Guide to the Papers of Suzanne Spunner [MSS 221]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Suzanne Spunner
Manuscript Number MSS 221
Last Updated June 2021
Extent 8 boxes + 1 AV box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Manuscripts of published and unpublished works of Suzanne Spunner along with archival material of the Women's Theatre Group and Lip Feminist Arts Journal. Includes theatre programs, reviews, correspondence, notebooks, research material, and audiovisual material

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

The collection of Suzanne Spunner includes her own literary work along with papers of the Women’s Theatre Group (of which Spunner was briefly a member and appeared in one production) and Lip Feminist Arts Journal (of which Spunner was a co-ordinator from 1977-1978). Contents include correspondence, programs, reviews, scripts, articles, publicity material, submissions, applications, and manuscripts. Extensive material relating to drama Running Up a Dress: A Mother and Daughter Dialogue (1988) includes dressmaking patterns and information, interviews, scripts drafts, and notes

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Suzanne Spunner was born in 1951 in Dromana, Victoria. After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1973, she worked across a range of sectors including tutoring and lecturing, review writing for the Melbourne Times, conducting radio programmes and co-ordinating Lip Feminine Arts Journal.

In 1987 she moved with her family to Darwin where she lived for a decade and began engaging with Aboriginal art and culture, eventually undertaking a Graduate Certificate in Art Authentication and a PhD examining the works of Rover Thomas. In addition to these activities, she has been a board member of the Australian National Playwrights Centre in Sydney and 24 Hr Art, a founding member of the Home Cooking Theatre Company, and established Paradise Productions in Darwin. Her publications include dramas such as Running Up a Dress: A Mother and Daughter Dialogue (1988) as well as essays, reviews, articles, and the co-composition of textbooks in Australian studies

Austlit : Suzanne Spunner retrieved 23 June 2020

Suzanne Spunner: Writer, researcher, playwright, Aboriginal Art Authenticator retrieved 23 June 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: Copying of material for private study and research is approved

Preferred Citation

Papers of Suzanne Spunner, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 221, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


Check with Curator


Subject Keywords



Suzanne Spunner — Archives

Australian drama  20th century

Feminism — Australia — Periodicals

Mothers and daughters  Drama

Personal Names

Suzanne Spunner

Corporate Names

Lip Feminist Arts Journal

Women’s Theatre Group





Container List


Box 1

Folder 1

‘Not Still Lives’ : semi final draft, 1984; Publication - Redress, Greenhouse, Yackandandah, Currency Press; Applications for performance

Theatre program - ‘Basket Weaving for Amateurs’ plus reviews of play

Folder 2

‘Not Still Lives’ : draft with clippings; printed programs

‘Looking In ... Looking Out’ : programs and reviews

‘I Am Whom You Infer” : reviews, correspondence, manuscript of play

Folder 3

Lip Feminist Arts Journal : correspondence and reader; photocopied articles

Folder 4

Lip Feminist Arts Journal : reader; photocopied articles

Folder 5

Lip Feminist Arts Journal : correspondence, minutes of meetings, photographs, art work

Folder 6

Script drafts


Box 2

Folder 7

Script drafts

Folder 8

‘Not Still Lives’ : rough copies of script

Folder 9

‘Not Still Lives’ : press releases and publicity leaflets; reviews

Folder 10

‘Not Still Lives’ : photocopies of photographs; notes; draft of script; press clippings of advertisements

Folder 11

‘Not Still Lives’ : Program, bookings; Native Flowers; curriculum vitae; submission/budget; press releases, correspondence

Folder 12

Correspondence, clippings and publicity material concerning women, Arts Festival and Nimrod Theatre Company

‘The Video’ : script of ‘Mrs Preston’s Kitchen Demonstration’

Folder 13

‘Not Still Lives’; photocopied draft of script


Box 3

Folder 14

‘Not Still Lives’ : three notebooks

Folder 15

‘Not Still Lives’ : two sketch books

Folder 16

Photocopied draft of ‘Still Life Painters, But Not Still Lives : Margaret Preston and Thea Proctor’

Folder 17

Receipt book


Box 4

Folder 18

Draft script of ‘Edna for the Garden’

Advertisement for play

Folder 19

Draft script of ‘Edna for the Garden’

Research material on Edna Walling

Home Cooking Theatre Company correspondence

Grant applications

Correspondence and report to the Victorian Ministry of the Arts

Folder 20

Home Cooking Theatre Company : applications for grants; 1985 current business; promotional material; name and address lists

