Guide to the Papers of William Wilde [MSS 137]

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Manuscript Name Papers of William Wilde
Manuscript Number MSS 137
Last Updated May 2021
Extent 11 boxes + 2 AV boxes + 4 oversize folios
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Manuscripts, correspondence, subject files, photographs, audio recording and other research materials relating to William Wilde’s biography of Dame Mary Gilmore, including original Gilmore papers

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

This collection comprises the research archive of William Wilde, amassed whilst writing his biography of the Australian poet Dame Mary Gilmore, Courage a grace: a biography of Dame Mary Gilmore (1988).  The material includes manuscript drafts and galley proofs, subject files on members of Gilmore’s literary circle and associates, family history information, copies of Gilmore’s writings (including multiple issues of The Worker and Tribune), a poetry reading sound recording and box of photographs.  Of special interest are a small body of original papers, including letters, relating to Gilmore, together with material documenting the Cosme utopian socialist settlement in Paraguay

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Academic and literary historian. W.H. (William Henry) Wilde was Associate Professor of English at the Royal Military College, Duntroon with a special interest in 19th century Australian literature and poetry.  He published several studies on early poets including Adam Lindsay Gordon (1972), Henry Kendall (1976) and two volumes on Mary Gilmore, the Letters of Mary Gilmore (1980, selected and edited with Tom Inglis Moore), and Courage a grace: a biography of Dame Mary Gilmore (1988). Working closely with colleagues Barry Andrews and Joy Hooton at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Wilde jointly compiled The Oxford companion to Australian literature (1985, 1994) which became a standard reference work.  

W.H. Wilde, Melbourne University Press retrieved 19 May 2020

Mary Gilmore

Wikipedia article:

Australian poet and writer. Mary Gilmore was born near Goulburn, New South Wales, on 16 August 1865. After working as a teacher in rural Australia and Sydney, she joined William Lane's 'New Australia' movement in Paraguay in 1896. She married fellow colonist and Victorian shearer William Alexander Gilmore (1866-1945) in 1897, and their only child William Dysart Cameron Gilmore (1898-1945) was born at Villarica, near the Cosme utopian settlement. Before returning to Australia in 1902, Gilmore taught English in Rio Gallegos in southern Patagonia and wrote for Buenos Aires newspapers.

In 1903, A.G. Stephens featured Gilmore's poetry in the Red Page of the Bulletin, and in 1908 she became the first editor of the women's page of the Sydney Worker. Gilmore's first volume of poems, Marri'd and other verses, appeared in 1910. Other publications include The passionate heart (1918), Hound of the road (1922), The tilted cart (1925), The wild swan (1930), The rue tree (1931), Under the wilgas (1932), Old days, old ways (1934), Battlefields (1939), The disinherited (1941) and Fourteen men (1954).

In 1937, Gilmore was made a Dame of the British Empire in recognition of her contribution to Australian literature. She was the first woman to receive this award for services to literature. Gilmore was a founder of the Lyceum Club, Sydney, a founder and vice-president in 1928 of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, an early member of the New South Wales Institute of Journalists and features on the Australian 10 dollar note.  Gilmore died on 3 December 1962.


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 William Wilde, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 137, Box [Number], Folder [Number]



The collection was acquired in two instalments in 1989 and 1990

Additional Information


Related Material

Further material relating to the life and work of Mary Gilmore can be found at MSS 67 – Papers of Dame Mary Gilmore, including manuscripts of her earliest published collection of poems


Subject Keywords



William Henry Wilde – Archives

Mary Gilmore 1865-1962 – Biography

Australian poetry – 20th century 

Cosme Co-operative Colony (Paraguay) 

New Australia (Paraguay)


Personal Names

William Henry Wilde

Mary Gilmore 1865-1962


Corporate Names

Royal Military College, Duntroon







Container List


Box 1

Folder 1

Lists of papers in the Mitchell Library, Sydney

Folders 2-3

‘Gilmore discards’

