Guide to the Papers of Barney Roberts


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Manuscript Name Papers of Barney Roberts
Manuscript Number MSS 37
Last Updated February 2020
Extent 4 boxes
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Correspondence, manuscripts and photographs

Collection Subject Type

Literary

Scope and Content

This collection relates to Barney Roberts and contains correspondence, photographs, and typescripts of his poetry, fiction, essays and autobiography, including Where’s morning gone?, The penalty of Adam, Where man ferns grow: Trees in Tasmania today and tomorrow, and A kind of cattle

Date Range of Content 

1945-1987

Biographical Note 

Tasmanian writer and poet Barney Roberts was mainly educated by his mother who was a classical scholar and operated her own school in Victoria. His father was a farmer known for quoting from Ruskin, Wells and Emerson. Roberts went to high school in Burnie and worked as a bank clerk for three years before World War 2. Captured in Greece in 1941, he was a prisoner of war for four years, during which time he cut trees in Austria. At this time he also wrote, as he described, 'doggerel verse and several bad plays' (Directory of Australian Poets, 1980).

When he returned to Australia in 1947, he set up a dairy farm near Flowerdale living there until his death. These experiences provided a background to his activities as a conservationist, and a trustee and president of the Tasmanian Peace Trust. Roberts also had a nursery which was managed by two of his sons, Max and Bruce, after he retired. He undertook a writing course in the 1960s, writing a history of his town, Flowerdale to 1963 (1963), and had his first fiction published in 1972 with three of his entries in the FAW/Advocate Story Competition. He contributed to many magazines (Patterns, Overland, The Bulletin, Inprint, Walkabout, Mattoid and others) and newspapers (Canberra TimesCourier MailAdvocate (Burnie), Mercury (Hobart)). Roberts was awarded an Honorary DLitt by the University of Tasmania in 2005. He also ran the publishing business 'Robin Books'.

Pete Hay in Tasmania Forty Degrees South (2006, Winter) said: 'He was Tasmania's own farmer-poet - our equivalent, if you like, of Robert Frost. He was a peerless writer of place and nature'.

Reference: Austlit - https://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/A18229

 

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 Barney Roberts, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 37, Box [Number], Folder [Number].

Provenance

The collection was acquired in 1987

 

Subject Keywords 

Subjects

Australian poetry; Australian fiction; Nature in literature, Trees - Tasmania; World War, 1939-1945 - Prisoners and prisons, German; World War, 1939-1945 - Personal narratives, Australian

Personal Names

Barney Roberts, 1920-2005

Occupations

Writer, poet, naturalist

 

Container List

Box 1

Manuscripts

Folder 1 

Typescripts of 'Bidge', 'Charlie and the bonus', 'It’s how it is', 'Kelly', 'No escape', 'The interview', 'The orchardist', 'The price of wool', 'The total concept of cultural advancement', 'Our wiser sons'

Typescript of an article on Stephen Spurling

Folder 2

Typewritten manuscript of Where’s morning gone?

Folder 3

Typewritten manuscript of A kind of cattle (1/2)

Folder 4

Typewritten manuscript of A kind of cattle (2/2)

Folder 5

Typewritten manuscript of Where’s morning gone? and additional material 

Folder 6

Typewritten manuscript of Where’s morning gone? and additional material 

Folder 7

Annotated and corrected typewritten manuscript of A kind of cattle (1/2)

Folder 8

Annotated and corrected typewritten manuscript of A kind of cattle (2/2)

 

Box 2

Manuscripts and correspondence

Folder 9

Typewritten manuscript of A kind of cattle

Folder 10

Bound typewritten manuscript of A kind of cattle (‘Publishers copy’), with photographs

Folder 11

Early stories

Folder 12

Early stories

Folder 13

Correspondence, 1945-1987

Folder 14

Typewritten manuscripts of poetry and short stories

 

Box 3

Manuscripts, poetry and photographs

Folder 15

Typewritten manuscript of The penalty of Adam (autographed copy)

Folder 16

Typescript of Where man ferns grow: Trees in Tasmania today and tomorrow (1/4), pp.1-25, with 39 photographs

Folder 17

Typescript of Where man ferns grow: Trees in Tasmania today and tomorrow (2/4), pp.26-50, with 28 photographs

Folder 18

Typescript of Where man ferns grow: Trees in Tasmania today and tomorrow (3/4), pp.51-74, with 35 photographs

Folder 19

Typescript of Where man ferns grow: Trees in Tasmania today and tomorrow (4/4), pp.75-100 and index, with 41 photographs

Folder 20

Miscellaneous poetry

Folder 21

Typescript and notes for A kind of cattle, with photocopies of photographs

 

Box 4

Correspondence and manuscripts

Folder 22

Correspondence from the Australian War Memorial regarding the publication of A kind of cattle, 1983-1987

Folder 23

Part manuscript of A kind of cattle (1/3)

Folder 24

Part manuscript of A kind of cattle (2/3)

Folder 25

Part manuscript of A kind of cattle (3/3)

Folder 26

Typescript of The penalty of Adam