Guide to the Papers of Norman Ellison
MS 1882, MS Acc07.184
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Norman Ellison
- Papers of Norman Ellison
- Date Range
- Collection Number
- MS 1882, MS Acc07.184
- 6.36 metres (41 boxes, 4 folio boxes)
- Language of Materials
- National Library of Australia
Scope and Contents
The collection comprises correspondence, drafts and typescripts relating to Ellison's journalistic and writing career, press clippings, ephemera and photographs.
A significant feature of the collection is the correspondence and other papers relating to Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith.
The major correspondents include Hudson Fysh, Fergus McMaster, Bill Bostock and Sir Donald Hardman.
Conditions Governing Access
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1169998).
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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Norman Ellison, National Library of Australia [class number, box number and series and/or file number]'.
Norman Ellison was born in [1896?] and lived in Sydney most of his life. He was a journalist and writer, and after his service in World War I he became interested in aviation.
His career included working for daily newspapers, such as the Telegraph, the Daily Mirror and the Guardian, contributing articles to aviation journals and working for the ABC Radio. He was a well-known and highly respected in the aviation world, often being referred to as "Australia's leading aviation writer".
In 1950 he was a partner in a failed attempt to start a helicopter company in Sydney He was also an active committee member of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women.
Ellison authored and co-authored a number of books, mostly on the subject of aviation, including Fangs of the Sea (1939, which was a book about sharks), Aces and Kings (1935), Daredevils of the skies (1941) and Flying Matilda (1957).
Norman Ellison died in 1971 at the age of 75, survived by his wife Leah, and children Rodney and Marilyn.
Comprises 1. Writings of Norman Ellison: drafts, research material for Flying Matilda, Aces and kings, and Fangs of the sea. 2. Correspondence, 1925-1971: mostly business. The major correspondents are Hudson Fysh, Fergus McMaster, Sir Donald Hardman and Bill Bostock. 3. Charles Kingsford-Smith: correspondence (including Kingsford-Smith's letters to his parents and sister), typescripts by Ellison, cuttings, and photographs, script for film "Smithy", press clippings, photographs, and a fuel guage from "Lady Southern Cross". 4. Butler Air Transport: comprises papers relating to C.A. Butler and Butler Air Transport. 5. Biographies: clippings, photographs and other papers relating to aviation personalities, including L.S. Bailey, Sir Gordon Taylor and Bert Hinkler. 6. Subjects: clippings, photographs and other papers relating to aviation subjects including aircraft, airports, QANTAS and RAAF.
Contained in 38 boxes, 3 folio items.
This series contains drafts and partial drafts, typescripts, research material, notes, correspondence and photographs relating to Flying Matilda, Aces and Kings and Fangs of the Sea and articles published in journals and newspapers.
The correspondence retained by Ellison for the collection was largely undertaken in his professional capacity, although there is some private mail. It had been arranged into the following files by Ellison:
The rest of the correspondence has been arranged around these two files in order to preserve original order.
Ellison corresponded with a wide group of people and the major correspondents represented in this collection are British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), Sir Hudson Fysh, and Fergus McMaster, Bill Bostock, Sir Donald Hardman, the Department of Civil Aviation, and Athol Towney (Minister for Air). There are also some drafts of letters written to the National Library of Australia regarding the transfer and purchase of his collection.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith was best known for his pioneer flights with Charles Ulm in the Southern Cross. This series includes correspondence (both personal and business), reports, typescripts, newspaper cuttings, photographs, filmscript for 'Smithy' and a fuel gauge belonging to the Lady Southern Cross which was removed before the disappearance of his plane in 1935.
The correspondence includes personal letters of Kingsford Smith, mostly written to his parents and sister, as well as business letters. It also includes letters sent to the editor of the Smith's Weekly. The correspondents include N. Brearley and G.R. Hamilton.
The typescripts were written by Ellison. Some of these were published in newspapers and journals, such as the Smith's Weekly.
The series comprises two groups of papers:
Papers relating to C.A. Butler. It includes biographical information about C. A. Butler, the founder of the airline, as well as press cuttings and photos relating to his flying career before he started the airline, articles and reports written by Butler, and the roller log he kept of his smallest-ever-aircraft flight from England to Australia in 1934.
Material relating to the Butler Air Transport: traffic manuals, in-house periodicals, photographs and correspondence. A substantial part of this group of papers deals with the battle between Reginald Ansett and C. A. Butler for ownership of the airline, which Ansett finally won in 1957.
Butler and Ellison were partners in the failed helicopter venture in the 1950's. A large part of the reason for its failure was that it coincided with the first stages of the corporate battle for ownership of Butler Air Transport.
R. H. Buchanan was a flight inspector for the fledgling Department of Civil Aviation in the 1920s. This series contains biographical information about him, as well as official diaries, logs and reports belonging to him.
This part of the collection has been kept essentially as it was created by Ellison himself and consists of biographical clippings files on Australian aviators and other prominent personalities, and a separate file of clippings and photos relating to women pilots. The files had been arranged in alphabetical order by Ellison and this order was maintained.
Important figures represented in the series include Reginald Ansett, L.S. Bailey, Sir John Alcock, W. E. Hart, Bert Hinkler, Jerry Pentland, George A. Taylor, Sir Gordon Taylor, Ben Turner and Oswald Watt.
This series was also arranged by Ellison. It contains information relating to all aspects of aviation, as well as a number of non-aviation subjects.
The first part of the series contains information about aviation and aviation history, while the rest comprises general subject files arranged in alphabetical order. Subjects covered include aircraft (military and commercial, Australian and overseas), airports, air races, parachuting, motorcycles and motoring, QANTAS, RAAF, pioneer and record flights, and poker machines.
The section relating to aircraft contains mostly photographs, while the other subjects comprises clippings and drafts.
Where possible photographs relating to series 1 to 7 have been kept with the series. The photographs in this series depict to general aviation and miscellaneous subjects.
This series contains general clippings, including general aviation, and clippings collected by Ellison for general reference purposes on various subjects. The series also includes two large scrapbooks of general clippings and a file of articles from the National Geographic on Aviation.
This series contains Australian aviation periodicals and newspapers, non-aviation magazines and 23 books (mostly on aviation). An interesting feature in this series is a copy of an unsuccessful tender by the English Electric Company for the design of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.