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Atlee Hunt's papers consist chiefly of correspondence, both semi-official and private, written in the period 1901-21 when he was Secretary of the Department of External Affairs and, subsequently, the Department of Home and Territories. There are no papers relating to his early career as a lawyer or his involvement in the Federation movement. There are some personal letters written in the late 1920s, but virtually nothing on his work as Public Service Arbitrator.
The correspondence is extensive, with letters from many political figures, government officials and representatives of commercial organizations. They deal mostly with imperial relations (including Australian representation in the United Kingdom), political and commercial relations with the New Hebrides and other Pacific Islands, and the administration of the Australian territories: Norfolk Island, the Northern Territory and Papua.
The principal correspondents include Sir Edmund Barton, Captain F.R. Barton, E.L. Batchelor, Thomas Bavin, Colonel James Burns, A.M. Campbell, H.E. Carey, Captain R. Muirhead Collins, Alfred Deakin, Patrick McMahon Glynn, Merton King, Sir George Le Hunte, Walter H. Lucas, Hugh Mahon, M.V. Murphy, Hubert Murray, Judge T.E. Roseby, H.C. Smart and Miles Staniforth Smith.
Access conditions may apply to this collection, please refer to the collection's catalogue record for further information (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1299291).
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Atlee Hunt, National Library of Australia, MS 52, [box number and series and/or file number]'.
The papers were donated to the Commonwealth National Library by Hunt's daughter, Miss Marion Hunt, in 1936.
Some other papers of Atlee Hunt, including three diaries, were donated by Mr Bruce Hunt in 1964 and are housed at MS 1100.
Arthur Atlee Hunt was born on 7 November 1864 at Baroonda Station on the Fitzroy River, Queensland. He was educated at Balmain Public School and Sydney Grammar School. In 1879 he was appointed as a clerk in the New South Wales Lands Department. He visited England in 1887 and on his return studied law. He was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 1892. He took an active part in the Federation movement and was Secretary of the New South Wales Federal Association (1898) and General Secretary of the Federal League of Australasia (1899). He was one of a number of young men, including Robert Garran and Thomas Bavin, who strongly supported the leadership of Edmund Barton.
On Barton's appointment as Prime Minister in January 1901, Hunt became his private secretary and managed his electoral campaign. In May 1901 he was appointed the first Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, a position he held for 15 years. He made official visits to British New Guinea in 1905 and the Northern Territory in 1915 and attended the Imperial Conferences in London in 1907 and 1911. He was appointed a CMG in 1910.
In 1916 Hunt was appointed Secretary of the Department of Home and Territories. He was a member of the Royal Commission on the mandated territories in New Guinea in 1919. In 1921 he was appointed the first Public Service Arbitrator. He retired in 1930.
Atlee Hunt married Lilian Hunt in 1897. He died in Perth on 19 September 1935.
Correspondence, confidential and semi-official, with Capt. Barton, Administrator of British New Guinea, concerning Barton's assumption of the position of Administrator; his relationships with Administration personnel; Hunt's visit to British New Guinea (1905); Barton's travels in the Possession; establishment and proceedings of the Royal Commission into the administration of British New Guinea requested by Barton (1906).
Comprises Items 1-57
Correspondence of both personal and semi-official nature, with various people, notably missionaries and members of the British New Guinea Administration, on matters including: Judge Robinson's administration; Hunt's report on his visit the British New Guinea (1905); establishment of Royal Commission into Administration of British New Guinea (1906); appointment of Judge Murray as Acting Administrator (1907); personal affairs.
Correspondence with Burns Philp & Co. Ltd on various matters; Marshall Island claims; mail contracts; parliamentary visit to Papua (1911); general business.
Unofficial and confidential correspondence with A.M. Campbell, Resident Magistrate Eastern Division, British New Guinea, and later Government Secretary to the Territory of Papua (1908), relating to various matters including: Kanaka labour in British New Guinea; Royal Commission (1906); land purchases from natives; scheme of native taxation; Anglo-German boundary survey (1908); Papua Labour Ordinance (1908); personal affairs and dealings with Administration personnel.
Comprises Items 157-259
Personal and unofficial correspondence with Judge Murray, Chief Judicial Officer of British New Guinea, later Acting Administrator (1907) and Lieutenant Governor (1908) of Territory of Papua, chiefly concerned with details of administration and staff; wireless telegraphic communication with Australia; Papuan Pensions Bill; German New Guinea; land purchases from natives.
