Guide to the Papers of Brian James [MSS 224]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Brian James 
Manuscript Number MSS 224
Last Updated May 2021
Extent 1 AV box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Draft short stories by Brian James (pen-name of John Tierney), together with a short sequence of correspondence exchanged with Norman Lindsay

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

This collection relates to the Australian short story writer and novelist Brian James, who was born John Lawrence Tierney (1892-1972).  The material comprises drafts of twelve short stories, variously published in the Red Page of The Bulletin and in James’ anthologies First Furrow (1944) and Cookabundy Bridge and Other Stories (1946).  Of special interest is a small group of correspondence exchanged between James and his friend, artist and writer Normal Lindsay

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Short story writer and novelist.  This collection relates to Australian writer Brian James, the literary pseudonym of John Lawrence Tierney (1892-1972).  Tierney was born near Mudgee, New South Wales and attended Eurunderee Public School (where his father had taught Henry Lawson). He specialised in Australian literature as a student at the University of Sydney and qualified as a teacher at the University of Oxford whilst teaching in England in 1923.  On return to Australia Tierney taught in Sydney, marrying Effie Brodie in 1932 (a friend of writer Marjorie Barnard) and settling together on a farm near Pennant Hills.  Barnard encouraged Tierney to write down his humorous stories about trying to establish a commercial orchard for The Bulletin, through which hemet poet Douglas Stewart and became close friends with artist Norman Lindsay.

Author record, Brian James, AustLit (, St Lucia: The University of Queensland, 2002- retrieved 22 May 2020

Australian Dictionary of Biography Online Edition: Tierney, John Lawrence (1892-1972) retrieved 22 May 2020


Administrative Information

Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Open Access

This collection contains a variety of copyright material. Copyright is held by the creator of each item. Specific conditions for this collection are listed below. If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items. Digitised material from manuscript collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright. Refer also to the UNSW copyright, disclaimer and takedown policy. 

Copying: Copying of material for private study and research is approved

Preferred Citation

Papers of Brian James, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 224, Box [Number], Folder [Number]


The collection was acquired in a single instalment


Additional Information

Related Material

Research material relating to Brian James is located in the Papers of Dorothy Green (MSS 020/Box 75/Folder 82) and in the Records of the Oxford Companion to Australian Literature (MSS 011/Box 6/Folder 41).

A letter from John Tierney is contained in the Papers of Eric Rolls (MSS 139/Box 1/Folders 4-6).

A manuscript ‘Brian James’ (John Tierney) regarding writing of 'The Art of Brian James' (UQP 1972), 1967-1973 is held by the State Library of New South Wales at MLMSS 5636/​Box 7/​Item [7].  Also housed at SLNSW is a box of Mary McPherson research papers on Brian James (aka John Lawrence Tierney) at MLMSS 10188


Subject Keywords


Brian James, 1892-1972 – Archives

Norman Lindsay, 1879-1969 – Correspondence

Australian short stories – 20th century

Personal Names

Brian James, 1892-1972

Norman Lindsay, 1879-1969

Corporate Names

The Bulletin


Short story writers


Container List

AV Box 1

Folder 1

Manuscripts of twelve of John Tierney’s stories published under the pseudonym of Brian James : ‘Grant and His Horses’; ‘Auntie Emily Stands Guard’; ‘River Odyssey’; ‘The Passing of Abe’; ‘Doolans Devotions’; ‘The Bells; ‘Prayers for Rain’; ‘Two Stacks of Hay’; ‘The Pise House’; ‘Cheque Day’; ‘Uncle’s Career’; ‘The Casey Country’; ‘Fringader Gate’; ‘In Tipperary’

Correspondence from Norman Lindsay and Brian James (‘to Harry’), extract from letter written by Norman Lindsay