Patrick Anthony Lawlor (1893-1979) was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and was educated at Marist Brothers School and St Patrick’s College. In 1910 he started work on the Evening Post and he was to be a journalist for the rest of his career. Among the newspapers with which he was associated were The Dominion, Hawke’s Bay Herald, New Zealand Times and New Zealand Truth. He also edited the New Zealand Artists’ Annual (1926-32) and the New Zealand Railways Magazine (1933-40). Lawlor first visited Australia in 1914 and he returned to Sydney in 1922, where he worked for the Daily Telegraph for two years. He was the New Zealand editor and distributor of Aussie and from 1932 to 1965 he was the New Zealand representative of The Bulletin.

Lawlor was the author of over 40 books and pamphlets, including:

The poetry of Dick Harris (1927)

Confessions of a journalist (1935)

The house of Templemore (1938)

Books and bookmen: New Zealand and overseas (1954)

Old Wellington days (1959)

He was a friend of some of New Zealand’s leading writers and active in many literary and cultural organisations, such as the New Zealand Ex Libris Society, the New Zealand Centre of PEN, and the Friends of the Turnbull Library. He was the first secretary of the advisory committee of the New Zealand Literary Fund (1947-55). He set up a book exchange business, the Beltane Book Bureau, which operated in Wellington for several years.

Over his lifetime, Pat Lawlor assembled a very large private library, which included collections of New Zealand poetry, editions of the works of Thomas à Kempis, and autographs of important nineteenth and twentieth century writers. The library was dispersed in the 1960s and 1970s.


The Lawlor Collection was purchased by the Library in 1970. Pat Lawlor subsequently donated some additional letters and drawings.



The Lawlor Collection comprises 130 files containing letters, newspaper cuttings, published caricatures, letters and literary manuscripts. Most of the files relate to Australian writers, journalists, composers and artists, including several New Zealanders who settled in Australia. There are also substantial files on The Bulletin and the Bread and Cheese Club. The letters date from 1897 to 1968. While Lawlor was the recipient of the bulk of them, a number of them had been sent to other writers, particularly Will Lawson. The correspondents include Kate Baker, P. Neville Barnett, Louis Becke, E.J. Brady, Zora Cross, Eleanor Dark, Bill FitzHenry, Joseph Furphy, Fritz Hart, Alfred Hill, George Lambert, Louis Lavater, Will Lawson, Norman Lindsay, James McAuley, Hugh McCrae, Kenneth Mackenzie, J.K. Moir, William Moore, John Shaw Neilson, Darcy Niland, Bernard O’Dowd, Vance Palmer, Ruth Park, Olaf Ruhen, Brunton Stephens, Douglas Stewart and Kylie Tennant.


The collection contains 20 original cartoons by Australian artists, most of them undated. The artists include Will Dyson, George Lambert, David Low, Hugh McCrae, Frank Mahoney, Phil May, Benjamin Minns, Oswald Pryor, Mervyn Skipper, David Souter and Unk White.


The manuscripts in the Lawlor Collection are kept together in the Manuscripts Collection at MS 2827. They have been catalogued as a collection and a detailed list is available online at The cartoons are kept in the Pictures Collection at PIC R4919 - PIC R 4938. They have been catalogued individually.


Broughton, W.S., Patrick Anthony Lawlor, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography vol. 4, Wellington, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 1998

First posted 2008 (revised 2019)