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Papers of Robert Bruce Plowman, 1911-1956, 2012 [manuscript]
Bib ID 742492
Format ManuscriptManuscript
Plowman, R. B. (Robert Bruce), 1886-1966
Related Online
Access Conditions Available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1911-2012] 
0.39 m. (2 boxes) + 1 packet. 

MS 1941 comprises manuscript drafts of a number of Plowman's published works. Correspondence in the collection is mostly letters from Plowman to his mother and his fiancée, Jean Sinclair, written while he was a padre with the Australian Inland Mission. Also, draft articles and newspaper cuttings (2 boxes).

The Acc12.146 instalment comprises three photographs (labelled) relating to Plowman's family, life and work, together with a letter written by Jean Whitla, dated 2 December 2012, providing details of the context of the photographs (1 packet).


Writer and Presbyterian minister. Robert Bruce Plowman was born in Melbourne in 1886. He was educated at the South Melbourne State School until the age of 12 and later at Scotch College. His first job was with Patterson, Laing and Bruce in Melbourne. Between 1912 and 1917 he worked as a volunteer for John Flynn of the Australian Inland Mission. He was ordained for the purposes of the Presbyterian Church and licensed to baptise, marry and bury. Plowman worked as itinerant minister in South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, including Beltana, Birdsville and Oodnadatta. In 1918, following his return to Melbourne, Plowman married Jean Lillian Sinclair.

They first lived in Queenstown, Tasmania, and in 1922 returned to Victoria. They lived in Bendigo for many years, where Plowman worked for a newsagent, a real estate business and an architect. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. After the death of his wife in 1961, he lived with family members. He died in Melbourne in 1966. Plowman was in poor health for much of his life and it was while recovering from illness that he started to write novels based on his experiences in Central Australia. His published works include The man from Oodnadata (1933), Camel pads (1933), The boundary rider (1935) and Larapinta (1939).


Manuscript reference no.: MS 1941, MS Acc12.146.

Cited In

Guide to collections of manuscripts relating to Australia, B473.

Index/Finding Aid Note Finding aid available in the Special Collections Reading Room and online at: 
Subjects Plowman, R. B. (Robert Bruce), 1886-1966 -- Archives.  |  Australian Inland Mission.  |  Presbyterian Church of Australia -- Missions.  |  Missionaries -- Australia, Central -- Archives.  |  Authors, Australian -- 20th century -- Archives.  |  Clergy -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Aboriginal Australians -- Missions -- Australia, Central.
Time Coverage 1911-1956 
Occupation Clergy.  |  Authors.
Other authors/contributors Whitla, Jean, 1926-
Terms of Use Copying of Robert Bruce Plowman's copyright material permitted for research purposes. 


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