Guide to the Papers of Brian Fitzpatrick
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Brian Fitzpatrick
- Papers of Brian Fitzpatrick
- Date Range
- Collection Number
- MS 4965
- 8.85 metres (59 boxes)
- Language of Materials
- National Library of Australia
Scope and Content
The bulk of the collection consists of the records of Australian Council for Civil Liberties (1936-1965) including correspondence, minutes, financial papers, notes, manuscripts and publications.
The papers also contain Fitzpatrick's general correspondence, manuscript, notes, publications, certificates, photographs and press cuttings documenting his work as publicist and historian.
The material is divided into subject series, each of which is described briefly; the correspondence is indexed on cards.
Conditions Governing Access
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1917348).
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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Brian Fitzpatrick, National Library of Australia, MS 4965, [series and/or file number]'.
The National Library received the bulk of the papers of Brian Fitzpatrick from his widow, Mrs Dorothy Fitzpatrick, during 1975 and 1976. Papers added as Series 2(d) and 2(e), and added to Series 1(d), 2(c), 10 and 13(m), were received in 2001 together with the papers of Dorothy Fitzpatrick. This material was received from the Fitzpatrick's children, Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick and Professor David Fitzpatrick.
A doctoral thesis entitled 'Brian Fitzpatrick, 1905-1965' by Don Watson (1976) is held in the Manuscript Collection at MS 8261. The papers of Dorothy Fitzpatrick are held in the Manuscript Collection at MS 9920.
BENNETT, D M. 'Introduction'. In Fitzpatrick, B. A future or no future – foreign policy and the A.L.P. Melbourne, Victorian Fabian Society, 1966. CRAWFORD, Raymond M. 'Brian Fitzpatrick 1905-1965', Historical studies, v. 12 no. 46, April 1966: 327-9 CROWLEY, Frank. 'Brian Fitzpatrick: a tribute'. Labour History, no.10, 1966: 3-4 GOLLAN, Robin. 'Brian Fitzpatrick'. Overland, no. 33, December 1965: 9 HANCOCK, Sir Keith. 'Brian Fitzpatrick: a tribute' Meanjin Quarterly, v.24 no. 103, 1965: 393-4 TURNER, Ian. 'Introduction' In Fitzpatrick, B. Short history of the Australian labor movement. Melbourne, Macmillan, 1968. (re-issue of 1944 ed.)
Brian Fitzpatrick was born in Warrnambool, Victoria on 17 November 1905, the third son and seventh child (of eight) of Peter Fitzpatrick, a state school teacher and his wife Mary nee Callister. He was educated at state schools in the country and in Melbourne, matriculating with first-class honours in French and winning a scholarship to the University of Melbourne. He graduated Bachelor of Arts (with honours) in 1925 and Master of Arts in 1934. For ten years, from 1925, he worked as a journalist in London, Sydney and Melbourne.
In 1937 Fitzpatrick won the University of Melbourne's Harbison Higinbotham Scholarship with his manuscript of British imperialism and Australia 1783-1833; it was published by George Allen and Unwin in 1939. A sequel was The British Empire in Australia: an economic history, 1834-1939 (1941). Other published works included A short history of the Australia labor movement (1940), The rich get richer (1944), The Australian Commonwealth: a picture of the community 1901-1955 (1956), The highest bidder; a citizen's guide to problems of foreign investment in Australia (1965) with E.L. Wheelwright and Readings in Australian history (1965) with B.J. Munday.
Fitzpatrick edited The Australian democrat, an independent non-party monthly news- review (1947-1950), The Australian news-review (1951-1953), and from 1958 until his death in 1965, he published Brian Fitzpatrick's Labor newsletter: what is going on in Australian politics.
During the 1940s Fitzpatrick wrote a weekly column 'Where do we go from here' in Smith's weekly. He broadcast regularly from 3XY during the late 1940s and early 1950s and for ten years before 1965 wrote a monthly article for The Rationalist. His economic analyses were presented to the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration by the Australian Council of Trade Unions as part of its case in the Basic Wage Enquiry in 1940, and also to the Standard Hours Enquiry in 1949.
