Guide to the Papers of Elizabeth Von Leven [MSS 333]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Elizabeth Von Leven
Manuscript Number MSS 333
Last Updated October 2021
Extent 15 boxes + 1 AV box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Literary papers, including drafts of poems, novels, manuscript collections. Also includes published words, including journals, zines, and published novels. Some correspondence.

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

A collection of literary papers of Elizabeth Von Leven, created 1984 - 1996. The collection includes drafts of most of her body of published work, including novels, poems, short fiction, as well as several unpublished novels. It also includes some correspondence, as well as a collection of published material.

Date Range of Content

1984 - 1997

Biographical Note

Elizabeth Von Leven was a Catholic sister in the Society of the Faithful Companions of Jesus. She spent most of her career as a primary and secondary school teacher, retiring as principal of Parish Primary Schools in 1985. After that, she wrote poetry, articles, short fiction and novels for children and adults. She also edited a bi-annual news magazine for her order and edited several publications published internally by the Faithful Companions of Jesus.

Her works include the children’s books The Search (1990) and Dawning Point (1991) and the novels Before the Leaves Wither (1993) and Time Inside Out (1994). Her shorter work was published in a range of publications, including Madonna magazine, the school magazine Orbit, and The Month. The Search was translated into Finnish and published as Missä olet, äiti Ly? (1990).

Author record, Elizabeth Von Leven, AustLit (, St Lucia: The University of Queensland, 2002-. [Retrieved from, 26/11/2018].

Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus. (1999). Writer’s Corner: A Collection of Poetry by Elizabeth Von Leven, fcJ (RIP). Retrieved from, 11/26/2018.


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 If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items.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collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright.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 authored by Elizabeth Von Leven for private study and research is approved. 

Preferred Citation

Papers of Elizabeth Von Leven, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 333, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was acquired from Elizabeth Von Leven in five consignments between 1993 and 1997.

Subject Keywords


Australian poetry, poets, Australian poets, 20th century poetry, Australian novelists, novelists, religious poetry, women authors, nun’s writings, children’s fiction, genealogy.

Personal Names

Elizabeth Von Leven 1931-1998

Norma Elizabeth Von Leven

Betty Vonne

Corporate Names

Faithful Companions of Jesus


Teacher, poet, writer.


Container List


Box 1

Folder 1
Short article, ‘Theology of Books’, 1988

Folder 2
Short article, ‘No-no… Ah! Yes!’ – three drafts, no date

Folder 3
Typed drafts, ‘Only the best is good enough for God: In loving memory of Sister Gerda Prytz FCJ’, Sister Anthony Buckley, FCJ, 1993

Drafts and a pre-publication paste-up of Sister Anthony Buckley’s account of Sr. Gerda Prytz.

Folder 4
Poems at July 1994, 1989 - 1994

Folder 5
Original version of A Quiet Life, early 1990s

A profile of Mother Imelda Bartlett FCJ, re-written for Eileen McDonald FCJ and edited.

Folder 6
Drafts and pre-publication paste-up of An Excellent Thing in a Woman, c.1991

A profile of Mother Veronica Lardner FCJ, by Anthony Buckley FCJ and edited by Von Leven.

Folder 7
Children’s picture stories – non-published at 1994, 1989 - 1992

Includes ‘Best Train of the Year’, ‘In Search of a Name’, ‘The Syncopated Frog’, ‘Stormy Weather’, ‘Noses, Pimples, and Roses’.

Folder 8
Adult stories – drafts – non-published at 1994, 1988 - 1993

Includes ‘Party Dress’ (‘Poor but Proud’), ‘Telling the Truth’ (‘What Can a Bloke Do?’), ‘Dear Joan’, ‘Back to Normal’.

Folder 9
Short story exercises, 1986 - 1987

Folder 10
Published poems, 1984 - 1993

Includes typed drafts and handwritten notes.

Folder 11
Published poems at January 1993, 1989 - 1992

Includes typed drafts and handwritten notes.


Box 2

Folder 12
Picture book draft, Tears for Bettina and other material, 1986 - 1994

Includes the original illustrations for Tears for Bettina and drafts for ‘Barefoot in the Grass’, ‘Thomas Tomkins’, ‘Explore’, ‘All in the Mind’, ‘Miranda Says’, ‘One Less Mouth to Feed’, ‘White Gloves’, ‘The Intruder’.

