Guide to the Papers of Philip Hodgins [MSS 013]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Philip Hodgins
Manuscript Number MSS 013
Last Updated September 2021
Extent 84 cm (7 boxes)
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract The papers document Hodgins' writings from 1978, including correspondence, poetry, reviews and reader's reports, photographs and an audio cassette, together with several unpublished works.

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

The Philip Hodgins papers represent a near-complete record of Hodgins' literary production over a short but intense period of creative activity. The collection includes multiple drafts of all of Hodgins' published poetry, together with drafts of unpublished works. Hodgins' intense poetic and personal relationships with a number of significant Australian poets, and their encouragement of his writing despite great personal difficulties is well documented in correspondence dating from 1978 until Hodgins' death in 1995.

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Wikipedia article:

Ian Philip Hodgins was born on 28 January 1959 on a dairy farm at Katandra West near Shepparton, Victoria. He was educated at Geelong and later moved to Melbourne where he worked for ten years as a sales representative for a Melbourne publishing company, before becoming a full-time student at Melbourne University. His poetry encompasses his formative years in country Victoria, school life, hospital experiences, overseas travel, family life, and the experience of having an incurable illness. In 1990, he married the writer Janet Shaw with whom he had two daughters.

Hodgins' first book of poetry Blood and bone (1986), received critical acclaim and he won a number of other prizes, including the Prairie Schooner Readers' Choice USA Award. He was a prolific contributor to many Australian newspapers, anthologies and literary journals.

Tightly controlled at the formal level, Hodgins' poetry has been praised by critics for its original, often lyrical imagery, and unsentimental treatment of the Australian pastoral genre. His mentors included Les Murray, Gwen Harwood and Peter Porter. Much of his poetry encompassed his formative years in country Victoria, school life, hospital experiences, international travel, family life and the experience of incurable illness.

In November 1983, aged 24, Hodgins began treatment for leukaemia. He died in Maryborough, Victoria, on 18 August 1995.

The inaugural Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal for Literary Excellence was awarded to Bruce Dawe in 1997.

Hodgins received the following awards:
Grace Perry Memorial Award, 1988: winner
Wesley Michel Wright Prize for Poetry, 1986: winner
NBC Banjo Awards, NBC Turnbull Fox Phillips Poetry Prize, 1996: winner for Things happen 
The Age Book of the Year Award, 1994: shortlisted for Dispossessed : a tale of modern rural Australia 
ABC/ABA Bicentennial Literary Award, 1988: Winner for Poetry Australia. Note: Grace Perry Poetry Prize for the collection of poems by Philip Hodgins
New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, Poetry, 1987: winner for Blood and bone

Hodgins' publications include Blood and bone (1986)
Down the lake with half a chook (1988)
Animal warmth (1990)
A kick of the footy (1990)
II Linguaggio della memoria : (poesie scelte), edited by Anna Secco and translated into Italian by Giovanni Distefano and Anna Secco, (1990)
End of the season (1993)
Up on all fours (1993)
Dispossessed (1994)
Things happen (1996)
Selected poems (1997) and New selected poems (2000) were published posthumously.

References: AustLit : the Resource for Australian Literature, 18 January 2008.


Administrative Information


Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Check with Curator

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 Philip Hodgins, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 013, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


This collection was acquired from Philip Hodgins from 1989-1995, and from his widow Janet Shaw from 1996-1998.


Subject Keywords



Poets, Australian poetry, Australian poets

Personal Names

Philip Hodgins 1959-1995

Corporate Names

Angus & Robertson, HarperCollins Publishers Australia, ABC Enterprises, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Brindabella Press




Container List


Series 1 Correspondence, 1978-1995

This series contains personal and professional letters and postcards received and copies of letters sent by Hodgins, covering the period 1978-1995. Principal correspondents include Angus & Robertson, Alec Bolton, ETT Imprint, Stephen Edgar, Alan Gould, Robert Gray, John Forbes, HarperCollins Publishers Australia, Gwen Harwood, Paul Kane, Les Murray, Jan Owen, Geoff Page, Peter Porter, Peter Rose, and Alex Skovron.

Medical correspondence relating to Hodgins' treatment for leukaemia is also included. Personal correspondence is arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within each folder. Business correspondence is arranged chronologically within each folder.

