Manuscripts, oral history and pictures catalogue
Adlib Internet Server 5


  • Title
    Papers of Edmund and Helene Barclay, with papers of Joy Hollyer, 1933-1974
  • Creator
  • Call number
    MLMSS 8597
  • Level of description
  • Date

  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Physical Description
    0.50 metres of textual material (3 boxes)

    Edmund Piers (Teddy) Barclay (1898-1961), radio dramatist and writer, was born in India to English parents, and was educated in England, where he worked as a journalist. He arrived in Australia in 1926 and wrote short stories, newspaper serials, articles and verse before moving into radio in the early 1930s. Among his most popular works were Khyber, a tale of the British Empire on the North West Frontier, and As Ye Sow, a story of the European settlement of Australia. He wrote less in the 1940s and 1950s, partly due to ill health brought on by heavy drinking.
    On 17 December 1933 Edmund Barclay was employed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission as a dramatist and with his wife Helene, who also wrote plays for the A.B.C., contributed greatly to a golden age of radio drama which began under the aegis of (Sir) Charles Moses and W. J. Cleary. The first radio play Barclay wrote was 'An Antarctic Epic', for which he received five guineas.
    Much of his work, especially for schools, involved dramatizing history and literature. 'Spoiled Darlings', a model colonial romance, and 'Murder in the Silo', an effective psychological thriller set in the Depression, were often repeated on the A.B.C. Barclay's use of dialogue and sound effects gave his radio plays a distinctive Australian flavour. He eventually published two novels from his radio serials, based on stories of his father's experiences in India, Khyber (1936) and Shanghai (1937). Barclay's epic family saga, 'As Ye Sow', written in 1938 for the Australian sesquicentenary, established his reputation. It was heard every Monday night for nine months by thousands of listeners. Neath Southern Skies, a pageant commissioned by the Department of Education, was performed by a thousand secondary school students at Sydney Town Hall in March 1938.
    In 1934 he collaborated with Varney Monk as composer and Helene Barclay as lyricist to write The Cedar Tree, a musical romance produced by Frank Thring in Melbourne. Barclay's talent for adaptation, with his sure ear for dialogue and sound patterning, turned such classics as Les Miserables, The Idiot and The Fortunes of Richard Mahony into radio masterpieces. He also collaborated closely with Joy Hollyer on many dramas.

    Compiled from the collection and article by Marion Consandine first published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993
  • Scope and Content
    Box 1
    SERIES 01: Helene Barclay - Music manuscripts, 1933-1961
    SERIES 02: Helene Barclay - The Cedar Tree, 1934-35

    Box 2
    SERIES 03: Helene Barclay - Radio playscripts and related correspondence, ca.1942 - 1952
    SERIES 04: Helene Barclay - Lyrics of songs and musical shows, 1934-1973
    SERIES 05: Helene Barclay - International Correspondence Schools, 1942-1951
    SERIES 06: Helene Barclay - Verse, poems, roughs etc., 1927-1950

    Box 3
    SERIES 07: Helene Barclay - Manuscripts of verses for children, 1967-68
    SERIES 08: Helene Barclay - Notebooks and transcriptions, 1963-1970
    SERIES 09: Helene Barclay - Music manuscript of ‘Prelude’ for piano by Martin Mather, inscribed ‘For Helene’, 3 pages, undated.
    SERIES 10: Edmund Barclay – Radio plays, correspondence and newscuttings relating to Edmund Barclay and Joy Hollyer, 1953-1974. Also includes a manuscript orchestral score of the orchestral suite ‘Four Aboriginal Sketches’ by Arthur S. Loam, 43 pages, undated
  • Source
    Presented by Ms. J. Barclay in 1991
  • Access Conditions

    This material is held offsite and can take up to four days to retrieve.
  • Copying Conditions
    Copyright status:: In copyright
    Please acknowledge: : Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
  • Description source

    Information upgraded as part of the Manuscripts Unprocessed eRecords Project 2012-2013
  • General note

    Detail series description available on file
  • Creator/Author/Artist
  • Subject
  • Browse collection hierarchy
  • Manuscript Index
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • G
  • H
  • I
  • J
  • K
  • L
  • M
  • N
  • O
  • P
  • Q
  • R
  • S
  • T
  • U
  • V
  • W
  • X
  • Y
  • Z

Share this result by email