The MS 8261 collection has been organised into the following series: 1. Brian Fitzpatrick, a radical life, 1973-1990. Material relating to the book and a copy of Watson's thesis on the same subject. Correspondents include Manning Clark, Dorothy Fitzpatrick and Geoffrey Serle. 2. Caledonia Australis, 1980-1987. Material relating to the book. Correspondents include Manning Clark. 3. The story of Australia. Material relating to the book. 4. Max Gillies, 1985-1989. Watson was the scriptwriter for Gillies and the series contains material relating to this part of his career.
Correspondents include John Timlin and Michael Shrimpton. 5. John Cain, 1985-1989. Watson was the speechwriter for Cain and the series contains material relating to this activity. Correspondence include Terry Moran and Evan Walker. 6. Manning Clark's History of Australia musical, 1983-1988. The correspondent is Manning Clark. 7. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, 1987. 8. Other writings by Watson, 1986-1989. 9. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1963-1985. Correspondents include Peter Corris, Drew Cottle, Jim Davidson and Demos Kroukos. 10. Miscellaneous files, 1973-1988 (32 boxes).
The Acc01.205 instalment comprises papers and newspaper clippings concerning Watson's work as an historian, author and political speechwriter (1 box, 47 cartons, 1 fol. box, 5 A3 cartons, 1 shoebox, 1 A4 carton, 1 oversize carton).
The Acc05.135 instalment comprises 19 diaries kept by Watson while working as a speech writer for Paul Keating, July 1992-May 1996; a small collection of loose notes, letters and receipts; a transcript of tapes relating to the 1992 election; a computer disc and three audio microcassettes (1 box).
The Acc05.147 instalment comprises letters relating to Recollections of a bleeding heart; correspondence with Paul Keating; publicity material; papers relating to the launch of Recollections of a bleeding heart; and, reviews of Recollections of a bleeding heart (1 box).
Historian, scriptwriter and author. Don Watson was born in 1949. He was an academic historian until 1983 and has since been a freelance writer of history, comedy, films, reviews and newspaper columns. Watson has written a number of books including Brian Fitzpatrick (1979), The story of Australia (1984), Caledonia Australis: Scottish highlanders on the frontier of Australia (1984), and Recollections of a bleeding heart: a portrait of Paul Keating PM (2002). He wrote speeches for John Cain, scripts for both television and stage performances of Max Gillies, scripts for the BBC Project and was co-author of the script for "Manning Clark's history of Australia: the musical". He worked as a consultant on Meanjin and was also involved in the initial planning of the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
Manuscript reference no.: MS 8261, MS Acc01.205, MS Acc05.135, MS Acc05.147.
Associated materials: Photograph collection of Don Watson, 1920-1960 MS 7123.