Folder 1 
Personal medical correspondence, 1987-1992

Folder 2 
Personal correspondence from other poets, 1982-1995

Including Phillip Adams (4 letters), Stephen Edgar, Alan Gould (9 letters, 2 reviews and poetry), Paul Kane (14 letters, poetry and a typescript for the book launch of Up on all fours) and Jan Owen

Folder 3 
Personal correspondence from other poets, 1982-1995

Including Alan Close, John Forbes, Peter Goldsworthy, Jamie Grant, Robert Gray together with a copy of 'An interview with Robert Gray', by Barbara Williams, Gwen Harwood, Kris Hemensley, Judith Rodriguez, Elizabeth Riddell, Philip Salom, Jemahl Sharah, Alex Skovron and Dennis [?] (1-4 letters each); Geoff Page (6 letters), Peter Porter (6 letters) and Peter Rose (22 letters and poetry)

Folder 4 
Personal correspondence, 1980s

Folder 5 
Personal correspondence, 1980s-1995

Folder 6 
Thirty eight postcards from Australian literary figures originally located on a pin board over Hodgins' desk

Including Alan Close, Alan Gould, Rosemary Dobson, Les Harrop, Paul Kane, Jan Owen, Jena Woodhouse and William Yang

Folder 7 
Ninety one postcards from friends of Hodgins and Shaw originally located on a pin board over Hodgins' desk

Folder 8 
Miscellaneous business correspondence, 1978 - July 1994

Including the Australian Bicentennial Authority, Australian Defence Force Academy Library, Canberra Times, George Braziller Inc., Grains Council of Australia, David Marr and the National Library of Australia

Folder 9 
Miscellaneous professional correspondence, August 1994 - 3 August 1995

Including ABC, Alex Lyall, Russell Erwin, Arts Victoria, Fellowship of Australian Writers, Melbourne Writers' Festival and the Adelaide Festival

Folder 10 
Professional correspondence from magazine editors and publishers, A-B, 1980-1994

Including ABC Books, The Age, letter for publication from Hodgins regarding Simon Patton's review of Animal warmth, Bulletin and Butterfly Books

Folder 11 
Professional and personal correspondence from literary editors and publishers, 1984-1995

Including Les Murray and Richard Walsh, Angus and Robertson and Tom Thompson, Angus and Robertson and ETT Imprint

Folder 12 
Professional correspondence from magazine editors and publishers, C-N, 1980-1995

Including Chatto, Bodley Head & Cape Services, HarperCollins Publishers Australia, IslandMeanjin and Macmillan Company of Australia

Folder 13 
Professional correspondence from magazine editors and publishers, O-S, 1988-1995,

Including Oxford University Press, The New RepublicThe New YorkerOverland and Scripsi

Folder 14 
Professional correspondence from magazine editors and publishers, S-V, 1979-1995,

Including Anna Secco, Supernova, The Times Literary Supplement, The University of Melbourne and Verse

Folder 15 
Professional correspondence from Alec Bolton, Brindabella Press, 1987-1994, relating to the publication of The end of the season : pastoral poems and one carbon copy of correspondence from Hodgins to Bolton


Series 2 Poetry and Novels, 1985-1995

This series comprises notebooks, manuscript and typescript drafts for all Hodgins' published volumes of poetry, together with drafts of unpublished poems. Multiple versions of most poems are included. Correspondence regarding development and publication of the poetry is included in Series 1.

2.1 Blood and bone, 1986

This subseries comprises manuscript and typescript drafts and page proofs of Blood and bone, published by Angus & Robertson, North Ryde, N.S.W, 1986.

Folder 1 
Annotated manuscript notebook containing notes and drafts of poems, including "disregarded" poetry and letters, 1985

Including rough memos, and drafts of 'Leukaemia','The shortlist', untitled first line 'Another case', 'Planting them', 'Clouds', 'Sleeping scared', 'Boiling Downs', 'Planting them', 'Question time', 'Borromini speaks', 'A palinode', 'Hotel Minerva', 'Apologies', 'Resurrection', 'Bad news', 'A didactic poem', 'Radio Thantos', 'Blood stain', untitled first line 'The conversation with cancer begins', 'An education', ' Death who (?)', 'Haystacks', literary studies lecture timetable, 'The haystack', 'The secret', draft of a letter to Mr Arnold re application for publishing Blood and bone, 'Death after life', 'Jennifer, a poem', 'A letter in verse', untitled first line'I first heard about Sydney in a letter to Paul and Tina', untitled first line 'She wraps my arm', 'The rehearsals', 'The wait', 'Treating it?', 'Appointments', 'Sant Ivo Della Sapienza', 'Eros v Thanatos', miscellaneous notes, 'There is no God' and a list of addresses and poem titles