Folder 13
Time Inside Out – corrections, May 1993

Time Inside Out originally had a working title of The Hub.

Folder 14
The Hub - second draft, February 1993

Note reading: 'Now to be called Time Inside Out (unless changed before publishing).'

Folder 15
The Hub draft - now named Time Inside Out, August 1993

Folder 16
Workshops, 1992 - 1993

Folder 17
The Hub – chapters 13 to end, September-October 1992

Folder 18
The Hub, 1992 - 1993

Includes drafts and notes.

Folder 19
Original of Time Inside Out, working title The Hub notebook, c.1992


Box 3

Folder 20
Original of Tring Trong Trima notebook, 1989 - 1993

Cover note reads: ‘Written with breaks from 1989-1991. Revised 1992. Revised again 1993.’

Folder 21
Original of Tring Trong Trima notebook pages, c.1993

Folder 22
Hand-drawn map of the Tring Trong Trima setting, c.early 1990s

Folder 23
Tring Trong Trima – revised, September 1993

Folder 24
Tring Trong Trima – second version, January 1992

Folder 25
Tring Trong Trima draft, October 1992

Folder 26
Tring Trong Trima draft, October 1991


Box 4

Folder 27
Tring Trong Trima corrected passages, October 1991

Folder 28
Tring Trong Trima first version, fourth draft, 1990

Folder 29
Tring Trong Trima draft, 1988 - 1991

Includes a hand-drawn map of the Land of Trima, dated 1988.

Folder 30
Tring Trong Trima draft finished 1990, worked April-May 1991, 1990 - 1991

Includes a hand-drawn map.

Folder 31
Tring Trong Trima draft with notes, mid-1991

Folder 32
Vanishing Point notebook - last chapter and rewritten passages, 1988

Published as Dawning Point.

Folder 33
Dawning Point notebook, 1987 - 1988

Folder 34
Some corrections to the original The Search, c.1989 - 1990

Notebook. The Search was published in 1990.


Box 5

Folder 35
First ideas for The Search notebook, 1988

Folder 36
Original The Search notebook, 1988

Folder 37
Original The Search notebook, 1988

Folder 38
The Search - last chapters of original, 1988

Folder 39
The Search – number 2 working copy, cutting back material, 1989

Folder 40
The Search – working copy, 1989

Note reads ‘Cutting 20,000 words to make a novel of approx. 30,000 words for children, 9-13 years.’

Folder 41
The Search – final draft as presented to publishers (home copy), 1989

Folder 42
The Search – written as an exercise for novel writing class, 1989

Folder 43
Dawning Point – correction to fourth draft, c.1989 - 1990


Box 6

Folder 44
Dawning Point – fourth draft, 1989

Folder 45
Dawning Point at this stage called Vanishing Point, early 1988

Tutorial workshop, third draft.

Folder 46
Dawning Point original material, 1984 - 1987

Detailed note on folder reads: ‘Written as an exercise for novel writing class, 1987. Novella – ‘Black Diamond’ or ‘Elya’; later Vanishing Point. 1st book written. 2nd published.’ Folder includes short story ‘Poorme’, later integrated into Dawning Point.

Folder 47
Copies of press clippings and invitation to launch, c.1993

Folder 48
The Search editor’s corrections on some pages, 1989

Folder 49
Rough original handwritten notebook, Before the Leaves Wither, c.1986

Folder 50
Before the Leaves Wither editor’s corrections, early 1990s

Folder 51
Before the Leaves Wither edited copy LPH, early 1990s

Folder 52
Before the Leaves Wither final draft, October 1991


Box 7

Folder 53
Mellow Leaves of Autumn published as Before the Leaves Wither draft, August 1991

Folder 54
Before the Leaves Wither first called Mellow Leaves of Autumn second draft, early 1991

Folder 55
Before the Leaves Wither first called Mellow Leaves of Autumn five chapters, 1987 - 1988

Written for Holmesglen course. Editing by Mike Slusher.

