Guide to the Papers of John Tranter [MSS 207]

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Manuscript Name Papers of John Tranter
Manuscript Number MSS 207
Last Updated October 2021
Extent 1 box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Literary papers, including drafts of poetry, prose, reports, correspondence. Held both as printed material and on floppy disks.

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

A collection of literary papers of John Tranter

Date Range of Content

1984 - 1991, plus photocopies of a journal dated 1969.

Biographical Note

Wikipedia article:

John Tranter is an Australian poet, publisher and editor. After receiving his BA in 1970, Tranter worked as an editor, including as a producer for ABC radio programmes. He has published over twenty books of his own poetry, many of which have won awards. These include Under Berlin (1993), The Floor of Heaven (1993), At the Florida (1993), Urban Myths: 210 Poems: New and Selected (2006) and Starlight (2010).

As a poetry editor, he founded the electronic journal Jacket, the Australian Poetry Library website, now hosted by the University of Sydney, and co-founded Journal of Poetics Research. He also edited anthologies of Australian poetry, including The New Australian Poetry (1975), The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry (with Philip Mead, 1991), Tin Wash Dish (1988), and The Best Australian Poetry anthologies 2007, 2011 and 2012.

As a radio producer, he co-designed Books & Writing for the ABC in 1975, which ran until 2012. 1987-8, he was head of the ABC Radio National weekly arts program, Radio Helicon.

In 2009, Tranter completed a Doctor of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong.


Author record, John Tranter, AustLit (, St Lucia: The University of Queensland, 2002-. [Retrieved from 17/01/2019].

Tranter, J. (2012). John Tranter: Biography. Retrieved from, 17/01/2019.


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 If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items.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collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright.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

Preferred Citation

Papers of John Tranter, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 207, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was acquired from John Tranter in two consignments.

Subject Keywords


Australian poetry, poets, Australian poets, Australian editors, editors, radio producers


Personal Names

John Ernest Tranter 1943-

John Tranter

John E Tranter

Mark Pallas

Jennifer Heaslop

Jo Moore

Patrick Lynch

Chris Kruger

Peter J Kruse

Rupert Thompson

Dorian Hawthorn

Tim Smith


Rona Simpson

Joy H Breshan

Randolph Taylor


Corporate Names

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Australian Poetry Library



Singer, songwriter, poet, writer


Container List

Box 1

Folder 1 
Correspondence, poetry, conference paper, c.1986

Correspondence with L. Hard with listing of material on magnetic discs
ACLALS Conference, Singapore University, June, 1986 - ‘What’s New About the New Australian Poetry?’, John Tranter
‘The White Hole Paradox’ - for Martin Johnston
‘The Subtitles’.

Folder 2 
Seven 5.25” magnetic floppy disks, 1986

four Dysan double-sided, double density, 48 TPI disks;
two Nashua double-sided, double density 96 TPI soft sectored with hub ring MD-2F
one Control Data flexible disk, double-sided, double density.

List in Folder 1 only states contents of four disks:

Disk one: Mostly current poems, some prose.

Disk two: Drafts of two poems, ‘During the War’ (labelled City1, City2...) in eight drafts and ‘Halothane’ in four drafts.

Disk three: Drafts of poems ‘Crocodile Rag’, ‘Gloria’, various reports to the Literature Board, talks and reviews.

Disk four: Letters and lists of addresses.

Information is stated to be encoded in Wordstar for IBM.

Folder 3 
Printed copies of material stored on disk in Folder 2, 1986

Folder 4 
Printed copies of material stored on disk in Folder 2, 1986

Folder 5 
Photocopy of 1969 free journal Free Grass, 1993

Also includes correspondence noting the purpose and history of Free Grass and a copy of an untitled poem authored by Richard Tipping in praise of Free Grass. The copy was sent by John Tranter to the Academy Library in 1993; this reading copy was added to MSS 207 in Jan 2019.