Guide to the Papers of Robert Adamson [MSS 149]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Robert Adamson
Manuscript Number MSS 149
Last Updated August 2021
Extent 15 boxes + 3 folios + 2 AV boxes
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract This collection comprises literary papers and related material written or collected by Robert Adamson.

Collection Subject Type



Scope and Content

The papers of Robert Adamson include correspondence, literary works, scrapbooks, writings regarding Adamson, Paper Bark Press publications and photographs. The bulk of the collection comprises drafts of Adamson's poetry. The drafts provide an insight into his creative processes, documenting the various stages the poems go through as they are written and rewritten. There is also drafts of articles, criticisms, book reviews and short stories, together with working notes and drafts of a filmscript entitled 'Catch the wild fishes', co-written with Dorothy Hewett.

There are five scrapbooks covering the period 1944 to 1992, which document Adamson's career. They contain correspondence, newspaper articles relating to Adamson, reviews of his work, cuttings of his poems appearing in publications, publicity material, photographs, invitations, programs, flyers and readers' reports. As well as personal letters, there are notes from editors and publishers, including Ron Blair, Robert Brissenden, David Brooks, Vincent and Penelope Buckley, Peter Craven, Geoffrey Dutton, Michael Dargaville, Livio Dobrez, John Forbes, Robert Harris, Kevin Hart, Dorothy Hewett, Michael Heyward, A. D. Hope, Manfred Jurgensen, Paul Kavanagh, John Kinsella, Mal Morgan, Geoff Page, George Papaellinas, David Rankin, Barret Reid, Judith Rodriguez, Imre Salusinszky, Andrew Sant, Thomas Shapcott, Tom Thompson, John Tranter, Elizabeth Webby, Michael Wilding and Fay Zwicky.

Papers of his wife, Juno Gemes are held at the National Library of Australia and Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Robert Harry Adamson was born on the 17 May 1943 at Neutral Bay, Sydney, and has lived on the Hawkesbury River, on and off, for most of his life. He spent his earliest years in Neutral Bay and was educated at Neutral Bay Primary School, North Sydney Boys High and Mount Penang Training School for Boys. While in corrective institutions he educated himself and developed his interest in writing, especially poetry.

Adamson is one of Australia's leading contemporary poets, and is a successful writer, editor and publisher. He is well known for his poetry, which has been published widely in Australian and in American literary magazines and anthologies, and translated into several languages. He has organised and produced poetry readings, delivered papers, lectures and readings at literary festivals throughout Australia. He has been writer-in-residence at Australian universities, and was President of the Poetry of Australia, 1970-1980. He was instrumental in organising tours by both Robert Duncan and Robert Creeley to Australia in the 1970s.

He became a member of the Sydney literary scene in the late 1960s and was a significant influence on the rise of the 'New Australian Poetry' in the early 1970s. He joined the editorial team of Poetry magazine in 1968. The magazine underwent a change of editorial direction that included a change of title in 1971 to New poetry, which Adamson edited, 1971-1976 and 1980-1981.

He established Illumination Press with Franco Paisio in 1970, and Prism Books in 1971, which he co-edited with Cheryl Creatrix (Adamson), 1971-1982. He was co-editor and publisher with Dorothy Hewett of Big Smoke Books in 1977, and established Paper Bark Press in 1986 with Juno Gemes and Michael Wilding. He was poetry reader for Angus & Robertson, 1993-1997, and editor of Ulitarra literary magazine, 1993-1997.

During the course of his career, Adamson has received a number of grants and fellowships as well as publication subsidies for his own books, his magazine, and for the books published through his publishing ventures from the Literature Board of the Australia Council. These have helped him to pursue his career as a full-time writer.

He has been awarded the following prizes for his works:
New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, 2002, shortlisted for Mulberry leaves : new and selected poems 1970-2001 
NBC Turnbull Fox Phillips Poetry Prize, 1990, winner for The clean dark 
New South Wales State Literary Awards, Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, 1990, winner for The clean dark 
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, C. J. Dennis Award for Poetry, 1990, winner for The clean dark 
Writers' Fellowship, The National Parks and Wildlife, 1984
WA Sesquicentenary Literary Competition, Poems by Australian Writers Not Including Western Australians Award, 1979, joint winner for 'Growing up alone'
Grace Leven Poetry Prize, 1977, winner for Selected poems

Adamson publications and performances include:
The imitator (1969)
Canticles on the skin (1970)
The rumour (1971)
Swamp riddles (1974)
Zimmer's essay, with Bruce Hanford (1974), part 1, 'Zimmer's essay' (novel) and part 2, 'Some more experiences' (poetry) Theatre I-XIX (1976)
Cross the border, etching by Garry Shead (1977)
Selected poems (1977)
Where I come from (1979)
The law at heart's desire (1982)
Zoo, a play with Dorothy Hewett, commissioned by the Australian Theatre for Young People, 1984
Australian writing 1988, edited by Manfred Jurgensen and Robert Adamson (1988)
The clean dark (1989)
Selected poems, 1970-1989 (1990)
Wards of the state (1992)
The brutality of fact (1993)
Waving to Hart Crane (1994)
The language of oysters (1997)
Meaning (1998)
Black water : approaching Zukofsky (1999)
Mulberry leaves : new & selected poems 1970-2001, edited by Chris Edwards; with a foreword by David Malouf (2001)
Inside out : an autobiography (2004)
Reading the river : selected poems (2004)

Inside out : an autobiography, by Adamson, published by Text Publishing, Melbourne, 2004
Robert Adamson curriculum vitae
International who's who in poetry and poet's encyclopedia, 7th ed. (1993)
The Oxford companion to Australian literature, 2nd ed. (1994)
The bibliography of Australian literature. A-E (2001)
AustLit Australian Literature Gateway database, 2003
Ozlit: Australian Literature Resources on the Net, Books & Writers Database, 2003
Book covers
Paper Bark Press details from:


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 Robert Adamson, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, MS 149, Series [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was acquired from Robert Adamson in several instalments from 1989-1994.