In 1940 Fitzpatrick was appointed a Research Fellow in the Department of History, University of Melbourne, but in September 1942 he was given leave to join the Commonwealth Rationing Commission; subsequently in June 1943 he worked for the Department of War Organisation of Industry. He resumed his Fellowship at the University in 1944 and remained there until 1947.
Fitzpatrick was a foundation member of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties in 1935. From 1939 until his death he was its General Secretary, devoting much of his lifetime to its affairs.
In 1932 he married Kathleen Pitt who was later Associate Professor History, University of Melbourne. The marriage was dissolved. In 1940 Fitzpatrick married Dorothy Davies, an executive member of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, and later a Senior Teaching Fellow at Monash University. They had two children, Sheila and David.
Brian Fitzpatrick died in Sydney on 3 September 1965.
A small group which included Brian Fitzpatrick met in Melbourne in December 1935 and decided to establish an organisation dedicated to the preservation of civil liberties. Most of the group had been members of the Book Censorship Abolition League set up in 1934 by W. Macmahon Ball "to protect the rights of readers and booksellers" after the extensive censorship of political literature during the previous two years. In May 1936 the Council for Civil Liberties was formed at a public meeting. At the annual meeting in 1939 the Council became the Australian Council for Civil Liberties and Brian Fitzpatrick was elected general secretary, a position he held until his death.
The aim of the Council as set out in its 1936 constitution was to assist in the maintenance of the rights of citizens, " against infringement by executive or judicial authority contrary to due process of law, or by tendency of governmental or other agencies to use their powers at the expense of the liberties which citizens in this country have enjoyed." The Council defended individuals and groups irrespective of their political affiliations when it considered "they had been treated unjustly or stood in peril of injustice" and "applied itself to informing the public of facts and implications of 'undemocratic' legislation."
In April 1965 Fitzpatrick wrote of the Council, "before, during and for a few years after the War it operated chiefly from Melbourne but with advisory committees in various States. It remains in existence, but – a voluntary organisation now as at all times – of late years has not functioned as a continuing body conducting regular meetings, etc. Our latest national campaign was conducted towards the end of 1960, when clauses of the amending Crime Act (Commonwealth) of that year were vigorously contested. Nowadays we handle individual cases referred to us, and continue as a loose organisation of (chiefly) lawyers and parliamentarians".
The records of the A.C.C.L. have been organised into eight subseries; each is described briefly.
The correspondence of the Council is arranged chronologically and documents its formation, the drafting of a constitution, the establishment of committees in the States, the resignation in 1939 of its first president Herbert Burton and its increased activity during and immediately after World War II. There is also correspondence with members, societies and committees, mostly in Melbourne, concerning literature, guest speakers, meetings and the twentieth anniversary dinner in 1956. In addition, there are letters from the National Council of Civil Liberties, London, and the American Civil Liberties Union, New York.
This subseries contains seven books of complete agenda, minutes and reports of the executive and general meetings of the Council (1936-1956). There is also an incomplete set of loose copies of minutes and annual reports (1940-1960) and notes written by Dorothy Fitzpatrick at a meeting on 25 October 1965 after her husband's death.
The files of the A.C.C.L. contain correspondence, reports of deputations to Ministers, reports of police court and similar proceedings, statutory declarations and briefs for counsel. "The Council's practice was to verify and assemble facts and precedents and obtain legal advice before proceeding, by way of lobbying, deputation or other representation, publicity, parliamentary questions and speeches on adjournment and litigation".
The papers concerning each case have been kept together, likewise the material relating to the public campaigns. The files have been arranged in chronological order.
The financial papers include a cashbook (1937-1940), two membership books (1937-1940, 1945-1951); a smaller number of accounts and receipts; record of sales of A.C.C.L. pamphlets and other publications by Fitzpatrick, 1939; and correspondence from 1936 until 1960 concerning subscriptions, donations, the production and sale of publications and the appeals for funds in 1953 and 1956.
