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Papers of Alexander Buzo, 1968-circa 2004 [manuscript]
Bib ID 2579815
Format ManuscriptManuscript
Buzo, Alexander, 1944-2006
Related Online
Access Conditions Part available for research; part not available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1968-ca. 2004] 
13.38 m. (74 boxes) + 5 fol. boxes. 

MS 6383 comprises papers relating to Buzo's career as a playwright and author. There are manuscript and typescript drafts of his plays and novels, newspaper cuttings, promotional material, which includes posters and programs, photographs and reviews of performances of his plays. The correspondence in the collection documents Buzo's friendships with many other writers. Correspondents include Peter Corris, Michael Costigan, Diana Day, Geoffrey Dutton, Sandy Gore, Jonathon Hales, David Hare, Jack Hibberd, Ray Lawler, Valerie Lawson, Kathy Lette, Robin Lovejoy, Bruce Mason, Roger Milliss, Stephen Murray-Smith, Louis Nowra, Harold Pinter, Robert Quentin and John Tranter.

The collection includes an amount of working material on Buzo's plays, including scripts, drafts and sketches, correspondence with producers, and photographs of productions. Three plays have significant background material: Makassar Reef, Rooted and Coralie Lansdowne says no. There are also programs, publicity and newsclippings. Folder 10 includes photographs of Buzo (6 boxes).

The Acc08.107 instalment comprises correspondence, including some print-outs of emails, diaries, notebooks, manuscript and typescript drafts of plays, novels, articles and other writings, publications, newspaper cuttings and other published versions of Buzo’s writings, programs, playbills, posters and other publicity material, scrapbooks containing material by and about Buzo, financial documents, photographs, audio cassettes, video cassettes, film reels, and computer discs. The material provides a comprehensive record of Buzo's writings, particularly his plays, and his interactions with theatre companies, publishers, other writers, family and friends (68 boxes, 5 fol. boxes).


Playwright and author. Alexander John (Alex) Buzo was born in Sydney in 1944 and became one of Australia's leading playwrights of the twentieth century. When it was performed in Queensland in 1968, Buzo's first major production, Norm and Ahmed, came to national attention as a result of a prosecution for obscenity. The case reached the High Court of Australia, where it was dismissed. From the early 1970s Buzo wrote many plays including, The front room boys and Rooted (1969), Macquarie (1972), Coralie Lansdowne says no (1974), Martello Towers (1976), Makassar Reef and Big River (1980), The marginal farm (1983), The search for Harry Allway (1985), Shellcove Road (1988), Prue flies north (1991) and Pacific Union (1995). In 1972, Buzo was awarded the Australian Literature Society's Gold Medal for his plays Tom and Macquarie and both Norm and Ahmed and Rooted have been produced for film and television.

In addition to his plays, Buzo was the author of journal and newspaper articles, reviews and several books on sport, tautology, language and theatre. He adapted novels for film and television, including adaptations of Charles Dickens' stories. He was co-author of the script for the 1969 film Ned Kelly. He was writer-in-residence at many theatre companies, schools and universities. In 1998 Buzo received an Alumni Award for Achievement from the University of New South Wales and, in 2005, the same university awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Letters. Buzo died in Sydney in 2006.


Manuscript reference no.: MS 6383, MS Acc08.107.

Related Material Alexander Buzo interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 1/695.  Alexander Buzo interviewed by Frank Heimans; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 4657. 
Cited In

Guide to collections of manuscripts relating to Australia, D1183.

Index/Finding Aid Note Finding aid available in the Special Collections Reading Room and online. 
Subjects Buzo, Alexander, 1944-2006 -- Archives.  |  Dramatists, Australian -- 20th century -- Archives.  |  Authors, Australian -- 20th century -- Archives.  |  Australian drama -- 20th century.
Time Coverage 1968-2004 
Occupation Dramatists.  |  Authors.
Terms of Use Copying of Alexander Buzo's copyright material permitted for research purposes. 


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    MS Acc08.107 Special Collections Reading Room - Prior notice required
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    Members of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori communities are advised that this catalogue contains names and images of deceased people. All users of the catalogue should also be aware that certain words, terms or descriptions may be culturally sensitive and may be considered inappropriate today, but may have reflected the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written.