Folder 2 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts and notes

Including 'Portrait of a pig' retitled 'The universal pig', 'Kite', 'Reverting country', 'Ontology in the museums', 'Critique', 'Approaching kangaroos', 'Old music', 'Summer in the city', 'Breakfast', 'Driver', 'Russian midget friends in a living room on 100th Street, NYC', 'Dog journey', 'Last night', 'Facing up to fiction', 'Designer verse', 'Hieroglyphs', 'Death is another language', 'At Yanko Creek', 'The dying game' 'Death revisited', 'The long grass', 'Locusts', 'Swamped', 'The boundary rider', 'Pub', 'Leaving hospital', 'Hay carters', 'Catharsis', 'Ontology','This business', 'The cause of death', 'The ceaseless rodent of his childhood', 'The ceaseless rodent', 'Ennui', 'Self-pity', 'Trip cancelled' and 'The shoot'

Folder 3 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts and notes

Including 'Lit Crit', '25th September 1984', 'Spleen', 'Translations', 'A country boy', 'The change', 'I made it', 'The guest', 'Sant Ivo Della Sapienza', 'Hotel Minerva', 'Question time', 'Platform verse','The rehearsals', 'The birds', 'Dead serious', 'Dying days', 'Last days', 'The crop', 'Walking through the crop', 'Day dream', 'The animal', 'A difficult calf', 'Dead calf', 'Ten things about it' and 'Burning toast'

Folder 4 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts and notes

Including 'The wait', 'The passenger', 'Another birth', 'The other baby', 'The needle', 'A little prick', 'The barbeque', 'The review', 'A didactic poem', 'Country life', 'The second helping', 'The dam', 'Dishes in the rack heil Hitler domestic poem', 'Xanthorroea', 'Pastoral', 'A palinode', 'Bad news', 'Troppo island', 'The dark lady', 'Recurrent dream', 'Dreams', 'Palomino', 'Insomnia' and 'A summers day'

Folder 5 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts and notes

Including 'Lunch by the tennis court', 'Clockwork', 'Clock', 'Country football', 'A plate of salad', 'A herd of cows', untitled first line 'Cattle dogs have it out', 'The border cross kelpie', 'At dusk', 'Roundel of regret' retitled 'Instant roundel', 'The fall', 'Now that the living bone and blood', untitled first line 'This is the late night statis of fear', untitled first line 'Higher in the mist', untitled first line 'Wordless afternoon', 'Ward 10 west room 1 12/11/83', untitled first line 'Forgetting your food, your drink', 'Haystacks', 'Taltarni', 'Tarcoola', untitled first line 'Three nights running they wheeled someone in next door', 'Remembering mushrooms', 'Room 3 ward 10 west', 'Lewd did I live and evil I did dwell' and untitled first line 'Humming down slow rows'

Folder 6 
Page proofs

2.2 Down the lake with half a chook, 1988

This subseries comprises manuscript and typescript drafts of Down the lake with half a chook, published by ABC Enterprises for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Crows Nest, N.S.W., 1988.

Folder 7 
Annotated manuscript notebook containing notes and drafts of poems and letters

Including 'The pub', 'The drive', 'The dark' retitled 'The images', 'Death after life', 'Personification', 'Death expectation', 'Autumn', draft of a letter to Roger, 'The cow', 'The blues', 'The deadline', 'The procession', 'Leeches', 'Pissing in the shower', 'Notes on Bartok', 'The rubber raft', 'Disease', 'The insomniac', 'Chopped prose for pigs', 'Chopped prose with pigs', 'The alarm' retitled 'The deadline', 'Down the lake with half a chook', 'Going back for a look', 'Shooting the dogs', 'The past', 'Boarding school', 'First few weeks' retitled 'Settling in', 'A perfect square', 'An early mistake', 'Tight shorts', 'The drop kick', 'Tight shorts', 'The drop kick', 'Dirt roads', 'The waste', draft of a letter to Roger, 'The waste', draft of a letter to Les and 'The waste'