Additional Information

Related Material

Further manuscript material relating to Robert Adamson may be found in Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, in the papers of:
Robert Harris at MS 38
Debra Adamson at MS 181
Garry Shead at MS 288

Separated Material

Further papers of Robert Adamson are held at the following institutions:
National Library of Australia, Manuscripts Section, in the Papers of Robert Adamson at MS 5713, in the Papers of Cheryl Creatrix at MS 6422, and in the Papers of New Poetry (Sydney, N.S.W.) at MS 7967.
State Library of New South Wales, in Paper Bark Press records at MLMSS 6124.


Subject Keywords

Personal Names

Adamson, Robert, 1943- -- Archives.

Topical Subjects

Poets, Australian -- 20th century -- Archives.

Authors, Australian -- 20th century -- Archives.




Series List and Descriptions

Series 1 Correspondence, 1972-1994

This series comprises personal and business correspondence received by Adamson from writers and publishers and drafts of letters sent by him. Letters dealing entirely with Paper Bark Press are in Series 5.


Box 1

Folder 1 

Correspondence, 1972-1989

Correspondents include Kate Lilley, Judith Wright, Barrett Reid, Paul Zimmer, memorandum of agreement with Hale and Iremonger, letters of reference from Michael Wilding and Tom Shapcott, Beate Josephi, Jennifer Rowe, Robert Hefner, Robert Duncan, Judith Rodriguez regarding Jennifer Rankin, John Millett, David Brooks, Sue Abbey and Geoff Page

Folder 2 
Correspondence, 1990-1991

Correspondents include Gwen Harwood, Sue Abbey, Michael Dargaville, Sydney Writers' Festival, Laura Danckwerts, Norman Talbot, Rosemary Sorensen, Rosabbe Fitzgibbons, Cassandra Pybus, Tom Thompson, Paul Kavanagh, Anthony Lawrence, Michael Heyward and Michael Wilding

Folder 3 
Correspondence, 1992

Correspondents include Margaret Bradstock, Annette Renshaw, Ernest Kay, Douglas Barbour, Tom Shapcott, Valerie King, Eluned Lloyd and Collins Angus & Robertson Publishers

Folder 4 
Correspondence, 1993

Correspondents include Imre Salusinszky, Robert Hefner, Jennifer Daniels, Sarah Connolly, IslandOverland, Lyn McCredden, Laura Danckwerts, Tim Thorne, Tom Thompson, Angus & Robertson, Vivian Smith, Meanjin, Laurie Duggan, Peter Rose, David Stewart, Helen Horton, Barrett Reid, Norman Talbot, Jim Tulip, Hugh Tolhurst, Douglas Barbour and letters regarding the magazine Ulitarra

Folder 5 
Correspondence, 1994

Correspondents include John Bennett, Kevin Hart, George Papaellinas, Imre Salusinszky and Brian Purcell

Folder 6 
Correspondence, 1988-1994

Correspondents include Bruce and Brenda Beaver, Kate Jennings, Manfred Jurgensen, John Kinsella, John Montgomery, John Tranter, Fay Zwicky, Literature Board of the Australia Council and Robert Harris regarding Adamson's poem entitled 'Ode to Beckett's death'


Box 2

Folder 7 

Drafts of correspondence by Adamson, 1988-1994

Folder 8 
Drafts of correspondence by Adamson to other poets, 1989-1994


Series 2 Literary Works, c. 1970-1994

The series includes drafts of poetry and prose works by Adamson, including The clean dark (1989), Selected poems (1990), Wards of the state (1992) and Waving to Hart Crane (1994). There is also drafts of published and unpublished poems, articles, criticisms, editorials, an obituary, reviews, book launches and short stories, together with notes, reader's reports, page proofs and reviews. Correspondence relating to these works is included in Series 1.

2.1, The clean dark (1989)

Comprising typescript drafts and other papers relating to The clean dark, published by Paper Bark Press, Sydney, 1989. There is also an extensively annotated copy of the published book and scrapbook 5 in Series 3 contains information relating to the publication.

Folder 1 
Drafts - manuscript, typescript, annotated typescript, typescript photocopy with cut and paste inserts

Including 'Glenmore Road, a nocturne', 'A memory', 'Drawn with light', 'By the light of the silvery moon', 'No river, no death', 'Hawkesbury dream map', 'Dreaming up mother', 'By no mans code: A song map. 1. The Jesus bird', 'By no mans code: A song map. 2. The trophy', 'By no mans code: A song map. 3. Wild colonial boys', 'By no mans code: A song map. 4. The charts', 'By no mans code: A song map. 5. Full tide', 'By no mans code: A song map. 6. Fishing with my stepson', 'Harriet Westbrook looks at the Serpentine', 'An Elm tree in Paddington', 'Imagination, a flame with many tongues', 'Blue feathered sonnet', 'The speaking page', 'The channels', 'Couplets', 'Rembering poets', 'American sonnet', 'Lady Faith (for A.D. Hope on his 80th birthday)', 'What's slaughtered's gone', 'Silva', 'Canticle for the bicentennial dead', 'Farming the oysters', 'Phasing out the mangroves', 'No memory, no magic', 'As imperceptibly', 'Sonnets for Robert Duncan 1919-1988', 'Coda', 'Kiss', 'Angel's own kind. 1. Ram lives', 'Angel's own kind. 2. Law of the land', 'Angel's own kind. 3. Last rites'

