Guide to the Papers of Allan Eric Martin [MSS 198]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Allan Eric Martin
Manuscript Number MSS 198
Last Updated June 2022
Extent 2 boxes
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Papers relating to the life and work of poet Allan Eric Martin

Collection Subject Type



Scope and Content

This collection relates to the Victorian-born poet Allan Eric Martin, including his association with fellow poets Geoff Goodfellow, Kevin Brophy, Alison Croggan, Rosemary Nissen and others.  As well as original draft poetry by Martin and his literary colleagues, the archive contains a sustained sequence of correspondence maintained with poet Geoff Goodfellow, whilst Martin was incarcerated in Pentridge Prison in 1987-1988. Also included are biographical papers, a prose work by poet Kevin Brophy on Martin’s life, together with reports and other material relating to Martin’s parole application and the criminal justice system more generally.


Date Range of Content



Biographical Note

Allan Eric Martin was born in Shepparton, Victoria in 1955. After a difficult early life he completed his secondary education and began writing while serving a prison sentence in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne. His poetry has appeared in Overland and other literary journals, and a collection of his writing was published as Spitting Out Sixpenny: Poetry and Prose. Cheltenham, Victoria: Abalone Press, c1984.  Martin’s development as a writer was encouraged by fellow Australian poets Geoff Goodfellow and Kevin Brophy with whom he maintained a close correspondence

Author record, Allan Eric Martin, AustLit (, St Lucia: The University of Queensland, 2002- retrieved 21 May 2020

Simon Sellars. The two of us: Kevin Brophy & Allan Martin, Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 August 2005, p. 20[S1] 

A rough ride to Christmas at home, The Age, 24 December 2002 retrieved 21 May 2020


Administrative Information

Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Open Access

This collection contains a variety of copyright material. Copyright is held by the creator of each item. Specific conditions for this collection are listed below. If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items. Digitised material from manuscript collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright. Refer also to the UNSW copyright, disclaimer and takedown policy. 

Copying: Check with Curator


Preferred Citation

Papers of Allan Eric Martin, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 198, Box [Number], Folder [Number]


The collection was acquired in two instalments


Additional Information

Related Material

Further correspondence relating to Martin is located in the Papers of Geoff Goodfellow at MSS 028/Box 3/Folder 23. 

A poster publicising Martin’s ‘Wanted an Audience for Poetry, Reward the Freedom’ is contained in Papers of Jenny Boult at MSS 30/Folio 3.

A videorecording of the documentary film on Martin’s life The Woodcutter’s Son by Michael Cummins (ACT: Ronin Films, 2002) is housed in the State Library of New South Wales (VB12464) and in other Australian university collections


Subject Keywords


Allan Eric Martin 1955- – Archives

Geoff Goodfellow 1949- – Correspondence

Kevin Brophy 1949- – Correspondence

Australian poetry – 20th century

Poetry in prisons


Personal Names

Allan Eric Martin 1955-

Geoff Goodfellow 1949-

Kevin Brophy 1949-

Alison Croggon 1962-





Container List

Box 1

Folder 1 

Letters from Geoff Goodfellow, 1987-1988


Folder 2

Letters from Geoff Goodfellow, 1987-1988


Folder 3

Submission: ‘Requesting a review and consideration for re-parole at earliest possible time (Allan Eric Martin), 16 December 1988’

Poetry: ‘Time After Time’, Goodfellow; ‘The Bluestone College’, Martin (one

page missing); ‘Unbelievable’, Goodfellow; ‘Lyn’, Eric Beach; ‘Endless Story’,

prose by Kevin Brophy on Martin’s life; ‘What the Old Man Said’, Martin,

several drafts; ‘Crossover of Dreams’, several drafts; miscellaneous poems by Martin


Folder 4 

Correspondence with: Kevin Brophy (includes two poems); Michael Bourke; Lance Loughrey; Alan Young (criminologist); Rosemary and Bill Nissen; Geoff Goodfellow (extensive) - includes poetry, news items on Goodfellow, seminar papers, miscellanea on criminal justice system


