Guide to the Papers of Hardy Wilson


MS Acc07.082

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Hardy Wilson
Papers of William Hardy Wilson
Date Range
c1650, 1905-2001
Collection Number
MS Acc07.082
2.90 metres (8 ms boxes + 1 large folio box, 2 folio items)
Language of Materials
Special Collections (Manuscripts)


Scope and Contents

This collection comprises papers accumulated by William Hardy Wilson until the time of his death in 1955, and then by his son, Dr Lachlan Hardy Wilson, who died in 2002. The earlier papers comprise correspondence, including drafts of Hardy Wilson's outgoing mail; drafts of books and articles; diaries, photographs; exhibition and sale catalogues; a design for a piece of furniture and news cuttings. Papers added by Hardy Wilson's son include correspondence and research undertaken by Zeny Edwards for her book 'William Hardy Wilson: artist, architect, orientalist, visionary', published in 2001; catalogues for later exhibitions relating to Hardy Wilson's work; and typescript drafts of a thesis on Hardy Wilson by Brian Kooyman, c1999. There are also ten hand-coloured maps of Italy and Greece, created by Dutch cartographer and publisher, Jan Jansson, c1650.

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Hardy Wilson, National Library of Australia, MS Acc07.082, [box number and series and/or file number]'.


Acquired from the family of William Hardy Wilson in 2007.

Also held in the Manuscript Collection of the National Library of Australia:Annotated typescript of Chinese and Australian furnitureKurrajong: sit-look-see 1955 , text written to accompany a collection of 50 drawings presented to the Kurrajong Library.


The arrangement of the papers is mostly as they were received. Because of the lengthy timespan they cover, and the fact that others have made use of the papers before they came to the National Library, there are some inconsistencies in chronology and file content. It is hoped that the descriptions created by the National Library will guide researchers in identifying and locating relevant papers within the collection.

Biographical note

William Hardy Wilson, architect, artist and author.

Item Descriptions

Class. Consignment received 2007

Receipts and catalogue, 1922-1924; c1955 (File 1) - Box 1

Receipts for the purchase of artworks (1922-1924), together with catalogue of drawings by Wilson for 'Kurrajong Sit - look - see', annotated 'Own copy', c1955.

'Architecture in Australia', 1920 (File 2) - Box 1

Edited typescript. Annotated 'An essay by Hardy Wilson, read before members and students of the Architecture Association, Sydney, 1920'.

Correspondence, 1936-1947 (File 3) - Box 1

Copies of letters from Wilson to C.K.R Stackhouse.

Exhibition: William Hardy Wilson, a 20th Century Colonial, 1981 (File 4) - Box 1

Papers relating to exhibition, held at the S.H Ervin Museum and Art Gallery, Sydney, 1981. Includes invitations and newcuttings about the exhibition.

Early correspondence, 1930-1938 (File 4) - Box 1

Includes two letters from Henry Boothe of 'The Australian Worker' to Wilson and copies of letters from Wilson to others. Also manuscript notes re birds, nd.

Correspondence, 1941 (File 5) - Box 1

Copy of a letter from Wilson to H. McClune Smith re book 'Yin-Yang'.

News clippings, 1929-2000 (File 6) - Box 1

Includes a press release from the Department of Commerce re an art collection at the NZ Centennial Exhibition, 1939.

Atomic civilisation', c1949 (File 7) - Box 1

Distribution list for Wilson's publication 'Atomic civilisation'. Issued as a limited edition of 100 copies.

Correspondence, 1935 (File 8) - Box 1

Copy of a letter from Wilson to Paul Oppe. Includes mention of his latest book, 'The dawn of a new civilisation', which was published in 1929.

Exhibition review, 1943 (File 9) - Box 1

Review by Wilson of an exhibition of the Contemporary Art Society, Melbourne.

Kurrajong', c1954 (File 10) - Box 1

List of illustrations in Wilson's book 'Kurrajong', published in 1954.

Correspondence and papers, 1937-1955 (File 11) - Box 1

Includes general correspondence; manuscript draft of an article entitled 'Modern art', 1948; and a booklet 'The facts of the Bandung Conference', Australia-China Society, 1955.

Correspondence, 1945-1946 (File 12) - Box 1

Letters from/to Wilson re his book 'Instinct', published in 1945 as a limited edition of 50 copies.

Correspondence, 1936 (File 13) - Box 1

Re Wilson's appointment as Director of the Melbourne National Art Gallery. Includes illustrated letter from Arthur Streeton (5pp), and letter from Sydney Ure Smith (2pp).

Articles by Wilson, nd (File 14) - Box 1

Two articles: manuscript 'Unity' and typescript 'St Kilda Road'.