Folder 2 
Working papers - typescript, annotated typescript and typescript photocopy drafts of poems

Including 'American sonnet', 'Angel's own kind. 1. Ram lives', 'Angel's own kind. 2. Law of the land', 'Angel's own kind. 3. Last rights', 'As imperceptibly ... After Miklos Radnoti', 'Blue feathered sonnet', 'The book for Anthony Lawrence', 'By no man's code: A song map. 1. The Jesus bird', 'By no man's code: A song map. 2. The trophy', 'By no man's code: A song map. 3. Wild colonial boys', 'By no man's code: A song map. 4. The charts', 'By no man's code: A song map. 5.', 'By no man's code: A song map. 6. Fishing with my stepson', 'Canticle for the bicentennial dead', 'The channels for Orlando', 'The details necessary', 'The difference looking back for Michael Wilding', 'An elm tree in Paddington', 'Glenmore Road, a nocturn', 'The great work', 'Green prawn map: for my grandfather', 'Gutting the salmon', 'Harriet Westbrook looks at the Serpintine', 'Hawkesbury dream map', 'The horse', 'The kiss', 'Lady faith (for A.D. Hope on his 80th birthday)', 'Last words', 'No memory, no magic after Miklos Radnoti', 'Nobody remembers the days when heroin was called horse', 'Phasing out the mangroves', 'Remembering posts', 'Seven days', 'Songs for Juno', 'Sonnets for Robert Duncan 1919-1988', 'The speaking page', 'The invisible police state', 'No river, no death', 'What's slaughtered's gone', 'Warmth of the sun', 'The old gumtree's stump, five feet tall and as thick', 'Animals alone in their bodies', 'Make your mark', 'The silva', 'By no man's code: A song map. Coda', 'Clear water reckoning'

Folder 3 
Final corrections - typescript, annotated typescript and typescript photocopy drafts of poems

Folder 4 
Final corrections suggested by John Tranter - annotated typescript drafts of poems

Folder 5 
Proofs - typescript, annotated typescript, typescript photocopy with cut and paste inserts


Box 3

Folder 6 

Final draft - annotated photocopy typescript, 1989

Folder 7 
Memorandum of Agreement, launch invitation, reviews, dust jacket, copy of The clean dark with extensive annotations and autobiographical details, 1989-1992

2.2, Selected poems, 1970-1989 (1990)

Comprising page proofs and correspondence relating to Selected poems, 1970-1989, published by University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Queensland, 1990.

Folder 1-3 
Annotated page proofs and related correspondence, together with typescript drafts of excluded poems and a copy of the dust jacket, 1989-1990

2.3, Wards of the state : an autobiographical novella (1992)

Comprising typescript drafts and other papers relating to Wards of the state : an autobiographical novella, published by Angus & Robertson, Pymble, NSW, 1992. The book is in two parts, the first a series of fragmentary prose narratives, the second a collection of poems, which are connected by a photographic essay consisting of personal photographs and constructed images by Juno Gemes.

Folder 1
Part 1, prose drafts - typescript, annotated typescript, typescript photocopy with cut and paste inserts


Box 4

Folder 2-5

Part 1, prose drafts - typescript, annotated typescript, typescript photocopy with cut and paste inserts

Folder 6 
Part 2, poetry drafts - typescript, annotated typescript, typescript photocopy with cut and paste inserts, 1977-1991

Including 'The tightly written life', 'Street kids', 'State ward sonnet', 'The beak', 'Hot dogs and alchemy', 'Petrol sniffing', 'Expedition to reality', 'Social realist', 'Another graveyard shift', 'Empty days', 'Sign this', 'Loose talk', 'Rabbiting - Hill end', 'Boatman of the glow', 'My father's boots'

Folder 7 
Part 2, poetry drafts - typescript, annotated typescript, typescript photocopy with cut and paste inserts, 1977-1991

Including 'La Mancha sunsets', 'Night lesson', 'Before the hook', 'Blood sport in the half light', 'The tomb of language', 'Over our roof winds', 'The bird-catcher's song', 'The boat with an empty mind', 'A morning's kill', 'Prayer', 'Mary Durnello's song', 'Kenneth Slessor dancing', 'Looking out sideways', 'Outside of Delcroix'


Box 5

Folder 8 

Part 2, poetry drafts - typescript, annotated typescript, typescript photocopy with cut and paste inserts, 1977-1991

Including 'What love takes', 'More grief', 'The kite', 'The symbolist's daughter', 'Sonnet for Christopher Brennan', 'Violet Singer takes a ferry', 'Montsalvat burlesque', 'Ode to Beckett's death', 'Epistle from Stingray Bay'

Folder 9 
Part 2, poetry drafts - annotated typescript, 1977-1991

Folder 10 
Parts 1 and 2 - incomplete annotated final typescript and photocopy typescript draft

Folder 11 
Final typescript with author and editor corrections and mark-up instructions for the printer and publisher, March 1992

Folder 12 
Typescript versions not used, reviews and copy of Memorandum of Agreement, 1989-1992

Folder 13 
Paste-up copy by Adamson after discussions with Tom Thompson, [1992]

Folder 14 
Annotated copy of the book used for Adamson's appearance on Peter Ross' ABC Sunday afternoon television program, 1992

2.4, Waving to Hart Crane (1994)

Comprising typescript drafts and other papers relating to Waving to Hart Crane, published by Angus & Robertson, Pymble, NSW, 1994.