This subseries contains an incomplete set of Civil liberty, the bulletin of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties (1935-1957). The Council's many pamphlets and leaflets, mostly the work of Fitzpatrick, have been arranged in chronological order.
Included here are publications of the National Council of Civil Liberties (1937-1961), the American Civil Liberties Union (1942-1964), the Chicago Civil Liberties Committee (1946-1947), the International Conference on Human Rights, London (1947) and the Committee to secure justice in the Rosenberg case (1952-1953).
This subseries contains two scrap books (1936-1946) together with loose cuttings concerning Council; other cuttings have been placed with their relevant case.
J.V. Barry was president and Brian Fitzpatrick secretary of the committee formed in October 1943 to arrange a testimonial to Maurice Blackburn, then president of the A.C.C.L. When his terminal illness became known, Blackburn was paid a sum of money and, after his death on 31 March 1944, the balance of the fund, together with a document of appreciation, was given to his widow, Doris Blackburn.
The records of the committee were entrusted to the A.C.C.L. They contain correspondence, a list of donors, minutes of meetings, financial statements and the final report of the executive, dated 27 June 1944.
This series has been divided into five subseries: (1) General correspondence, (2) Financial papers, (3) Diaries, (4) Personal correspondence and (5) Personal documents.
The letters and cards dating from 1931 until 1965 are arranged chronologically and contain correspondence between Fitzpatrick and his colleagues in the fields of literature, history and politics.
They discuss Fitzpatrick's Fellowship at the University of Melbourne; his expulsion from the Australian Labor Party in 1944; applications for academic positions in 1947 and 1958; the grant he received in 1955 from the Social Science Research Council of Australia; and the Conference of Historians he attended in Canberra in 1957. There are also letters relating to his writings in Smith's weekly, Meanjin quarterly, New Zealand monthly review, The Rationalist and Overland, together with letters and circulars from the Australian Journalists' Association, the Fellowship of Writers and the Australian Society of Authors.
In 1931 Fitzpatrick published privately a collection Songs and poems and received a letter of congratulation from Walter Murdoch. In 1948 Murdoch asked permission to include one of the poems 'Cenotaph' in his anthology A book of Australian and New Zealand verse (Oxford University Press, 1949). Details of Bernard O'Dowd's will were discussed in letters to W. Slater in 1948, and in 1957. Fitzpatrick corresponded with Sir John Latham about references made in Civil Liberty (v.3, no 1-2, July 1957) to Sir John Medley and Sir David Rivett.
A small number of letters and Christmas cards are included from friends Vance and Nettie Palmer, Eric and Eleanor Dark, Dymphna Cusack, Clem Christesen, Sir John Barry, Robin Gollan, Jim Davidson, Hugh Hesher, A.W. Sheppard and others. Most were written during the period 1955-1965.
Bank slips and statements (1957-1965), cheque butts (1962-1965) taxation returns and notices of assessment (1956-1965), publishers' statements (1941-1965) and miscellaneous domestic accounts and receipts (1955-1965).
Two pocket diaries noting appointments in 1944 and 1954, together with a small number of loose notes and 23 research notebooks, dated 1941, c1960-1965 and undated.
Letters of Kathleen Fitzpatrick to Brian Fitzpatrick, 1954 and 1964 (2 letters); Dorothy Fitzpatrick to Brian Fitzpatrick, c.1950 (photocopy); and Brian Fitzpatrick to Sheila Fitzpatrick, 1957-1965 (photocopies: originals retained by Professor Fitzpatrick); together with personal letters, cards and postcards to Brian Fitzpatrick, c.1942-1966, from various correspondents including Sir John Barry (1963), Dymphna Cusack (fragment, 1965), Clem Christesen (card, 1957), Robin Boyd (postcard), Eleanor Dark (1944), Hephzibah Menuhin (1953), Charles Meeking and P.G. Wodehouse.
For letters of Brian Fitzpatrick to Dorothy Fitzpatrick, refer to MS 9920, Series 8/1.
