Guide to the Papers of Richard Beilby [MSS 005]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Richard Beilby
Manuscript Number MSS 005
Last Updated August 2021
Extent 83 cm (8 boxes)
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract This collection comprises manuscript papers and related material produced and accumulated by Richard Beilby.

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

The papers of Richard Beilby include typescript drafts, notes, notebooks, research material, newspaper clippings and photographs.

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Richard Courtney Beilby was born in Malacca, Malaysia 18 July 1918 and died in 1989. He moved to Western Australia in 1928. During the Second World War he served in the AIF in North Africa, Greece, Crete and New Guinea. Prior to becoming a full-time novelist in 1970, Beilby worked in a number of occupations including truck driver, painter, insurance salesman and part-time union organiser.

Beilby's novels have explored such issues as the experiences of war, and the tensions between Aboriginal and white cultures in an urban environment. Beilby became Vice President of the Western Australian Branch of the Australian Society of Authors in 1972, and continued to serve that organisation for many years. He was later made an Honorary Life Member of the Fellowship of Australian Writers.

Richard Beilby's publications include:
The sword and the myrtle (1968)
No medals for Aphrodite (1970)
The brown land crying (1975)
Gunner : a novel of the retreat from Crete (1977)
The bitter lotus (1978).

AustLit Australian Literature Gateway database, 2004.


Administrative Information


Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Check with Curator

Copying: Check with Curator

Preferred Citation

Papers of Richard Beilby, MSS 005, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was acquired from Richard Beilby in 1986.


Subject Keywords



Novelists, Australian novelists

Noongar people

Personal Names

Richard Beilby 1918-1989

Corporate Names





Container List


Series 1 Novels, 1969-1978

This series comprises notes, notebooks, research material and manuscript and typescript drafts for The sword and the myrtle(1968), No medals for Aphrodite (1970), The brown land crying (1975), Gunner : a novel of the retreat from Crete (1977) and The bitter lotus (1978). The drafts are often extensively annotated and edited. The notes, notebooks and research material reveal the depth of Beilby's preparation and research, particularly for The brown land crying.

1.1, The sword and the myrtle (1968)

Comprising typescript drafts of the novel, published by Michael Joseph, London, 1968, and a copy of the shortened version entitled 'The Philobarbaros'.

Folder 1-4 
Final typescript draft returned by the publisher for shortening, 1160 p., c. 1967-1968

Folder 5 
'The Philobarbaros' shortened version of The sword and the myrtle - annotated carbon typescript, 790 p., c. 1967-1968

1.2, No medals for Aphrodite (1970)

Comprising typescript drafts of the novel, published by Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1970.

Folder 1 
Carbon typescript draft, 604 p., c. 1970

1.3, The brown land crying (1975)

Comprising notebooks, research material and typescript drafts of the novel, published by Angus & Robertson, London; Sydney, 1975. Photocopies of research material held in Folios in Series 2 and Photographs in Series 3.

Folder 1-2 
Annotated typescript notebooks containing copies of notes, interviews with and about Australian Aboriginal people and newspaper clippings, together with an index, 1969-1975

Folder 3 
Annotated typescript draft, 620 p., c. 1975

Folder 4 
Annotated carbon typescript draft, 577 p., c. 1975

Folder 5-7 
Newspaper clippings of research notes, 1969-1973

Folder 8 
Research material, 1968-1975

1.4, Gunner : a novel of the retreat from Crete (1977)

Comprising three typescript drafts of the novel entitled 'King-pawn one', 'Fool's mate' and 'Pawns pay now', published by Angus & Robertson, London, 1977.

Folder 1 
'King-pawn one' - annotated carbon typescript draft, 543 p., c. 1976-1977

Folder 2 
'Fool's mate' - annotated typescript draft, 378 p. and 154 p., c. 1976-1977

Folder 3 
'Pawns pay now' - carbon typescript draft, 367 p., c. 1976-1977

1.5, The bitter lotus (1978)

Comprising typescript drafts of the novel, published by Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1978.

Folder 1 
Annotated typescript and carbon typescript draft, 346 p., 29/8/1976

Folder 2 
Annotated carbon typescript draft, 319 p., January-June 1977

Folder 3 
Annotated page proofs, 283 p., 1978


Series 2 Folios, 1969-1973

This series comprises photocopies of research material for Series 1 The brown land crying and a newspaper clipping relating to 'The ice cream eaters' a novel in progress.

Box-folder 1 
Photocopies of research material for The brown land crying and a newspaper clipping relating to 'The ice cream eaters' a novel in progress, 1969-c. 1988


Series 3 Photographs, 1970

This series comprises photographs of research material for Series 1 The brown land crying.

Box-folder 1 
Black and white photographs of research, 1970

Six photographs of Aboriginal people in different locations
Two photographs of Statutory Declarations by Reginald Gillespie and Austin Edward Dodd
Photograph of a letter to Mrs Trainor from Peter Stewart