Correspondence and papers (File 15) - Box 1

Includes copies of letters by Wilson; letter from E.C. Dyason (2pp); letter from English author Arthur Morrison (2pp); and accounts re Wandin property.

Images and photocopies of papers relating to Wilson, nd (File 16-20) - Box 1

Possibly for book 'William Hardy Wilson: artist, architect, orientalist, visionary', by Zeny Edwards et al, published in c2001.

Wilson's passport, 1924 (File 21) - Box 1

Map of 'Pekin', nd (File 22) - Folio item 22

Coloured map depicting central 'Pekin'. Annotations in French. Edition from the 'Journal of Pekin'.

Essay by Wilson (File 23) - Box 1

Three typescripts of an essay entitled ''Collapse of civilisation', published privately by Wilson (19pp).

Certificate, 1905 (File 24) - Box 1

Certificate of acceptance into the United Grand Lodge of NSW Masons.

Catalogues and article by Wilson, 1922-1948 (File 25) - Box 1

Catalogue of drawings of early Greek and Chinese Architecture, presented to the National Library of Australia; Hardy Wilson collection of works of art to be sold at auction, 1922, annotated with sale prices; exhibition of Chinese art, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1922; Hardy Wilson collection pf pictures to be sold at auction, 1927, annotated with sale prices; Hardy Wilson collection of antique furniture and other works of art to be sold at auction, 1927, annotated with sale prices. Also a copy of 'United empire', the Royal Colonial Institute journal, which includes an article by Wilson entitled 'Old Colonial architecture', 1923.

Family papers, 1910-1954 (File 26) - Box 1

Includes a copy of Wilson's birth certificate; his marriage certificate, 1910; and his will, 1954. Also birth certificate of his wife, Maggie Rachel Reid.

Article by Wilson, nd (File 26) - Box 1

Article by Wilson about a pencil portrait, by G.W. Lambert, of Mrs Derwent Wood.

Correspondence and papers, 1930, 1947-1948 (File 27) - Box 1

Annotated typescript drafts of book - 'Chinese and Australian furniture', nd, 200 copies of which were to be printed for distribution, together with correspondence with Ure Smith re publication, 1947-1948. Also copy of a letter from Wilson to Keith Murdoch, re publication of an article he'd written, 1930.

Correspondence and papers, 1935-1948, 1981 (File 28) - Box 1

General correspondence, including re property held by Wilson. There is also an untitled fragment of typescript (5pp) and a copy of notes for the Chief Justice's speech at the opening of a National Trust exhibition to mark the centenary of Wilson's birth, 1981.

Correspondence, 1931-1938, 1948 (File 29) - Box 1

Mostly relates to Wilson's book, 'Grecian and Chinese architecture', published in 1937 in a limited edition of 100 copies. Includes correspondence with publishers in Germany, 1931-1932.

Institute of Architects, 1911 (File 30) - Box 1

Wilson's application to be admitted as an Associate of the Institute of Architects of NSW.

Copies of papers relating to Wilson (File 31) - Box 1

Photocopies and some transcriptions of correspondence and papers, the originals of which are in other files. [Possibly research material compiled by Zeny Edwards.]

Research notes and correspondence, 1999-2000 (File 32-33) - Box 2

Notes and correspondence of Zeny Edwards relating to her book on Wilson. Includes typescript drafts.

Review of exhibition celebrating centenary of Wilson's birth, 1981 (File 34) - Box 2

Exhibition of Hardy's work, 1993 (File 35) - Box 2

Draft (?) catalogue for National Trust touring exhibition 'Beauty is the Goal: Hardy Wilson's Old Colonial architecture', prints by W. Hardy Wilson, photographs by John Street and Harold Cazneaux.

Writings by Wilson, nd (File 36) - Box 2

A typescript entitled 'Tales and essays by Hardy Wilson', 154pp. This is a compilation of published writings by Wilson, commencing in 1918.

Correspondence, 1931-1939 (File 37) - Box 2

General correspondence, mainly relating to the purchase of a property in Tasmania, the sale of personal effects, and to the estate of Wilson's wife following her death in 1939.

Article by Wilson, 1947 (File 38) - Box 2

Typescript entitled 'Cultural war', 6pp.

Correspondence, 1937-1948 (File 39) - Box 2

Includes letters of Wilson enclosing copies of his book 'Instinct' to various people, 1946, and letters to/from E.C. Dyason.

Letters of condolence on death of Wilson, 1955 (File 40a) - Box 2

Correspondence and papers, 1928-1933 (File 40b) - Box 2

Relating to Wilson's book 'The dawn of a new civilisation', published in 1929.