Folder 4

Original letters and material

Folder 5

Material relating to the Beattie(?) family

Folders 6-7

Cameron biographical papers

Folder 8 

Clan Cameron (Australia): including Hugh Cameron (father), John Alex Cameron (brother), Mary Anne Cameron (mother)

Folder 9 

W.A. Gilmore (husband)

W.D.C. Gilmore (son)

Folder 10


Family certificates


Box 2

Folders 11-15

Biographical information

Folders 16-17 

The Bookfellow

Folder 18

Mary Gilmore centenary - 1965

Dame of the British Empire (DBE) award

Death and state funeral

Folder 19 {para bold}

William Dobell portrait

Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW)

Goulburn War Memorial(?)


Box 3

Folders 20-21

Henry Lawson

Folder 22 

Literary awards

Cosme utopian socialist settlement, Paraguay

Folder 23 

Cosme utopian socialist settlement, Paraguay

Folders 24-28



Box 4 

Folder 29

The Worker

Folder 30

The Bulletin

‘Our Lost Field’

Poetry and prose

Folder 31 

Tribune, 1953


Folder 32

Tribune, 1952, 1962

Folder 33

Tribune, 1958

Folder 34

Tribune, 1957

Folder 35

Tribune, 1954(?), 1955

Folder 36

Tribune, 1956

Folder 37



Box 5

Folder 38


Australian Literary Society

Bill Beatty, Betty Bluett, Alec Chisholm

Folders 39-41

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1927-1962

Folders 42-44

Correspondence - Angus & Robertson

Folder 45 

Bread and Cheese Clubs

Clem Christensen, R.H. Croll, F. Dalby Davison


Box 6

Folder 46 

R.D. Fitzgerald, Rene Foster, Miles Franklin, H.M. Green

Folder 47 

W. Hart-Smith, R.G. Howarth, W.M. Hughes, Henry Kendall, Hugh McCrae

Folder 48

Peter McGregor, George Mackaness

Folder 49 

David Martin, Ian Mudie, Stephen Murray-Smith, John Shaw Neilson, Bernard O’Dowd, Dowell O’Reilly

Folder 50 

Nettie and Vance Palmer, Larry Petrie, Connie Robertson

Folder 51 

Roland Robinson, Alga Schulnke, Rose Scott, Percival Serle, Colin Simpson, Kenneth Slessor, Richard Talbot, Clive Turnbull, Ian Turner

Folder 52 

W.A. Woods, Judith Wright

Folder 53

Various correspondents


Box 7

Folder 54

Worker, 1929

Folder 55

Worker, 1930, 1931

Folder 56

Worker, 1926, 1927, 1928

Folder 57

Worker, 1923, 1924, 1925

Folder 58

Worker, 1920, 1921, 1922

Folder 59

Worker, 1917, 1918, 1919

Folder 60

Worker, 1914, 1915, 1916


Box 8

Folder 61

Worker, 1911, 1912, 1913

Folders 62-63

Worker, 1910

Folders 64-65

Worker, 1908

Folders 66-67

Worker, 1909


Box 9

Folders 68-69

Courage a Grace - working material

Folder 70 

Courage a Grace - original handwritten manuscript


Box 10

Folder 71

Courage a Grace - first corrected typed copy

Folder 72

Courage a Grace - second corrected typed copy


Box 11

Folder 73

Courage a Grace - copy and edited version

Folder 74

Courage a Grace - page proofs

Folder 75

Courage a Grace - illustrations


Audiovisual material

Box 12

Cassette and magnetic tape of Dame Mary Gilmore and Hugh McCrae poetry reading:

Seven (7) cassettes


Two rolls magnetic tape

Box 13 

Photographs - collated and organised by Elizabeth Wilde, grand-daughter of the author of Courage a Grace: a Biography of Dame Mary Gilmore, W.H. Wilde (originally in three albums)



Folio 1

‘News Australia’ - photocopy

Folio 2

A.G. Stephens

Folio 3 

Cosme Monthly, November 1894-January 1900 (photocopies)

Folio 4

Courage a Grace - galley proofs