Guide to the Papers of Ian Moffitt [MSS 067]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Ian Moffitt
Manuscript Number MSS 067
Last Updated July 2021
Extent 36 boxes + 16 oversize + 1 AV box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Correspondence, manuscripts and drafts of novels, newspaper clippings, photographs, and audiocassettes relating to Ian Moffitt’s literary works and newspaper feature writing

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

This collection relates to author Ian Moffitt and is largely comprised of his literary drafts for short stories, novels, and non-fiction, including The retreat of radiance, Blue angels, The colour man and Gilt edge. Also included are newspaper clippings, photographs, audiocassettes, and correspondence

Date Range of Content

1940s-mid 1990s

Biographical Note

Wikipedia article:

Ian Moffitt was born in Sydney in 1926 and worked as a copy boy for the Sun before becoming a cadet in 1945. In 1949, Moffitt joined the staff of the South China Morning Post. He then headed News Limited Bureau in New York in the early 1960s, followed by time as a feature writer for The Australian in the late 1960s and 1970s. After becoming a full-time novelist in 1979, Moffitt published The retreat of radiance in 1982, the first of many publications including both fiction and non-fiction

Austlit : Ian Moffitt retrieved 3 November 2020


Administrative Information


Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Check with Curator

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 If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items.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collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright.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: Check with Curator

Preferred Citation

Papers of Ian Moffitt, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 067, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


Check with Curator


The collection has been described in two main sequences (Sequence 1: Boxes 1-29; Sequence 2: Boxes 30-36). Folder numbering restarts at Box 30. Oversize material is listed after the standard box sequences

Separated Material

The collection originally included the following publications which were transferred to the Academy Library in 1992

Gilt edge (paperback), Pan Australia, 1991

My Australia published by Robert Gunn - Roberts Bridge Group, 1989

Panorama, December 1990 containing article by Ian Moffitt (photocopied)


Subject Keywords



Ian Moffitt, 1926-2000 — Archives

Australian literature — 20th century

Australian short stories — 20th century

Journalism – Australia – History

Corporate Names

Daily Mirror (Sydney, N.S.W.)

Personal Names

Ian Moffitt, 1926-2000





Container List


Sequence 1

Box 1

Folder 1

First notebook, early 1940s

First published stories, 1940s

Folder 2

‘Australian Weekend’, book 5

First published stories

Folder 3


Folder 4-6

Short stories - manuscripts


Box 2

Folders 7-9

Great budgie batsmen and bowlers’ - manuscript, drawings, lunatic correspondence with co-writer, Philip Gorr

Folders 10-14

Clippings of articles from The Bulletin


Box 3

Folder 15-16

The retreat of radiance: manuscript


Box 4

Folder 17

The retreat of radiance: printed copy

Folder 18

The retreat of radiance: final draft

Folder 19

The retreat of radiance: revised draft


Box 5

Folders 20-21

The retreat of radiance: draft


Box 6

Folder 22

Deadlines: manuscript

Folder 23

Deadlines: manuscript (paste up)

Folder 24

Deadlines: manuscript

Folder 25

Deadlines: manuscript


Box 7

Folder 26

Blue angels - duplicate: photocopies of chapters 1-30; carbons of chapters 31-42; carbons of earlier insets

Folder 27

Blue angels: final manuscript


Box 8

Folders 28-34

Blue angels: rough draft


Box 9

Folder 35-41

Blue angels: rough draft


Box 10

Folder 42

The colour man : final manuscript

Folder 43

The colour man : corrections and queries (manuscript title ‘The Presence of Evil’)

Folders 44

The colour man : rough, incomplete carbons and notes


Box 11

Folder 45

Blue angels: background material

Folder 46

Blue angels: corrected manuscript pages, notes

Folder 47

Blue angels: corrected manuscript, notes

Folder 48

Blue angels: developed into film treatments

Folder 49-51



Box 12

Folder 52

‘Presence of Evil’ (The colour man): copy of book

Folder 53

Blue angels: copy of book

Folder 54

Background leading to first novel - 1986 talk on The retreat of radiance at Sydney University

