Guide to the Papers of Roderic Quinn [MSS 066]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Roderic Quinn
Manuscript Number MSS 066
Last Updated October 2021
Extent 1 AV box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Collection of manuscripts, photographs and letters  

Collection Subject Type 


Scope and Content

Album in half morocco containing a collection of Roderic Quinn’s manuscripts, photographs and letters

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Wikipedia article:

Roderic Quinn was born in Sydney, to parents who emigrated from Galway in 1855. He was educated at Catholic schools, meeting Christopher Brennan in his early years and forming a life-long friendship with E.J. Brady at the Marist Brothers' School. After finishing school he studied law and worked at a variety of jobs, including as produce merchant and school teacher in the Riverina, before becoming the editor of the North Sydney News.

During the 1890s Quinn published his first poems in the Bulletin and quickly established himself as one of Australia's most popular and well respected poets. His first collection, The Hidden Tide (1899), was well received, attracting positive comment from W.B. Yeats. It was followed by The Circling Hearths in 1901. Quinn published a novel, Mostyn Stayne, in 1897 and regularly wrote short stories for the Bulletin, but he was most admired for his poetry. He wrote prolifically and published two more volumes in his lifetime, supporting himself almost entirely from the proceeds of his poetry. His poetry, however, differed from the predominant bush ballads of the time. He drew inspiration from later nineteenth century English poetry and Irish poetry of the Celtic Twilight, bringing frequent comparisons with Victor Daley. A number of his poems were published individually in broadsheet format, and he also wrote the lyrics to several songs.

Quinn was a leading member of the Dawn and Dusk Club in the late 1890s. He never married, living with members of his family and in a boarding house for the last twenty years of his life. In 1925 he received a Commonwealth Literary Fund pension of £1 a week. He died in 1949. Quinn's reputation has never reached the level of the early 1900s, but his poetry is often included in anthologies.

Quinn was a brother of Patrick Quinn and uncle to Marjorie Quinn.

Reference: Austlit -


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 Roderic Quinn, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 66, Box [Number], Folder [Number].

Additional Information

Related Material

Additional material relating to Roderic Quinn can be found in MSS 62 – Papers of Dame Mary Gilmore

Further papers of Roderic Quinn and Dame Mary Gilmore are held by the National Library of Australia at MS 3415, MS 8674 and in the multiple Mary Gilmore manuscript collections

Separated Material 

This collection originally included the poem 'Farewell' written in honour of Donald Macdonell, late Chief Secretary of NSW, and General Secretary of A.W.U. who died 22 October, 1911. It has been catalogued separately and added to Special Collections’ rare books run at PR9619.3 .Q5 F3 1911.


Subject Keywords 



Dawn and Dusk Club (Australia)

Poets, Australian - Archives

Australian poetry - 19th century

Australian poetry - 20th century

Personal Names

Roderic Quinn, 1867-1949

Dame Mary Gilmore, 1865-1962

Dora Wilcox-Moore, 1873-1953

Mick Paul, 1888-1945

James Devaney, 1890-1976

Lala Fisher, 1872-1929

John Le Gay Brereton, 1871-1933


Poets, writers


Container List


Box 1

Folder 1

Typewritten notes on Roderick Quinn after his death

Reproduction of a photograph of Quinn (with photocopy) signed by his friends and associates

Receipt signed by Quinn for the payment of the poem “The River and the Road” (31 January 1898)

Handwritten manuscript of the poem “The River and the Road” (January 1898)

Photograph of Le Gay Brereton and Quinn at Henry Lawson’s funeral (with photocopy)

Handwritten manuscript of the poem “Over the Way”

Photograph of Quinn (thought to be inscribed by Lala Fisher)

Photostat of a letter from Quinn to Lala Fisher (28 August 1912)

Note written by Quinn for Lala Fisher (6 March 1911)

Handwritten manuscript of the poem “The Street Lamp”

Handwritten manuscript of the poem “The Hawk Aloft”

Two receipts signed by Quinn for the payment of the poems “The World Between” (26 November 1906) and “When the Long Days Come” (6 August 1910)

Letter written by Quinn to James Devaney (28 November 1898)

Photograph of an etching of Quinn by Mick Paul

Handwritten manuscript of the poem “Whose Eyes?”

Handwritten letter from Dame Mary Gilmore to Dora Wilcox-Moore (10 April 1953)