Guide to the Papers of Kel Semmens [MSS 323]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Kel Semmens
Manuscript Number MSS 323
Last Updated June 2021
Extent 3 boxes
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Correspondence, newspaper articles, and published literary works of various authors collection by Kel Semmens

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

The papers of Kel Semmens largely comprise correspondence, published literary works of various authors including poems, reviews, and articles, and some literary drafts relating to Ian Maxwell. Reviews and articles are predominantly related to medicine, healthcare, and surgery. Australian author correspondents include Judith Rodriguez, James McAuley, Graeme Kinross-Smith, A D Hope and Hazel Rowley

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Kel (Kelman) Semmens was born in 1921 and worked as a general practitioner for the Latrobe University Student Health Service. He published works of poetry from 1959-1992 as well as a small number of non-fiction works

Austlit : Kel Semmens retrieved 10 August 2020


Administrative Information


Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Check with Curator

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 If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items.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collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright.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

Preferred Citation

Papers of Kel Semmens, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 323, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


Check with Curator

Separated Material

This collection originally included the publications listed below. These works have been catalogued separately, and added to the Academy Library collection (separated 12 July 2013)

Snorri Sturluson, Hakonar Saga Goda, Melbourne, 1954; Ian Maxwell is other author [based on National Library of Australia catalogue description]

H. Palmer Phillips, Memories and Reflections, Bentleigh, Victoria, 1974, with message to Kel Semmens, January 1976

Ian R. Maxwell, Scansion Scanned, with message to Kel Semmens, 1966

Department of English Occasional Paper No. 6. Art and Infatuation. Joint Seminar of the English Department University College, Australian Defence Force Academy and The School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, April 1986

Department of English Occasional Paper No. 12. Psychopathology in Australian Life. A Joint Seminar of the English Department University College, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra and The School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, April 1988

Eric Osborn, Building for eternity: Three Addresses, Uniting Church in Australia. Synod of Victoria. Theological Hall, Parkville, Victoria, 1987

The Bulletin, Christmas Number, 9 December 1959

Education Department, Victoria, The School Paper, 1901, vol. III, no. 28 [fragile]; July-August 1966, nos. 754, 768-69, 782-83

Lavengro Vol. 1: A Critical Reading, 18 pages, no author or publishing details

Scaldic Verses, various pagination, no author or publishing details

Villon, 21 pages, no author or publishing details; has message to Kel Semmens, 1969

Ballads Burns, various pagination, no author or publishing details; with message from Claire Eppers [author?], 6 April 1943

Valmai McDonald and Rita Erlich (eds.), Colloquy: An Informal Review of the Arts, no. 2, 1969


Subject Keywords



Kel Semmens, 1921-2001 — Archives

Australian poetry — 20th century

Authors, Australian

Australian healthcare — 20th century

Personal Names

Kel Semmens, 1921-2001

Ian Maxwell, 1901-1979






Container List


Box 1

Folder 1


1966; 15 July 1975 – October 1990 – 1970s letters include letters from Moss Cass, Member for Maribyrnong, and medicine-related letters from University of Melbourne, Australian National University and La Trobe University

Folder 2

Newspaper clippings

‘New technique in a surgery’, Herald, 30 April 1957

‘Paintings turn into tables’, The Age, 15 October 1968

John Sorell, ‘Don’t write off our poets’, The Herald, 6 August 1970

Alister Kershaw, ‘Adrian Lawlor’, The Bulletin Literary Supplement, 30 September 1980

Anna Murdoch, ‘A painter’s journey to world fame’, The Age, 29 August 1985

‘Who’s who in research’, A.P.M. News, 6 April [year not cited]

Fragment of article on A.D. Hope, uncited, undated source

Folder 3

Literary Works

‘Poems etc. by Others & Info.’ – file on poets with their works organised as follows, and occasionally annotated and/or with complimentary slips or notes

Alec King; A.D. Hope; Hector Monro; Max Richards; Norman Gardner; Francis Webb; A.G. Austin; Kevin Hart; A.D. Trendall; Jamie Grant, with letter, dated 12 March 1993; Vincent Buckley; Philip Martin, with letter, dated 9 February 1986; Bruce Sims; Alister Kershaw; Alfred Jarry; Siv Cedering Fox; Paul Naomis; Dorothy Auchterlonie; Thomas Shapcott; Judith Rodriguez; Alan Frost; Bertram Higgins; Ann Janette [Whittaker?]