Folder 55

Death adder dreaming: research, correspondence

Folder 56

Summaries, backgrounds and talks on novels


Box 13

Folder 57

The retreat of radiance: copy of book

Folder 58

The colour man : hardback copy of book

Folder 59

The colour man : book

Deadlines: book

Folder 60

The U-Jack Society: book

Folder 61

The retreat of radiance: book

Folder 62

Time-Life book - The Australian outback

Folder 63

Great budgie batsmen and bowlers: book


Box 14


Folder 64

Death adder dreaming: draft, notes

Folder 65

Death adder dreaming: first draft, corrections, notes


Box 15

Folder 66

The retreat of radiance: book

Folder 67

The colour man : book

Folder 68

The colour man : manuscript and background

Folder 69

The colour man : manuscript and background


Box 16

Folder 70

Book reviews

Folder 71

Blue angels: reviews

Folder 72

Book reviews

Folder 73

[Photo removed from Box 16 to O/S]


Box 17

Folder 74-76

Newspaper clippings

Folder 77-78

Newspaper clippings - photocopies


Box 18

Folder 79-80

Newspaper clippings.

Folder 81

Newspaper clippings, includes ‘babysitter’ articles


Box 19

Folder 82-87

Newspaper clippings - photocopies


Box 20

Folder 88-94

Newspaper clippings - photocopies


Box 21

Folder 95

Newspaper clippings

Folder 96

Magazine clippings

Folder 97

Draft in form of correspondence to Mark Day, Editor of CAESAR magazine, c1978


Box 22

Folders 98-101

Newspaper clippings, 1961-1966

Folder 102

Newspaper clippings, c1960s


Box 23

Folder 103

Correspondence: letter to Lynn Hard with rough copies of covers for the books Guilt edge and The retreat of radiance; letter and page proof from Jane Palfreyman of Pan Books

Folder 104

Gilt edge: final manuscript, typewritten

Folder 105

Gilt edge: photocopied, typewritten copy (a mid-1990 version)

Folder 106

Gilt edge: typewritten copy - an early version (July 1989)


Box 24

Folder 107

Gilt edge: photocopied, typewritten copy - an early version

Folder 108

Gilt edge: revision of draft, dated 1989, typewritten and handwritten

Folder 109

Gilt edge: rough manuscript, dated February 1989, typewritten and handwritten


Box 25

Folder 110

Gilt edge: rough manuscript, dated May 1989, typewritten and handwritten.

Folder 111

Gilt edge: draft, dated May 1989, typewritten and handwritten.

Folder 112

Gilt edge: photocopy of typewritten draft, dated 1990

Folder 113

Gilt edge: selected pages of draft, April 1990 - rewrite


Box 26

Folder 114

Gilt edge: typewritten photocopy, dated 27 February 1991

Folder 115

Gilt edge: notes and corrections, dated November 1990 - January 1991

Folder 116

Gilt edge: final draft, January 1991, typewritten, photocopy

Folder 117

Gilt edge: typewritten draft


Box 27

Folder 118

Gilt edge: original final copy, dated February 1990 - selected chapters, typewritten

Folder 119

Gilt edge: manuscript - an early version - typewritten, photocopy

Folder 120

Gilt edge: early drafts, background notes, handwritten and typewritten

Folder 121

Gilt edge: re-edit, December 1990, typewritten


Box 28

Folder 122

Gilt edge: re-write, November - December 1990

Folder 123

Gilt edge: typewritten manuscript (not final version)

Folder 124

Gilt edge: original final copy, dated 2 May 1990


Box 29

Folder 125

Gilt edge: miscellaneous notes and clippings

Folder 126

‘My Australia’: typewritten and handwritten drafts of material


Sequence 2

Box 30

Folder 1

Literary drafts – Blue angels (1987)

Manuscript with corrections and additions, 321 pages [331 pages is stated on the cover page], preceded by letter dated 27 June 1986

Folder 2

Literary drafts – Blue angels (1987)

Revised manuscript, 331 pages, October 1986, preceded by letters dated 26 September, 31 October, and 3 November 1986

Folder 3

Literary drafts – Blue angels (1987)

Revised manuscript, 333 pages, November 1986, preceded by three letters, two dated November 13 and November 24 1986