Folder 56
Dawning Point completed manuscript, 1990 - 1991

Folder 57
Dawning Point editor’s copy before publishing, 1990 - 1991

Folder 58
Dawning Point fifth draft, 1990

Folder 59
Dawning Point final copy, 1990

Folder 60
Some copies of workshopped work, 1994

Includes Whispering Hill.

Folder 61
Time Inside Out draft with emendations, 1994


Box 8

Folder 62
Poems, 1994

Folder 63
Dawning Point final draft, 1990

Folder 64
Time Inside Out final draft, July - August 1993

Folder 65
Whispering Hill draft - Joel, 1993

Folder 66
Icecream Special and ‘Pin Time’ drafts, 1994 - 1995

Icecream Special is a proposed picture story for 7-9-year-olds. ‘Pin Time’ is a poem.

Folder 67
Fourth Corner second draft, c.1994

Folder 68
Tring Trong Trima draft, November 1993 - March 1994

Folder 69
Whispering Hill drafts and workshops, 1994


Box 9

Folder 70
Last draft of Whispering Hill, February 1994

Folder 71
Short story drafts, 1993 - 1995

Includes ‘Miranda Says’ and ‘Telling the Truth’.

Folder 72
Drafts and pre-publication roughs of The McDonald Sisters: Memoirs of Eileen McDonald FCJ, ed. By Elizabeth von Leven, 1994

Folder 73
Whispering Hill drafts and workshop copies, c.1993

Folder 74
Whispering Hill second version, c.1993

Includes notebook of changes.

Folder 75
Cloudland chapter one, c.1992

Folder 76
Whispering Hill draft with emendations, c.1991

Folder 77
Possible stories, c.1991

Includes ‘Experiences of the FCJ Kailahun Community during the Liberian invasion of Sierra Leone’; ‘Marnie Says No’; ‘Grit’; ‘Stormy Weather’; ‘Icecream Special’; ‘Boldmart Adventure’. Also includes draft chapters titled ‘The Runaways’; ‘Seed Song’.

Folder 78
Notebook and loose papers, c.1994


Box 10

Folder 79
The Fourth Corner, first draft, 20 February 1994

Folder 80
Pre-publication Faithful Companions of Jesus newsletter, 1996

Folder 81
Short story, article, poetry, and song drafts, 1995 - 1996

Includes ‘White Gloves’; ‘Mind Games’; ‘The Intruder’; ‘Tears for Bettina’; ‘House on Clunie Hill’; ‘Back to Normal’; ‘Grit’; ‘Christmas – A Simple Season’; ‘In Search of a Name’; ‘Breakwater’; ‘Born Again’.

Folder 82
Poetry and song drafts, 1992 - c.1996

Folder 83
Draft of Magic Moments, an anthology of three plays, c.1995

The three plays were originally performed by Von Leven’s primary school students. This folder includes a typed draft of the three plays for an anthology as well as earlier versions, presumably from the periods in which they were performed.

Folder 84
Throw a Stone -workshop drafts, 1995

Folder 85
Pin points: reflections on a crazy pathway, draft poetry anthology, 1995

Includes an alphabetical list of poems accepted or published to September 1995, a brief biography of Von Leven.

Folder 86
Whispering Hill third draft, December 1995

Folder 87
Whispering Hill draft four, 1995

Folder 88
Draft of poetry, picture stories, songs, mid-1990s


Box 11

Folder 89
Whispering Hill fourth draft, February 1996

Folder 90
Whispering Hill fifth draft, 1996

Folder 91
Tring Trong Trima original draft, 1989-1990

Folder 92
Tring Trong Trima second draft, October 1996

Folder 93
Tring Trong Trima third version, c.1996

Folder 94
Faithful Companions of Jesus International Poetry Book, no. 2, draft for proof reading, 1996

Also includes a pre-publication paste-up of the anthology. Elizabeth Von Leven was the collection’s editor.

Folder 95-96
Correspondence and media clippings, 1990 - 1997

Includes some fan art.

