Papers of Norman Ellison (1896-1971)
- 5.32 m. (38 boxes), plus 3 folio boxes.
- Available for reference.
The collection comprises correspondence, drafts and typescripts relating
to Ellison's journalistic and writing career, press clippings, ephemera
A significant feature of the collection is the correspondence and other
papers relating to Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith.
The major correspondents include Hudson Fysh,
Fergus McMaster, Bill Bostock and Sir Donald Hardman.
Norman Ellison was born in [1896?] and lived in Sydney most of his life.
He was a journalist and writer, and after his service in World War I he
became interested in aviation.
His career included working for daily newspapers, such as the Telegraph,
the Daily Mirror and the Guardian, contributing
articles to aviation journals and working for the ABC Radio. He was a well
known and highly respected in the aviation world, often being referred to
as "Australia's leading aviation writer".
In 1950 he was a partner in a failed attempt to start a helicopter
company in Sydney He was also an active committee member of the
Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women.
Ellison authored and co-authored a number of books, mostly on the
subject of aviation, including Fangs of the Sea (1939, which was a
book about sharks), Aces and Kings (1935), Daredevils of the
skies (1941) and Flying Matilda (1957).
Norman Ellison died in 1971 at the age of 75, survived by his wife Leah,
and children Rodney and Marilyn.
- Writings of Norman Ellison
- Correspondence, 1925-71
- Charles Kingsford Smith, 1919-64
- Butler Air Transport
- R. H. Buchanan, 1922-29
- Biographical files
- Subject files
- Press cuttings
- Printed material
Series 1. Writings of Norman Ellison
This series contains drafts and partial drafts, typescripts, research
material, notes, correspondence and photographs relating to Flying
Matilda, Aces and Kings and Fangs of the Sea and
articles published in journals and newspapers.
Series 2. Correspondence 1925-71
The correspondence retained by Ellison for the collection was largely
undertaken in his professional capacity, although there is some private
mail. It had been arranged into the following files by Ellison:
- Correspondence 1938-44.
- Correspondence 1953-63.
The rest of the correspondence has been arranged around these two files
in order to preserve original order.
Ellison corresponded with a wide group of people and the major
correspondents represented in this collection are British Overseas Airways
Corporation (BOAC), Sir Hudson Fysh, and Fergus McMaster, Bill Bostock,
Sir Donald Hardman, the Department of Civil Aviation, and Athol Towney
(Minister for Air). There are also some drafts of letters written to the
National Library of Australia regarding the transfer and purchase of his
Series 3. Charles Kingsford Smith, 1919-64
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith was best known for his pioneer flights with
Charles Ulm in the Southern Cross. This series includes
correspondence (both personal and business), reports, typescripts,
newspaper cuttings, photographs, filmscript for 'Smithy' and a fuel gauge
belonging to the Lady Southern Cross which was removed before the
disappearance of his plane in 1935.
The correspondence includes personal letters of Kingsford Smith, mostly
written to his parents and sister, as well as business letters. It also
includes letters sent to the editor of the Smith's Weekly. The
correspondents include N. Brearley and G.R. Hamilton.
The typescripts were written by Ellison. Some of these were published in
newspapers and journals, such as the Smith's Weekly.
Series 4. Butler Air Transport
The series comprises two groups of papers:
- Papers relating to C.A. Butler. It includes biographical information
about C. A. Butler, the founder of the airline, as well as press
cuttings and photos relating to his flying career before he started the
airline, articles and reports written by Butler, and the roller log he
kept of his smallest-ever-aircraft flight from England to Australia in
- Material relating to the Butler Air Transport: traffic manuals,
in-house periodicals, photographs and correspondence. A substantial part
of this group of papers deals with the battle between Reginald Ansett
and C. A. Butler for ownership of the airline, which Ansett finally won
Butler and Ellison were partners in the failed helicopter venture in the
1950's. A large part of the reason for its failure was that it coincided
with the first stages of the corporate battle for ownership of Butler Air
Series 5. R. H. Buchanan, 1922-29
R. H. Buchanan was a flight inspector for the fledgling Department of
Civil Aviation in the 1920s. This series contains biographical information
about him, as well as official diaries, logs and reports belonging to him.
Series 6. Biographies
This part of the collection has been kept essentially as it was created
by Ellison himself and consists of biographical clippings files on
Australian aviators and other prominent personalities, and a separate file
of clippings and photos relating to women pilots. The files had been
arranged in alphabetical order by Ellison and this order was maintained.
