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Edwin Harry Medlin (1920-2013)
Papers 1940-2013

MSS 0217 

Biographical Note

Harry Medlin was born at Orroroo in country South Australia on 2 January 1920. He attended school in Adelaide and studied at the South Australian School of Mines and Industries from 1936 to 1939, while working at the Adelaide Electric Supply Company.

He enlisted in the Australian Army in 1938, was commissioned in 1939 and rose to the rank of captain at the age of 20. He was a prisoner of war of the Japanese in Timor and Java from 23 February 1942 to 23 September 1945, and was awarded the Efficiency Medal as well as five campaign stars and medals.

On leaving the Army in 1946, he commenced studies at the University of Adelaide under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme. He graduated Bachelor of Science in 1949, took Honours in 1951, and completed his PhD on X-ray crystallography in 1956. He was appointed a Lecturer in Physics at the University in 1951, gaining promotion to Senior Lecturer in 1960 and Associate Professor in 1974. He retired in 1985, but remained a strong and lively presence in the University community, especially the Alumni Association, which he helped found, becoming the Inaugural Chair.

Harry Medlin was an active and loyal supporter of the University in many ways. He served for many years on the Education Committee, and was inaugural chair of its Executive Committee from 1980 to 1982. He contributed actively to the governance of the University through membership of the Senate Standing Committee from 1965 to 1980, and the University Council from 1967 to 2003.

He was Deputy Chancellor of the University from 1978 to 1997, and was awarded the degree of Doctor of the University in 1987, and the Centenary Medal for his creative and productive involvement in all aspects of the work, life and culture of universities in 2001.

His wider interests in the University community included the University of Adelaide Staff Association and the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations, the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, the Adelaide University Union (the students' association of the University), and many more groups and causes. He held executive positions in many of these associations over the years.

He was especially active in the alumni affairs of the University in South East Asia, where he maintained many lifelong friendships, and travelled widely to develop contacts with graduates and establish alumni chapters.

Taken from University of Adelaide Archives Provenance UAR-0259 Dr E Harry Medlin [1920 –2013]

Contents Listing

Series 1: Biographical  (1 cm)

  • Seven scanned copies of photographs of Medlin – six taken by Andrew Barker in 2007 and one (in suit and tie) by an unknown, professional photographer, also c2007.
  • Two original photographs, taken at the 1989 Centenary Celebrations of the S.A. Institute of Technology – one b&w of Medlin dressed as Senior Deputy Chancellor, University of Adelaide, and one colour photo of the Centenary procession (Medlin left, Lord Mayor Steve Condous centre, and the Institute’s President Lew Barrett, being led by the city council’s macebearer Don Symons).
  • ‘Intouch’ magazine, Winter 1989, with colour images of Medlin to pages 4 and 5.
  • Internet printout detailing the return of the Medlin stolen bust to Kathleen Lumley College, North Adelaide, The Advertiser, 10 Nov 2017.
  • News cutting, ‘Physicist was also champion of the arts’, The Advertiser, 8 June 2013.
  • Memorial service program, Bonython Hall, 5 April 2013, includes an account of Medlin’s time as a POW, his education and career at Adelaide University, and his wider community interests.
  • Curriculum vitae, detailing family background, education, military service, honorary life memberships and offices held, 9 versions dated between 2001 and 2008 and 1 undated.
  • Brief ‘Statement’ about Medlin, undated.
  • Original electrical worker’s licence, 1 April 1974.
  • Medlin’s Australian Military Forces Certificate of Service as an Officer, no. 39764
  • Photocopy of letter from D. Smith (Secretary to the Governor-General) advising Medlin that his name is being considered for a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM), 19 Nov 1986.
  • Citation for the award of Medlin’s B.Sc (Hons), Ph.D., 6 Apr 1987
  • News article “Harry was one of the lucky ones”, The Courier, 28 Apr 2010, p. 11

Series 2: Personal Correspondence

Folder 1  (1.5 cm)

  • Letter from the Centenary Medal Secretariat proposing Medlin’s receipt of the Centenary Medal for “creative & productive involvement in all aspects of work, life & culture of universities’, 20 Nov 2002 and associated congratulatory letters.
  • Adelaide University letter of offer and handwritten acceptance of position of Visiting Associate Professor, Dept. of Physics and Mathematical Physics, 1996.
  • General Dept. of Physics and personal correspondence.

