Guide to the Papers of David Williamson
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Williamson, David, 1942-
- Papers of David Williamson
- Date Range
- Collection Number
- MS 7378
- 11.8 metres (74 boxes + 1 folio box)
- Language of Materials
- National Library of Australia
- This finding aid was revised and republished with the assistance of the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust.
Scope and Contents
This is a comprehensive collection which comprises papers relating to Williamson's professional and personal life. The kernel of the collection consists of drafts of plays such as The coming of the stork, The removalists, Don's party, Jugglers three, What if you died tomorrow, The department, A handful of friends, The club, Travelling north, The perfectionist, Sons of Cain, Celluloid heroes, Emerald City, Siren, Top silk, Dead white males, After the ball, Corporate vibes, Face to face, The great man, A conversation, Up for grabs, Soulmates and Birthrights. Scripts for film and television work such as Peterson, Certain women, Gallipoli and The last bastion are also included along with correspondence, photographs, diaries, fan mail, receipt books, juvenilia and memorabilia.
Williamson retained all of his correspondence, both letters addressed to him and copies of his own letters, faxes and emails. Correspondents include his publishers, producers, agents, other writers and actors. They include: Kristin Williamson, Carol Oliver, Tim Curnow, Bob Ellis, Christopher Koch, Michael Blakemore, Ray Barrett, Peter Collins, Hector Crawford, Don Dunstan, Israel Horovitz, Tom and Judy Keneally, Judy Lovell, Pat Lovell, Bruce Spence, Ross Terrill, Jackie Weaver, Peter Weir, Tina Williamson, Lord Willis, Derek Freeman, Robyn Nevin, Peter Carey, Alison Summers, Richard Franklin, Kathy Lette, the Australia Council, the Australian Writers' Guild and the Commonwealth Literary Fund. There are also theatre programs, talks, articles by and about Williamson, theses on Williamson and unsolicited scripts by others.
Conditions Governing Access
Access conditions may apply to this collection, please refer to the collection's catalogue record for further information (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1080034).
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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 David Williamson, National Library of Australia, MS 7378, [box and file number]'.
The papers were donated to the Library by Williamson in 1987 under the Tax Incentives for the Arts Scheme (TIAS). Additions to the collection were made by Williamson in 1989, 1990, 1995 and 2003 under the TIAS or the Cultural Gifts Program.
The papers, received in five consignments between 1987 and 2003, have been sequentially arranged and described using a simple box/folder approach with continuous folder numbering. Within each consignment similar papers have been grouped together, the bulk comprising correspondence, draft plays, speeches and theatre programs.
The first part of this guide (to Box 50) is a revised version of one provided with the collection when it was received in 1987. Some of the items originally listed were not received and, conversely, the collection was found to contain items not mentioned on the original list.
Regarding the 2003 consignment of papers, Williamson stated in an email that he 'simply periodically cleared material from [his] filing cabinet.' Draft play scripts in this consignment have been arranged by play title in rough chronological order by the Library. The correspondence, which was loosely piled inside several boxes by Williamson, has been placed into archival folders in the order in which it was removed from the boxes in an attempt to retain any relationships existing between adjacent papers. In some cases this has resulted in a disruption to the chronological order of the correspondence.
|1985||The last bastion (6 part mini-series: co-producer and principal screenwriter)|
|1987||Four minute mile (series)|
|1988||A dangerous life (3 part mini-series)|
|1999||Dog's Head Bay (series)|
David Keith Williamson was born in Melbourne on 24 February 1942 and was educated at Bairnsdale and University High Schools, Melbourne University and Monash University (where he graduated in mechanical engineering in 1964). Williamson worked as a Design Engineer for General Motors Holden in 1965 and as a lecturer in engineering and psychology at Swinburne Technical College in 1966-1972, before becoming a fulltime writer.
Williamson was a writer and actor with La Mama Company and the Australian Performing Group in 1970-1972, a member of the Australia Council for the Arts, 1972-1975, Commissioner of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1978-1979 and President of the Australian Writers' Guild between 1979-1993.
Williamson was awarded an Order of Australia in 1983 and has received Honorary Doctors of Literature from the University of Sydney and Monash University. He won the George Devine award for The removalists in 1972. He won the AFI award for best screenplay four times and the Australian Writers' Guild award for best script in any media 11 times between 1968 and 2005. Williamson was voted an Australian National Living Treasure in 1997.
Williamson married Carol Cranby in 1965 and Kristin Lofven in 1974. He has two sons and a daughter.
Austlit: the Australian Literature Resource, entry for David Williamson, http://www.austlit.edu.au/, 28 May 2008.
