Guide to the Papers of Lyndhurst Falkiner Giblin


MS 366

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

L. F. (Lyndhurst Falkiner) Giblin
Papers of Lyndhurst Falkiner Giblin
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 366
0.6 metres (5 boxes)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

Included in the collection are letters to his wife, to his sisters Aella and Edith (Mrs Hall), and to his brother Alan between the years 1885-1950, Mrs Giblin's diaries relating to life in Canberra during 1941-1943; manuscripts and typescripts, papers on the basic wage, standard hours, land values and other economic subjects; his 'Letters to John Smith' and 'More letters to John Smith'; the 'Response to Poetry' and a pocket diary with some notes written by Giblin during the last month of his life.

Conditions Governing Access

Access conditions may apply to this collection, please refer to the collection's catalogue record for further information (

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Lyndhurst Falkiner Giblin, National Library of Australia, MS 366, [box number and series and/or file number]'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was brought together from a number of sources between 1952 and 1967. Mrs Eilean M. Giblin deposited some of the papers herself. Various friends and associates deposited either original papers, or copies of papers in the possession of other members of the Giblin family. Among those who made substantial contributions in this way were J.M. Garland, Sidney Crawford and Sir Roland Wilson.

Biographical Note

Lyndhurst Falkiner Giblin in Hobart on 29th November 1872, son of William R. Giblin, former Premier of Tasmania. Educated at Hutchins School, Hobart, University College, London and King's College, Cambridge, he graduated as a Master of Arts, with Honours in mathematics. He excelled at Rugby football, and represented England at that game. In 1898 Giblin went to northern British Columbia to try his luck at mining, but he was unsuccessful. After this, he became in turn a teamster, lumberman, sailor and schoolteacher. His years of travel and adventure extended until 1905, and included a visit to the Solomon Islands.

Giblin returned to Tasmania in 1906 and took up farming and fruit growing. He developed an interest in local politics and from 1912 to 1915 was a member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. He joined the A.I.F. in 1916, served in France, finishing with the rank of Major and won the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross. In 1918 L.F. Giblin married Eilean Mary Burton. On 1st December 1919 he was appointed Government Statistician of Tasmania and held that position until 1928. He was made Ritchie Professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne in 1929, devoting himself to the study of such problems as State and Federal financial relations and the concept of taxable capacity, the measurement of tariff costs and their distribution. He occupied the chair until 1940. During the Depression of 1928-32, Giblin undertook the task of explaining to the general public, in a series of press articles entitled 'Letters to John Smith, the causes of the crisis.' In 1931, the Commonwealth Government led by J.A. Lyons appointed him as a financial adviser and have him the office of Commonwealth Statistician. His advice to the Lyons Government was to some extent responsible for Australia's rapid recovery. Between 1922 and 1936, Giblin was a member of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. When the Second World War broke out, Giblin came to Canberra where he remained until the war ended. For seven years, from 1939 to 1946, he was Chairman of the Commonwealth Financial and Economic Committee.

Giblin came to economics through other studies. His original interests were mathematics and statistics, and he probably never regarded himself as having mastered the techniques of theoretical economics. His chief work as a writer on economic subjects lay in his contribution to the Economic Record and in his Growth of a Central Bank (1951), the latter arising out of his experience from 1935 to 1942, as director of the Commonwealth Bank.

L.F. Giblin died in Tasmania on 1st March 1951. King's College, Cambridge, of which he had been made aA Supernumerary Fellow in 1937, established in his memory a Giblin studentship, open to an Australian graduate.

References: The Australian Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1958; Who's Who in Australia, 1950; Economic Record, June 1951; The Australian Quarterly, June 1951; The Economic Record, Nov. 1952; Copland, Douglas, ed. Giblin, the Scholar and the man, Cheshire, Melbourne, 1960 (with a complete bibliography of Giblin's writings, pp. 223-228).

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Letters from Giblin to his wife - Box 1-2

This series contains 419 letters written by Giblin to his wife from 1917 to 1950; they are arranged in chronological order.

Comprises Items 1-1685.

