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Papers of Don Watson, 1963-2004 [manuscript]
Bib ID 1179548
Format ManuscriptManuscript
Watson, Don, 1949-
Related Online
Access Conditions Part requires permission for research; part not available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1963-2004] 
approximately 16.40 m. (35 boxes) + 47 cartons + 1 fol. box + 5 A3 cartons + 1 shoebox + 1 A4 carton + 1 oversize carton. 

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.

Source of Acquisition Donated through the Australian Government's Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme by Don Watson (MS 8261). 
Cited In

Guide to collections of manuscripts relating to Australia, E773.

Index/Finding Aid Note Finding aid available in the Special Collections Reading Room and online at: 
Subjects Watson, Don, 1949- -- Archives.  |  Fitzpatrick, Brian Charles, 1905-1965.  |  Historians -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Speechwriters -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Political consultants -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Television writers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Australia -- Politics and government -- 1990-2001.
Time Coverage 1963-2004 
Occupation Historians.  |  Speechwriters.  |  Consultants.  |  Scriptwriters.

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