(i) Manuscript entitled 'Play'; (ii) Original typescript (slight fire damage); (iii) Photocopy with revisions, prompt copy; (iv) Two pages (pink) of manuscript notes for changes; (v) Revised version, original typescript; (vi) Carbon of same, marked 'Second draft, November 1971' (for Currency Press?); (vii) Incomplete photocopy of same (File 61-63)
(viii) Original typescript for screenplay, marked 'commenced 1 November 1973', also a three page typed letter (thoughts on first draft) and one page carbon of version of opening sequence; (ix) Four copies of screen version representing three stages of revision (one duplicated); (x) Copies of agreement for film and cast list (File 64-68)
(i) One page manuscript of opening (original beginning?); (ii) Manuscript of play on clipboard (clipboard not retained); (iii) Photocopy of original typescript as submitted to the Australian Performing Group (APG); (iv) Same, dated 3 February 1971 and marked as first draft; (v) Carbon with handwritten revisions with three pages of typed alterations and odd sheets of typescript; (vi) Complete photocopy with MS revisions of revised typed draft, another prompt copy of same; (vii) Photocopy of typed NIDA version; (viii) Royal Court (February 1975) version and copy of agreement (File 69-76)
(viii) Freshly typed version (carbon), with some handwritten revisions; for Currency Press edition(?) (File 161)
[NOT HELD] (ix) Broken run of typescript (top and carbon), heavily revised in handwriting, with two handwritten pages of dialogue at start, 1978
[NOT HELD] (x) Director's (unidentified) notes on play.
(i) Typewritten copy of article 'The Phoney War of Robert Gordon Menzies', by David Day (?) accompanied by letter from him, 12 September 1983; (ii) Three letters from members of the public expressing interest in the project; (iii) Letter from John Buckley enclosing copy of his article on General Sturdee (File 259)
(vi) Octavo notebook relating to research; and brochures relating to: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum, New York; US Army Centre of Military History, Washington, DC; Public Record Office, London; and Parliament House, Canberra (File 260)
[NOT HELD] (ix) Two typed pages related to financing
[NOT HELD] (x) Typed sheets of scene breakdowns, locations etc.
[NOT HELD] (xi) Set of photocopies of press articles on film and television industry.
Subseries. Rough draft notebooks of plays not completed or produced, and financial papers, c. 1969-1984
Letters and cards received by Williamson arranged into chronological order. Correspondents include Ray Barrett, Peter Collins, Hector Crawford, Don Dunstan, Israel Horovitz, Tom and Judy Keneally, Judy Lovell, Pat Lovell, Bruce Spence, Ross Terrill, Jackie Weaver, Peter Weir, Tina Williamson and Lord Willis. There are also copies of a small number of letters written by Williamson.
These folders contain letters, post cards, fan mail, family correspondence and photographs. Also included are rough drafts of four plays in David Williamson's handwriting, 1990-1995.
Letters, post cards, faxes and emails received by Williamson. Correspondents include friends and colleagues, fans, family, agents, theatres and film companies. Correspondents' names are highlighted in the folder descriptions below, the most substantial amounts coming from Derek Freeman, Robyn Nevin, Peter Carey and Alison Summers. David Williamson's own handwritten and typed correspondence is present largely in the form of faxes and emails.
The correspondence received in the 2003 consignment was loosely piled inside several boxes by Williamson. In an attempt to retain possible relationships between adjacent papers, the correspondence has been placed into archival folders in the order in which it was removed from the boxes. In some cases this has resulted in a disruption to the chronological order of the correspondence.
Includes papers sent to Williamson by Freeman and used by Williamson in the development of his play, Heretic, including notes documenting Freeman's meeting with Margaret Mead in 1964.
Correspondents include Derek Freeman, Robyn Nevin, Keith Windschuttle and Ken Tribe. Subjects include plays, Heretic, After the ball and Dead white males, and screenplay 'Mata Hari'.
Correspondents include Paul and Annita Keating, Peter Carey and Alison Summers. Subjects include Heretic, 'Mata Hari' and Brilliant lies.
Correspondents include John McCallum, Robyn Nevin, Carl Vine, Richard Franklin, Harry M. Miller and Kathy Lette. Subjects include Heretic, Dead white males, After the ball, Brilliant lies and Third world blues.
Correspondents include Derek Freeman. Topics include Dead white males, 'Mata Hari', Sirens , 'Warriors of the rainbow' and Heretic.
Correspondents include Derek Freeman and Richard Franklin. Topics include Brilliant lies and 'Warriors of the rainbow'.
Correspondents include Derek Freeman, Martin Wesley-Smith, Peter Corris and Aubrey Mellor. Topics include Dead white males, Heretic and 'Warriors of the rainbow'.