Folder 97
Whispering Hill fourth draft, August 1996


Box 12

Folder 98
Cloudland - almost last draft, 16 June 1997

Folder 99
Whispering Hill, 1995 - 1996

Folder 100
Three Christmas articles and cover letter, 25 November 1996

Folder 101
Tring Trong Trima draft, 28 May 1997

Folder 102
Cloudland, 1 June 1997

Folder 103
Short story drafts, 1994 - 1997

Includes ‘Professional’ and ‘FCJ Sisters in Paris’. The latter is non-fiction.

Folder 104
First drafts - poetry, 1989 - 1997

Folder 105
FCJ poetry book 1, c.1994

Drafts and submissions for the first FCJ International Poetry Book, edited by Elizabeth Von Leven and published by Beginnings Press, 1994.

Folder 106
Short story and article drafts, 1994


Box 13

Folder 107
Published stories and poems, 1987 - 1995

Consists of distinct groups of items.

Includes issues of magazines in which Von Leven was published. These are AEA Viewpoint, no.15, Winter 1987; Praise, April 1987; Explore, no.4, 1990; Heartland, no. 2, February 1992; Touchdown, vol. 80, no.10, November 1995.

Acceptances and press. Most of these are loose, but two are in sub-folders titled ‘Articles’ and ‘Poetry’.

Catalogues and ephemera advertising Von Leven’s material. Most are from The Open Book. Others include Lutheran Publishing House; Keswick Bookshops.

Includes photocopied and hand-bound prints of published material intended for the internal use of the FCJ community. There are also two printed poems published by Poetica Christi Press on cardstock; ‘Always new’ and ‘Interlude’, both 1992.

Also includes On BeingA Guide to Christian Arts Resources Australia, October 1993.Von Leven is not published in this magazine, but has highlighted elements of Rod Pattenden’s article ‘The Task of the Christian Artist’.

Folder 108
The Search - final draft before editing, c.1990

Folder 109
Dawning Point, c.1991

Folder 110
Time Inside Out, c.1993

Folder 111
Before the Leaves Wither (unedited copy), c.1993


Box 14

Published material, including journals and periodicals.

Folder 112
Spindrift Magazine, no.10, October 1996

Folder 113
Christian Book Newsletter, vol.10, no.7, August 1992

Folder 114
Orbit, vol.79, no.4, May 1994

Folder 115
Sisters Today, vol.65, no.4, July 1993

Folder 116
Ad Altiora, no date

A newsletter for Vaucluse College, edited by Elizabeth Von Leven.

Folder 117
Wasteland, vol.2, no.1, 1993

Folder 118
Prints, vol.3, no.4, December 1985

Folder 119
The Small Times, no.5, October 1988

Folder 120
Muse: Canberra Arts and Entertainment, no.116, January 1993

Folder 121
Gen~narrations: Genazzano FCJ College News, vol.15, no.3, September 1997

Folder 122
Write It, vol.4, no.6, 1997

Folder 123
Northern Perspective, two issues, 1990 - 1993

Includes vol.13, no.2, 1990; vol.16, no.1, 1993.

Folder 124
On Being, two issues, July and October 1993

Folder 125
Studio: A Journal of Christians Writing, three issues, 1992 - 1994

Includes 47, winter 1992; 54, autumn 1994; 56, spring 1994.

Folder 126
Teth: Society Journal FCJ, three issues, 1995 - 1997

Includes Heroines, vol.1, no.1, February 1995; ‘…isms’, vol.2, no.1, February 1997; Companions, vol.3, no.1, February 1997.

Folder 127
Christian Woman, three issues, 1990 - 1997

Includes vol.38, no.10, November 1990; vol.39, no.6, July 1991; vol.44, no.2, March/April 1997.

Folder 128
Kairos: Catholic Journal, three issues, 1995 - 1996

Includes vol.6, no.19, 24 September - 1 October 1995; vol.6, no.25, 17 September - 24 December 1995; vol.7, no.24, 15-22 December 1995.

Folder 129
The Month: A Review of Christian Thought and World Affairs, four issues, 1996 - 1997

Includes May 1996; June 1996; February 1997; June 1997.

Folder 130
Grass Roots, five issues, 1991 - 1992

Includes no.85, June 1991; no.86, August 1991; no. 88, December 1991; no.91, June/July 1992; no.97, June/July 1993.

