Guide to the Papers of Philip Whelan
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Philip Whelan
- Papers of Philip Whelan
- Date Range
- Collection Number
- MS 2449
- 1.74 metres (4 boxes + 2 folios)
- Language of Materials
- National Library of Australia
Scope and Contents
The collection includes correspondence, manuscripts by other writers (such as E.J. Brady and Dame Gilmore), photographs, photocopies and papers. The main correspondents are Dame Mary Gilmore and E.J. Brady.
Conditions Governing Access
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn2282088).
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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Philip Whelan, National Library of Australia, MS 2449, [box number and series and/or file number]'.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated to the Library by Philip Whelan in 1970. Further paper were added in 1973 and 1979.
The collection has been arranged into eight series and all the correspondence has been indexed.
Other Finding Aids
All correspondence in the collection has been name-indexed; please refer to the attached Correspondence Index (Appendix I) under the Related Documentation tab.
Philip Whelan was born in Warwick, Queensland in 1873 and moved to Sydney with his parents in 1879. At the age of fourteen he ran away from home and signed on board an American ship bound for Coquimbo, Chile. There followed years of travelling throughout South America, Europe, the United States, Central America and England, interrupted only by a brief return to Australia. After his second return to Australia in 1900 he was appointed Assistant Observer at the Mt Koscuisko Observatory, was promoted to Observer-in-Chief and, after two and a half years service, was transferred to the Weather Bureau in Brisbane.
With the outbreak of World War I, Philip Whelan enlisted in the A.I.F. and, after two and a half years service, was severely wounded at Villiers Brettonaux in April, 1918. During the course of his convalescence in the Military Hospital at Randwick he became acquainted with Mary Gilmore who encouraged him in his hobby of collecting autographed works by Australian authors. After being classified 'Totally and Permanently Disabled' and discharged from the army in November 1918, Whelan devoted the remainder of his life to the task of building up a comprehensive autographed collection of the works of Australian authors. Adding to his collection as the slender resources of his pension permitted, he developed an impressive collection of Australian works which he later donated to the Commonwealth National Library. In the course of this work Whelan corresponded with some of the leading literary figures of his time, many of whom acknowledged in their letters Whelan's great service to Australian literature. In October 1943, in the midst of his work, Whelan died of a heart attack.
The series consists mainly of correspondence between Whelan, Kenneth Binns, the Commonwealth National Librarian, and W. Cousins of Angus and Robertson Ltd., and concerns the formal transmission and acceptance of annotated published works for addition to the Whelan Collection. The correspondence is arranged chronologically. Comprises Items 1-399.
Letters received by Whelan from various Australian authors in reply to his request for the autographing and annotation of published works. Many of these letters, from important library figures, are personal, and express the gratitude of Australian writers for the part Whelan was playing in the preservation of Australian literature. Comprises Items 400-712.
A brief autobiography by Whelan; a newspaper article on the Whelan Collection; and lists of Australian title added to the collection. Comprises Item 713-784.
The series contains correspondence between Dame Mary Gilmore and Whelan on personal matters and also on the Whelan Collection. It includes a suggestion by Dame Mary that Whelan's letters to her be included in the Collection. It also includes a letter containing an account of an early meeting between Dame Mary Gilmore and Henry and Henry Kendall, as well as a letter written to Dame Mary Gilmore by Mrs Edith Whelan concerning the death of Whelan. Items 872-880 are the manuscript of the Poem Australia, amended and signed by Dame Mary Gilmore, annotated music sheets for Australian Battle Cry and autographed cards. Comprises Items 785-880.
Letters by E. J. Brady to Whelan, both personal and concerning the Whelan Collection. They include a copy of a letter written by Brady to John Masefield. Comprises Items 881-1183. Items 906-1175 are manuscript essays and poems by Brady. Items 1176-1183 are miscellaneous items, including a letter from J. F. Archibald, Brady's article and Brady's Miner's Right and Electors Rights, a magazine article and Brady's account of his early English ancestory. See also writings by Brady in other series.
The series contains material collected by Whelan in connection with the early history of Cobb & Co. It includes an incomplete list of New South Wales drivers still alive in May 1932, (Item No 1184). Comprises Items 1184-1361. Items 1189-1307 are letters written to Whelan by old drivers in response to his request for information concerning their early coaching experiences. Items 1308-1353 are press-clippings, photographs and cards, and invitations from the Cobb & Co. Old Drivers Association. Item 1354 is the Men of Cobb & Co. by E. J. Aisbett (1940) and items 1355-1361 are the manuscript and copies of two poems by George Vinge.
Literary manuscripts of 16 Australian writers. Comprises Items 1362-1436.