Folder 2  (3.5 cm)

  • Adelaide University letter extending Medlin’s title of Visiting Assoc. Prof. in the School of Chemistry and Physics, 11 Oct 2004.
  • Geoff Sauer’s edited version of Medlin’s paper “A tribute to Asian friends and colleagues” to be used in a book on the Colombo Plan and the scholars from Malaysia, 2001.
  • Correspondence related to matters addressed in Medlin’s capacity as Chair of the Adelaide University Alumni Assoc.
  • Various emails to newspaper editors (esp. The Australian, The Advertiser and The Sunday Mail) about/in response to articles and letters re the arts, music, war, University education etc.  

Folder 3  (2.5 cm)

  • Variety of personal and Dept. of Physics correspondence.
  • Numerous emails to newspaper editors about (and frequently correcting) published letters; and articles on matters of higher education, war, etc.

Folder 4  (2 cm)

  • Handwritten letters and aerogrammes to physics colleagues (inc. those at University of Cambridge and) University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
  • Correspondence re deteriorating state of Adelaide University Union building; Medlin’s resignation as director of Union Bookshop Board.
  • Statement from Vice Chancellor’s Office (D.R. Stranks) introducing Medlin as Deputy VC, 31 May 1983.
  • Personal and general Dept. of Physics correspondence.    

Folder 5  (1cm)

  • Handwritten letters, Christmas cards, ‘get well’ cards, aerogrammes and photocards, mostly of a personal nature.
  • Numerous lengthy letters to Medlin from his son, Brian, written from places such as Tonga and Istanbul.


Series 3: Adelaide Technical High School

Folder 1  (2 cm)

  • General correspondence re proposed Adelaide Technical High School (A.T.H.S.) complete history book.
  • Various copies of Medlin’s draft proposal for the A.T.H.S publication, including its purpose, selection of the author(s) by the History Committee of the Old Scholars Association and general project conceptualisation.
  • Photocopy of ‘A.T.H.S… The first 40 years (1918-1957)’ from ATHS Magazine, 1961, photographic printouts of the ATHS Prefects, 1935 (inc. Medlin) and the School of Mines, plus other related correspondence and research notes.

Folder 2  (2 cm)

  • Original A.T.H.S Old Scholars’ Association magazines, 1995-2000


Series 4: Scrapbooks

Scrapbook 1 – 1 May 1981 - 23 Dec 1982  (4 cm)

Primarily original and photocopied news cuttings, mostly from The Advertiser or The Australia, on tertiary matters, including cuts to funding, women in University, education policies, plus Medlin’s letter to the editor, The Advertiser, 30 Jul 1982, on promoting access to tertiary education for the disabled, etc…

Scrapbook 2 – 27 Dec 1982 – 27 Mar 1985  (4 cm)

Original and photocopied new cuttings from a variety of newspapers on tertiary matters generally, on support for female students in non-traditional courses, on liberal principles in modern education, on academics’ salaries, plus an article ‘No juntas for this revolutionary’, on Medlin and his push to establish an executive committee at the University in order to streamline policy-making (The Australian, 21 Nov 1984), etc…

Scrapbook 3 – 27 Mar 1985 – 6 Nov 1986  (4 cm)

Original and photocopied news cuttings from a variety of newspapers on the increasing cost of education generally, on Anzac Day services, on Adelaide University’s Centenary of the First Woman Graduate, on Prime Minister Hawke’s about-face re the re-introduction of tertiary fees, plus a couple of articles on Douglas Mawson and Antarctic research, etc…

Scrapbook 4 – 29 Aug 1985 – 28 Dec 1987  (4 cm)

Primarily original news articles and some cuttings from various Adelaide University publications.  Items relate to the launch of the Alumni Association, to tertiary fees, to the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Bonython Hall, on the handing over of Martindale Hall by the University to the State of SA, on the appointment of Kevin Majoribanks as Vice Chancellor, plus other appointments, etc…

See also Series 18 for additional scrapbooks received from University Archives in 2020.

