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401978
  • Title
    Edward St. John - papers, 1939-1997
  • Creator
  • Call number
    MLMSS 6660
    MLOH 312
  • Level of description
    Collection
  • Date

    1939 - 1997
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
    401978
  • Physical Description
    9.71 metres of textual material (53 boxes, 2 outsize items) - manuscript, computer printouts, photocopy, typescript, typescript, photocopy, typescript, carbon, typescript, processed, printed, and printed, photocopy
    Clippings - some photocopies
    Photographs
    Sound Recordings
  • ADMINISTRATIVE/ BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY

    Edward St. John (1916-1994), lawyer, politician and anti-nuclear activist, was born at Quirindi, N.S.W. He was admitted to the N.S.W. Bar in 1940. After serving as a gunner and legal officer in the Australian Army during World War II, he returned to his practice; he was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1956. While as Secretary of the Australian Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), St. John was an official observer at the South African treason trials in 1959. He went on to serve as President of the Australian Section from 1961 to 1973 and to become a long-time Commissioner of the ICJ.

    St. John entered politics in 1966 as Liberal member for the Federal seat of Warringah. His book, A Time to Speak, an account of his three eventful years in the Australian Parliament, was published in 1969 following his resignation from the Liberal Party. A prominent conservationist, he was Chairman of the Clutha Committee, 1971-1972, and a member of the Lake Pedder Committee of Inquiry, 1973-1974.

    Over the last decade of his life, St. John campaigned vigorously for nuclear disarmament and peace. In 1984 he composed, with the poet Les Murray, The Universal Prayer for Peace: A Prayer for the Nuclear Age. A founding member of Australian Lawyers for Nuclear Disarmament in the same year, he was instrumental in its affiliation to the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. In the mid-1980s he co-founded and chaired the Australian Peace Foundation. He was a leading supporter of the World Court Project (WCP), inspired by his New Zealand colleague, Harold Evans. The WCP sought an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the criminality of nuclear weapons.

    From 1985 St. John began writing his magnum opus, the anti-nuclear book Judgment at Hiroshima, with some research assistance from Elizabeth Handsley. The book was published after his death. A Japanese edition appeared in 1995 to coincide with the 50th anniversaries of the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His widow Valerie St. John released the English version two years later and distributed copies to research libraries in Australia and overseas.
  • Scope and Content
    I. CORRESPONDENCE, 1974-1994
    II. MISCELLANEOUS PERSONAL PAPERS, 1959-1994
    III. POLITICAL DIARY, 1965-1973
    IV. PAPERS CONCERNING A TIME TO SPEAK (1969), 1966-1969
    V. PAPERS CONCERNING JUDGMENT AT HIROSHIMA (1997), 1939-1997
    A. Nuclear diary, 1984-1985, and New York diary, 1993
    B. Subject hanging files, 194--1995
    C. Research files, 1967-1994
    D. Research material, compiled by Elizabeth Handsley, 1986-1990
    E. Black 4-post research binders, 1939-1994
    F. Printed material, 1956, 1982-1994
    G. Working files mainly concerning specific chapters, 1946, 197--1995
    H. Drafts and final version, ca. 1985-1997
    VI. PAPERS CONCERNING THE AUSTRALIAN PEACE FOUNDATION, 1985-1987
    VII. PHOTOGRAPHS, 196--197-
  • System of arrangement
    This collection comprises 7 record series. You may navigate to a more detailed description of each series from this collection record.
  • Source
    Presented by Valerie St. John in 1997
  • Access Conditions
    Partly restricted
  • Copying Conditions
    Restricted:
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