Guide to the Papers of Roberta "Bobbi" Sykes


MS 10389

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: December 2018

Collection Summary

Sykes, Roberta "Bobbi"
Papers of Roberta "Bobbi" Sykes
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 10389
1.5 metres (5 archives boxes + 1 large folio box)
Language of Materials
Special Collections (Manuscripts)


Scope and Contents

Papers of Roberta 'Bobbi' Sykes - poet, author and Indigenous rights activist. This collection contains speeches, correspondence, papers and articles, as well as many photographs and audio cassettes.

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Roberta "Bobbi" Sykes, National Library of Australia, MS 10389, [class/series/file/item number]'.

Cultural Sensitivities

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the collection contains images and voices of people who have died.

Finding Aid Source(s)

Please note: This finding aid may comprise or contain descriptive information provided by donors, researchers and/or volunteers.

Item Descriptions

Class 1. Consignment received December 2017

Series. Correspondence

Letter to Russel Sykes, regarding his birth and extract of evidence criminal trial Queensland, 1961; Readers responses to and review of 'Snake Cradle' by Roberta Sykes (RS), 1989-98 (File 1) - Box 1
Invitations, readers responses, requests for lectures, personal correspondence, referee request, correspondence with publishers, congratulations, proposals for human rights courses, 1990-1992, 1998 (File 2) - Box 1

Series. Papers

Anti Discrimination: the Racial Discrimination Act,1975: Attorney-Generals response to complaint to the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission, 1986, 1995-1996 (File 3) - Box 1
Transcripts of speeches, 1984-1999 (File 4) - Box 1
Transcripts of speeches, graduations, NAIDOC week, reviews, history of Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern, 1992-2000 (File 5) - Box 1
Transcripts of speeches, submissions, 1972-1996 (File 6) - Box 1
Transcripts of speeches, submissions, 1971-1996 (File 7) - Box 2
Report to NSW Corrective Services on Aboriginal Recruitment, by Roberta Sykes; correspondence with Corrective Services, 1995 (File 8) - Box 2
Special Branch NSW police file, received under FOI application, 1999 (File 9) - Box 2
Certificate of appointment as Teaching Fellow in Education, Harvard University; bibliography of literary and journalistic works of Roberta Sykes; letter requesting clarification on Aboriginality; Order of service for funeral, 1976, 1982-83, 2010 (File 10) - Box 2
Neena's Gift, short story by RS; Eclipse - background notes to poems published in 1979; Black Women's Action Newsletter, 1987; job application - Mental Health Review Tribunal, 1995; review of article in Social Security Quarterly, 1976; review of article 'On the Nature and Spirit of the North American Political Systems', Russel Barsh, 1984; Mumshirl Foundation, Balance sheet and accounts, 1989; correspondence and essays - thesis, 1981, 1976-1995 (File 11) - Box 2
Unique role of Aboriginals in Welfare discussion paper by Roberta Sykes, 41 pgs; an evaluation of some aspects of Aboriginal Secondary Assistance Scheme by Dr Roberta Sykes, pp45; SBS, Guideline for the production of film and television on Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, 1975,1986,1990 (File 12) - Box 2
Notebook from Harvard; notebook of poetry; notebook with list of books (read?);1974 Diary; 1993 Diary; wallet containing student ID's and business cards, 1970-1990 (File 16) - Box 3
Copy of Roberta Sykes thesis: Incentive, achievement and community : an analysis of black viewpoints on issues relating to Black Australian education, 1983 (File 17) - Box 3

Incentive, achievement and community, Analysis of Black Viewpoints on issues relating to Black Australian Education, RS, presented to Harvard University, 1983

Poster for Roberta Sykes' speech, proofs, flyer for Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre, pictures of Indigenous dancers; Peter McKenzie sketch; wedding photos; posters; Nilanidat publication (two issues); additional copy of Roberta Sykes' thesis (Incentive, achievement and community : an analysis of black viewpoints on issues relating to Black Australian education), 1972-1982 (File [unnumbered]) - Folio-Box 6

Series. Publications

Harvard Graduate School of Education-contains profile of Bobbi Sykes; Wee Waa High School Principals Report, 1988, occasional address delivered by RS 1988; review by RS in New Left Review; Institute of Public Affairs, article by RS,1988;Transfer of Uluru to the Traditional Owners 1985, 1980-1990 (File 13) - Box 2
Chelsea Hotel Magazine for the Arts, 1995 (File 14) - Box 2
AIM - Aboriginal Islander Message newspaper, 1980-1982 (File 18) - Box 3
Koori Bina incomplete, 1978-1985 (File 19) - Box 4
Care for the Black child, parts 1-5, by Roberta Sykes (File 20) - Box 4
Quarterly Essay Whitefella Jump Up (with invitation to Roberta Sykes to comment on Germaine Greer's paper; inscribed copy of Liyen Ho's Broken Blossoms; inscribed copy of Garvey and Garveyism, 1995, 2003, 1993, 1973 (File 22) - Box 4
Miscellaneous publications (16) (File [unnumbered]) - Box 5

Famous Black Quotations; Three Negro Classics; The Great Migration; God is Black; Pan-Africanism and South America; Stone on Stone Poetry; Love Poems and other Revolutionary Actions; Breaking Ice; The Colour of Anger; Brazil Mixture or Massacre; Castro, the Blacks and Africa; Jamaican Song and Story; Shakespeare's Tragedies; The Harem Within; The Africans; Breaking Ice

Series. Cassettes and recordings

Video cassette: Good morning Oz;, 13/11/1996 (File 21) - Box 4

Tape is mildewed. Conservation required; film smells strongly of vinegar

Cannister of film (File 21a) - Box 4
Film strip, untitled [1] (Item)
Film strip, untitled [2] (Item)
Film strip, untitled [3] (Item)
Film strip, untitled [4] (Item)
Film strip, untitled [5] (Item)
Film strip, untitled [6] (Item)
Film strip, untitled [7] (Item)
Film strip, untitled [8] (Item)
Cassette tape: RS, Harvard Club of Australia, Uni of Sydney, 1984 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
Cassette tape: RS, Soundings, 1997 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
Cassette tape: RS - content unknown (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
Cassette tape: Whose law? Whose order Part 1 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
Cassette tape: The Australian Aboriginal Heritage, tape 2 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
Cassette tape: Colin and Eleanor Bourke (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
Cassette tape: Yipirinya (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
Cassette tape: Songs of djoli laiwanga Bamyili Corroboree (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
Cassette tape: Variety of Aboriginal culture, by Josie Boyle (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
Cassette tape: Marie Bennet (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
Cassette tape: Faith Bandler (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4
10 cassettes no identification, no date (File [unnumbered]) - Box 4

Series. Photographs

Coloured slides, portraits of Roberta Sykes; contact proofs; Aboriginal tent embassy Canberra 1972; Roberta Sykes - graduation; telegrams (File 15) - Box 3

Photos largely unordered and most are not annotated; Aboriginal family, Tony Mundine boxer, Nimrod actors, Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs meeting, 1971, Aboriginal Community Aid centre, 1971, scenes of protest marches - Free Brockman, Gurindjis Land, Aboriginal people - Darwin, Woodenbong Aboriginal village, 1972; Corroboree Kids dancing, 1972; Athol Compton, 1969; Charles Perkins

Printed photographs of Roberta Sykes and others for a publication, in a folder named Oodgeroo Noonuggal Tribute Tour, 1995, 1995 (File 23) - Folio-Box 6