Series 5: Pocket Diaries (1 archive box – most diaries 9.5 x 15.5 cm)

Collection of pocket diaries dating from 1952 to 2013. Diaries for 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968 are missing.

  • 1980 diary includes b&w photograph of two babies (left Davina Temple, right Bill Medlin, c1960).
  • 1983 diary includes b&w passport photograph of Medlin, and two slides of the moon.
  • 1984 diary includes colour photograph of Medlin in a bedroom in the principal's house at Pembroke College.
  • 1987 diary includes three photographs, one in duplicate, of Jack and Mara Medlin and Mrs Cook and one of Medlin's parents at their house at Kurralta Park.
  • 1988 diary includes b&w photograph of Medlin in suit and tie.

There are two diaries for 2009 and 2010.

Series 6: Performing Arts

6.1 Theatre 62

Folder 1  (2.5 cm)

Background information on the Theatre, including: “Theatre 62 Regional Theatre Co. Inc. Constitution”, outlining its objectives, income, membership, management, etc; “General principles of new constitution”; copy of the “Act to establish the South Australian Theatre Company…”; facsimile of Christopher Sidney Winzar’s application for the incorporation of Theatre 62”, 23 January 1972; Steve Condous’ (Chairman, Theatre 62) invitation to Medlin to join the Theatre’s board, 17 April, 1973; various letters between Condous and Premier Don Dunstan, 1973-4; Medlin’s letter of complaint about the conduct of affairs at the Theatre, 10 September 1973; artistic policies, 1974-76; “On Cue: Theatre 62”, first issue of the Company’s magazine, no. 1 July 1974; “Outline of the organizational and accounting structure proposed for Theatre 62…”, plus financial reports and summaries for 1974 and 1975, etc…

Folder 2  (2 cm)

Agendas and meeting minutes for the Theatre, including annual general meetings and board meetings, 1973-74.


6.2 University of Adelaide Committee for the Performing Arts

Folder 1  (1.5 cm)

Primarily correspondence concerning issues being discussed by the Committee for the Performing Arts.  Includes handwritten from Mark Pearson to Medlin inviting the latter to become Patron of the Adelaide University Drama Society, undated; correspondence related to the reconstruction and expansion of the Union Building and the accommodation required for the Dept. of Music and the new drama course to be offered in 1976; “Report of Special Committee of the Place of Theatre in the University and related documents, such as “The Case for a Full-time Manager of the Union Hall”; various memoranda and proposals related to staffing and funding, including requests for teaching grants and a lecturer in drama, 1973-74; proposed course outline for Drama I, 1975; etc.

Folder 2  (1.5 cm)

Primarily agendas and meeting minutes of the Committee, arranged chronologically from 20 February 1973 to 30 November 1973.  Includes documentation concerning issues raised at the meetings, such as: a draft proposal for a postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Arts; requests to the Allocation Committee for a full-time Union Hall Manager; “Elder Conservatorium Feasibility Study: First interim report”; recommendations for appointment of a Lecturer in Drama; etc.

Folder 3  (1 cm)

Agendas and meeting minutes continued, arranged chronologically from 1 April 1974 to 26 October 1976.  Includes documentation re the lectureship in performing arts; “Options for Drama I”, outlining subjects students can take, such as ‘Stage Craft’, ‘Décor and Costume’, Acting/Improvisation’, etc.; “Drama I: Progress report and proposals”; “Report to the Council by the Committee for the Performing Arts on its own future membership”; etc.


6.3 The Arts Enquiry Committee  (2 cm)

“Report of The Arts Enquiry Committee for South Australia”, 1961, 136p. The report examines the condition of the arts in the State at the time, with Adelaide University providing the initial meeting place for discussions between local artists and members of the Contemporary Arts Society.  At the second meeting a committee was appointed to enquire into the place of liberal arts in the community life of South Australia.


6.4 Programs and Playscripts  (1.5 cm)

  • “Governor Bligh”, playscript by Brian Medlin, undated, 55p.
  • “The Seat of Your Pants”, presented by The University Footlights Club, with Harry Medlin as Assistant Stage Manager. Program part of an original Varsity Revue, December 1948.
  • Official publication “Prospect from the Old Vic in Great English Eccentrics”, containing three performances: The Lunatic and the Lover and the Poet, Smith of Smiths and The Grand Tour, undated.
  • The South Australian Theatre Company brochure, detailing five productions: Alpha Beta, Hans Kohlhaas, Comedy of Errors, Long Days Journey into Night and Rookery Nook, undated.