Box 6

Folder 1 

Manuscript, typescript, annotated typescript and photocopy typescript drafts of poems, c. 1980s-1994

Including 'Folk song', 'Rock carving with Kevin Gilbert', 'Lozenge for Brennan', 'Lozenge for Mondrian', 'Webb's head', 'Bluebottle jellyfish', 'Ambivalence', 'On the rock', 'Hawkesbury bushfire', 'Edge man', 'Cornflowers', 'Side of the creek', 'Autumn highway', 'Waving to Hart Crane', 'Flower song: Hungary 1942', 'Tidal silence', 'Looking out sideways', 'Outside of Delacroix', 'Walking in America with Federico Garcia Lorca', 'A black crucifix', 'Anthropomorphic', 'The kingfisher', 'A future book', 'Addiction', 'The glass ceiling', 'Alcohol', 'The written moon', 'Through the coddling night', 'Love on ice', 'Percy Grainger waltz', 'Language poetry in Saskatchewan', 'Belle Isle Decorum', 'What I have of faith', 'Like a painkiller', 'Skeletal sincerity', 'Recreation area', 'The Australian crawl', 'The sugar glider', 'The dogs will bark to bring the lion down', 'The imported pepper-mill', 'Percy Grainger's pepper-mill', 'The blood hound's nose', 'The Australian version', 'The great pepper party', 'A pepper-mill for a young poet', 'Concern that the pepper-mill is an excuse', 'Inside the mill'

Folder 2-3 
Annotated typescript and typescript photocopy drafts of poems, c. 1980s-1994

Folder 4 
Paste-up copy, 1994

Folder 5 
Proofreader's queries, page and cover proofs (incomplete), book launch details, 1994

2.5, Miscellaneous Poetry, c. 1970-1997

This subseries comprises drafts of unpublished and poems published in magazines, newspapers, anthologies and Adamson's later poetry collections. There is no apparent order to the poems. Where a title does not exist, poems are listed by first line. There are also cuttings of Adamson's poems from magazines and newspapers.


Box 7

Folder 1 

Manuscript, annotated typescript, carbon typescript and photocopy typescript drafts of poems, c. 1970-1994

Including 'After reading Strehlow', 'Afternoon tea', 'Alcohol', 'An ample sufficiency, thankyou' 'The Angler's Rest', 'Another father', 'The artistic life', 'Ashtrays & fans', 'Australian dragon-flies', 'Australian poetry', 'Autobiographical variations', 'Awake after years', 'Basil Bunting', 'A bemused mystic's hat-trick', 'Blood on the blade', 'Blown away in Saskatchewan', 'By hand', 'Calm Bay', 'The celly', 'Changing places', 'Coda: After Borges', 'Coda: By the shopping malls and Sydney's lanes', 'Coda: No end', 'Coke & alchemy', 'Composition: War 1993', 'Composition with Ponge', 'Composing the love song', 'Contemporary poetic', 'Cross-talk: a poem about writing a poem in A.D. Hope's room, in the A.D. Hope Building, A.N.U.', 'Death caves', 'Death is the equivalent to a declaration of', 'Designer verse', 'The double view', 'Down along the cove deformed pelicans', 'Each time I start this letter something', 'The eagle', 'Emmanuel Hocquard's use of Bembo', 'Envoy', 'Exploring the botanist', 'The exterminator was walking along the', 'F.G.L.', 'Face value', 'Fishing hard', 'For Pat: The boatman', 'The frames', 'The funny tribe come easily', 'Ghost poet', 'Hawkesbury fire-storm', 'Hawkesbury river poem', 'A home drawn with light', 'I let these strange images go, knowing', 'The idea of prayer', 'In river light tonight', 'In spotted-gum forest', 'In the suburbs our relatives pruned that 'green shoot'', 'Instructions for the Director of Literature', 'It goes on', 'The jenny tribe come easily', 'A journey', 'Language poem (10)', 'Looking out', 'Love minus Dylan / no singing', 'Love minus Dylan / post modern', 'Love poem for my wife', 'Makeshift credo', 'Making the owl write', 'Mallarme walked through a star field', 'Mangrove tree', 'Language poetry in Saskatchewan', 'The mangroves are dying', 'Mary Durnello's glory box', 'Night boat', 'Northern Beach', 'Not memory', 'Nothing has to drift away now', 'On the day before Christmas on Mooney Creek', 'The one'

Folder 2 
Manuscript, annotated typescript, carbon typescript and photocopy typescript drafts of poems, c. 1970-1994

Including 'The Paddington garden', 'The pain-man', 'Paradise rifle birds', 'Phrases', 'Poem', 'The poem's blood', 'Political poem', 'Post structuralist's blues', 'Pregnant for the pension', 'Reality', 'Refuge Bay', 'The river madrigals', 'The secret life', 'The separation of rooms', 'Shelley', 'She saw herself, confusingly', 'Singing', 'Social comment', 'A song for Paul Kelley', 'The song', 'Song map', 'Song to light, at Mount White', 'Speaking to the page: Booze damage', 'A statement', 'Style', 'The table is set now the picture is clear', 'Take a stab', 'The teacher's song', 'The triple abyss', 'There we saw colour', 'They are killing sheep in the country', 'Through strand', 'To a poet in the west', 'Travelling into the head: Hawkesbury song-maps: 3 The eggs', 'Visitors', 'The vows', 'Waste becomes words', 'The wastrel', 'What brand is that?' 'Wife', 'The wire, optic cable, speech', 'Woman inspired, after traumatism of the head'

Folder 3 
Folder entitled 'The pepper poems' towards working titles 'Storm windows' and/or 'Found', 1991-1993

Includes complete set of annotated typescript drafts from 1991 until final draft 1993 and photocopies of page proofs from the Scripsi issue. Published in Scripsi, vol.8 no.1 1992, p.63-70 and by Folio, Applecross, Western Australia (1993) as 'The brutality of fact'

