ASIO files on writers and literary groups – Fact sheet 69

ASIO and its role

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was established on 16 March 1949 to protect the Commonwealth from espionage and sabotage, and from the actions of persons or organisations (from both inside and outside Australia) judged to be subversive to the security of the Commonwealth. In pursuit of these objectives, ASIO gathered information on a number of prominent Australian literary groups and writers from 1949 onwards. ASIO also inherited earlier records from the Commonwealth Investigation Service (CIS) and other security and police agencies.

ASIO records on literary groups and writers

The National Archives in Canberra holds ASIO files on several Australian literary groups and a large number of Australian writers. Files on individuals are particularly useful in showing their social and political involvement and the causes to which they lent their time and talents.

Search the collection for details of the records for each of the groups and individuals listed in the tables below. You can search using keywords or the series number and control symbol shown in the right hand column.

Records still in ASIO custody

Please note that the Archives does not hold all ASIO files on literary groups and individual writers, but only those files which have been made available following applications for access under the Archives Act 1983.

Files on other groups or individuals may exist in ASIO's custody and you may apply to us for access to material that is in the open access period on any as yet unreleased ASIO files. Our fact sheet on Security intelligence records held in Canberra has details on how to apply for access to ASIO records. Reference staff can assist you in completing your application.

All ASIO records are photocopied before they are released for public access. The copies are made available once any sensitive information has been exempted from release under the Archives Act. Our fact sheet on Exempt information in ASIO records details the type of information in ASIO records that is withheld.

New material from ASIO is continually becoming available to public researchers, so you should regularly search the collection to ensure that you are aware of the most recent material.

The following tables list ASIO files held on Australian literary groups and writers.

ASIO files on Australian literary groups

Literary groupDateSeries & item no.

ASIO subject files

1949–

A6122

Australian Book Society

1952–58

1192, 1193, 1234 to 1245, 1266

Communist Party of Australia – Writers' Conference

1953

1078

Fellowship of Australian Writers

1935–63

189 to 191, 1493 to 1495

Left Book Club

1938–41

125

Left Book Shop

1938–62

1347

Meanjin (magazine)

1954–56

1152, 1153

New Theatre League

1936–65

411 to 419, 1640 to 1646, 1651 to 1700

Realist Writers' Group

1945–64

1213 to 1216

ASIO film & sound recordings

1949–

A8703

New Theatre League (1955 conference)
(available for reference use on videotape)

1955

32/1/1 volume 2 part 2

ASIO files on Australian writers

Name of writerDateSeries & item no.

ASIO personal files

1949–

A6119

Christesen, Clem

1949–60

94, 275 to 277, 477, 478

Christesen, Nina

1949–60

94, 475, 476

Cusack, Dymphna

1948–57

315, 1555

Dark, Eleanor

1945–93

481

Eldershaw, Flora

1950–55

297

Gilmore, Mary

1949–60

281, 473, 474

Gray, Oriel

1926–62

660

Hardy, Frank

1950–63

286 to 288, 1048, 1049

Hart-Smith, William

1961–62

944

Herbert, Xavier

1957–58

274

Ingamels, Rex

1949–52

291

Kaufmann, Walter

1949–63

515, 516

McKinney, Judith (Judith Wright)

1954–61

630

Marshall, Allan

1949–60

511

Moore, Tom Inglis

1955–65

521

Mudie, Ian

1926–62

659

Murdoch, Walter

1940–60

754

Murray-Smith, Stephen

1947–60

68, 69, 280, 468

Palmer, Nettie

1948–60

112, 470

Palmer, Vance

1948–54

112

Pearl, Cyril

1958–64

103, 448, 1583

Prichard, Katherine Susannah

1919–58

42, 44, 207, 208, 366, 377

Robinson, Roland

1952–62

663, 1183

Simpson, Colin

1945–59

457

Slessor, Kenneth

1959

1289

Stivens, Dallas ('Dal') George

1951–61

985

Tennant (Rodd), Kylie

1935–59

283, 447

Wannon, Bill

1948–62

1197

Waten, Judah

1928–62

101, 264, 357, 446, 814 to 819

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