Unsigned typescript notes of scheme for defence and armament of Papua (manuscript interpolations in Murray's hand).
Comprises Items 260-366
Personal correspondence with various people, including missionaries and members of the Territory administration, concerning various matters: regulations and legislation governing natives; appointment of Administrator (1907); Anglo-German boundary; Papuan goldfields; scheme of native taxation; Federal Government immigration policy.
Comprises Items 367-429
Confidential and personal correspondence with Staniforth Smith, Director of Agriculture and Commissioner for Lands and later Administrator (1908) of Territory of Papua, concerning various matters, including land settlement; agricultural development policy; Federal politics; Administration personnel; Ladekamu and other Papuan goldfields; oil-boring operations; missionary activities; native labour; electoral representation; Papuan Pensions Bill; Smith's report on Java (1915).
Typescript copy (unsigned) of notes on the island of New Guinea
Comprises Items 430-610
Personal correspondence with various people, including British Colonial Office representatives, concerning: Anglo-French Joint Commission on landed property in the New Hebrides (1906); appointment of Australian representatives in the New Hebrides; personal affairs.
Manuscript copies of 3 articles by St. Just de Beaupré Mackay concerning Polynesian politics.
Translations of extracts from La France Australe (1910) relating to Protestant missions in Oceania.
Text of speeches at opening of Joint Court of the Condominium (1910).
Comprises Items 611-634
Private and personal correspondence with Merton King, Secretary to the Western Pacific High Commission, Fiji, and later British Resident Commissioner in the New Hebrides (1907), concerning various matters, including: Australian customs supervision on exports to New Hebrides; operation of the Anglo-French Convention and Joint Court; origin and activities of the Société Francaise des Novelles Hébrides; mail services for the Pacific; surveys of British settlers' lands; missionary activities; appointment of Native Advocate; Royal Commission into the Working of the Pacific mail service (1910?); amendments to Anglo-French Convention (1915).
Comprises Items 635-716
Private and personal correspondence with Judge Roseby, British Judge appointed to the Joint Court of the Condominium, relating to various matters including: colonisation of the New Hebrides; Anglo-French Convention (1907); British New Hebrides Association; communications with Australia; proposed purchase of Société Française land rights; relations between Protestant missionaries and the French; inauguration (1910) and operation of the Joint Court; appointment of Native Advocate; proposals regarding land registration procedure; relations with other Condominium officials; comparisons of land claims by French and English applicants; availability of native labour.
Comprises Items 717-751
Personal and private correspondence with various people being medical officers, British Merchants Colonial Office representatives, concerning different matters including: public health facilities in the New Hebrides; difficulties of administering the Condominium; purchasing land in the New Hebrides.
Comprises Items 752-759(a)
Official correspondence with Rev. Frank Paton, Foreign Missions Secretary to the Presbyterian Church of Australia, concerning Paton's request for an interview with Minister of External Affairs regarding New Hebrides question.
Comprises Items 760-763
Semi-official and personal correspondence with various people, including publishers, Australians in Europe, relations, concerning different matters: proceedings of the 1907 Imperial Conference which Hunt attended with Alfred Deakin; functions connected with the Conference; a private collection of Australian books and documents held in London.
Comprises Items 764-781
Official and semi-official correspondence with the Australian Government London Offices and Colonial Office staff, notably Sir Francis Hopwood and Sir Charles Lucas, on various matters, including action arising from Imperial Conference resolutions; principles governing Honours awards to politicians; Colonial office staff changes; newspaper article by W. M Hughes.
Comprises Items 782-862
Official, and private correspondence with Capt.Collins, Official Secretary to the Commonwealth of Australia Offices in London, concerning various matters, including: site and plans for London Office; naming of Navy vessels; appointment of Australian High Commissioner to London (1909); methods of circulating Australian news in England; appointment of Australia representatives to London and the Continent; personal affairs.
Text of speeches by the Earl of Dudley and Capt. Collins at Royal Colonial Institute, 1912.
Pamphlet The Foundations of British Policy by J. A. Spender.
Press clippings of Australian news releases and general publicity.
Typescript note (unsigned) concerning Canadian immigration policy and methods.
