Guide to the Papers of Sir Charles Marr


MS 3874

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Marr, Charles William Clanan, Sir, 1880-1960
Papers of Sir Charles Marr
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 3874
0.96 metres (6 boxes + 4 folio boxes)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Content

The collection includes general correspondence, papers relating to Marr's service in Mesopotamia during World War I and Papua New Guinea, electoral papers, photographs, cuttings and printed material.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for reference.

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Sir Charles Marr, National Library of Australia, MS 3874, [series and/or item number]'.


The collection was donated to the Library by Mr Colin C. Marr in 1973


The collection has been arranged into eight series by Library staff.

Biographical Note

Charles William Marr was born at Petersham, New South Wales on 23 March 1880, the son of James C. Marr. He was educated at Newington College and Sydney Technical College. Between 1901 and 1914, he worked as an electrical engineer with the Postmaster-General's Department and supervised the construction of Australia's first wireless station, at Pennant Hills.

In 1915 Marr was appointed to the Australian and New Zealand Wireless Squadron in Mesopotamia. He reached the rank of Major. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1917, the Distinguished Service Order in 1918 and the Volunteer Officers' Decoration in 1923.

Marr entered Parliament in 1919 and held the New South Wales seat of Parkes for the Nationalists until 1929. His other positions include Government Whip and Parliamentary Secretary for the Nationalists (1921-1925), member of the managing committee for the tour of the Prince of Wales (1920), Vice-President of a similar committee for the 1927 tour of the Duke and Duchess of York, Honorary Minister (1925-1929), Minister for Home and Territories (1927-1928) and leader of the Australian Delegation of the League of Nations General Assembly of Geneva (1929).

Although defeated in the 1929 Federal Election, Marr regained the seat of Parkes in a by-election in February 1931. In the first Lyons ministry, he was for a brief time Minister for Health, for Repatriation, and in charge of Territories. In 1933 he attended the inauguration of the Legislation Council of the Territory of New Guinea, and in the following year directed the tour of the Duke of Gloucester. For this and other public services he was awarded the K.C.V.O. in December 1934. Marr's latter parliamentary work included the Deputy Chairmanship of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Broadcasting between 1940 and 1943. He lost his seat to Leslie Haylen in the 1943 General Election.

Marr was associated with a number of business enterprises. At various times he was Chairman of Mineral Developments Ltd, Tatua Gold Development Ltd, and Amalgamated Coffee Plantations (N.G.) Ltd, and Director of New Zealand Forest Products Ltd, Papua Apinaipi Petroleum Company Ltd, W.R. Carpenter and Company Ltd, and Hadfields Steel Works.

Marr died in Sydney on 20 October 1960 and was accorded a State Funeral. He was survived by his wife, who died in 1967, and two sons and two daughters.

Biographical Reference(s)

Keast Burke. With horse and morse in Mesopotamia: the story of Anzacs in Asia. Sydney, 1927

Who's who in australia

Obituaries in Bathurst National Advocate, 21 October, 1960 and Canberra Times, 24 October, 1960

Item Descriptions

Series 1. General correspondence, 1921-1959

The series contains letters, postcards and telegrams received by Marr, together with some copies of his replies. They are arranged chronologically, with undated letters placed last. Subject covered include support in the 1920s for the early transfer of Parliament to Canberra, the proposed erection of a memorial to Sir Henry Parkes at his birthplace in England in 1933-34, the liquidation of Intercity Airways Pty Ltd between 1946 and 1948, and Marr's activities in the Masonic Order in 1946-47.

Items 1-44

Series 2. World War I, 1916-1959

The principal items in the series are five handwritten and typescript diaries kept by Captain Marr in Mesopotamia between May 1916 and February 1918. Other items include letters by Marr's children (August 1916) and letters about the War from H.R. Hopwood (1928) and Arthur Hayman (1959). There are also programs of a shipboard concert, 1918 and of the fourth reunion dinner of New Zealand Wireless Troop, Mesopotamia, 1959; invitations to opening of the Australian War Memorial, 1929, and to the 1955 reunion of the Pymble Branch of the Returned Services League; an undated article on religion in Persia by Lieutenant-Corporal J. Stuart; pamphlets, cuttings from newspapers and journals, and two books titled With horse and morse in Mesopotamia (Sydney, 1927) edited by Keast Burke and Australia chivalry (Melbourne, 1933) edited by J.L. Treloar.

Items 1-29

Series 3. Electoral papers, 1929-1943

This series comprises papers on Marr's election campaigns for the Federal seat of Parkes, New South Wales, in 1929, 1931, 1934, 1937, and 1943. They include letters, telegrams, postcards, invitations, canvassing material and cuttings.

Items 1-340

Series 4. Royal tours, 1927-1954

The series contains papers relating to the Australian tour of the Duke of Gloucester in 1934. Marr was responsible for the arrangements of the tour. It consists of press cuttings, programs and invitations, and also includes a few items on the 1927 and 1954 Royal Tours. A photograph of a procession from the 1934 tour is in Series 7.

Items 1-22

Series 5. Papua New Guinea, 1932-1951

This small series contains papers relevant to Marr's interest in Papua New Guinea as Minister in charge of Territories between 1932-34 and his business interests in the area. The correspondents include Sir Hubert Murray and Thomas Griffiths. Other papers include a 1933 Cabinet submission on the control of foreign shipping to and from New Guinea, printed items including publicity material and the memorandum and articles of association of the Amalgamated Coffee Plantation (N.G.), Ltd; cuttings, mainly from 1933; issues of the Pacific Islands Monthly for 1934; and the program of the inauguration of the Legislative Council of Papua New Guinea, 1951.

Items 1-38

Series 6. Miscellaneous printed material, c. 1937-1940s

The series includes a miniature facsimile copy of the Sydney Morning Herald, 2 January 1901; Claude Marquet's Cartoon's: a memorial volume (Sydney, 1920); a report on N.Z. Forest Products Ltd by D. Henry and S.A. Clarke (Typescript, 1940); an Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee Report on wireless broadcasting, 1940-42; and pamphlets and periodicals on political, social and statistical subjects dating between 1926 and 1953.

Items 1-34

Series 7. Photographs, 1912-1940s

The earliest photographs are postcards of the Pennant Hills Wireless Station, 1912, the construction of which Marr supervised for the Post-Master General's Department. Others cover Marr's military activities during 1915 and 1918, including a group photograph of the First Australian Wireless Squadron at Bombay en route to Mesopotamia. Other photographs document Marr's political activities in the 1930s and 1940s, Norfolk Island in 1926, Canberra in 1926-27, the Lyons Government, the 1934 Royal Tour, World War II, and Marr's family.

Items 1-54

Series 8. Miscellaneous papers, c. 1937-1940s

The series includes speech notes (mostly undated but some covering 1940-1944), invitations and programs for the visit of the United States Fleet to Australia in 1925, the New South Wales sesquicentennial celebrations of 1938, and various Masonic functions, maps, Christmas cards, cuttings, and a large petition dated 1937, from the British Israelite Movement.

Items 1-149