Skip to content

Wilson/Bonython Collection

Tanglewood tales: a wonder-book for girls and boys, Nathaniel Hawthorne, undated but circa 1910In 2009 the University Libraries selected several hundred/thousand volumes for purchase from the family collection of the solicitor, company director and politician, Ian Bonython Cameron Wilson AM (1932-2013).

Ian Wilson was the son of Sir Keith Wilson, a prominent United Australia Party and Liberal Party politician and Elizabeth (Lady Betty Wilson CBE). Lady Betty was a granddaughter of Sir John Langdon Bonython, owner of The Advertiser and a member of the first federal House of Representatives, and a greThe Sunday at home, Religious Tract Society, 1909-1910at-granddaughter of Sir John Cox Bray, South Australia's first native-born premier.

The books selected represented the reading interests over many decades of two Adelaide old establishment families, enabling the acquisition of many works not traditionally collected by a 19th -early 20th century academic library. Such works included popular fiction and science, new women novels, and books on royalty, travel and social etiquette.

Several hundred works were selected to form the Wilson/Bonython Collection located in Special Collections, including signed and association copies, first edition of novels, and works representative of the reading habits of 19th century wealthy and cultured Adelaide families. Many books were sent to John Bonython for review by The Advertiser and are annotated and often accompanied by letters from the authors.


The world of sound: six lectures delivered before a juvenile auditory at the Royal Institution, Christmas 1919, William Bragg, 1920 Thames illustrated: a picturesque journeying from Richmond to Oxford, John Leyland, 1897 Elizabeth our Queen, Richard Dimbleby, 1953 Poetical works, edited by James Hannay; with illustrations by E. H. Wehnert and others, Edgar Allan Poe, 1852


Rare Books & Special Collections

The University of Adelaide
Rare Books & Special Collections
Level 1, Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


Phone: +61 8 8313 5224