Comprises Items 793-862
Personal and semi-official correspondence with Sir Charles Lucas, Under-Secretary of Dominions Department of the Colonial Office, on various matters including: Colonial Office re-arrangement after 1907 Imperial Conference; South Australian reserved Bill regarding Northern Territory; Lucas' visit to Australia (1909); New Hebrides; personal affairs.
Typescript memo by Hunt concerning (1) official dealings with Colonial Office; (2) Lucas' visit to Australia; (3) Imperial Conferences.
Printed Colonial Office Despatch from Secretary of State for Colonies regarding re-arrangement of Colonial Office (1907).
Comprises Items 863-883
Official, and private, correspondence with H. C. Smart, head of Publicity Department, Commonwealth of Australia Offices, London, concerning various matters, including: difficulties with Agents-General in London; Australian exhibitions and other publicity activities in England; news services between Australia and London; encouragement of British migration to Australia; Smart's report on Continental emigration; war news service from London offices; establishment and operations of Australian Military office in London.
Newspaper clippings concerning British migration to the Dominions.
Comprises Items 884-962
Private and personal letters from Sir George Le Hunte, previously Lieutenant Governor of British New Guinea (1898-1902), then Governor of South Australia, concerning various matters including: relinquishment of British New Guinea appointment; Papua Act (1903); import of liquor into British New Guinea; banking arrangements by the Administration; British New Guinea mail services; the Goaribari island incident (1904); relations between Administration Officials; appointment of Royal Commission to enquire into administration of British New Guinea; personal affairs.
Comprises Items 963-1035
Private correspondence with Government representatives, notably W. Baldwin Spencer, concerning various matters, including: illegal entry of Chinese into Australia; appointment of Dr. Gilruth as Administrator of the Northern Territory; work of Chief Protector of Aborigines (W. Baldwin Spencer); Parliamentary party's visit (1912); relations between Asians and Aborigines; Administration personnel; sheep raising at Mataranka; Royal Commission concerning the Northern Territory (1920).
Comprises Items 1036-1054
Personal and semi-official correspondence with H. E. Carey, Private Secretary to the Administrator of the Northern Territory, concerning various matters, including: Administration office accommodation; Welshmen migrating from Patagonia to Australia; difficulties with labourers; other Administration personnel; Federal Government attitude to the Territory; Roper River mission; duties and operations of Classification Board handling land applications; Australian Workers Union activities in the Territory; Carey's work as Censor; Royal Commission regarding pastoral matters (1916); personal affairs.
Letter from Dr. Gilruth concerning visit to Mataranka.
Correspondence with Burns Philp regarding passages for workmen.
Comprises Items 1055-1168
Private and unofficial correspondence with M. V. Murphy, Administrator of Norfolk Island (1913-20) concerning various matters, including: Lord Chelmsford's visit to Norfolk Island (1910); Norfolk Island Fund; inadequacy of available shipping services; development of export products; establishment of Savings Bank Branch; election of new Executive Council (1915); improvement in cattle breeding; extensions to Harbour works; changes in Federal politics; salaried staff on the Island; personal affairs.
Comprises Items 1169-1252
Letters of Sir Edmund Barton, Prime Minister of Australia, concerning various matters: protocol; High Court work; personal affairs.
Comprises Items 1253-1258
Personal correspondence with F. M. Bladen, Principal Librarian of the Public Library of N.S.W., regarding various matters, including: gift of Roman stone fragment; Commonwealth Library Fund; publication of Historical Records; personal affairs including prospects of appointment.
Pamphlet on immigration entitled Peopling Australia by F. M. Bladen.
Comprises Items 1259-1266
Personal and confidential correspondence with J. O'N. Brenan, Chief Immigration Agent to the Government of Queensland, concerning various matters including: details of repatriation of Kanaka labourers to the Islands; Alfred Deakin's visit to Queensland (1907); arrival of Russian migrants (1910); personal affairs relating to future employment.
Comprises Items 1267-1286
Semi-official correspondence with E. L. Batchelor, Minister for External Affairs 1908-9 and 1910-11, concerning various matters, including: Immigration League of Australia; Franco-British Exhibition project; effects of Stowaway Act; Northern Territory affairs; Government assistance for Douglas Mawson's proposed Antarctic expedition; Governor-General's projected visit to Papua and the Northern Territory; Report of Wireless Tender Board; general office routine.
Correspondence with Mrs. Batchelor at time of E. L. Batchelor's death.