University of Melbourne Commencement program, 1925; photo of staff of the World, 1931, reproduced in Journalist, October 1964; 'Notes for submission to the Treasurer on Post-war reconstruction planning organisation'; address on 'Matriculation', undated; notes, invitations and receipts. Also 3 envelopes addressed to Bernard O'Dowd, 1904 and 1906, one with notes by Fitzpatrick on verso.
The collection contains a number of publications including single copies of Historical studies, The Justice of the Peace, The rationalist, The left news, The Bulletin, National observer, Overland, Outlook, The theatre industry, The free spirit, Meanjin quarterly, Vestes, The seamen's journal, and The sheet metal worker.
There are also copies of Commonwealth and State legislation, parliamentary debates and printed material of the Australian Peace Council, the Zionist Federation of Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Hypnotherapists' Association and the Fellowship of Australian Writers. Further publications have been placed in the appropriate series.
There are a small number of loose cuttings about politics, Catholic Action, economic and foreign affairs, education and industrial relations. Other cuttings are contained in their relevant series.
Also placed here is a xerox copy of a scrap book (1931-1935) containing notes and cuttings of Fitzpatrick's articles published in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Herald (Melbourne) and a folder containing press reviews of his monograph A short history of the Australian labor movement (Melbourne, Rawson Bookshop, 1941).
In this series are Fitzpatrick's degrees from the University of Melbourne: Bachelor of Arts (with honours) dated 2 May 1925 and Master of Arts, 22 December 1934.
Fitzpatrick was given leave from the University of Melbourne from September 1942 until March 1944. During this period he worked first for the Commonwealth Rationing Commission and later, from June 1943, for the Department of War Organisation of Industry.
The series is small but has been divided into two subseries. The first contains a memorandum (dated September 1942) from Fitzpatrick to H.C. Coombs, Director of Rationing, about the proposed Department of Post-War Reconstruction and his notes, written in December, dealing with organisation of the new Department.
In October 1942 Fitzpatrick joined a committee set up by the Attorney-General, H.V. Evatt, to prepare and publish a book setting out the purpose and effect of the Constitution Alteration (Post-war Aims and Reconstruction) Bill. The subseries includes a typescript copy of the resolutions adopted by the editorial committee at its inaugural meeting, a long letter, dated November 1942, from Fitzpatrick to Evatt about the Bill and further letters to Coombs concerning the booklet.
In December 1942 Fitzpatrick was invited with J.V. Barry and Vance Palmer to a conference of the Prime Minister's Committee on National Morale. A.A. Conlon was chairman and the committee members included S. H Deamer, J. Stone, K.L. Barry and A. K Stout. The second subseries contains the report on the public relations of the Department of War Organisation of Industry, which Fitzpatrick made to the Minister, J. J Dedman, following the conference; and his letter to G. T Chippendall concerning the Department's functions and their effects on the electoral prospects of Dedman. A typescript draft of a pamphlet intended to be circulated by ALP branches in the State electoral districts within the federal division of Corio, during the Victorian election campaign in 1943, and a typescript article, probably written by Fitzpatrick, entitled 'Measures taken by the Department of War Organisation of Industry in Australia 1942 and 1943', complete the subseries.
In 1946 and 1947 Fitzpatrick worked with the Australasian Council of Trade Unions in preparing its submission in the Standard Hours Enquiry (40 hour week) before the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration.
The series is small but includes letters to H. C Coombs, F. Gruen and K. Gott referring to Fitzpatick's research work; notes, his typescript and processed submissions to the Court, printed material including the submission of A. J Tyrer, and a letter of appreciation from A.E. Monk dated January 1948.
This series contains Fitzpatrick's correspondence with John Cain, Victorian ALP Leader, about advertisements for the general election campaign; scripts of broadcasts by J. J Dedman, Minister for War Organisation of Industry, C. A Crofts of the ACTU, J. Cain and Geelong unionists G. Gorrie and A. Grecian; campaign literature supporting the candidature of J. V Barry for Balaclava, T. M Jude for Fawkner and the ALP Senate team D. Cameron, R. V Keane and J. M Sheehan; notes for speakers, literature of the Communist Party of Australia; and press cuttings containing advertisements, nominations and the results of the election.