Folder 4 
Folder entitled 'Storm windows' and/or 'Found' containing manuscripts and annotated typescript drafts of poems, c. 1970-1994

Including 'Swamp music', 'Once, in a glance', 'Three on the sky', 'On the road to Costessey', 'The Angler's Rest', 'Lyre-birds', 'The patriot for poetry', 'Go book', 'Go book one more time', 'Symbolist blues', 'Memory of wings', 'Unknown & unnamed', 'The scroll', 'From a Sydney sky, after Miklos Radnoti', 'Language poem', 'Lyrics for sirens', 'Ode to Dylan using the pastoral form', 'Pregnant for the pension', 'Through the coddling night', 'Poem for James Wright', 'The double view', 'Instructions for the Director of Literature', 'After Neil Young', 'Reading the trees', 'Epistle from Stingray Bay', 'Monstsalvat Burlesque', 'Compact poetry blues disc', 'Wild colonial boys', 'A dream of yellow hammers', 'Lullaby', 'The speaking page', 'Expedition to reality', 'Instructions to literature boards', 'Fishing hard', 'The streets were full of silence', 'How many strange forms, shapes and styles', 'Love poem / for my wife', 'Writing to you', 'A wind without flags 2', 'Autumn highway', 'Solid heat', 'Gentle reader', 'Hell sonnet', 'The putrid tide', 'Canopy', 'The mad house couplets', 'Looking for work'

Folder 5 
Annotated typescript and photocopy typescript drafts of poems published in journals and anthologies, 1970-1997

Including 'Jerusalem Bay', 'The trouble', 'Song', 'A curse', 'My afternoon', 'The unpopular scale of values revisited', 'My heart', 'The trophy', 'Demimondaine', 'The landscape', 'The love, my love', 'The tiredness', 'Growing up alone', 'Keep from drowning', 'New reality poem', 'Elegies anonymous', 'Symbolism', 'Happy days', 'Language, poetry', 'All because', 'Symbolism', 'Country music' 'Imitator' poem sequence

Folder 6 
Folder entitled Francis Webb poems and drafts - annotated typescript drafts, 1992-1994

Including 'Francis Webb (1992-1994)', 'Francis Webb, 1993', 'Francis Webb, (1993-1994)', 'Francis Webb in 1994', 'Francis Webb's Cap's and bells', 'Web's head', 'Couplets for Francis Webb', 'Francis Webb's flame tree', 'Francis Webb country'

Folder 7 
Folder entitled first drafts and ideas for 'New poems' - annotated typescript drafts, c. 1970-1994

Including 'Night music for Bob Dylan', 'Country music', 'Marks drawn in the air', 'Abject mother', 'Red in the morning', 'Eric the stranger with bubblegum', 'My falcon answers Beate Josephi's heraldic animal', 'For Kevin Hart', 'Picturing the church at North Sydney', 'Francis Webb considers the First Fleet', 'Calling for you', 'Picturing an apartment at Mosman Bay', 'Shaking the light', 'Lyrebirds', 'Picturing the awards', 'Designer spirit bottlers', 'A birthday before time', 'Poetry's patriot', 'Saskatchewan language-ducks', 'The edge man', 'Vision', 'A painted memory', 'Listening to vision', 'Swamp music', 'Prayer to the flathead', 'Euphony', 'The word laughs, then goes serious', 'Time world living space imagination', 'Autumn highway', 'Through the coddling night', 'Mallarme's Mosman farm', 'Japan on ice', 'Christopher Brennan at Cherro Point', 'Tree on the sky', 'For the record', 'Out the back at the two-up', 'Language (7)', 'Canopy', 'Go on, there's light', 'After Neil Young', 'Wind without', 'On the road to Costessey', 'Andrew Taylor', 'Clearwater reckoning', 'Bird-head cave', 'The brutality of fact', 'stop it, not your tongue, that flat flesh', 'On our Anzac anniversary', 'Five stars for Orlando', 'Juno's response', 'Luxuriating on Anzac Day on my useless job', 'Canticles'


Box 8

Folder 8 

Notebook containing poems by Gwen Harwood, with the inscription 'A manuscript for Robert Adamson, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, 1982', together with working drafts of poems by Adamson, 1982-1992

Poems by Harwood:
'Father and child', 'Be your tears wet', 'Thought is surrounded by a halo', 'Night thoughts : baby and demon', 'Home of mercy', 'Oyster Cove', 'All souls'', 'Fido's paw is bleeding', 'Dust to dust', 'An old graveyard', 'The carnival of Venice', 'Crow-call', 'Mid-channel', 'Reservation', 'Sheba', 'Visitor', 'Driving home', 'Carnal knowledge', 'Calm day', 'Shellgrit', 'A little night music', 'Andante', 'Let me be your golden child'
Working drafts of new poems by Adamson, 1989-1990, written at Cheero Point:
'Looking out sideways for Barrett Reid', 'Albion Street children's Court', 'Basil Bunting', 'Rabbiting - Hill End', 'Prayer', 'Outside of Delacroix for Barrett Reid', 'Empty nights', 'La Mancha', 'Ode to Beckett's death', 'Hot dogs & alchemy', 'The old children', 'Brown pigeon lapped by tide', 'No words on words', 'La Mancha sunsets', 'Before the hook', 'The symbolist's daughter', 'It's Carol again, coming through, up from', 'Calling for you for Gwen Harwood'
'The love poems' sequence entitled 'The shore', by Adamson - working drafts for next book of love poems17/2/1992

2.6, Miscellaneous Prose, c. 1970-1992

Comprising typescript drafts and other papers relating to prose works by Adamson, including one obituary, articles, criticisms, editorials, reviews, book launches and short stories.