Correspondence, 1930-1933 (File 40c) - Box 2

Letters to/from Sir Harold Parlett.

Student paper about Wilson by John Johnson, 1997 (File 41) - Box 2

Correspondence and images, 1939 (File 42) - Box 2

Letters of thanks to Wilson from Japanese recipient of his donation of a painting of a wild boar by Renzan Kishi.

Correspondence, 2000 (File 43) - Box 2

Email to Zeny Edwards re her book on Wilson (?).

Lachlan Wilson - biographical recollections, 1995-1998 (File 44a) - Box 2

File of papers compiled by Zeny Edwards as part of her research for her book on Wilson.

Correspondence, 1939, 1953-1955 (File 44b) - Box 2

Copies of letters from Wilson to his son, Lachlan, 1953-1955, and to Arthur Streeton (Smike), 1939.

Correspondence, 2000 (File 45) - Box 2

Correspondence of Zeny Edwards re her book on Wilson.

Research notes and correspondence, 1998 (File 46a) - Box 2

Compiled by Zeny Edwards re her book on Wilson.

Correspondence and papers, 1929-1945 (File 46b) - Box 2

General correspondence. Includes letter from Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons, 1938; correspondence and reviews re Wilson's book 'The dawn of a new civilisation', 1929; and letters and receipts re printing of his books, 1945.

Registration certificates for horses, 1931-1932 (File 47) - Box 2

Correspondence, 1927-1928 (File 48) - Box 2

Letters to/from Keith Murdoch.

Family history, 1933 (File 49) - Box 2

Letter to Wilson from [?] setting out details of their family history.

Exhibition of Hardy's work, 2001 (File 50) - Box 2

Ephemera re 'The modern Colonials' an exhibition featuring the work of Wilson and Harold Cazneaux.

Cassette tapes (File 51) - Box 3

Research material of Zeny Edwards? Two tapes annotated 'E.G. Waterhouse', and one annotated 'W. Hardy Wilson and architects of Australia, written and presented by J.M. Freeland', 1982.

Correspondence, 1936-1945 (File 52) - Box 3

Correspondence re Wilson's books 'Yin Yang', 'Grecian and Chinese architecture', and 'Instinct'. Main correspondents are Sydney Ure Smith and E.C. Dyason. Other correspondents include Warwick Fairfax; Judge H.S. Nicholas; and Madame Pau, wife of Consul General for China.

Correspondence, 1934-1935 (File 53) - Box 3

Miscellaneous correspondence re Wilson's book 'Yin Yang'. Main correspondent J. Walch and Sons.

Correspondence and financial papers, 1932-1949 (File 54) - Box 3

Correspondence and financial reports from the firm Shields, Heritage, Stackhouse and Martin, Launceston, TAS.

Photographs and papers (File 55) - Box 4

Photographs of pencil drawings by Wilson relating to his book 'Grecian and Chinese architecture'; photographs of chinese artworks and buildings; photographs of a house designed by Wilson for his son, Lachlan, and family at 15 Lord St, Launceston. Also typed extract of Wilson's passport for the period 1921-1930, together with a cutting of an article by Wilson entitled 'Modern tendencies', 1930.

Exhibition catalogue (File 56) - Box 4

Catalogue for exhibition of drawings by Hardy Wilson, David Jones' Gallery. (3 copies)

Booklets (File 56) - Box 4

Two booklets entitled: 'Protocols of the meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion', 1938, a reprint of the translation from the Russion text of Sergius Nilus made by the late Victor E. Marsden; and 'Solution of the Jewish problem' by Hardy Wilson, 1941 (2 copies).

Photographs (File 57) - Box 4

Photographs of furniture and art objects, some annotated on back.

Press cuttings, 1929-1948 (File 58) - Box 4

A large group of cuttings on a variety of topics of interest to Wilson. Also includes a brochures titled 'The modern world challenge to Christianity' annotated 'with compliments from Arthur Streeton'; and 'China today', World Affairs Paper No. 4, 1941.

Press cuttings, 1933-1948 (File 59) - Box 4

A large group of cuttings on a variety of topics of interest to Wilson.

Articles by Wilson, 1932-1934 (File 60) - Box 5

A small scrapbook containing cuttings of articles written by Wilson and published in 'The Advocate'.

'Kurrajong', c1954 (File 61) - Box 5

Four typescripts of Wilson's book, 'Kurrajong', 48pp, which he self published.

Notebook, c1924 (File 62) - Box 5

Notebook containing manuscript notes, mostly relating to aspects of Chinese culture.

