, Keith Farrer, Brian Fitzpatrick, Cameron Hazlehurst, Bill Hudson, Rhys Isaac, Roger Louis, D.A. Low, Fred McKay, Michael McKernan, Bruce Mansfield, Alan Mayne, John Mulvaney, John O'Brien, Heather Radi, John Ritchie, Lloyd Robson, Tim Rowse, Peter Ryan, Deryck Schreuder, A.G.L. Shaw, George Shaw, Gavin Souter, Hugh Stretton and John M. Ward.

A, 1977-1988 (File 1) - Box 1

B, 1981-2000 (File 2) - Box 1

C, 1978-1999 (File 3) - Box 1

D, 1977-2000 (File 4) - Box 1

E, 1986-1998 (File 5) - Box 1

F, 1962-1988 (File 6) - Box 1

G, 1978-1993 (File 7) - Box 1

H, 1978-1999 (File 8) - Box 1

I, 1981-1990 (File 9) - Box 1

J, 1977-1984 (File 10) - Box 1

K, 1977-1984 (File 11) - Box 1

L, 1977-1997 (File 12) - Box 2

M, 1977-1998 (File 13_14) - Box 2

N, 1980-1987 (File 15) - Box 2

O, 1971-1996 (File 16) - Box 2

P, 1967-1997 (File 17) - Box 2

Q, 1988 (File 18) - Box 2

R, 1980-1997 (File 19) - Box 2

S, 1965-2000 (File 20_21) - Box 2

T, 1977-1986 (File 22) - Box 2

W, 1966-2000 (File 23) - Box 3

Y, 1980-1985 (File 24) - Box 3

1997-1999 (File 25) - Box 3

2000-2002 (File 26) - Box 3

Alan Atkinson, 1982-1997 (File 27) - Box 3

W.D. Borrie, 1984-1985 (File 28) - Box 3

Manning Clark, 1954-1984 (File 29) - Box 3

Jim Davidson, 1999 (File 30) - Box 3

Malcolm Goldfinch, 1999-2001 (File 31) - Box 3

Peter Gunnar, 1989-2001 (File 32) - Box 3

Jeremy Hearder, 1997-1998 (File 33) - Box 3

John Hirst, 1978-2001 (File 34) - Box 4

Ken Inglis, 1981-2000 (File 35) - Box 4

David Lee, 1992 (File 36) - Box 4

Frank Lewins, 1992 (File 37) - Box 4

Laurence Maher, 1994-1996 (File 38) - Box 4

Marguerite Mahood, 1977-1980 (File 39) - Box 4

National Library of Australia, 1999-2001 (File 40) - Box 4

John Nethercote, 2001 (File 41) - Box 4

Order of Australia Association, 1998 (File 42) - Box 4

Peter Ryan, 1976-1980 (File 43) - Box 4

Geoffrey Serle, 1965-1995 (File 44) - Box 4

Sydney Institute, 1999-2000 (File 45) - Box 5

Thom Family, 1977-1990 (File 46) - Box 5

David Tothill, 1996-2001 (File 47) - Box 5

John Williams, 1997-2001 (File 48) - Box 5

Janis Wilton, 1984 (File 49) - Box 5

A.T. Yarwood, 1977-1983 (File 50) - Box 5

Barry York, 1983-1987 (File 51) - Box 5

Series 2. Australian National University, 1956-1994

Although Martin spent many years as a postgraduate student and later a Senior Fellow at the Australian National University, he kept very few papers relating to the University. This small series contains a graduation ceremony photograph, a doctoral certificate and a copy of a report of a review of the History Program at the Australian National University (Martin was not a member of the review).

Doctoral graduation, 1956 (File 1) - Box 5

Review of History Program, Research School of Social Sciences, 1994 (File 2) - Box 5

Series 3. University of Melbourne

Although he mainly taught Australian history, Martin believed strongly that university lecturers should break away from their specialities. During his time at Melbourne University in 1959-64 he gave a series of lecturers on the Russian Revolution which were extremely popular.

Russian Revolution lectures (File 1_2) - Box 5

Series 4. Henry Parkes: a biography, 1978-1982

Martin first examined the Parkes Papers at the Mitchell Library when he was a postgraduate student at Sydney University studying factional politics in New South Wales. He spent many years writing the life of Parkes, who held Ministerial office on several occasions between 1866 and 1891 and was five times Premier of New South Wales. Henry Parkes; a biography was published by Melbourne University Press in 1980. Martin subsequently placed his indexes to the Parkes Papers in the Mitchell Library, but retained some correspondence relating to his research and the publication, as well as photographs and reviews.

