Guide to the Papers of Liam Davison [MSS 122]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Liam Davison
Manuscript Number MSS 122
Last Updated August 2021
Extent 52 cm (4 boxes)
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract This collection comprises manuscript papers and related material produced or accumulated by Liam Davison.

Scope and Content

Drafts and typescripts of Davidson's works The velodrome (1988), The shipwreck party (1989) and Soundings (1993) together with notebooks and editor's and proof reader's notes.

Date Range of Content



This collection has been arranged into box then folder order.

Biographical Note

Liam Patrick Davison was born on the 29 July 1957 in Melbourne, Victoria. He has taught history, English and creative writing in Victorian high schools and colleges.

His short fiction has won many awards and his first novel The Velodrome (1988) was shortlisted for the 1987 Australian/Vogel Award. His short stories are widely published and broadcast, many of which are included in Collected stories (2001). Supported by grants from the Australia Council, Davison wrote Soundings (1993) which won the National Book Council Banjo Award for fiction. Set in the Westernport Bay area of Victoria, the novel describes events from several periods of Australian history. Historical events are conflated in a complex narrative that demonstrates how the past continues to exist in the present.

Davison has since won more grants, including a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship which he used to travel in Italy and France. His third novel The White Woman (1994) was short-listed for several prizes, including the Age Book of the Year. Set in Gippsland, Victoria, the novel explores the notions of civilisation, history and myth surrounding the disappearance of a woman during the 1840s. Davison explores similar themes in Betrayal (1999). Set mainly in France, the novel examines the actions of a woman who is forced to remember a brutal crime she witnessed thirty years earlier.

Davison's awards include:
James Joyce Foundation Suspended Sentence Award, 1999: winner
The Canberra Times Pat Rappolt Memorial Prize, 1983: winner
NBC Banjo Awards, NBC Banjo Award for Fiction, 1993: winner for Soundings
ABC / ABA Bicentennial Literary Award, State of the Art Short Story Award, 1988: runner-up for 'The wetlands'
The Canberra Times National Short Story Competition, Pat Rappolt Prize for Writers Under 25, 1983: winner for 'The swimmer'.

AustLit : The Resource for Australian Literature, November 2002.

Administrative Information


The collection is available for research.

Restrictions on Use

No copying is permitted without the permission of the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Papers of Liam Davison, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, MSS 122, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was acquired from Liam Davison in two instalments in 1989 and 1994.

Access Terms

Personal Names

Davison, Liam, 1957- -- Archives.

Topical Subjects

Authors, Australian -- 20th century -- Archives.

Australian literature -- 20th century.



Container List

Box 1

Folder 1
'The fall' exercise books, 1-8, 1984

Folder 2
'The fall' exercise books 9-12, 1985

Folder 3
The velodrome (1988) exercise books, 13-14, 1987

Folder 4
Typescript draft of The velodrome (1988) early version with altered title

Folder 5
The velodrome (1988) exercise books with handwritten alterations, copy sent to Vogel awards

Folder 6
The velodrome (1988) four extracts with new writing

Folder 7
The velodrome (1988) typescript with editorial changes

Box 2

Folder 8
The shipwreck party (1989) seven exercise books, 1984

Folder 9
The shipwreck party (1989) individual typescripts for various pieces

Folder 10
The shipwreck party (1989) individual typescript drafts

Folder 11
'The swimmer and other stories' submitted to the Literature Board in 1985

Folder 12
The shipwreck party (1989) complete typescript

Folder 13
The shipwreck party (1989) complete typescript

Folder 14
Typescript draft of Soundings (1993) with colour map

Box 3

Folder 15
Annotated typescript draft of Soundings (1993)

Folder 16
Draft of Soundings (1993) and a sample print of book cover, 1992

Folder 17
Draft of Soundings (1993) dated May 1991

Folder 18
Draft of Soundings (1993), 'L'Astrolabe' and photographs

Box 4

Folder 19
Early drafts of Soundings (1993)

Folder 20
Draft of Soundings (1993) dated November 1991

Folder 21
Draft of Soundings (1993)dated May 1991

Folder 22
Draft of 'L'Astrolabe' 1988 exercise books 1-6