Correspondents include Derek Freeman, Robert Dessaix, John Bell, Robyn Nevin, Max Cullen, Alan Hall, Richard Franklin, Angela Browne, Henri Szeps, Barrie Unsworth, Dr Suzanne Kiernan, Dr Lynette Finch, Jack Hibberd, Alison Summers, Peter Carey, Kathy Lette and Nick Enright. Topics include Heretic, After the ball, Sanctuary, the 1998 Australia Day address, Mabo and Aboriginal land rights, and Don's Party.
Correspondents include Richard Franklin, Robyn Nevin, David Bradbury and Derek Freeman. Topics include Corporate vibes, Heretic and Sanctuary.
Correspondents include David Bradbury and Derek Freeman. Topics include Third world blues, After the ball and Sanctuary.
Correspondents include Derek Freeman. Topics include Money and friends and Heretic.
Correspondents include Tim Reid, Brian Kiernan, Peter Carey, Paul Griffiths and Keith Windschuttle. Topics include 'Pick ups', the film of Carey's book, Oscar and Lucinda, and 'Dogs Head Bay'.
Correspondents include McKenzie Wark and Robyn Nevin. Topics include 'Dogs Head Bay' and Dead white males.
Correspondents include Robyn Nevin, Wayne Harrison and Derek Freeman. Topics include Sanctuary (book of reviews).
Correspondents include Michael Pearce, Robyn Nevin, Peter Carey, Bruce Beresford and Michael Rymer. Topics include Travelling north, Carey's book Ned Kelly, The great man and Face to face.
Correspondents include Leo Schofield, Michael Rymer, Alison Summers, Peter Carey, Paul Griffiths, Derek Freeman and Geoff Portman. Topics include Corporate vibes, Face to face, The great man and 'Dogs Head Bay'.
Correspondents include Bill Kerby, Hal McElroy, Peter Carey and Derek Freeman. Topics include A conversation, On the beach and 'Dogs Head Bay'.
Correspondents include Derek Freeman, David Bradbury, Vincent Serventy, Alison Summers and Michael Pearce. Topics include 'Dogs Head Bay' and Travelling north.
Correspondents include Robyn Nevin, Peter Carey and James Waites. Topics include The great man and Carey's Ned Kelly.
Correspondents include Vincent Serventy, Robyn Nevin, Michael Peretzian, Bryan Brown, Michael Blakemore and Peter Carey. Topics include A conversation, Up for grabs and On the beach.
Correspondents include John Bell, Peter Carey, Alison Summer and Arthur Cohn. Topics include After the ball, A conversation and 'The ruined map'.
Correspondents include Derek Freeman, Peter Carey, Alison Summers, Bryan Brown, Michael Peretzian and Debbie Bisno. Topics include Up for grabs, The great man, A conversation, Face to face and 'Henry and Susannah'.
Correspondents include Peter Carey, Alison Summers and Jeffrey Smart.
Correspondents include Bryan Brown. Topics include 'Henry and Susannah', A conversation, The great man, 'Trail of whales', Third world blues and Up for grabs.
Correspondents include Debbie Bisno, Bryan Brown, Alison Summers, Kathy Lette and Oz Scott. Topics include the death of Derek Freeman, Up for grabs, Soulmates, 'Zero point seven', Face to face, The great man, 'Henry and Susannah' and A conversation.
Correspondents include Mark Rosenblatt, Arthur Cohn, Peter Carey and Oz Scott. Topics include Soulmates, Up for grabs, 'Trail of the whale', Charitable intent, A conversation and 'Ruined map'.
Correspondents include Kathy Lette, Peter Carey, Neil Russell and Laurence Boswell. Topics largely relate to Madonna's starring role in Up for grabs and various adjustments to the script, but also include Soulmates and 'Lawrence of Arabia'.
Correspondents include Laurence Boswell, Mark Rosenblatt, Kathy Lette, Neil Russell, Peter Carey, Nicholas Hammond, Bryan Brown and James Waites. Topics largely relate to Up for grabs, but also include A conversation, 'Lawrence of Arabia', 'Trail of whales', On the beach, 'Henry and Susannah', Dead white males and The great man.
Includes faxes between Williamson and Wayne Harrison, Sydney Theatre Company.
Includes notes and ideas on themes related to the play.
Includes an email from Beth Blickers providing feedback (November 2000).
Includes papers and emails relating to Williamson's visit to the States and a printout of an Age review of Up for grabs.
Includes a fax from Sydney Theatre Company containing suggested changes.
Includes emails from Director Laurence Boswell and a handwritten transcript of a conversation with him.
Includes email exchanges with Kathy Lette, Catherine Anderson, Beth Blickers and Robyn Nevin.
Includes emails between Williamson and Catherine Anderson discussing characters.
|209a||Folio Box 1|
|297a-b||Folio Box 1|