National Library of Australia

 Summer Opening Hours:

Our opening hours will be changing between Tuesday 24 December 2019 and Wednesday 1 January 2020.

All reading rooms will be closed from Christmas Day, reopening on 2 January. But you’ll still be able to visit our Exhibition Galleries, our children’s holiday space, WordPlay, and Bookshop from 9am-5pm (except on Christmas Day).Bookplate café will also be open during this period, but with varied hours.

Be sure to check our Summer Opening Hours before you visit:

<< Previous record
Record 69 of 69
You must be logged in to Tag Records
Papers of Shirley McKechnie, 1938-1996 [manuscript]
Bib ID 1050223
Format ManuscriptManuscript
McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
Related Online
Access Conditions Part available for research; part not available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1938-1996] 
0.78 m. (5 boxes) + 1 packet. 

The bulk of the papers in MS 9553 relate to Shirley McKechnie's involvement in the development of contemporary dance in Australia. The papers include correspondence, 1966-1996, a report of a 1974 study tour to investigate how dance is incorporated into the education system and a subsequent submission of the State College of Victoria Accreditation Committee, 1977, papers relating to a choreographic workshop at the University of New England, 1976, copies of papers presented at a dance education conference, 1977, papers relating to "Canon for four dancers" which was choreographed by McKechnie, 1988, a report of a visit to China for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 1992, and papers relating to the first meeting of the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia, 1996.

Also included in this collection are papers relating to McKechnie's involvement in the Green Mill Dance Project, 1991-1994, and her long association with both Dame Peggy van Praagh and Peter Brinson. There are posters, programs and brochures, 1956-1972, press cuttings, 1964-1996, photographs, and correspondence. Correspondents include Werdon Anglin, Peter Brinson, Lenton Parr, Gordon van Praagh, Peggy van Praagh, Ian Spink and Janet Vernon (5 boxes).

The Acc10.024 instalment comprises a display folder containing programs and news clippings collected by McKechnie and her colleague Ilma Ladner. The material lists McKechnie and Ladner as dancers in various ensembles (1 packet).


A dancer, teacher, choreographer and dance director, Shirley Elizabeth McKechnie is one of the pioneers of contemporary dance in Australia. McKechnie founded the Australian Contemporary Dance Theatre in 1963 and, in 1975, the first degree course in dance studies in an Australian tertiary institution at Rusden College, now Deakin University. With Dame Peggy van Praagh she founded the Australian Association For Dance Education (now Ausdance) in 1977. She was founding chair of the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia, 1986, and founded the Green Mill Dance Project. McKechnie has served on national and international panels for the accreditation of dance courses, for symposiums on research in dance and as a consultant to government on policies for art education. In 1987 she received a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia for service to dance particularly as a teacher and in 2001 she was awarded a Centenary Medal. McKechnie is a joint author of Thinking in four dimensions: creativity and cognition in contemporary dance with Robin Grove and Catherine Stevens (2005). She is presently a professorial fellow at the Victoria College of the Arts.


Manuscript reference no.: MS 9553, MS Acc10.024.

Related Material Interview with Shirley McKechnie; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 2517.  Shirley McKechnie interviewed by Mark Gordon; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 5983. 
Index/Finding Aid Note Finding aid available online. 
Subjects McKechnie, Shirley, 1926- -- Archives.  |  Van Praagh, Peggy, 1910-1990 -- Correspondence.  |  Brinson, Peter, 1920-1995 -- Correspondence.  |  Green Mill Dance Project -- Archives.  |  Dancers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Choreographers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Dance teachers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Dance -- Australia.  |  Dance -- Study and teaching -- Australia.
Time Coverage 1938-1996 
Occupation Dancers.  |  Choreographers.  |  Dance teachers.  |  Artistic directors.  |  Oral history interviewers.
Terms of Use Copying of Shirley McKechnie's copyright material permitted for research purposes. 


    In the Library

    Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

    Details Collect From
    MS 9553 Special Collections Reading Room
    Access details ... more
    MS Acc10.024 Special Collections Reading Room - Prior notice required
    Unprocessed instalment
    Access details ... more

    Order a copy

    - Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

    Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
    close Can I borrow items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close What can I get online?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags
    Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.