6.5 Performing Arts Collection (PAC)  (4 cm)

Correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, news clippings, etc., arranged chronologically, related to the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Performing Arts Collection.

Folder 1 (2 Sep 1987 – 21 August 1991)

  • Colour information brochure, “The Performing Arts Collection at the Adelaide Festival Centre”, undated, 2 copies.
  • Discussion paper, “Future direction of The Performing Arts Collection of South Australia”, Jo Peoples, Curator, 8p.
  • Variety of news clippings re the restoration of the Queen’s/Royal Victoria Theatre, corner Gilles Arcade and Playhouse Lane.
  • Report “Brief history and current condition of the former Queen’s and Royal Victoria Theatres”. Includes history of the PAC; management, operation and recurrent costs of the proposed museum of the performing arts; conservation issues and design proposals; plans for restoration, and letters of support for the project, 26p. Also, colour auction brochure detailing the development site at 116 Waymouth St.
  • Letter of Medlin’s appointment from the Minister for the Arts, Anne Levy, as Chair of the Advisory Committee to the PAC.
  • Photocopy of Austral Archaeology’s “Conservation proposal for former Queens & Royal Victoria Theatres, prepared for the State Heritage Branch. Includes sketches, photographs, plans, etc. 12p.
  • “A proposal for the redevelopment ad preservation of the old Queens Theatre site”, Lincoln Tyner, 7p. (handwritten draft and printed copy).  Also, “Queens Theatre site”, Conservation study, volume 1, prepared by Heritage Group
    Miscellaneous correspondence from/to the PAC Committee

Folder 2 (12 May – 18 December 1992)  (2 cm)

  • Exhibition catalogue, “A brush with the stage”, Stephanie Schrapel, Royal South Australian Society of Arts. Includes Schrapel’s letter of thanks to Medlin for his contribution.
  • “Review of the State Theatre Company” (including summary of recommendations), Minister for the Arts and Cultural Heritage, 14p.
  • Various news clippings, meeting minutes, and general correspondence re the PAC, as well as the conservation of the Queens/Royal Victoria Theatres.

Folder 3 (3 February - 21 December 1993)  (2.5 cm)

  • Brian Polomka’s (consultant architect) “General comments on North Adelaide and South Adelaide related to planning and retention of historic buildings”, 5p.
  • Various correspondence between Medlin, Robert Ruse, (State Bank of S.A.) and Anne Levy re restoration of the Queens Theatre and housing of the PAC.
  • Original magazine “Ephemera News”, published by the Ephemera Society of Aust., no. 22, Feb 1993.
    Photocopy of “The Ballantyne Collection: A resource for the performing arts community”, outlining access and space requirements for the collection, 2p.
  • Various agendas and meeting minutes of the PAC discussion group.

Folder 4 (3 Feb – 9 August 1994)  (1 cm)

  • Correspondence between Jo Peoples (curator, PAC), Medlin, Paul Stark (CEO, Adelaide City Council), Henry Ninio (Lord Mayor of Adelaide) etc. re fundraising for the preservation of Queen’s/Victoria Theatre.
  • “A proposal for a drama documentary on the history of the Old Queen’s Theatre”, Lincoln J. Tyner.
    John Hodgson’s (City Planner) invitation to Medlin to the opening of the Queen’s Theatre site. Includes official flyer.
  • Adelaide City Council’s brochure “Curtains Up at the Queen’s Theatre” outlining the history of the Theatre, as well as the current management and options for the site.
  • Assorted news clippings about the Queen’s Theatre, plus various agendas and meeting minutes of the Advisory Committee of the PAC.
  • Correspondence between Medlin, Paul Smith (Director, Carclew Youth Performing Arts Centre), Rose Wilson/Robert Lowe (both State Theatre Company) and Anne Dunn (CEO, Dept. for the Arts & Cultural Heritage) re uncertainties around the future of the Carclew Play Collection.