Folder 1 
Drafts of criticisms, 1990

Including 'The shadow of doubt and 'derivations' in Australian poetry' and 'John Scott and the art of the well-dressed sentence'

Folder 2 
Drafts of reviews, 1974-1993

Including The fat man in history, by Peter Carey, A difficult love, by Manfred Jurgensen, Kenneth Slessor : a biography, by Geoffrey Dutton, Poems, 1970-1992, by Fay Zwicky, Cats, dogs and pitchforks, by Kate Jennings and The Oxford book of Australian love poems, edited by Jennifer Strauss

Folder 3 
Drafts of book launches, published and unpublished short stories, one article, editorial and filmscript, c. 1970-1992

Book launches Surviving the shadow by Terry Gillmore and New and selected poems, by John Forbes
Adamson's last (unpublished) editorial for New poetry entitled 'Stumbling all night over the bones of the dead' - annotated photocopy typescript
Short stories entitled 'His gesture'; 'The experimental story'; 'Hawkesbury bream : the lighter side', published in Fishing world, April 1989, p. 56-58; 'Carol muses about the road', first published in Outrider 90 : a year of Australian literature (1990), p. 174-175; 'The Koori pit-stop interlude', first published in The bird catcher's song : a Salt anthology of contemporary poetry, no. 3-4, 1992, p. 24-27
Article entitled 'From syntax to sign-language'

Folder 4 
Australian writing now, edited by Manfred Jurgensen and Robert Adamson, 1987-1988

Including photocopies of correspondence, Memorandum of Agreement, draft of Jurgensen's editorial and copies of contributor's poems

Folder 5 
Filmscript entitled 'Catch the wild fishes', written by Adamson and Dorothy Hewett, 1985

Including incomplete transcript from tape one, edited by Hewett
Correspondence, signed contract and annotated photocopy typescript draft of the script, 85 p.

Folder 6 
Writings re Robert Harris by Adamson, 1993

Including 'From scepticism to certainty, with grace' and 'Robert Harris : the A to Z of how to be a poet'

Folder 7 
Lyrics by Paul Kelly, 1993

Including page proofs, correspondence and annotated typescript draft of the foreword by Adamson


Series 3 Scrapbooks, 1944-1992

This series comprises scrapbooks compiled by Adamson containing drafts of his poems and letters, copies of correspondence sent to him, photographs with manuscript annotations, invitations and receipts, newspaper and magazine cuttings of articles on book launches, literary writers, obituaries, interviews, poems and book reviews by Adamson and other authors.


Box 9

Folder 1 

Scrapbook, 1982-1990

Contents includes drafts of poems and letters; correspondence from Vincent Buckley, Graeme Powell, Tom Rogers and Fay Zwicky; newspaper cuttings of poems, book reviews and articles; photographs of Adamson and family, Harry Robertson, Tim Storries, Brett and Wendy Whiteley and Robyn Nevin at the launch of The law of heart's desire; examples of Paper Bark Press cover designs

Folder 2 
Scrapbook, 1984-1989

Contents includes drafts of poems and letters; correspondence from Robert Harris, Paul Carter, Livio Dobrez, Manfred Jurgensen Bob Brissenden, Dorothy Hewett, Paul Kavanagh, Geoffrey Dutton, Andrew Sant, Alec Hope, Thomas Shapcott, Literature Board of the Australia Council, John Tranter, Judith Rodriguez, Geoff Page, Peter Craven, Graeme Powell, Sue Abbey; invitations, receipts; photographs including Brett Whiteley and Juno Gemes and Robert Adamson's wedding; newspaper cuttings of poems, book reviews and articles


Box 10

Folder 3-4 

Scrapbook (folder 4 photocopy of folder 3), 1968-1991, chiefly 1989-1990

Contents includes drafts of poems and letters; correspondence from Sue Abbey, Ron Blair, Michael Heyward, Michael Wilding, Peter Craven, Sandra Forbes, Judith Rodriguez, Barrett Reid, Penelope Buckley, Robert Harris, David Harrigan, Tom Thompson, Philip Mead, Jenny Lee, John Tranter, Geoffrey Dutton, John Kinsella, Paul Kavanagh, Michael Dargaville, Elizabeth Webby; invitations, receipts; photographs including Juno, Orlando, Robert, his father and grandfather, John Tranter, Harry Robertson, Garry Shead; David Rankin drawing; newspaper cuttings of poems, book reviews and articles; two pieces by Vicki Viidikas: typescript draft of a poem entitled 'Recipe for a poet', 7/12/1989 and typescript draft of an unfinished piece entitled 'Goodbye Robert Adamson', October 1986

Folder 5 
Scrapbook, 1989

The bulk of the scrapbook relates to the publication of The clean dark and includes correspondence and newspaper cuttings of poems, book reviews and photographs; correspondence from Philip Mead, Barrett Reid, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Mary Dimech, John Millett, Elizabeth Riddell, Alec Hope, Robert Harris, Sue Abbey and Peter Craven

Folder 6 – See Box 18 in Series 8 Folio 

Scrapbook (photocopies in folio 2 Series 8), 1944-1992, chiefly 1991


Series 4 Writings re Adamson, 1971-1991

This series includes drafts and newspaper cuttings of interviews with Adamson, together with criticisms and reviews regarding Adamson and his work.