Comprises Items 1287-1299
Personal and semi-official correspondence (in English and French) with Yann M. Goblet, French journalist, concerning various matters, including: New Hebrides affairs; insertion of Australian articles in French press; Franco-Australian commercial relations; Federal Government changes; American influences on Australian living; possibility of appointing official French correspondent to Australia Government.
Comprises Items 1300-1311(a)
Private and semi-official correspondence with E. W. Foxall, of Japanese Consulate-General in Australia, and with M. Saito and S. Shimizn, Consuls-General for Japan, relating to various matters including: operation of Immigration Restriction Act of 1901; Agreement governing entry of Japanese merchants into Australia; appointment of Honorary Consul for Japan in Victoria.
Comprises Items 1312-1336
Personal and unofficial correspondence with Sir Everard Im Thurn, Governor of Fiji, concerning various matters, including: Hunt's visit to Suva (1909); introduction of outside labour to Solomon Islands; Pacific steamer service contracts; details of guano deposits in the Pacific (1909); New Hebrides labour deficiency; Im Thurn's retirement to England.
Comprises Items 1337-1351
Personal and semi-official correspondence with P. McMahon Glynn, Minister for External Affairs 1913-14, and Minister for Home and Territories 1917-20, concerning various matters, including: Northern Territory Administration Act 1910; survey and construction work for Transcontinental Railway (Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta); Northern Territory procedure concerning capital sentences; Norfolk Island Bill; staff appointments; Premiers' Conference (1914); establishment of freezing works in Northern Territory; appointment of M. V. Murphy as Administrator of Norfolk Island; change to Ministry; status of enemy subjects in Australia; naturalisation of Syrians; issuing of passports to women for travel through danger zones; Report of Royal Commission regarding Federal Capital; development of Papuan oilfields.
Printed copy of address by Glynn, Some Aspects of Imperialism.
Pamphlet The Disposition of Shakespeare by Glynn.
Comprises Items 1352-1489
Personal and semi-official correspondence with Hugh Mahon, Minister for External Affairs 1914-16, on various matters, including: dispute among Vestey's workmen in Darwin; financial aid to Papuan missions during war; Hunt's report on Northern Territory visit (1915); proposed treatment of naturalised citizens in wartime; restrictions on entry of Japanese merchants into Australia; personal affairs.
Comprises Items 1490-1530(a)
Semi-official and personal correspondence with Prof. Harrison Moore, Professor of Law at University of Melbourne, on various legal matters, including: Australian naturalisation of enemy subjects during War; British Nationality and Status and Aliens Act 1914; naturalised persons of enemy origin and their rights to the franchise.
Comprises Items 1531-1538
Unofficial and private correspondence with Col. James Burns on various matters, including: mail services to North America; provision of steamer for British New Guinea mail and passenger services; Sydney to Singapore steamer service; land settlement in the New Hebrides; use of coloured crews on Singapore services.
Correspondence between Edmund Barton and Sir Andrew Clarke concerning the New Hebrides (1901).
Comprises Items 1539-1561
Private and unofficial correspondence with Col. Burns on various matters, including: missionary attitudes to recruitment of labour for the New Hebrides; Burns Philp investment in the New Hebrides; Marshall Islands case; proposed establishment of wireless stations; criticism of Papua and New Hebrides mail services; Japanese trade and steamer services in the Pacific Islands.
Comprises Items 1562-1584
Private and unofficial correspondence with Col. Burns and A. Forsyth, senior partners in Burns Philp & Co. Ltd , on various matters, including: Société Française des Novelles Hébrides; Marshall Islands case; appointment of Burns Philp Solicitor for the New Hebrides; duties of native crews on Burns Philp vessels; New Hebrides mail subsidy.
Typescript copies of Cairns-Papua and Sydney Papua steamer services (undated).
Comprises Items 1585-1605
Private and personal correspondence with W. H. Lucas, of Island Department of Burns Philp, concerning various matters, including: accommodation for Kanakas leaving Queensland for the New Hebrides; competition for New Hebrides cargo from European lines; British land claims in the New Hebrides; effect of Quarantine Act of 1908 on imports of New Hebrides produce; supplying of coal to Admiralty ships in the New Hebrides; proposed Commonwealth Government action regarding German New Guinea (1920).