Folder 8 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts, notes and contents list

Including contents list, 'A farm in the high country', 'Moses', 'Strathbogie Ranges 1965', 'After a country funeral', 'The cow', 'Sludge', 'The noise', 'Surplus chicken wire', 'Chicken wire', 'The effect' and 'The drop kick'

Folder 9 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts and notes

Including 'Gum trees', 'The drum net', 'The waste', 'Arc welding', 'The title', untitled first line 'The farmers crook is a length of poly pipe', 'Tight shorts', 'Dirt roads', 'An early mistake', 'The devils work', 'Pudge', 'The enemy', 'Settling in', 'The past', 'The deadline', 'Shooting the dogs', 'Going back for a look', 'Chopped prose with pigs', 'The secret', 'Autumn', 'Death after life', 'A perfect square', 'Man training a sheepdog', 'The flies', 'The big swallow', 'Flies are bad' and untitled first line 'He worked like a charm'

Folder 10 
Page proofs with Hodgins pencil corrections and a copy of the rejected cover design

Folder 11 
Final typescript with late ink alterations

2.3 Animal warmth, 1990

This subseries comprises manuscript and typescript drafts of Animal warmth, published by Angus & Robertson, North Ryde, N.S.W, 1990.

Folder 12 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts, notes and contents list

Including contents list, 'The way things were', 'The cattle show', 'A prayer', 'Standard hay bales', 'Pastoral feature film' and 'The dry'

Folder 13 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts and notes

Including 'The map', 'Superphosphate', 'V.F.L. Clerihews', 'Five thousand acre paddock', 'Shotgun distinction', 'A farm in New York State', 'Gestalt test', 'In an American wood', 'The big goanna', 'Until the cows come home' and 'Second thoughts on the Georgics'

Folder 14 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts, notes and letters

Including 'Melbourne', 'Homesick', 'The ibises', draft letter to Frank Menchaca, Literary Editor George Braziller, 'The moleskin brigade' retitled 'Elegy', 'Milk', 'The bull', 'Autumn' retitled 'Pregnant cow', 'The emotions', 'The Jettry method' and untitled first line 'I never knew what made my father think'

2.4 Up on all fours, 1993 and The end of the season : pastoral poems, 1993

This subseries comprises manuscript and typescript drafts of Up on all fours, published by Angus & Robertson, Pymble, N.S.W., 1993 and manuscript and typescript drafts of The end of the season : pastoral poems, published by Brindabella Press, Canberra, 1993.

Folder 15 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts and notes

Including poetry not used in either book and a draft title page and contents list of Up on all fours including 'So-and-so's famous poem', 'At the sheep parasite field day', 'After the shearing', 'Getting through a fence' retitled 'Getting through a strained fence', 'Driving through the mallee', 'After the shearing', 'The modern husbandry', 'The plague', 'Black-shouldered kite', 'A half-remembered visit', 'Rural affairs', 'Leaving', 'Three pig diseases', 'After a dry stretch', 'Rondeau lapin' and 'The bunny and the duck'

Folder 16 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts and notes

Including poetry not used in either book including 'Farm maintenance', 'Equinox', 'Saint Francis and the angels', 'Italophile poet', 'On a hill near Treviso', 'J.H.W. Mules', 'The puddle', 'The seconds', 'Pastourelle', 'The new floor', 'Carraccis self-portrait', 'The hoop snake', 'The calling of Saint Matthew', 'A note from Mindi station', 'Becoming urbanized', 'Little elegies', 'The Post-literate society', 'The rise of theory', 'Cities', 'The pier', 'The subject', 'Reliquary', 'Sport', 'Upset about death', 'In Natal Province, Africa' and 'The tail paddock'

Folder 17 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts and notes

Including poetry not used in either book including 'The rock paddocks', 'Western district paddocks', 'Romulus Augustulus', 'The scarifier', 'Milk cream butter', 'The practice nets', 'The slab', 'Erosion and salinity', 'The end of the season', 'The garden', 'The prey', 'European carp', 'A memorial service', 'Fire risk days in the Riverina', 'Napoleon', 'Environmental terrorism' and 'The verandah'