Folder 1 
Criticisms regarding Adamson's work, 1975-1990

untitled article by Michael Dargaville
'My name is Rickeybockey : the poetry of Robert Adamson and the spirit of Henry Kendall', by Michael Wilding
'Feral symbolists : Robert Adamson, John Tranter, and the response to Rimbaud', by David Brooks
'Robert Adamson's reckoning', by Robert Harris

Folder 2 
Cuttings and drafts of interviews with Adamson and reviews regarding his work, 1971-1991

'Robert Adamson', by Sandra McGrath
Erica Foster interview with Adamson, 1989
'Prison poet finds his river retreat', by Larry Schwartz
'Quality of hurt', by James Tulip
'Experiments in narrative', by David Gilbey
Fragment of a book review for Cross the border, by Tim Thorne
'Robert Adamson : beyond the pale', by Dorothy Hewett, p. 253 only
'Actress to launch Mosman poet's book on society', by Franki


Series 5 Paper Bark Press Publications, 1987-2001

This series comprises papers relating to Paper Bark Press, which was founded in 1986 by Robert Adamson, Juno Gemes and Michael Wilding. Wilding ceased his involvement with the Press in 1990. Correspondence, reviews and book cover designs are also included in Series 3, page proofs are included in Series 8.

Paper Bark Press also co-produced six titles with Angus & Robertson, 1995-1997. In 1998 they formed a partnership with Martin Gordon of Gordon and Breach International, which enabled distribution of their titles internationally. In 2003, Paper Bark Press formed a distribution partnership with with John Reed of John Reed Book Distribution, Peter Riley Books and Devin Johnson.


Box 11

Folder 1 

Correspondence and catalogue relating to publications, 1987-2001

Folder 2-3 
Alice in Wormland, by Dorothy Hewett - review, flyer, illustration proof and annotated photocopy typescript drafts, 1987

Folder 4 
The partiality of harbours, by Manfred Jurgensen - correspondence, dust jacket cover, book launch flyer, 1988-1989

Folder 5

Surviving the shadow, by Terry Gillmore - correspondence, review, book launch flyers, dust jacket, annotated photocopy typescript draft, page proofs, 1989-1991


Box 12

Folder 6 

Surviving the shadow, by Terry Gillmore - correspondence, review, book launch flyers, dust jacket, annotated photocopy typescript draft, page proofs, 1989-1991

Folder 7 
Red dirt, by Tim Thorne - reviews, dust jacket, book launch flyers and original typescript and contents pages, 1990

Folder 8 
Unintended consequences, by Lily Brett - book launch flyers, contents page, photocopy typescript draft, 1992

Folder 9-11 
Jane, interlinear & other poems, by Robert Harris - notebooks (2), book launch flyer, contents pages, later queries for galley proofs, notes, photocopy typescript draft and page proofs, 1992


Box 13

Folder 12-13 

Four zoas of Australia, by Norman Talbot - correspondence, book launch flyer, notes, annotated typescript photocopy, 1st photocopy typescript draft, book cover proof, 1992

Folder 14 
The life on water and the life beneath, by J. S. Harry - correspondence, cover illustration, early photocopy typescript, 1995

Folder 15 
'A change of weather', by Lawrence Bourke, published by Angus & Robertson in association with Paper Bark Press, 1995 as Eating the sun - correspondence and photocopy typescript draft, 1990-1995

Folder 16 
New and selected poems, by Kevin Hart, published by Angus & Robertson, 1995 - correspondence and photocopy typescript draft, 1993

Folder 17 
'Poems after poems', by Rudi Krausmann; drawings by Garry Shead - photocopy typescript draft of poems and drawings


Series 6 Writings by Others, 1987-1994

This series comprises correspondence and manuscript and photocopy typescript drafts of articles and poems received by Adamson, often with a request for his comments.

Folder 1 
Douglas Barbour, Stefanie Bennett, Dennis Haskell and Kate Jennings, 1993

Folder 2 
Absolute event horizon : poems, by Luke Davies; edited by Adamson for Angus & Robertson 1993-1994


Box 14

Folder 3 

Geoffrey Dutton, Robert Duncan, Danielle Ellis

Folder 4 
Robert Harris papers, 1990

Including annotated typescript, carbon typescript and photocopy typescript drafts of an unpublished essay entitled 'Thinking out loud', by Harris in response to an article by Chris Wallace-Crabbe entitled 'Poetry and belief', together with a copy of Island magazine, no. 42, Autumn 1990

Folder 5 
Robert Harris papers, 1987-1992

Including annotated typescript drafts of poems; obituary clippings; notebook containing drafts of poems, notes and letters; correspondence; exegeses on Ezekiel; copies of poetry written for Harris; newsclipping of an article on Faylene Rheem (Ross Woodrow)

Folder 6-7 
Manfred Jurgensen, 1992-1994

Including correspondence from Bruce Dawe and drafts of Shadows of utopia

Folder 8 
Anthony Lawrence, 1989-1993

Including correspondence and poetry drafts

Folder 9 
Anthony Lawrence

Including bound typescript of 'Howling in tandem'


Box 15

Folder 10 

Gary Maller, John Montgomery, Tom Rogers, Arthur Spyrou, Tim Thorne, John Tranter, S. Vauthier, Vicki Viidikas

Folder 11 
Copy of Ulitarra, no. 1, 1992, together with correspondence and drafts of poems by contributors for Ulitarra, no. 3, 1992


Series 7 Miscellaneous Papers, 1955-2004

This small series comprises curriculum vitae's, schoolbook, cuttings and photocopies of articles collected by Adamson on various topics.

Folder 1 
Miscellaneous papers, 1955-2004

Including Adamson's social studies schoolbook, curriculum vitae's, last will and testament and photocopies of police document; Juno Gemes' curriculum vitae and published work entitled Juno Gemes - Ausztralia - fotomuvesz kiallitasa : Juno Gemes, 1968-1988, under another sky; copy of Adamson and Gemes' wedding invitation; Francis Webb conference material and notes; Prism Books checklist, flyers for book launches, festivals, poetry readings and poetry prizes; blurb for Where I come from and dust jacket for Inside out : an autobiography; photocopies of young boy on a bike (3); dot art work

Folder 2 
Folder entitled Chris Edwards and Robert Duncan containing photocopies of Duncan's works


Series 8 Folios, 1944-1994

This series comprises drafts of articles, newspaper clipping, poster, book cover designs, page proofs and photocopies of scrapbook no. 6.