Folders 5-7

Summary: Correspondence with Kevin Brophy, 1982-1992, accompanied by drafts of poetry, responses from Kevin Brophy, prison administration documents, parole reports, leaflets and brochures for readings and other documentation relevant to each letter as arranged by Martin


Folder 5

Letters to Kevin Brophy: May 1982-April 1983, May 1983-June 1984


Folder 6

Letters to Kevin Brophy: Sept 1985-April 1987, June 1987-March 1989


Folder 7

Letters to Kevin Brophy: April 1989-May 1990, June 1990-Feb 1992

Letters (7) from Kevin Brophy, 1985-1989


Box 2

Folder 8

Copies of letters to Geoff Goodfellow, 1985-1990


Folder 9

Letters from Geoff Goodfellow, 1990-1991, accompanied by copies of poems, newspaper reports and other miscellaneous papers of relevance as included by Goodfellow


Folder 10

Letters from Barrett Reid (2), editor Overland, 1991-1992; letters (2) from Mal Morgan; letter from John Irving, 1992; letters from Annie Goodfellow (3); letters from Alison Croggon (2),1989-1994

Letter to The Ombudsman by A.E. Martin, 14 October 1991 regarding illegality of strip searching to accompany signed petition (petition absent); letters (2) relating to the Speakers’ Club, 1991-1992 


Folder 11

Literary drafts – Poetry:

Spitting out sixpence – manuscript, unedited

Lion taming for beginners - edited drafts of poetry for acrobatic performance           

Letter to Jimmy in Hell - poem, 34 edited drafts, including final version, based on the life of James Loughlan who died in the Jika Jika fire*

How the times have changed - poem, 47 edited drafts incl final version


Literary drafts – Short stories:

The last swaggie, manuscript, unedited (1979)

The phenomenon Remy unearthed, manuscript, unedited


Folder 12

Literary drafts – Other writers:

Alison Croggon: 8 poems – Before the shadows – Eden – Emily Bronte – Camilla – The singer – Tiresias – The reason – Holiday poem      

Alison Croggon: This is the stone - manuscript


Miscellaneous papers:       

Unpublished review of Peter Rose (1993) The Catullan Rag, Picador by Alison Croggon, lightly edited


Folder 13 

Biographical essay:

Manuscript, untitled biographical essay based on the poem ‘The bluestone college’, written while awaiting trial in Pentridge remand years during 1987


Personal documents – referee reports:       

Typed, 1-page letter, signed ‘To whom it may concern’ ‘re Allan Eric Martin’, January 1985, from Rosemary Nissen

Typed, unsigned copy of 1-page letter ‘To the Parole Board’ ‘re: Allan Eric Martin’, 7 January 1985 from Kevin Brophy

Typed, signed copy of 4-page document, ‘Statement to M. Barnett, and B. Kiase re: Allan Eric Martin’, 17 June 1987 from Kevin Brophy; attached typed, 3-page ‘Additional details from: Kevin Brophy re: Allan Martin’ July 1987 

Typed and signed, original 2-page reference from Michael Sharkey accompanied by handwritten letter to Martin, 12 February 1993

Typed, signed 1-page letter, ‘Re: Allan Eric Martin to Your Honour’ signed by Rosemary Nissen, 25 February 1993  


Personal documents – Psychological report:

‘Psychological report on Allan Martin aged 32 years of H.M.P. Pentridge, 3 July 1987, referred by Melvyn Barnett, Barrister & Solicitor, for appropriate psychological appraisal’


Personal documents – Court transcripts:           

Court transcript – Supreme Court of Victoria, Summary of Evidence in the matter of the Crimes Act 1958, the Criminal Appeal Rules 1965 and an Application for leave to appeal against Sentence by Alan Eric Martin.             Undated, refers to incident on 11 March 1977

Court transcript – County Court, Melbourne Tuesday, 29 September 1987, The Queen v Alan Eric Martin

Court transcript – 22 October 1987, second day of hearing, The Queen v Alan Eric Martin: Sentence

Court transcript – Supreme Court of Victoria, Summary of Proceedings in the matter of the Crimes Act 1958, the Criminal Appeal Rules 1965 and an Application for leave to appeal against Sentence by Alan Eric Martin. Undated but refers to Melbourne County Court, 29 September 1987 sitting