In December 1960 Fitzpatrick was invited to join the National Organising Committee of the ALP, which was working towards the general election of 1961. The series consists of a small amount of correspondence with F. E Chamberlain, F. Crean, C. S Wyndham, P. J Kennelly and J. A Mulvihill concerning the committee; a copy of the ALP federal platform adopted at the federal conference in 1961; papers from 1961 annual conference of the NSW branch of the party; a report prepared by Wyndham in 1961 entitled Notes on the election results 1951-58 (State of Victoria); and press cuttings.
Series 10. Labor newsletter, Australian Democrat, Australian News Review, 1950-1965 - Box 41-44, 44a
Brian Fitzpatrick's Labor newsletter: what is going on in Australian politics was a monthly periodical which commenced in June 1958 and was described as "a non-profit making personal undertaking for limited circulation". It ceased publication when Fitzpatrick died in 1965.
The papers contain correspondence between Fitzpatrick, his circulation manager W. McCarthy, and advertisers and subscribers concerning administration and issues discussed in Labor newsletter. They include the general elections of 1958, 1961 and 1963; the election of the Senate in 1964; the Australian Democratic Labor Party; amendments to the Crimes Act (1960) and North-West Cape lease (1963). Also included are three receipt books (1962-1965); lists of subscribers; a complete set of Labor newsletter (v. 1 no. 1, June 1958 – v. 7 no. 79, 31 August 1965); and issues of Australian News Review v.1 no.1-v.3 no.2 (January 1951-October 1953) and Australian democrat v. 3 no. 23 (August 1950 only).
The All Nations' Cultural Centre was launched in Melbourne in July 1956, with the object of promoting "closer cultural relations will all nations, especially by arranging exchange of books, pictures, music, handicrafts and visits to and from Australia by cultural groups and individuals".
The series contains correspondence written during 1956 and 1957 between the chairman Fitzpatrick and executive members Catherine Atkins, Evelyn Rothfield and others concerning the formation of the Centre, its functions during the Olympic Games in 1956, and its suspension at the end of 1957 due to lack of public support.
In June 1964 Brian Fitzpatrick was given a testimonial dinner "in recognition of his work for labor, civil liberties and in historical scholarship". It was held at the University of Melbourne and attended by three hundred guests. Sir John Barry was chairman, and addresses were given by Sir John Latham, H. E Holt, S. H Cohen, Dr J. F Cairns, P. A Morawetz, and I. R Maxwell; A leather-bound book, containing letters, photographs and a record of the proceedings, forms the series.
This series contains manuscripts, correspondence and other papers relating to some of Fitzpatrick's books and articles. Works written under the auspices of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties have been placed with the Council's records in Series 1(e).
In 1950 Fitzpatrick signed an agreement with Common Ground Ltd. of London to write a strip-textbook entitled Australia in the series Growth of the British Empire.
The material contains the agreement, correspondence with Ian Carter of Common Ground Ltd during 1949 and 1950, a typescript copy of Fitzpatrick's manuscript Australia, and a copy of Fitzpatrick Madden's New Zealand written for the same series.
Brian Fitzpatrick was awarded a grant by the Social Science Research Council of Australia in 1955 to complete The Australian Commonwealth: a picture of the community 1901-1955.
A small subseries contains letters received by Fitzpatrick from the Council and government department during the writing of the book. Letters and reviews which he received after its publication by Cheshire in 1956 are also included.
The papers comprise Fitzpatrick's correspondence with editor A.H. Chisholm from 1948 until 1950, concerning contributions to The Australian encyclopaedia. Also included are typescript copies of the articles, strikes and lockouts, public enterprise, standard hours of industry, refrigeration, trade unionism, Sir Francis Forbes and Thomas A. Scott.
This subseries contains letters written during 1945 and 1946 by Fitzpatrick and G. F James of the Melbourne University Press dealing with the publication of The Australian people 1788-1945. Also included are an annotated typescript copy of Fitzpatrick's manuscript originally entitled 'Australia, my people' and press cuttings of reviews.
