Personal papers

The Manuscript Collection comprises of personal papers, photocopies, research notes, letters, diaries, newspaper cuttings, pamphlets and other documentary materials of an ephemeral nature, all derived from the personal collections of individuals and organisations associated with the Northern Territory (NT).

Guide to Personal Papers Collection

Bradshaw Family

Frederick Bradshaw and his brother, Joseph, were explorers and pioneer pastoralists owning land at Victoria River Station from 1886 known as Bradshaw's Run.

Roger Brailsford

Roger Brailsford lived in the Northern Territory between 1972 and 2013 and worked as a Patrol Officer, a Community Adviser and then in policy and management positions for Indigenous education and health.

James Cameron

For more than 25 years, Dr James (Jim) Cameron collected research material from Archives in Australia and the United Kingdom relating to the first three British settlements of Northern Australia, 1824-1848: Fort Dundas on Melville Island (1824-1828); Fort Wellington on the Cobourg Peninsula at Raffles Bay (1827-1829); and Fort Victoria at Port Essington (1838-1849).

Bilha Cooper-Smith

Bilha Cooper-Smith (1942 - ) is an art and craft practitioner who has taught various fabric printing techniques (tie-dye, batik, silk painting, screen printing and lino cut) to remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, the Kimberley region of Western Australia and in schools and other centres in Katherine and Darwin during the 1980s and 1990s. 

This manuscript collection contains photographs documenting Bilha's print making workshops in various communities and some correspondence relating to the workshops.

Frank Flynn

Frank Flynn was a Catholic priest, ophthalmologist and author. He conducted many studies on trachoma amongst Australian Aborigines and urged a mass program of treatment which began in 1976 as the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program under the direction of Professor Fred Hollows.

Frank Geddes

Mr Geddes served as Honorary Secretary to the Darwin RSL Sub Branch for a period of nineteen years, and in this time accumulated documents pertaining to the Fiftieth anniversary of the attack and subsequent bombing of Darwin by the Japanese.

James Harvey

Jim Harvey's life long interest in the North Australia Railway culminated in the publication of his first book 'The Never Never Line: the story of the Northern Australian Railway'. 

He also wrote 'Australia's Forgotten Volunteers' which detailed the contribution made by railwaymen to the maintenance of the military forces during the Second World War.

Historical Society of the Northern Territory

The Historical Society of the Northern Territory Incorporated was founded in 1964. The Society is particularly concerned with Northern Territory history and has collected research materials and received donations of materials since its formation. In late 2011, a decision was made to transfer its collections from the Society's Archives Room to the Northern Territory Library for preservation and wider public access.

Ellen Kettle

Ellen Kettle was a nursing sister, author and historian who almost single-handedly revolutionised Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory by creating medical records for thousands of patients and drawing attention to their plight, particularly in regard to high infant mortality.

Andrew McMillan

Andrew McMillan (29 December 1957 – 28 January 2012) was an Australian writer, journalist and musician who based himself in Darwin from 1988.

Alan Powell

Alan Powell is Emeritus Professor of History and Political Science at Charles Darwin University. A former Dean of the Arts Faculty at Charles Darwin University, Alan has been associated with tertiary education in the Northern Territory since his appointment as a foundation staff member at Darwin Community College in 1974. 

Alan has published extensively in Northern Territory and military history and is the recipient of numerous research awards. 

He is currently the editor of the Journal of Northern Territory History and publications editor for the Historical Society of the Northern Territory.

Ray Shepherd

Ray Shepherd was instrumental in the formation of the Handicapped Persons Association and the King Cobra Rod and Custom Club in Darwin. 

Employed as Radio Traffic Controller, he had a particular interest in aviation history and spent many hours researching numerous projects in the Northern Territory Library.

Peter Spillett

Peter Gerard Spillett was a Darwin historian and an author of a number of works including Forsaken Settlement: An illustrated history of Victoria, Port Essington North Australia 1838-1849. 

He was a founding member of the Historical Society of the Northern Territory and Honorary Life Member of the National Trust of Australia (Northern Territory).

Dr Ella Stack

Ella Stack and her family lived in the Territory between 1961 and 1989. She practised as a medical doctor, in charge of the health requirements of the evacuees after Cyclone Tracy and was appointed Chief Medical Officer in 1987. 

She served first as alderman, then Mayor and then Lord Mayor of the Darwin City Council (1969-1980). 

Dr Stack was a member of the Darwin Reconstruction Committee and influential in the physical and cultural development of Darwin after Tracy.

Sunrize Band

The Sunrize Band was a blues/rock band from the remote community of Maningrida in Arnhem Land. 

The band played across the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland releasing two albums, 'Lunggurrma' and 'Sunset to Rize', and one single 'Lembana Man'. Band members included: Marrjarra Pascoe, Ben Pascoe (lead guitar, lead vocals), Terry Pascoe (bass, vocals), Wayne Kala Kala (drums), Horace Wala Wala (didgeridoo, vocals, tambourine, clap sticks), Kenny Smith (guitar), and Jimmy Djamunba. They were inducted into the Indigenous Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Edna Tambling

Edna Tambling began teaching at Darwin Public School in 1938 and later taught at Darwin Primary School and Bagot, retiring in 1964. 

Edna was involved in the Country Women's Association (CWA), a founding member and secretary of the first free kindergarten in Darwin and played a key role in the establishment of a CWA hostel for outback women visiting Darwin for medical treatment.

Townsend Family

The Townsend family of Stapleton Station came to the Territory from southern Florida in the post-war period.

The patriarch, Asa Townsend, together with his wife and their children Ray, Roy, Bob, Bessie and Irene and their families relocated to the Territory where the family would remain for the next forty years. 

Stapleton was run as the separate stations of Wangi, Welltree, Keri and LaBelle. In 1979 Asa died and by 2001 the Townsends had sold their holdings in the Territory. The former pastoral lease is now part of Litchfield National Park.

Last updated: 28 November 2017