Box 31

Folder 4

Literary drafts – Blue angels (1987)

Page proofs, 239 pages [not full set] November 1986, preceded by two sets of correspondence: (i) Ian Moffitt and Macmillan Company, 28 November 1986 – January 1987; and (ii) Ian Moffitt and Macmillan / Goodman Associates, 7-28 January 1987

Folder 5

Literary drafts – Blue angels (1987)

‘Replaced material’ manuscript (undated)

Folder 6

Literary drafts – Blue angels (1987)

Manuscript, 331 pages (undated)


Box 32

Folder 7

Literary drafts – Death adder dreaming (1988)

Manuscript of draft version, approximately 400 pages (undated)

Folder 8

Literary drafts – Death adder dreaming (1988)

Galley proofs with corrections, 377 pages [1988?]

Folder 9

Literary drafts – Death adder dreaming (1988)

Final corrected version after correcting galley proofs, 377 pages, preceded by letter dated 20 June 1988 and note that August 1988 is the intended publication date

Folder 10

Literary drafts – Death adder dreaming (1988)

Untitled handwritten notes (undated)


Box 33

Folder 11

Literary drafts – The electric jungle (1993)

Manuscript draft with notes, cut-and-paste additions, annotations, various paginations, approximately 600 pages (undated)

Folder 12

Literary drafts – The electric jungle (1993)

‘Diary notes for The Electric Jungle novella’, pages, 56-112 [photocopy]


Box 34

Folder 13

Literary drafts – The electric jungle (1993)

Manuscript draft organised into subsidiary sections/chapters with various paginations: Acknowledgements, The Electric Jungle, The Skelton Girl, The Emperor of Waterford, The Love Hotel, Damaged Stok [sic], Love in Paris, Dark Imagination, Mother’s Day, Street Angel, House Devil (undated)

Folder 14

Literary drafts – The electric jungle (1993)

‘Original Manuscripts: The Electric Jungle Collection’ (March 1993): with following running order: title page, contents page, Street angel, house devil, Mother’s Day, The jacaranda tree, Dark imagination, Love in Paris, The blue mirror, The emperor of Waterford, The love hotel, The Skelton girl, Damaged stok [sic], The electric jungle

Folder 15

Literary drafts – The electric jungle (1993)

The electric jungle by Ian Moffitt, 113 pages (undated)

‘The Electric Jungle Collections’, 14 pages (undated)

Folder 16

Literary drafts – The electric jungle (1993)

Two draft copies of The Electric jungle, preceded by letter dated 11 October 1993 from Random House Australia


Box 35

Folder 17

Literary drafts – The electric jungle (1993)

Draft versions with notes, annotations, of Street angel, house devil, Mother’s Day and Love in Paris

Folder 18

Literary drafts – The electric jungle (1993)

Draft versions with notes, annotations, of The Skelton girl and Dark imagination

Folder 19

Literary drafts – The electric jungle (1993)

Draft versions with notes, annotations, of The love hotel and The emperor of Waterford


Box 36

Folder 20

Literary drafts – The electric jungle (1993)

Draft versions with notes, annotations, of The jacaranda tree and Damaged stok [sic]

Folder 21

Literary drafts – unpublished

File: ‘Malaysia Story. Rough typewritten extracts copied from notebook’ (undated)


Oversize material


Newspaper clippings


Daily Mirror stories


Mirror articles


‘Ash Wednesday’


Daily Mirror


Deadlines material - manuscripts, letters, articles

South China and Hong Kong articles


Deadlines: proofs


Mixed articles, news clippings


Daily Mirror stories (mainly USA)


News clippings - 17 May 1947 - April 1949


Mirror stories


Sydney Daily Mirror cuts from USA


Australian, 1970 - 1975 and others


Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror


Gilt edge: galley proofs


Literary drafts – Death adder dreaming (1988)

Original manuscript with annotations, corrections, changes, with short note dated 23 June 1989 from Pan Books to Ian Moffitt

Photo Album 1

Photograph from Box 16, Folder 77 (76) [not in album]


AV Box 1

14 audio cassette tapes, readings and interviews