Series 2. Letters from Giblin to his sister Aella - Box 3

Contains letters to his sister Aella from 1890-1938; typescript copies are also included.

Comprises Items 1-150.

Series 3. Letters from Giblin to his sister Edith (Mrs Hall) - Box 3

Typescript copies of letters to his sister Edith between the years 1885-1951.

Series 4. Letters from Giblin to his brother Alan - Box 3

Small number of letters to his brother Alan, from 1916-1918.

Series 5. General correspondence - Box 3

This series contains general correspondence to and from Giblin between the years 1896 and 1950. There are also letters from Mrs Giblin to Sidney Crawford and some letters of sympathy to her after her husbands death. Some correspondence between Mrs Hall and L. Crawford and between John Garland and R. Schieder. These letters refer to Giblin's association with Martin Grainger in British Colombia. Other correspondents include; E.G. Theodore, J.A. Lyons, A.G.B. Fisher, Sir Douglas B. Copland, Sir Otto Niemeyer, E. Dyason, W.B. Reddaway, W.B. Duffy, Sir Walter Massy-Greene and Sir Charles Wickens.

Series 6. Mrs Giblin's war time diaries - Box 4

The diaries are in two volumes, 1940-41 and 1941-43; they were deposited by Mrs Giblin in 1952 and 1953 and relate to life in Canberra during the war years.

Series 7. Basic wage and standard hours - Box 4

Printed and typescript material on wages, prices and economic effects of a 40 hours week in Australia. The Standards Fours Enquiry by A..J. Tyrer and the Standard Hours Case by H.P. Brown are also in this series

Series 8. Land values - Box 5

This series includes typescript material on land values, land sales control, the valuation of land under an incremental tax, the stabilisation of rural land values, the land valuation policy in New Zealand and the report on land valuation by Justice Uthwatt.

Series 9. Other economic papers - Box 5

Placed in this series are manuscripts and typescripts on various economic topics.

Subseries. Manuscripts

Australia agoniste (File 1)
Employment and unemployment in Australia, Nov. 1930 (File 2)
A note on road expenditure (File 3)
Valuation of imports for duty (File 4)
Federal income tax (File 5)
Suggestions for income tax (File 6)
The just step to economic recovery (File 7)
Public finance (File 8)
A tax on tea (File 9)
Gold bonus (File 10)
Retail prices (File 11)

Subseries. Typescripts

Australia in the shadows (File 1)
The taxable capacity of Australian States (File 2)
The Australian balance of payments (File 3)
Estimated total female breadwinners (File 4)
Estimated total male breadwinners (File 5)
Estimated costs of raising women's wages in certain industries (File 6)
The Premiers' plan myth (File 7)
Australia, 1940 (File 8)
The future of Australia (File 9)
The National income, 1924-31 (File 10)
Nationalisation of credit (File 11)
Export farmers (File 12)
Export farmers' income (File 13)
Addendum to evidence by Prof.Wadham (File 14)
Memorandum for the Treasurer, 7 Sep. 1942 (File 15)
Surplus rural export income (File 16)
The surplus of rural income (File 17)
Unemployment index, N.S.W. (File 18)
Notes on band board appointment (File 19)
White alien immigration (File 20)
The crisis in democracy (File 21)
Notes on Republic of Solitaria (File 22)

Series 10. Letters to John Smith - Box 5

These letters were written in simple language by Giblin to 'John Smith' and published in the Herald (Melbourne) during the Depression (1930). Their object was to persuade the people to accept a reduction in the basic wage awarded by the Arbitration Court. More letters to John Smith are also included in this series.

Series 11. Response to poetry - Box 5

Contains typescript notes by Giblin, (24 January 1945) on 'The response to poetry' and a copy of an article on the same subject written by the magazine Prometheus (25 September 1945).

Series 12. Biographical and miscellaneous papers - Box 5

Contains a diary that records briefly the last month of Giblin's life, press cuttings, Stand-to, August to September 1952, the future of the Botanical Gardens (Melbourne). A day in Cambridge, Port Arthur in the seventies, some notes from Mrs Hall (Dec. 1951), biographical notes and 2 photographs of Giblin.