Folder 18 
Annotated manuscript and typescript drafts and notes, including poetry not used in either book

Including 'Coastal drought', 'New ingredients', 'The electric fence', 'The rabbit trap', 'Self as subject', 'Autumn of the critic', 'The farmer', 'Minimals' and 'Expatriate poet'; A kick of the footy, published by Angus & Robertson, 16 p. booklet, containing nine poems by Hodgins from Up on all fours, comprising four sample proof pages with correspondence, 28/8/1990, from the publisher A kick of the footy poem sequence : 1 'Torpedo punt or Spiral punt', 2 'Flat punt', 3 'Drop punt', 4 'Stab pass', 5 'Drop kick' 6 'Place kick', 7 'Banana kick', 8 'Snap shot' and 9 'Kicking into danger'

2.5 Dispossessed, 1994

This subseries comprises manuscript and typescript drafts of Dispossessed, a novel in blank verse, published by Angus & Robertson, Pymble, N.S.W., 1994.

Folder 19 
Annotated manuscript

Folder 20 
Final corrected typescript

2.6 Things happen, 1995

This subseries comprises manuscript and typescript drafts of Things happen, published by Angus & Robertson, Pymble, N.S.W, 1995.

Folder 21 
Annotated manuscript, typescript fragment (2 p.), title page and a handwritten note to Janet Shaw from Hodgins

Including 'A jillaroo', 'The meaning', 'Bucolica', 'The land itself', 'A house in the country', 'White ants', 'A decaying form', 'The drinkers', 'A bird of prey', 'Midday horizon', 'The snake in the department store', 'Spotlighting', 'Woman with an axe', 'The exploding snake', 'Nocturnal', 'An image of the Murray', 'Two dogs', 'Those yabbies', 'The creek', 'The incident room', 'Her first poem', 'Blood connexions', 'Prognosis', 'Haematopoietics', 'The sick poem', 'The last few days and nights', 'Home is where the hurt is', 'Cytotoxic rigor', 'More light, more light', 'Wordy wordy numb numb', 'The precise moment', 'Giorgio de Chirico', 'St Stephens day in Venice', 'Melbourne heatwave' and 'Kitchen'

2.7 Miscellaneous manuscript poetry

This subseries comprises a notebook containing notes, manuscript drafts and source cards.

Folder 22 
Notebook containing notes and drafts of poems entitled the earliest jottings of poetry

Including those which were later developed and published and source cards with handwritten notes including 'Apprentice poet', 'The apprenticeship', 'How to catch a rabbit', 'The patient', 'Nobel prize', 'A picture of Ben Johnson'; untitled poetry first lines 'Abandoning the main body', 'Each year I try to write some poetry', 'There's something too obvious about it', 'This was a vengeful mass flooding the proud capital' and 'Upstream in the middle'; 'Set of instructions enclosed with an imported toy' and 'The system'


Series 3 Reviews and Reader's Reports

This small series comprises book reviews and reader's report by Hodgins.

Folder 1 
Handwritten and annotated typescripts of book reviews by Hodgins, and a manuscript assessment by Hodgins for Sacred sites, by R. F. Brissenden, (1990)


Series 4 Miscellaneous

This small series comprises miscellaneous typescripts dating from 1988-1990.

Folder 1 
Typescript nomination by Alex Skovron for Hodgins and interviews with Barbara Williams, 6 June 1988, at Graduate Centre, City University of New York; with Diana Ritch, 7 March 1988, at the State Library of South Australia and a photocopy of interview questions, 1990


Series 5 Photographs

This small series comprises photographs of Hodgins and photographs sent to him.

Folder 1 
Black and white photograph of Hodgins at his desk (with a full beard); 
Colour photograph of Gillian (Mears?); 
Three colour photographs by Richard Griffin sent to Hodgins with a note and mounted on a handmade card consisting of one fine binding display and two framed picture collages entitled 'The Rock' and 'The Park'


Series 6 Audio Cassette, 1995-2000

This small series comprises one audio cassette recorded in June 1995, by Rodney Wetherell, featuring Hodgins reading a selection of his poetry from Things happen, at his home near Maryborough in Victoria, and aired on 20/5/2000 for the Radio National PoeticA radio program.

Folder 1 
Things happen, 20/5/1995