Series 7: Veterans’ Affairs  2 Folders (9 cm)

Papers related to Medlin’s application to the Veteran’s Review Board for review of a Repatriation Commission decision dated 10 August 1988. Includes:

  • Veterans’ Affairs Claim form and supporting documentation for medical treatment and pension
  • General medical examination and history
  • Combined impairment assessment
  • Medlin’s handwritten evidence in support of the claim
  • Repatriation Commission’s determination
  • Personal treatment entitlement cards (2), and photocopy of portions of “Veterans’ entitlements”, no. 27, 1986
  • DVA computer printout, documenting Medlin’s disabilities, May 1989
  • Other general correspondence re medical appointments
  • The Advertiser news clippings: “Uren attacks Labor’s treatment of veterans”, “Ex-POWs call for special payment as compensation”’ and “Wives back POWs pay call”.
  • Newsletter “Vetaffairs”, Vol. 27, no. 3, Spring 2011.
  • Correspondence between Medlin and Senators Benjamin Humphreys re the escalating costs of health care for war veterans, 1988.
  • Variety of correspondence between Medlin and staff of the DVA re health care costs, benefits and concessions, 1991-2011.
  • 1 large folder of correspondence, mostly between Medlin and the Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs, plus notes related to his claim and pension allowance.  Contents have been kept in their original order.


Series 8: Memoirs  (1 archive box) **Embargoed**

Medlin’s unpublished memoirs, in chapter form.  Embargoed until further notice.  Includes related research documentation.

Note: Medlin began writing his reminiscences in 1994.


Series 9: Correspondence and research related to Medlin’s memoirs  (1.5 cm)

Variety of correspondence, mostly emails, and general research material related to Medlin’s memoirs. Items of note include:

  • 25 sepia photographs, labelled to reverse “Anna Medlin Timor”. Some duplicates.
  • 8 b&w photographs, annotated to reverse, mostly “TIMFORCE 1945”.
  • Correspondence between Medlin and Sally Dingo (Ernie Dingo’s wife) whose father also served in the 2/40th Battalion in Timor, Jul-Oct 2009. Includes photographs of Oesapa-besar POW camp, Timor.
  • Correspondence between Medlin and Lt. Col. Peter G. Winstanley, author of the “Prisoners of war of the Japanese 1942-1945” website, Jan-Feb 2007.
  • Correspondence between Medlin and Peter Henning, author of “Doomed battalion: mateship and leadership in war and captivity, the Australian 2/40 Battalion 1940-45” (1995), Apr 2002-Jul 2004.
  • Emails to Kathie Strehlow and others re Foxtel program about Donald Thomson.  Also, letter from K. Strehlow requesting permission to publish Medlin’s memoirs in the Strehlow Research Foundation pamphlets, plus a printed, unembargoed chapter of Medlin’s memoirs “2/AIF”, Jun-Jul 2003.
  • Photocopy of document from Records Office, Wayville, confirming the internment in JavaCamp of both E. H. and A. J. Medlin, 1943.
  • Other memoir-related correspondence, news clippings and articles, 1988-2012.


Series 10: Addresses, Tributes, Eulogies, Memorial Services

Folder 1: Addresses  (2 cm)

  • Bangka Day addresses for South Australian Women’s Memorial Playing Field Trust, 2006 and 2010.  Includes related correspondence, brochures and Bangka Day memorial service booklets for 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2012. Also, notes “Massacre of our nurses at Bangka Island by the Japanese, on 16 Feb. 1942” and copy of Major General John Pearn’s address in tribute to the Australian nurses who perished on the Vyner-Brooke in 1942, “Light after darkness”, 2002.
  • Keynote address at Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association, themed “I touch the future – I teach: Christa McAuliffe”, 16 Jul 1986.
  • Address as retiring chair at the University of Adelaide Alumni Association annual general meeting, 26 Nov 1998.
  • Address to University of Adelaide Women’s Club, 19 May 1999.
  • Golden Jubilee address at the University of Adelaide Alumni Association, 21 Oct 1999.
  • Address at the Girton 85th anniversary, 8 Apr 2000.
  • Paper reconstructed from notes used during Medlin’s address to the Council Working Party on the Mawson Collection, “The Mawson Collection Trust”, 22 Jun 2000. Includes related email correspondence.
  • Paper delivered at the RAE luncheon at Warradale, 24  Apr 2005.
  •  Armistice Day address, Stirling, 11 Nov 2007.