Folder 4

Literary works

‘Papers by Others’ [Part 1] – file on writers with works (mainly medical and healthcare-related) organised as follows, and occasionally annotated and/or with complimentary slips or notes:

Lotte Mulligan and Glenn Mulligan; Lotte Mulligan, John K. Graham and Judith Richards; Lotte Mulligan; Jeff Brownrigg; B.W. Thair and A.B. Wardrop; Anthony R. [Tony] Moore; ‘Medical Humanities. Week 1. The Patient’s Experience of Illness’; ‘Medical Humanities. Week 21. The Relatives’ Experience of Illness’; ‘Medical Humanities. Week 3. Portraits of Doctors in Literature’; ‘Medical Humanities. Week 4. The Landscape of Ethics [and] Attitudes Towards Studentship’; ‘Medical Humanities. Week 5. Hindrances to Communication’; ‘Medical Humanities. Week 6. Public Regard for Professional Performance [and] Social Aspects of Sickness and Care’; Arthur M. Hill; Hannu Vuori and Matti Rimpela; Graeme Davison; N.G. Butlin; N.A.M. Rodger; John Hirst; J.P. Polya; John Howley; Janet Dawson; Charles F. Simmons et al.; J.P. Guilford; D.M. Myers; Peter Manzie; F.G. Davidson; Janet Dawson


Box 2

Folder 5

Literary works

‘Papers by Others’ [Part 2] - file on writers with works (mainly medical and healthcare-related) organised as follows, and occasionally annotated and/or with complimentary slips or notes:

Twenty Club; Sir John Barry; J. Lowy; Brian Ellis; ‘Draft Health Platform’; ‘Background Paper on Draft Health Platform’; Moss Cass; Trevor C. Beard; H.J. McCloskey; Ronald Melzack; D.H. Briggs and R.L. Smyth

Folder 6

Literary works

Keith Macartney Memorial Theatre Fund Benefit Performance [souvenir program], The University of Melbourne, 22 September 1972

Australian Capital Territory Hyatid Control Council, Campaign Booklet: The Main Questions and Answers on the Nature and Control of Cysticercosis (Hydatids and Sheep Measles, revised, Canberra, 1973

Some requirements for Health Education on Alcohol and Alcoholism. National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra, April 1975

One Hundred and Twentieth Annual Commencement, University of Melbourne, 12 April 1975

Robert Lindsay, Survey 9: Janet Dawson National Gallery of Victoria 6 July to 19 August 1979, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1979

The Queen’s College Centenary Wyvern Dinner. Melbourne Town Hall, 14 August 1987

Department of Mathematics [handbook], La Trobe University, Melbourne, 1973

Queen’s College, “Options for Humanity”, The Sir Douglas Wright Symposium”, 18 August 1987

Folder 7


Handwritten notes and short notes, including a short, typed critique of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ from Field and Stream, undated

Folder 8

Extra Series - Correspondence

The following sets of correspondence are also represented by Australian writers/poets such as Judith Rodriguez, James McAuley, Graeme Kinross-Smith:



Frank Dalby Davison, 5 July 1960 – 15 February 1969

Dorothy Green, 16 June 1966 – 28 February 1968

Len Annois, 28 January 1963 – April 1963

Other 1960s letters, 16 July 1959 – 2 December 1969



For the period 23 July 1970 – October 1979


Folder 9

Extra Series - Correspondence


For the period 12 May 1980 – 9 December 1989


For the period 19 May 1990 – 16 March 1996


Folder 10

Extra Series - Correspondence

1960s -1980s

Letters to and from A D Hope, 16 January 1963 – 7 February 1986



Letters part of a bundle in the name of Hazel Rowley, 24 November 1969 – 6 April 1995

Undated letters

Postcards, greetings cards, for the period 1968 – 1993


Box 3

Folder 11

Extra Series - Newspaper clippings

‘Libby Booth talks to Our Icelandic Falcon’, Farrago, 25 July 1974

Alan Rusbridger, ‘Obituary: Viscount Masserene and Ferrard: Passing of a dinosaur’, Guardian Weekly, early 1993

John Hetherington, ‘Farmer-author high on honor roll’ [about Frank Dalby Davison], [uncited undated newspaper]

Ian Maxwell, ‘In the Suburbs’ [poem], uncited undated newspaper]

Folder 12

Extra Series - Literary drafts

Ian Maxwell material, 1930s to 1970s: draft manuscripts for poems, prose works, articles, and research papers, including a little correspondence from the 1940s to 1960s

Folder 13

Extra Series - Literary works

Small file with annotated research articles by Francis Collinson, Frederic Prokosch, Herbert Bower, Edward St John Gorey, Judith Wright, Bulletin of the Comediantes

Folder 14

Extra Series - Miscellaneous

Frank Dalby Davison: a glimpse of the man and his work, Angus and Robertson [1971?]

‘La Trobe University, Installation of the Chancellor by His Excellency the Governor of Victoria’, 8 March 1967

‘The Barnstormers present “Caravan”', undated [1960s?]

Photograph of Frank Dalby Davison, undated [-1960s?]

‘A Dinner to honour Frank Dalby Davison’, Melbourne, 12 November 1968 [invitation]

‘Trinity College: Vera Jennings’ [thanksgiving service, 1986]

‘A Tribute to Laurie from Nornie Gude' [1986]

‘La Trobe University, Conferring of the degree of Doctor of Letters, Monday, 16 December 1991’

‘Dorothy Braund Eastgate Gallery, 1990' [art exhibition catalogue]; contains painted inserts with notes, short letters

2 University of Melbourne receipts, early 1994