Australian Literature & Theatre

Eunice Hanger papers (UQFL333)

Prominent playwright, actor and director in post-war Brisbane, Eunice Hanger collected Australia’s ‘lost’ playscripts – two playwrights she bought to light were Ray Mathew and Patrick White. This collection of over 2000 playscripts is now held as the Hanger playscript collection at Fryer Librar and includes Australian plays, radio dramas, and serials. Many are working typescripts, which include rehearsal notes and amendations.

As an academic, Hanger was also a leading light on campus through her involvement with the UQDS. She directed several productions in the 1950s including Shakespearean plays in outdoor settings. Coriolanus was performed on the steps of the Forgan Smith Building in Commemoration Week and Richard II was the first performance at the JJ Stable Memorial outdoor theatre on the St.Lucia campus. Discover more about Eunice Hanger’s contribution to theatre in her papers (UQFL333).

Thea Astley papers (UQFL97)

Miles Franklin Award winning author and UQ alumnus Thea Astley began depositing her material with Fryer Library prior to her death in 2004. Handwritten and typescript drafts of her books are all included in her comprehensive collection. Among them, Slow Natives and It’s Raining in Mango. Background research for the books and correspondence with editors and publishers is also included. There are also letters and postcards from Patrick White during the 1960s when the two were friends in Sydney.

While this material offers insight into her professional writing life, personal correspondence provides a reflection on her personal life. The Hermes typewriters that Astley used to write her novels are another feature of her collection, one of which was a present from her husband Jack in the late 1950s.


Peter Carey papers (UQFL164)

Multiple drafts of unpublished novels, the bulk of the collection is made up of drafts and working notes for Carey’s novels, including Bliss and Oscar and Lucinda.

There are multiple drafts, complete and incomplete along with notes, corrections, page proofs and research for Illywhacker, The Tax Inspector and The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith. Apart from Carey’s renowned, award winning novels, there are also manuscripts/drafts from earlier, unpublished works.


Oodgeroo Noonuccal collection (UQFL84)

The powerful voice of Kath Walker, one of Queensland’s most significant Indigenous activists and poets, still resonates today by reading through the texts of some of her speeches in her collection.  From the 1960s, Kath Walker became increasingly involved in Indigenous activist movements. She was a leader in the campaign to grant Indigenous people full citizenship rights in the 1967 referendum.

Her poems, stories and plays also form part of her diverse collection of papers. One particular poem, ‘Yussef (Hijacker)’, written on a BOAC sickbag. The sickbag used as paper as she wrote this while she and other passengers were being held hostage in 1974 on a flight returning to Australia. It was her attempt to understand the motivations of her captors.


UQP Archive (UQFL198)

The archive of UQP held in the Fryer Library is one of the richest publishing archives in Australia. In the 1970s and 1980s UQP’s publishing program laid the foundations for a renaissance in Australian literature.

All the material associated with the creating of books of key figures of the coming literary generation are found in the collection, such as those by David Malouf, Michael Wilding, Rodney Hall, Elizabeth Jolley and Olga Masters.


Last updated:
3 August 2017