Folder 2: Tributes, eulogies, memorial services…  (2.5 cm)

  • Medlin’s Nov 2002 typed list of names of those he prepared tributes for and copies of the tributes for Vivian (Bullwinkel) Statham, George Melrose Elton Mayo, Mark Oliphant, Ling Siew May (Singapore’s First Lady), Ong Teng Cheong (President of Singapore), Donald Richard Stranks, Ted. G. H. Strehlow, Stanley Gordon Tomlin, Henry Elliott Wesley Smith.
  • Photocopy of eulogy delivered by Prime Minister Paul Keating at the funeral service of the unknown Australian soldier, 11 Nov 1993.
  • Ceremony information and eulogy for Diana d’Este (Wauchope) Medlin, 15 May 1997.
  • Internet printout of Arthur Jack Medlin’s commemorative information from the War Graves Commission register and the AWM Roll of Honour database, Dec 1999.
  • Tribute to Vivian Statham, submitted to The Advertiser, 9 Jul 2000.
  • “A tribute to Asian friends and colleagues”, address given by Medlin at the Kaula Lumpur celebration of the Golden Anniversary of the formal beginning of the Colombo Plan on 1 Jul 1951, 21 Jun 2001.
  • Service of remembrance booklet, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, 11 Nov 2001.
  • Medlin’s report to the Adelaide University Council on the memorial service of Victor Allen Edgeloe. Includes Edgeloe’s higher degree citations, 30 Jun 2003.
  • Tribute to Leslie Oswyn Sheridan Poidevin, 17 Mar 2006.
  • Ex-Prisoners of War Association of S.A. service booklets, Prince Alfred College, 15 Aug 2005 and 14 Aug 2009.
  • “Dedication service memorial to 2/40 Infantry Battalion (Sparrow Force)” booklet, 16 Jun 1992. Also, 2/40th Battalion A.I.F. Old Comrades Assoc. reunion program, 1996.
  • Message from Dame Vera Lynn and “Commemorative Service 60th Anniversary Victory in the Pacific” booklet, Aug 2005.
  • Various original and photocopied news cuttings of funeral notices, etc.


Series 11: Legacy Club of Adelaide

Folder 1  (2 cm)

  • Administrative documentation re the Legacy Club.  Includes brochure “Why Legacy still needs your support”; “Notes on Legacy: Over sixty years of service”; constitution and rules of the Club; information for candidates prior to induction; welfare assistance and advice, and application for assistance guidelines and forms, 1967-85.
  • “Adelaide Legacy Newsletter”, Dec 1985, Mar 1986, Jun 1986, Sep 1986 and one undated.
  • “Adelaide Legacy Bulletin’, all issues held between Nov 1985 and Apr 1987.

Folder 2  (2 cm)

  • Legacy Club 57th annual report and brochures of highlights from the 57th-59th annual reports, 1984-86.
  • Agendas, meeting minutes, regulations, application forms and correspondence related to the Sir John Gellibrand Scholarship, 23 Apr-11 Nov 1986.
  • Variety of correspondence and general documentation re the Club.  Includes “Induction of candidates of Legacy” forms for Medlin and Jeffrey Robert Angus; Club President’s report, 1985; Medlin’s “Visiting legatee’s reports for B. J. Gallagher and M. E. Clarke, 1986; Medlin’s letter of resignation from the Club, 8 Feb 1987; etc.


Series 12: Prisoner of War material

Administrative documentation, correspondence, notes, publications and POW-related news clippings.  Items of note include:

Folder 1  (1.5 cm)