Folder 131
Madonna, six issues, 1991 - 1997

Includes December 1991; March 1992; August 1992; March 1993; May 1993; February 1997.

Folder 132
Silver Wings, sixteen issues, 1991 - 1997 (with gaps)

Silver Wings was a bimonthly poetry zine published in California. Also includes Christmas 1993 and Christmas 1994 anthologies as well as The Splendor of His Majesty anthology, 1996.


Box 15

Published material, including anthologies and novels.

Folder 133
The Tree of Life anthologies, ed. Jean M Sietzema-Dickson, 1990

There are two The Tree of Life anthologies. The first is undated and slimmer, possibly an earlier edition.

Folder 134
Rhymes for the Times anthology, ed. Ros Flett and Phil Iton, 1993

Folder 135
Before the Beep: A collection of poetry from Poetry Workshop 1989, c.1989

Folder 136
FCJ International Poetry Book, ed. Elizabeth Von Leven, 1994

Folder 137
FCJ International Poetry Book no.2, ed. Elizabeth Von Leven, 1996

Folder 138
Passion and Pilgrimage: Poems and Prayers, ed. Elizabeth Von Leven, 1997

Folder 139
The Fourth Corner: An Account of the Von Leven Family for the Grandchildren Who Wanted to Know More, Elizabeth Von Leven, c.1994

Folder 140
Kathleen Dickie: her notes and writings on Glenthompson and its people, Elizabeth Von Leven, May 1997

Folder 141
The McDonald Sisters: Memoirs of Eileen McDonald FCJ, ed. Elizabeth Von Leven, c.1994

Folder 142
A Quiet Life: Mother Imelda Bartlett FCJ as related by Eileen McDonald FCJ, ed. Elizabeth Von Leven, no date

Folder 143
Sister Euphemia King FCJ, c.1995

Folder 144
Sister Joan Birrane FCJ, Joan Duffus and ed. Elizabeth Von Leven, c.1994

Folder 145
A collection of nine booklets by Sister Anthony Buckley FCJ, 1990s

Includes Gifted Woman, Only the Best is Good Enough for God, Sister Francesca Mc Cabe FCJ, An Excellent Thing in a Woman, Our Sisters: FCJ Co-adjutrix Sisters in Australia 1882 - 1991, The last of the Pioneers: Mother Mary Fitzgerald FCJ, Sister Loretta Byrne FCJ.

Folder 146
The Singing Tree, Holmesglen College of TAFE, 1987

Includes an inscription to Von Leven’s mother.

Folder 147
Dancing Poppies, ed. Karen Wilson, Holmesglen College of TAFE, 1989

Folder 148
Many Hands, ed. Karen Wilson, Holmesglen College of TAFE, 1991

Folder 149
Water of Life: Poems for Reflection and Encouragement, ed. Jean M. Sietzema-Dickson, 1993

Folder 150
Spring Within: Selected Poems, c.1992

Self-published by Von Leven. Includes two editions.

Folder 151
Finding Gold: Poems published since April 1992, c.1994

Self-published by Von Leven.

Folder 152
Moving Mountains, c.1996

Contains poems published between September 1994 and August 1996. Self-published by Von Leven. Includes two editions.

Folder 153
Birthing Green, no date

Self-published by Von Leven. Includes two editions in three copies.

Folder 154
The Search, 1990

Folder 155
Missä olet, äiti Ly?, 1990

Finnish language edition of The Search.

Folder 156
Dawning Point, 1991

Folder 157
Before the Leaves Wither, 1993

Folder 158
Time Inside Out, 1994


AV 1

Disks containing draft material.

AV 1.1
34 x 5.25 inch floppy disks, 1989 - c.1993

Material labelled as drafts of short stories, novels, and poetry. Worked on an Apple IIGS and Apple IIe, and includes two disks of systems utilities.

AV 1.2
5 x 5.25 inch floppy disks, early 1990s

Material labelled as drafts of children’s poems and personal material. Includes a copy of Word Perfect.

AV 1.3
7 x 3.5 inch floppy disks, mid 1990s

Material labelled as drafts of Whispering Hill, Tring Trong Trima, and the profiles of FCJ sisters.