Correspondence, 1978-1979 (File 1) - Box 6

Correspondence, 1980-1981 (File 2) - Box 6

Photographs (File 3) - Box 6

Parkes Family (File 4) - Box 6

Reviews (File 5) - Box 6

Miscellaneous papers (File 6_7) - Box 6

Letters of Henry Parkes, 1888-1894 (File 8) - Box 6

Series 5. Henry Parkes, 1987-2001

For the rest of his life, Martin was regarded as the authority on Henry Parkes and was often asked to speak about Parkes or provide advice about his life. He produced a volume of letters written by Menie Parkes to her father, which was published by Melbourne University Press in 1983. In 1997 he gave a paper on Parkes at a conference in Canberra which was published in 2000 in Makers of miracles; the cast of the Federation story, edited by David Headon and John Williams.

Letters from Menie (File 1) - Box 6

Royal Australian Mint, 1995 (File 2) - Box 6

Faulconbridge Oration, 1996 (File 3) - Box 7

Henry Parkes Foundation, 1996-2001 (File 4) - Box 7

Makers of miracles, 1997-1998 (File 5) - Box 7

Series 6. Robert Menzies: a life, 1988-2000

Sir Robert Menzies originally agreed that the journalist Frances McNicoll should write his authorised biography and gave her access to all his papers. Lady McNicoll worked on the project for several years, but found the task increasingly daunting. In 1983 the Menzies Family withdrew the commission and asked Martin to write the biography. He worked on it for 15 years, first as a Senior Fellow at the Australian National University and later in retirement. The first volume, covering the years 1894-1943, was published by Melbourne University Press in 1993, while the second volume, covering 1944-1978, appeared in 1999.

As with the Parkes biography, Martin was painstaking in collecting sources and meticulous in filing and indexing them. He was less concerned about keeping correspondence and other records of his own life and the papers in this series provide an incomplete record of the writing of a great political biography. Nevertheless, there are letters, papers relating to his research overseas, correspondence with the publisher, a large collection of reviews and some miscellaneous research files.

Correspondence, 1988-1997 (File 1) - Box 7

Melbourne University Press, 1990-1997 (File 2) - Box 7

Melbourne University Press, 1998-1999 (File 3) - Box 7

Australian Research Council grant, 1991-1993 (File 4) - Box 7

Australian Research Council, 1992-1998 (File 5) - Box 7

Australian Research Council grant, 1993-1994 (File 6) - Box 7

United States research, 1993 (File 7) - Box 7

Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library (File 8_9) - Box 8

J.F. Kennedy Presidential Library (File 10) - Box 8

1949 election (File 11) - Box 8

Menzies and art (File 12_13) - Box 8

Notes for 1955-1958 (File 14_15) - Box 8

The Vernon Report (File 16) - Box 8

Working summaries (File 17) - Box 9

Miscellaneous references (File 18) - Box 9

Newspaper cuttings, 1975-1995 (File 19) - Box 9

Permissions, 1999 (File 20) - Box 9

Correspondence about photographs, 1998-1999 (File 21) - Box 9

Correspondence about portraits, 1996 (File 22) - Box 9

Photographs, Vol. 2 (File 23_25) - Box 9

Corrections (File 26) - Box 9

Reviews, Vol. 1 (File 27_29) - Box 10

Reviews, Vol. 2 (File 30_31) - Box 10

Additional reviews, 1992-2000 (File 32) - Box 10

Fan mail, 1993 (File 33) - Box 10

Correspondence, 1991-2000 (File 34) - Box 10

Miscellaneous papers (File 35) - Box 10

Series 7. R.G. Menzies, 1985-2001

By the 1990s Martin was the authority on both Parkes and Menzies. In 1995 he undertook the long entry for Menzies for the Australian Dictionary of Biography and he wrote other articles and talks on Menzies. The last appeared in Australian Prime Ministers, edited by Michelle Grattan, published in 2000. This series contains some of those writings. In Martin's correspondence in series 1 there are many references to Menzies and his treatment by other historians.