Important figures represented in the series include Reginald Ansett,
L.S. Bailey, Sir John Alcock, W. E. Hart, Bert Hinkler, Jerry Pentland,
George A. Taylor, Sir Gordon Taylor, Ben Turner and Oswald Watt.
See Appendix 1
Series 7. Subjects
This series was also arranged by Ellison. It contains information
relating to all aspects of aviation, as well as a number of non-aviation
The first part of the series contains information about aviation and
aviation history, while the rest comprises general subject files arranged
in alphabetical order. Subjects covered include aircraft (military and
commercial, Australian and overseas), airports, air races, parachuting,
motorcycles and motoring, QANTAS, RAAF, pioneer and record flights, and
The section relating to aircraft contains mostly photographs, while the
other subjects comprises clippings and drafts.
See Appendix 2
Series 8. Photographs.
Where possible photographs relating to series 1 to 7 have been kept with
the series. The photographs in this series depict to general aviation and
Series 9. Press cuttings.
This series contains general clippings, including general aviation, and
clippings collected by Ellison for general reference purposes on various
subjects. The series also includes two large scrapbooks of general
clippings and a file of articles from the National Geographic on
Series 10. Printed materials.
This series contains Australian aviation periodicals and newspapers,
non-aviation magazines and 23 books (mostly on aviation). An interesting
feature in this series is a copy of an unsuccessful tender by the English
Electric Company for the design of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Series 11. Miscellaneous.
This series contains various ephemera belonging to Ellison, including
two almost empty ledgers, material relating to aviation commemorative
dinners he organised, and a scrapbook of postcards.
Series Folders Box
1 1-8 1
1 9-14 2
1 15-18 3
2 19-21 4
2 22-30 5
3 31-42 6
3 Photographs 7
3 Object 8
4 52-61 9
4 62 and 10
5 63-70 11
6 71-82 12
6 83-92 13
6 93-104 14
6 105-115 15
6 116-130 16
6 131-139 17
6 140-147 18
7 148-154 19
7 155-164 20
7 165-175 21
7 176-185 22
7 186-197 23
7 198-204 24
7 205-212 25
7 213-227 26
7 228-234 27
Series1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11 also include folio items.
Appendix 1 - Biographical Clippings Files
72 Sir John Alcock
73 R.M. (Reg) Ansett
74 Australian aces
76 L.S. Bailey
77-79 L.S. Bailey and Sir John Alcock
80 Hans Bertram
81 H.E. Broadsmith
83 Sir Francis Chicester
84 E.J. Connellan
85 Sid Cotton
87 'E' & 'F'
88 Harold Fraser
89 Sir Hudson Fysh
91-93 Harold Gatty (folder 91a contains copy of Gatty's The raft
94 Father John Glover
95 A.W. Gregory
97-104 W.E. (Bill) Hart
105 Sir Edward Hallstrom
106 H.T. (Bunny) Hammond
107 Lawrence Hargrave
108 Harry Hawker
109-110 Bert Hinkler
111 'I' & 'J'
112 Ida Isaacs
113 'K' & 'L'
114 Max Lawson
115 R.A. Little
117 Sid Marshall
118 Fergus McMaster
119 Frank Minjoy
120 'N' & 'O'
121 Harold Owen and J. Moir
123-124 Jerry Pentland
125 Edgar Percival
128 T.W. Shortridge
129 Ross Smith (chapter of book on)
130 Ralph Symonds
131 'T' & 'U'
132-133 G.A. Taylor
134-136 Sir P.G. Taylor
137 'Henri' Tovell
138-139 Ben Turner
141 M.M. Waghorn
142-143 Oswald Watt
144 Hubert Wilkins
145-146 Women pilots
148-150 Aviation - general
151-154 Early aviation
155-156 Early Australian aviation
157-158 Aviation - civil
159-160 Aviation - military
161-175 Aircraft - civil and military (mainly photographs)
186-191 Air races
192 Aeroclub of NSW
193 Agriculture and aircraft
194-195 British aviation
202 Noise; New Guinea
205 Pay (for pilots)
206 Place names (air history)
207-208 Poker machines
210-212 Qantas Empire Airways
217-227 Record flights
229 Southern Cloud mystery
230-231 World wars
232 Flying doctor; Israel; Lord Howe Island; Air memorials
233-234 General reference