Box 16

Folio 1 
Articles, newspaper clipping, book launch poster and page proofs, 1977-1994

Poster for Cross the border book launch, 1977
Newspaper clipping of an article entitled 'Poetry in Australia', by Adamson, published in the Weekend Australian magazine, 28-29 April 1979, p. 10
Page proofs of The partiality of harbours, by Manfred Jurgensen (1989)
Page proofs of Unintended consquences, by Lily Brett (1992)
Working draft with mark-ups by the editor and corrections of Adamson's introduction for Poems, by Christopher Brennan, 1992
Illustrated folder and cover designs for Waving to Hart Crane, 1990-1994
Page proofs of All same as family in a big house, edited by George Papaellinas, 1994


Box 17

Folio 2 

Photocopies of scrapbook no. 6 (Series 3) 1944-1992

Contents includes drafts of poems and letters; correspondence from David Brooks, John Forbes, Larry Schwartz, Lyn Taylor, Michael Dargaville, Tom Thompson, David Rankin, Peter Craven, Louise Thurtell, Sue Abbey, Mal Morgan; photographs of Adamson and family (including Adamson at 16 months), Garry Shead, Dorothy Hewett, Brett Whiteley; newspaper cuttings of poems, book reviews and articles and copies of book covers


Box 18

Folio 3

Scrapbook (photocopies in folio 2 Series 8), 1944-1992, chiefly 1991

Contents includes drafts of poems and letters; correspondence from David Brooks, John Forbes, Larry Schwartz, Lyn Taylor, Michael Dargaville, Tom Thompson, David Rankin, Peter Craven, Louise Thurtell, Sue Abbey, Mal Morgan; photographs of Adamson and family (including Adamson at 16 months), Garry Shead, Dorothy Hewett, Brett Whiteley; newspaper cuttings of poems, book reviews and articles and copies of book covers


Series 9 Photographs, 1975-1992

This series comprises photographs of Robert Adamson, family and friends, together with photographs relating to various publications of Adamson's, page proofs and a collection of photographs taken by Juno Gemes.

Juno Gemes holds the copyright for her photographs and permission is required from her before they can be reproduced. Any published photographs must include the following preferred credit line: Photograph by Juno Gemes.


Box 19

Black and white photographs of Adamson, family and friends, 1975-1989

Robert Adamson, Camera Futura Studio, Kings Cross, Sydney, 1986 by Gemes
Robert Adamson, Hawkesbury River, 1989 by Gemes
Johnson's Oyster Shed, Mooney Creek for The clean dark by Gemes
Cleaning fish at Parsley Bay, 1990 by Gemes
Photographs by Gemes for the Sylvan series and published in The clean dark 
Juno Gemes and Robert Adamson at the launch of Clean dark, State Library of NSW, July 1989 by William Yang
Robert Adamson and Orlando Gemes-Adamson, fishing trip, Hawkesbury River, 1987
Juno Gemes and Robert Adamson, Hawkesbury River, 1989
Robert Adamson before a reading at Newcastle, 1992 by Gemes
Juno Gemes and Robert Adamson, Hawkesbury River, 1989
Nigel Roberts, Balmain, 1975 by Gemes - published in Aspect 
Robert Adamson 'The years as catches', by Robert Duncan
Tom Shapcott and Lyn Tranter, Sydney University, 1986
Christopher Logue, Don Anderson at Poetics, Sydney University, 1989 by Gemes
Robert Adamson, Nigel Roberts, John Forbes, David Brooks, Poetry Symposium, ANU, 1987 by Gemes
Robert Adamson, portrait for Australian writing now 
Richard Tipping, 1976 by Gemes
Robert Adamson reading at the Harold Park Hotel, 1986
Adamson with Dewey, Brooklyn, 1996 by Gemes
Robert Adamson, Hawkesbury River, 1994 by Gemes
Robert Adamson, 1996 by Gemes
Painters at Cheero by Gemes
International Womens' Day March, 1980 by Gemes
Juno Gemes and Adamson, Mt White, 1988
Benny Zabble, 1987 by Gemes


Box 20

Black and white photographs of Adamson, family and friends, 1977-1992

Three photographs of Dorothy Hewett published for Alice in Wormland, 1987 by Gemes
Alex Hope, Canberra, 1987 by Gemes
Twenty-two photographs of indigenous and white Australians by Gemes, including youn men on Bora Ground, Mornington island, 1975; Percy Mumbler, NADOC March, 1981; ceremony at Gulliwinku, 1983; Hill End Pub; Tiwi dancers, Sydney Opera House, 1991; Raymond Meekes portrait; Uncle Fred, Mornington Island; David Gullipil and David Molongi at Sydney Museum, 1980; Mornington Island, 1980; Yolgnu People 'Lets educate - don't celebrate', 1988; young lad, Brewarrina, 1981; beach camp, Mornington Island, 1978; lively kids, Redfern, 1978; hunting and gathering, Mornington Island, 1978; 
Tristram Miller by Gemes
Luna Park, 1990 by Gemes
Glaston Fair by Gemes
Proof sheets by Gemes
Anthony Lawrence in W.A.
Miscellaneous b/w photographs of Adamson
Title page of Cross the border 
Garry Shead and Robert Adamson with Shead's Archibald portrait of Adamson, 1994 by Gemes
Photographs used for Wards of the state 
Robert Harris
Colour photographs (3) of hoses