Guide to the Papers of Margaret Barbalet


MS 5396 et al.

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Barbalet, Margaret, 1949-
Papers of Margaret Barbalet
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 5396 et al.
2.85 metres (11 boxes + 1 folio box + 1 A3 carton)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Margaret Barbalet, National Library of Australia, [class number, series and/or file number]'.


MS 5396 was received in four transfers: one in 1994 and the other in 1996, which were acquired under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme, while the third and fourth transfers were acquired in 1998 and 2001 under the Cultural Gifts Program.

Further papers were added to the collection in six consignments from 2002 to 2005.

Biographical Note

Margaret Evelyn Barbalet is an author. She was born in Adelaide on 19 December 1949. She attended Girton Girls School in Adelaide, and went on to study at Adelaide University, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History and a Master of Arts in History.

Barbalet has combined her work as an author with a number of jobs. They have included work as an Historian with the Adelaide Children's Hospital; a Research Officer with the Adelaide City Council; a History Lecturer at Mitchell College of Advanced Education, Bathurst; a Researcher for the Commonwealth Schools Commission; a Tutor at the Canberra College of Advanced Education; a Research Officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and most recently as an Analyst with the Office of National Assessments.

Barbalet has written in a variety of genres, including novels, children's books, short stories and historical writings. She was one of a group of ACT-based women writers known as the 'Canberra Seven'. They produced a joint anthology of Canberra-based stories entitled Canberra tales, published by Penguin in 1988, and re-released in 1995 under the title The division of love.

Barbalet has received the following grants for her work as an author: Literature Board of the Australia Council grants, 1984, 1985 and 1990; International Women's Year Grant, 1973; National Estate Grant, 1976; Australian Bicentennial Authority Grant, 1987.

Barbalet's published works include: The Adelaide Children's Hospital: 1876-1976: a history, Adelaide Children's Hospital, Griffin Press, 1975; Far from a low gutter girl: the forgotten world of state wards, South Australia, 1887-1940, Oxford University Press, 1983; Blood in the rain, Penguin, 1986; Steel Beach, Penguin, 1988; The Wolf, Viking, 1991; Lady, baby, gypsy, queen, Penguin, 1992; Bicentennial outcomes: a catalogue of teaching resources for Australian schools (ed.), Curriculum Corporation, 1992.

Item Descriptions

Class MS 5396. Original consignments 1994-2001

Comprises correspondence, manuscripts and typescripts, research material, corrected proofs, and photographs relating to Barbalet's short stories and her books: Far from a low gutter girl: the forgotten world of state wards, South Australia, 1887-1940, Blood in the rain, and Lady, baby, gypsy, queen.

Contained in 5 boxes.

Series 1. Far from a low gutter girl: the forgotten world of state wards, South Australia, 1887-1940, 1981-1983

Material relating to Barbalet's novel Far from a low gutter girl: the forgotten world of state wards, South Australia, 1887-1940, published by Oxford University Press, 1983. Including notes, research material, photographs and negatives, reviews, publicity material, cover design and correspondence, mainly with Oxford University Press. Other correspondents include Geoffrey Dutton and John Young.

6 files.

Series 2. Blood in the rain, 1974-1985

Papers relating to Barbalet's novel Blood in the rain, published by Penguin Books, 1986. Including a manuscript and a typescript of 'Jessie Sheldon' which was the first draft of the novel, and correspondence, mainly with Penguin Books. Other correspondents include Geoffrey Dutton, Kerri Morey, Carla Taines and Richard Walsh.

4 files.

Series 3. Lady, baby, gypsy, queen, 1975-1993

Papers relating to Barbalet's novel Lady, baby, gypsy, queen, published by Penguin Books, 1992. Including manuscripts, typescripts, corrected author's proofs, and correspondence, mainly with Penguin Books. Other correspondents include Rowan Ayers, Nick Hasluck, Irene Stevens (Australia Council) and George Whaley. Also included is a typescript of 'The Okari Tree' which was written by Barbalet in Papua New Guinea in 1975, and which became part of Lady, baby, gypsy, queen.

10 files.

Series 4. Other writings, 1985-1987

Manuscripts and typescripts of short stories, including Planting lettuces (1985) and Scales (1987).

1 file.

Series 5. Steel Beach, 1984-1988

Correspondence, largely with Penguin.

2 files.

Series 6. The Wolf, 1992-1993

Best-seller lists, reviews, short-listing and correspondence with Penguin Books, Random House and Little Ark.

1 file.

Class MS Acc02.154. Consignment added 2002

Comprises drafts and papers relating to The wolf, the final draft of Blood in the rain, and correspondence, 1988-1991.

Contained in 1 box.

Class MS Acc03.146. Consignment added 2003

Comprises papers relating mainly to the unpublished novel Joey, including several word-processed drafts, some handwritten pages and notes, and two photocopied cuttings.

Contained in 1 box.

Class MS Acc03.245. Consignment added 2003

Comprises drafts of Lady, baby, gypsy, queen.

Contained in 1 box.

Class MS Acc04.073. Consignment added 2004

Comprises drafts of The presence of angels, plus proofs, cover proofs, and correspondence.

Contained in 1 box + 1 folio box.

Class MS Acc04.192. Consignment added 2004

Comprises correspondence relating to the children's book The wolf, 1989-1990, drafts and marked up proofs of Steel beach (formerly called Joey), and the copyedited draft of Blood in the rain.

Contained in 1 box.

Class MS Acc05.044. Consignment added 2005

Comprises a folder relating to Reggie, queen of the street, a folder relating to The presence of angels, an envelope of letters relating to Far from a low gutter girl, and an envelope of illustrations, text and proofs of Reggie.

Contained in 1 A3 carton.

Class MS Acc05.074. Consignment added 2005

Comprises files relating to the history of Adelaide Children's Hospital.

Contained in 1 box.

Container List

Series File Box
1 1-4 1
1 5-6 2
2 1-4 2
3 1-4 3
3 5-8 4
3 9-10 5
4 1 5
5 1-2 5
6 1 5