Folder 21

Photocopies of books and articles by and about Edna Walling

Folder 22

Two combined diary/notebooks on Edna Walling material


Box 5

Folder 23

Correspondence with Victoria Chance of Currency Press concerning publication of article on ‘Women’s Theatre’ by Suzanne Spunner and Hilary Glow in A Companion to Theatre in Australia

Draft manuscripts of ‘Women’s Theatre’ : article in A Companion to Theatre in Australia

Correspondence with Hilary Glow

Folder 24

Material on Edna Walling, gardening, and reference to Walling and her work

Folder 25

Expanding Masterfile A-Z (contents) :

(a) - Women’s Theatre Workers Group correspondence

(b) - Promotional material for plays, Women’s Theatre material and correspondence

Folder 26

Expanding Masterfile A-Z (contents) :

(c) - programs for Melbourne Theatre Company productions

(d) - Women’s Theatre material

Folder 27

Expanding Masterfile A-Z (contents) :

(e) - Women’s Theatre material including - promotional material, play programs and information, Playbox Theatre Company material, theatre reviews, press clippings

Folder 28

Expanding Masterfile A-Z (contents) :

(f) - Women’s Theatre material - Jeanie Lewis ‘For a Dancer’, Robyn Archer ‘The Pack of Women’ and ‘A Star is Torn’

(g) - La Mama Theatre material

(h) - Women’s Theatre material including - Universal Theatre, Flying Trapeze Cafe and others

Folder 29

Expanding Masterfile A-Z (contents) :

(i-j) - Women’s Theatre promotional material, reviews

(k) - Women’s Theatre material

(l) - Women’s Theatre material - comedy

Folder 30

Expanding Masterfile A-Z (contents) :

(m) - Women’s Theatre Group notes, Pram Factory, Women’s Festival material

(n-o) - Women’s Theatre Group notes, Pram Factory material, Women’s Festival material, press clippings


Box 6

Folder 31

Expanding Masterfile A-Z (contents) :

(p-q) - ‘Women and Theatre’, seminar paper by Pam Heckenberg

(r) - Material on the history of women’s theatre in Australia

(s) - Draft copies of paper ‘If Betty Could Jump Then, She Can Certainly Run Now : the Impact of Feminism on Theatre in Melbourne’

Folder 32

Expanding Masterfile A-Z (contents) :

(t) - Notes about writing for the theatre

(u-v) - Correspondence with Nick Williams of Croom Helm Australia. Submissions for grant. Correspondence with Margaret (Williams ?)

(w) - ‘Women and Theatre in Australia’ material

Folder 33

(w) (continued) - three notebooks

Folder 34

(x-y-z) - ‘Women and Theatre’ material, notes. ‘Women and Labour Conference’ material - bulletin and notes

Folder 35

Fringe Festival 1990 material ‘Gossip’

Script of Running up a Dress

Folder 36

Car Park Project : earlier, plus final drafts of ‘Safe ‘n’ Sound : the Driver as Mother’ - a radio play

ABC Radio drama preview

Correspondence with ABC Radio

Folder 37

Car Park Project : notes and early draft of ‘Safe ‘n’ Sound’

Car child safety leaflets

Programs and reviews for ‘Automania at the Carpark’

Working draft of Running up a Dress

Folder 38

Running up a Dress : Northern Territory tour material


Box 7

Folder 39

Running up a Dress : script drafts

Folder 40

Running up a Dress : script drafts

Folder 41

Running up a Dress : script drafts and publicity

Folder 42

Running up a Dress : proposals to Literature Board / Theatre Board, report to same

Folder 43

Running up a Dress ; reviews, articles, press clippings

Folder 44

Running up a Dress : correspondence, proposed reports to Literature Board / Theatre Board

Folder 45

Running up a Dress : script, photocopied material about dressmaking

Folder 46

Running up a Dress : small notebook, photocopied material about Suzanne Spunner, her mother and sewing notes


Box 8

Folder 47

Running up a Dress : notes

Folder 48

Running up a Dress : three notebooks

Folder 49

Running up a Dress : clothes patterns

Folder 50

Running up a Dress : clothes patterns, Australian Home Journal, November 1964

Folder 51

Running up a Dress : clothes patterns, sewing material

Folder 52

Material concerning the Touring and Access Fund and The Australia Council

Press clippings                        


Photograph Album/s

Photo Album 1

Running up a Dress : Slides (refer Folder 52) 


Audio Visual material


Audio cassette tapes (six) : interview with Bernard and Kate Smith on Preston, Proctor


Audio cassette tapes (six) ; Gloria Spunner, reviews, interviews