The British Empire in Australia: an economic history 1834-1939 was published for Brian Fitzpatrick by Melbourne University Press in 1941; a second edition appeared in 1949. This subseries consists of a small amount of correspondence written between Fitzpatrick and the publishers in 1944; a draft of the preface and amendments to footnotes, which he prepared the second edition.
After Fitzpatrick won the Harbison Higinbotham Scholarship in 1937 with the manuscript 'An economic history of Australia 1783-1833' he submitted it to George Allen and Unwin of London where it was subsequently published in 1939 with the title British imperialism and Australia 1783-1883.
Fitzpatrick's contract and correspondence with publishers, together with an annotated typescript copy of the manuscript, publisher's proof pages and reviews form the subseries. A second edition was discussed in 1943 and 1946 but owing to "production problems" this was not completed.
This large subseries contains annotated typescript drafts of the monograph, The highest bidder: a citizen's guide to problems of foreign investment in Australia, written by Brian Fitzpatrick and E. L Wheelwright, published in Melbourne by Landsdowne in 1965. The authors' correspondence together with Fitzpatrick's notes, drafts and research material are also included.
In 1961 Fitzpatrick was commissioned "to write a short history of the Australian Natives Association of approximately 10, 000 words". The subseries contains his correspondence with J. C Gill, general secretary of the Australia Natives Association; the proof sheets for 90 years of Australian Natives' Association in Victoria; an issue of ANA Press (v. 5 no. 3, 1961), to commemorate its ninetieth anniversary; ANA Press (v. 4, no. 10 and 12, 1960 and v. 5, no.2, 1961) and the report of proceedings of the Association's eighty-fifth annual conference, 1961.
Two typescript copies of the sixteen episodes of Pageant of Australian history written for the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1949, and the correspondence between Fitzpatrick and Neil Hutchison of the A.B.C. during 1949 and 1950, from this subseries.
Fitzpatrick was general editor and B. J Munday the consulting editor of the series, Reading in Australian history, published by Cheshires in 1965. There is correspondence with Munday, A. Fabinyi of Cheshires and contributors A. W Martin, G. Serle and N. F Goss concerning the series. Also included are typescript copies of, Pastoral Australia: Bourke to the gold rushes, written by Fitzpatrick as Volume II; and the chapter entitled, Federal prospect and inter-party manoevres: Parkes – Barton correspondence 1887-1895, which he contributed to Volume V, Political parties and groupings under colonial self-government. Fitzpatrick was working on this series at the time of his death.
Articles by Fitzpatrick have been grouped in this subseries. See also Series 4 which contains copies of press cuttings of some of Fitzpatrick's articles published in The Herald (Melbourne) during 1934 and 1935.
Fitzpatrick made frequent broadcasts on Melbourne radio stations, but the only scripts which he kept are the following:
(a) 'From the industrial revolution to automation', 9 May 1957.
(b) 'Politics of federation', 2 August 1956.
(a) 'Democratising' Japan, 21 August 1948.
(b) 'A plea for reason', 14 October 1950.
(c) 'Truculent minorities', 16 February (n. d)
(d) Untitled, 23 March 1946.
The series contains typescript and printed articles concerning history, the law , economics, trade unionism, Aboriginal affairs, humanism, the Australian Labor Party and foreign affairs by J. S Baker, F. O Barnett, J. V Barry, J. W Burton, D. Copland, C. P Fitzgerald, H. Hester, V. James, J. D Kane, F. E Lee, E. H McGrath, P. J O'Farrell, G. Parsons, J. Playford, T. Truman and others, together with the papers prepared for the Conference of Historians in Canberra (1957) and the Australian Political Studies Conferences in Sydney (1961) and Canberra (1962).
Also included is a typescript copy, bound in two volumes, of Australian Labor leader (1940) by H. V Evatt.
The messages received by Dorothy Fitzpatrick after her husband's death on 3 September 1965 are grouped in this series. Also placed here are copies of the tributes to Fitzpatrick published in The Bulletin, Historical studies, Jewish herald, The Journalist, Labour history, Lot's wife, Meanjin quarterly, Outlook and Overland.