Comprises Items 1606-1627
Private and unofficial correspondence with Burns Philp principals, notably Walter Lucas, concerning various Pacific Island matters, including: proving of titles to British settlement land in the New Hebrides; negotiations with Commonwealth Government regarding mail contracts; survey of New Hebrides settlement land; prospect of Commonwealth Government assuming control of British interests in Western Pacific; rising costs of Pacific mail services; Australian claim to the waters of Port Sandwich; appointment of Surveyor for the Solomons; appointment of new solicitor to represent Burns Philp in the New Hebrides.
Press clippings relating to missionary activities and other matters in Papua.
Comprises Items 1628-1762
Private and personal correspondence with Eyre Hutson, Acting High Commissioner of the Western Pacific at Fiji, on various matters, including: appointment of Sir Francis May as Governor of Fiji (1916); prominence of German firms in Tonga; proposals to introduce German New Guinea labour into the Solomons; indenture of Indian coolie labour for Fiji; Commonwealth amendments to the War Regulations regarding passports.
Comprises Items 1763-1774
Letters of personal, and semi-official nature from some 120 correspondents, many of them British and Australia political figures, concerning a variety of subjects and apparently considered valuable principally for their signatures; 28 letters by Hunt.
Comprises Items 1775-2071
Personal and private correspondence with various people, principally family friends, concerning several matters including: Hunt's appointment as Private Secretary to Edmund Barton (1901); family affairs.
Comprises Items 2072-2092
Private, and semi-official correspondence with various people, notably Australian political figures and principals of Burns Philp, on many matters, including: salary of President of Federal Senate; Sir Edmund Barton's interest in New Hebrides and British New Guinea affairs; Burns Philp claims against German authorities in the Marshall Islands; desertion of Chinese crews from Burns Philp steamers; deportation of Kanakas from Queensland; proposal to establish Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine in Townsville; procedure regarding correspondence with Governor-General.
Comprises Items 2093-2184
Personal and private correspondence with various people, including British and Australian government officials, on a miscellany of subjects: Colonial Office work to combat tropical diseases; 1909 Declaration of London regarding naval warfare; Hunt's visit to Fiji (1909); old age pensions law and applications for naturalisation; land policy of British Unionist Party; matters for discussion at Imperial Conference (1911); appointment of Administrator of the Northern Territory; proposals to improve shipping accommodation at Norfolk Island.
Press cuttings concerning British Unionist Party land policy.
Comprises Items 2185-2239
Personal, and semi-official correspondence with various people, notably Australian government representatives, on several matters, including: prospects of increased immigration to Australia; relationship of Dominion High Commissioners to the Imperial Conference; discovery of petroleum in Papua; proposed medical training in Australia for natives of Tong; Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine, Townsville; work among Aborigines in the Northern Territory.
Comprises Items 2240-2266
Personal and private letters from some 70 people, including British and Australian political figures and government representatives, congratulating Hunt on his receipt of C.M.G. honour, and two letters of formal acknowledgment by Hunt.
Comprises Items 2267-2348
Personal and private letters from various people, including Australian and other government officials, concerning a miscellany of subjects: appointments for Northern Territory and Papua positions; origin and observance of Wattle Day; proposed new Anglican Mission on Groote Eylandt; powers of an Assistant Minister; rumour of Commonwealth Gvernment takeover of Fiji; alien indentured labour in the Pacific; boundaries covered by the term ‘Australasia'.
Press clippings concerning recruiting of Kanaka labour (1901).
Typescript Government agreement (unsigned) to employ petroleum expert for work in Papua and Australia.
Comprises Items 2349-2400
Personal and semi-official correspondence with several people, including Australian government officials, concerning various matters: congratulations to recipients of Birthday Honours (1927); Hunt's retirement from the Public Service.
Comprises Items 2401-2441
Photographs of friends and associates; press cutting concerning Japanese visitor (1915); typescript notes (unsigned) concerning Colonial Sugar Refinery labour policy for Queensland canefields; typescript notes (unsigned) regarding labour recruiting under the terms of the 1907 Anglo-French Convention governing the New Hebrides.
Pamphlets: Scottish Agricultural Mission to Australia 1910-11; Notes on N.S.W. Coat of Arms (1907); What's in a Name, by David Macrea, being a discussion of Imperial terms ‘Britain' and ‘British'; Nation Building in Australia by L. E. Groom.
Comprises Items 2412-2434