'Collapse of civilisation' (File 63) - Box 5

Five typescript copies of an article written and published privately by Wilson entitled 'Collapse of civilisation'. Also includes a manuscript list titled 'Drawings for Tasmania'.

Correspondence and papers, 1926-1948 (File 64) - Box 5

Copies of outgoing letters by Wilson together with incoming letters. Correspondents include Gwen Morton Spencer; Sydney Ure Smith; W.H. Gill, head of the Fine Art Society, Melbourne; and NSW Member of Parliament, Richard Arthur. Also financial papers comprising invoices and lists relating to the purchase of furniture; statements from sharebrokers; and statements re the estate of Robert Smith.

Diary, 1938-1946 (File 65) - Box 6

Notebook containing Wilson's diary entries for the period Aug 1938-Feb 1946.

Diary, 1946-1949 (File 66) - Box 6

Large accounts book containing Wilson's diary entries for the period 5 Feb 1946-25 May 1949.

Atomic hope', nd (File 67) - Box 6

Wilson's notes and copies of images for a book entitled 'Atomic hope'.

Correspondence, 1952-1955, 1964 (File 68) - Box 6

Includes family correspondence and condolence cards and letters to the family on Wilson's death (1955). Also photograph of Margaret Hardy Wilson (1964).

Kurrajong drawings (File 69) - Box 6

A list of Wilson's drawings acquired by the National Library of Australia.

Photographs and copies of drawings (File 70) - Box 6

Photographs include: furniture in Darlinghurst flat and oriental architecture and art, together with copies of some of Wilson's architectural drawings.

Photographs (File 70) - Box 6

Early photographs of buildings in China.

Photographs (File 70) - Box 6

Early photographs of rooms in the Darlinghurst flat, together with annotated photographs of oriental objet d'art.

Photographs (File 71) - Box 7

Early photographs of chooks and other birds.

Reproductions of drawings (File 72) - Box 7

Reproductions of thirty-three of Wilson's China/Peking drawings, originals of which are held in the National Library of Australia.

Photographs and reproductions (File 73) - Box 7

Images of Wilson's drawings, originals of which are held in the National Library of Australia

Negatives (File 74) - Box 7

Images of Wilson's drawings, marked up for publication.

Typescript drafts of a thesis on Hardy Wilson by Brian Kooyman, c1999 (File 75-77) - Box 7, Box 8

Comprises body of thesis, together with a separate section comprising typed transcriptions of a large number of writings by Wilson.

Photographs (File 78) - Folio-Box 9

Large photographs of drawings by Wilson, mostly of chooks, the originals of which are held in the National Library of Australia.

Photographs (File 79) - Folio-Box 9

Large images of two Tang Dynasty horses.

Furniture design (File 80) - Folio-Box 9

Design on tissue paper for a dressing table for Warwick O. Fairfax.

Large sheet of Chinese script annotated 'Mr Hardy Wilson' (File 81) - Folio-Box 9

Old colonial architecture in New South Wales and Tasmania' (File 82) - Folio-Box 9

Three single sheet and two four-page large format pages of descriptive text about Wilson's book on colonial architecture, which was published in 1924.

Printer's proofs, 1982 (File 83) - Folio-Box 9

Proofs for the text of an essay by Wilson titled 'Building Purulia'. The preface makes note of the fact that this is the first limited edition attempted by the Guild of Craft Bookbinders, Sydney.

Illuminated maps, c1650 (File 84) - Folio-Box 9

Ten two-page folios with text and central double page displaying hand-coloured maps of Italy and Greece, created by Dutch cartographer and publisher, Jan Jansson, c1650.

Birth certificate of William Hardy Wilson (File 85) - Folio-Box 9

Building specifications, 1933 (File 86) - Folio-Box 9

Typescript of specification of a weatherboard study at 'Alandale', Flowerdale,10pp.

Queen Victoria Hospital Centenary, 1997 (File 87) - Folio-Box 9

One of a limited edition print of 150 from the original drawing by Tasmanian artist, Greg Waddle.

Certificates of achievement: Lachlan Hardy Wilson, 1935-1979 (File 88-94) - Folio-Box 9

Matriculation as a student in the University of Melbourne (1935); Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, University of Melbourne (1941); Medical Registration Certificate, Medical board of Victoria (1941); appointment as an officer of the Reserve Military Forces of the Commonwealth (1942); Certificate of Service of an Officer, Australian Militatry Forces (1946); admission as a Foundation Fellow of the Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (1979).

Certificate of Matriculation as a student in the University of Melbourne: Jean Wilson Hill, 1936 (File 95) - Folio-Box 9

Plans for a Weatherboard study at 'Alandale;, Flowerdale, c1933 (File 96) - Folio item 96