Guide to the Papers of Francis Webb [MSS 040]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Francis Webb
Manuscript Number MSS 040
Last Updated October 2021
Extent 1 box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract A collection of correspondence with Francis Webb and Douglas Stewart; an annotated typescript of A Drum for Ben Boyd.

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

A collection of letters from Francis Webb to Douglas Stewart and Norman Lindsay, bound in a half-leather album. The collection also includes an annotated typescript of A Drum for Ben Boyd (1948), as well as media clippings, photographs and some other items.

Date Range of Content

c1946 - c1961

Biographical Note

Wikipedia article:

Francis Webb was an Australian poet. Born in Adelaide in 1925, he completed his schooling in Sydney before enlisting in the RAAF, serving 1943 - 1945. After demobilisation, he briefly attended Sydney University but withdrew to focus on writing. He spent some time working for the publisher Macmillan in Canada, before moving to England in 1949. In the 1950s, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent much of his life in and out of psychiatric institutions in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Despite his poor health, Webb was a prolific poet, publishing six collections, beginning with the 1948 A Drum for Ben Boyd, which won the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry. His last collection, Collected Poems, was published in 1969


Author record, Francis Webb, AustLit (, St Lucia: The University of Queensland, 2002-. [Retrieved from 14/01/2019].

H. P. Heseltine, 'Webb, Francis Charles (1925–1973)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 15 January 2019.


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 If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items.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collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright.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: Copying of material for private study and research is approved.

Preferred Citation

Papers of Francis Webb, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 40, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


Provenance unknown.

Subject Keywords


Australian poetry, poets, Australian poets, 20th century poetry

Personal Names

Francis Charles Webb-Wagg 1925 - 1973

Francis Webb




Container List

Box 1

Folder 1
Half-leather album of correspondence and other material, c.1946 - c. 1961


A collection of letters from Webb to Douglas Stewart and Norman Lindsay. The letters are intensely personal. While mainly concerned with his own writing, he also devotes space to commentaries upon the work of contemporaries - Kenneth Slessor, David Campbell, Hugh McCrae and Robert D. Fitzgerald. The final letter in the series is written from the Mental Hospital at Callan Park to Norman Lindsay.

There are 39 letters in all, comprising 102 pages, both handwritten and typed.

Also included in the album is a typescript for A Drum for Ben Boyd, news clippings, photographs, and some other material.