Personality and family (File 1) - Box 10

Australian Dictionary of Biography and other writings on Menzies (File 2) - Box 11

Address at Jewish Centre (File 3) - Box 11

Michelle Grattan book, 2000 (File 4_5) - Box 11

Articles and papers on Menzies, 2001 (File 6) - Box 11

L.J. Louis. Menzies' Cold War, 2001 (File 7) - Box 11

Menzies Foundation, 2001 (File 8) - Box 11

Miscellaneous papers, 1985-2001 (File 9) - Box 11

Series 8. Other writings, 1965-1993

Australian Dictionary of Biography: Roy Curthoys, 1990-1991 (File 1) - Box 11

Book reviews, 1966-1983 (File 2) - Box 11

Book reviews, 1985 (File 3) - Box 12

Book reviews, 1982-1993 (File 4) - Box 12

Federation lectures (File 5) - Box 12

Reminiscences of Sydney University History School (File 6) - Box 12

Series 9. Miscellaneous papers

Cold War Dossier, 1998-2000 (File 1) - Box 12

New Federalist, 1998-1999 (File 2) - Box 12

Papers on biography (File 3) - Box 12

References, 1987-1992 (File 4) - Box 12

Thesis by Michael Keenan, Cambridge, 1999 (File 5) - Box 12

Series 10. Menzies research papers

Martin and his research assistants, Patsy Hardy and Pam Crichton, accumulated a huge collection of sources on the life of Menzies from libraries and archives all round the world. In particular, they drew on the extensive Menzies Papers in the National Library.

The photocopies, transcripts and notes that they made were filed in ring files. The papers are extremely diverse and include letters, telegrams, cables, memoranda, diary excerpts, speeches, biographical notes, parliamentary debates, committee reports, newspaper articles, journal articles, interview transcripts, poems, photographs and obituaries. They are in no particular order, but Martin numbered most of the items and the card indexes in series 11-13 refer to those numbers.

Many of the ring files were bulging with papers and would not close securely. In such cases, some or all of the contents were transferred to Files. Files 100-110 contain unnumbered items.

Series 11. Index to the Menzies research papers (private)

The series comprises 10 Folios of index cards, arranged chronologically. The entries refer to private and unpublished documents, such as letters, cables, excerpts from diaries, memoranda, private notes, speeches, drafts and invitations. The entries give the location of the original document, including thousands of documents contained in the Menzies Papers. Many of the entries also contain a number in red referring to the location of a copy in the binders compiled by Martin, which are in series 10.

1914-1939 (File 1) - Folio-Box 51 (Index card box)

1940-1942 (File 2) - Folio-Box 52 (Index card box)

1943-1949 (File 3) - Folio-Box 53 (Index card box)

1950-1951 (File 4) - Folio-Box 54 (Index card box)

1952 (File 5) - Folio-Box 55 (Index card box)

1953 (File 6) - Folio-Box 56 (Index card box)

1954 (File 7) - Folio-Box 57 (Index card box)

1955-1956 (File 8) - Folio-Box 58 (Index card box)

1957-1962 (File 9) - Folio-Box 59 (Index card box)

1963-1976 (File 10) - Folio-Box 60 (Index card box)

Series 12. Index to the Menzies research papers (public)

The series comprises 8 Folios of card indexes, also arranged chronologically. The entries refer to public documents, mainly newspaper articles and also journal articles. Some entries summarise and refer by number to the copies of articles that are in the binders in series 10. Others summarise press reports which are not in the Martin Papers.

1917-Feb. 1939 (File 1) - Folio-Box 61 (Index card box)

March 1939-1951 (File 2) - Folio-Box 62 (Index card box)

1952-1956 (File 3) - Folio-Box 63 (Index card box)

1956- Nov. 1958 (File 4) - Folio-Box 64 (Index card box)

Dec. 1958-1960 (File 5) - Folio-Box 65 (Index card box)

1961-May 1963 (File 6) - Folio-Box 66 (Index card box)

June 1963-1965 (File 7) - Folio-Box 67 (Index card box)

1966-1994; things to be done; arcane references; subject files/notes; Cricket; Murray Report; Petrov; Suez; Comonwealth Prime Ministers (File 8) - Folio-Box 68 (Index card box)

Series 13. Other indexes to the Menzies research papers

The other card indexes, some of which are very small, occupy six Folios. The cards in the personal names and subject place names provide dates only. It is necessary to look up those dates in the chronological index (series 11) in order to find the precise reference to the person or place. The entries in the biography and special biographical indexes contain biographical notes as well as date references.

Personal names A-G (File 1) - Folio-Box 69 (Index card box)

Personal names H-N (File 2) - Folio-Box 70 (Index card box)

Personal names O-Z (File 3) - Folio-Box 71 (Index card box)

Subject and place names (File 4) - Folio-Box 72 (Index card box)

Biography; Archives (Australian Archives, Advisory War Council); Casey diaries 1947-1957; special biographical file (File 5) - Folio-Box 73 (Index card box)

Acknowledgments; contemporary/current references; projects; possible interviews; closed references; written drafts; undated material; general references: alphabetical list; pamphlets; tapes; interviews; law cases; London Times index; Henderson personal files (File 6) - Folio-Box 74 (Index card box)