Guide to the Papers of Shelton Lea [MSS 111]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Shelton Lea
Manuscript Number MSS 111
Last Updated June 2021
Extent  8 boxes + 1 AV box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Drafts of poems, notebooks, correspondence, and audiovisual material relating to Shelton Lea

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

This collection relates to poet Shelton Lea and includes poetry drafts, notebooks, diaries, posters, flyers, newspaper clippings, photographs, slides, audio cassettes, correspondence, and event invitations. It contains copies of Chrysalis (1970) and drafts of The Paradise Poems (1973)

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Wikipedia article:

Shelton Lea was born in Fitzroy in 1946 and was adopted into the famous Darrell Lea family in Toorak. Running away from home at the age of 12, Shelton lived on the streets and spent time in reform schools until the age of 16 when he was imprisoned in Pentridge. After publishing his first poems in 1962, Lea became a key figure on the live poetry circuit in Melbourne, also publishing the work of several other poets through Eaglemont Press and dealing in rare literary and fine art books. The recipient of two Australia Council grants and Arts Victoria funding to read his works throughout rural Victoria, Lea read in pubs and at festivals, schools, and prisons. He saw nine collections of his poetry published prior to his death in 2005

Austlit : Shelton Lea retrieved 21 July 2020

State Library of Victoria catalogue record retrieved 21 July 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 If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items.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collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright.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 Shelton Lea, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 111, Box [Number], Folder [Number]


Check with Curator

Related Material

Further papers of Shelton Lea are held by the State Library of Victoria at YMS 13526


Subject Keywords



Shelton Lea, 1946-2005 — Archives

Australian poetry — 20th century

Personal Names

Shelton Lea, 1946-2005




Container List


Box 1

Folder 1

Photographs of Shelton Lea, undated

Folder 2

Ballad of the Latrobe-Valley-O

Beyond Rehabilitation

Split Lips

Folder 3

Poetry drafts

Folder 4


News articles

Poetry drafts


Folder 5

Social Security file

Folder 6


Folder 7


Folder 8


Folder 9

The Paradise Poems - includes galley


Box 2

Folder 10

Chockablock with Dawn

Dressing My Girl in a Tu-Tu and other poetry

Folder 11

Palantine Madonna


Folder 12

The Paradise Poems

Folder 13

Working notes

Ballad of the Latrobe-Valley-O

Folder 14


Working notes


Folder 15


Working notes



Folder 16

Poetry from A Peach Melba Hat. 1/2

Folder 17

Poetry from A Peach Melba Hat. 2/2


Box 3

Folder 18

Corners in Cans

Folder 19

Corners in Cans

Folder 20

Corners in Cans

Folder 21

Corners in Cans

‘Matson’s Death’. 1/2

Folder 22

Corners in Cans

‘Matson’s Death’. 2/2


Box 4

Folder 23


Folder 24

1988 diary

Folder 25



Various works

Interview - Michael Sharkey

Folder 26

Posters and flyers

Folder 27

1984 diary

Folder 28


Various works

Folder 29



Box 5

Folder 30

News items (and photocopies)

Various papers


Folder 31

Various papers


Folder 32

Various papers


Folder 33

Papers from concertina folder 1

Folder 34

Papers from concertina folder 2

Folder 35

Papers from concertina folder 3

Folder 36

Papers from concertina folder 4


Box 6

Folder 37

Copies of First Covers of Nos. 1 - 10 of Angry Penguins Broadsheets

(Presented to Shelton Lea as a birthday present in 1987 - from Barrett Reid)

Folder 38

Correspondence 1988 - 1990

Folder 39

Correspondence 1990 - 1991

Folder 40

Three copies of Chrysalis - a limited edition of one hundred signed and numbered copies containing two original drawings and two written poems.  First and only edition 1970. Joel Elengerg - plates and Shelton Lea - poetry

Folder 41

Programmes for poetry readings

Correspondence in relation to poetry readings

Clippings and articles in relation to Shelton Lea, Poets and poetry

Folder 42

Newspaper clippings

Folder 43

Newspaper clippings

Folder 44

Newspaper clippings

Programmes for poetry readings

Copies of: ‘Caloundra Capers : Drawings and Sea Songs’, ed. Christine Webb; The Maggie Poem by Shelton Lea; Beyond Rehabilitation poems by Shelton Lea; Split Lips by Shelton Lea

‘Brando Meets Kookaburra’ poems by Shelton Lea and Karl Gallagher

‘Spare Angles’, poems


Box 7

Folder 45

Copies of - Romantic Hero (Obsolete), poems by Shelton Lea; The Tale of a Mean Man by Shelton Lea; Words on Walls - a Survey of Contemporary Visual Poetry by Barrett Reid - exhibition programme, 7 March 1989 to 23 April 1989; ‘Advantage Receiver’, poems by Shelton Lea; ‘Street Poems’ by Shelton Lea; ‘The Image’, four poems by Richard Tipping; ‘Night Poem’ by Shelton Lea

Folder 46

Copies of: ‘Parachute Poems’; ‘A Flash of Life’, compiled by Shelton Lea and Robert Harris

Correspondence 1977 - 1989

Folder 47

1972 – 1983: Applications for grants, poetry drafts, correspondence, references, programmes for poetry readings

Folder 48

Letters of referral / introductions and references for Shelton Lea from teachers at institutions where he has worked (including Warragul Technical School) plus friends, 1983 - 1984

Folder 49

Poetry drafts

Folder 50

Correspondence from Alfred Gourley (17 June 1991) and Paul S. Haigh (late 1990), together with articles by and about Haigh, prison

Folder 51

Correspondence from Paul S. Haigh (late 1990), together with articles by and about Haigh, prison


Box 8

Folder 52


Letters dated for period, 9 July 1988 – 8 January 1990, and with undated greetings cards

Folder 53


5 notebooks with drafts of poems, jottings, prose sections, and notepaper inserts throughout

Folder 54

Literary drafts

Handwritten and typed notes, jottings, ideas for poems, annotated and undated

Folder 55


Invitations to festivals, readings, book launches

Two newspaper articles: Brett Quine, ‘Grand dreams man goes free’ [undated, uncited newspaper]; and Graeme Johnstone, ‘Freezing without the cane’, Herald Sun, 13 November 1991


Audiovisual material

Box 9

54 slides and 16 cassette tapes, and 1 undated photograph of Shelton Lea