  • Red Cross map of POW and internment camps; Medlin’s POW payment slips; original POW Trust Fund documentation, 1952.
  • 2 photographs of Medlin and associated notes holding the sextant he made in Timor in the hope of stealing a Japanese motor torpedo boat and running it to Australia, undated.
  • Observations on the pay and treatment of POWs at the hands of the Nipponese Army, 27 Dec 1944.
  • Portion of the oath required to be signed regarding obedience to the orders of the Dai Nippon, specifically the portion relating to escape, 24 Nov 1942.
  • Medlin’s handwritten “V.J. day” notes, 15 Aug 2012.
  • “Veterans’ health” souvenir issue for the Australia Remembers program 1945-1995, Apr 1995.
  • Handwritten letter from George Adams to the Medlin family, attached to an original Lost Battalion Association Roster, Jul 1994.
  • Medlin’s handwritten notes (plus a printed copy), “Sparrow Force”, as used by Brig. S. H. Watson.  Also notes and typewritten documents re the heavy batteries in Rabaul and Timor 1941-42, and “Extracts from service & casualty form”, outlining Medlin’s activities/locations during the war, 1946.

Folder 2  (1.5 cm)

  • “Lifelong captives: the medical legacy of POWs of the Japanese”, 1990.  Includes Medlin’s handwritten letter to the editor, The Advertiser, re his experience as a POW and the “Lifelong captives” publication, 21 Dec 1992.
  • “Australian medicine: the national news publication of the Australian Medical Association”, 5 Mar 2007.
  • “POW: Australians under Nippon”, program overview and correspondence related to an ABC radio documentary series, to which Medlin contributed a taped interview. Photocopy of the ABC’s transcription summary is also included, Feb 1983-Aug 1984.
  • Correspondence between Medlin and U.S Senator Carl Levin, re Liet. Commander Richard N. Antrim.  Includes a photocopy of Medlin’s Australian Military Forces certificate of service of an officer, Feb-Aug 1996.
  • Photocopies of news clippings and internet print-outs re POW fraud, Arthur Rex Crane, 2009.
  • QLD Ex POW Reparation Committee correspondence, plus photocopies of “Submission to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights… Compensation to Australian prisoners of war by the Government of Japan” and “Submission of claim for war reparations by Queensland ex-prisoners-of-war reparations committee…”. 1988-1990.

Folder 3  (0.5 cm)

  • Handwritten letter from Medlin to his family, advising them of his movements in Singapore, Oct 1945.
  • Photocopy of handwritten letter from Medlin to Rex Bowman re the latter’s talk with Keith Conlon on radio station 5AN, dated 21 Oct 1986 (but likely 1988).
  • Original handwritten letter of response from Rex Bowman, thanking Medlin for his offer of assistance, 24 Oct 1988.
    Personal letters and Christmas cards from Laurel and George Adams to Medlin, 1995-96.
  • Photocopy of handwritten letter from Russell ?? to S. Marshall, editor “Barbed wire & bamboo”, re the Sparrow Force reunion, 18 Mar 1993.
  • Correspondence between Medlin and Peter Henning, author of “Doomed battalion…” re the former’s memoirs, 2002-03.
  • Correspondence between Medlin and Kevin Magarey, Adelaide University Dept. of English, re the former’s experience as a POW, Nov 1983-Feb 1986.

Folder 4  (1.5 cm)

  • Various newspaper clippings related to the treatment of POWs in Japan and payments for war internees, 1985-1993.
  • Letter from Gavan Daws, Professor of Pacific History, ANU, to Medlin re follow-up to Tim Bowden’s ABC radio documentary on ex-prisoners of war, 16 Feb 1984.
  • Correspondence between John Kennedy and Medlin re the former’s book on Padre Kennedy and the chapel at Oesapa-besar, Sep 2009.
  • Correspondence between Rosalind Hearder, author “Keep the men alive” (2009) and Medlin re use of the quotes from the latter’s memoirs in her book, May-Aug 2009.
  • Other brief emails, news cuttings and excerpts from books and journals, 1985-2011.
  • Set of four pages - the first annotated “One of the forty pages of my Precious Notebook made secretly under the brilliant mentorship of Ir. Lieut. Felix van Wijk”, which includes original rice paper lists of captain, lieutenant and sergeant names; a signed declaration, Tandjong Priok, plus a photocopy of a written oath vowing under no circumstances to escape, 25 Nov 1942.
  • Tape (audio) recording “P.O.W. reparation”, Station 5AN, 21 Oct 1988


Series 13: Reports (5 cm)

  • “First progress report of the Building Act Inquiry Committee, containing recommendations for the amendment of the Building Act, 1923-1925, and regulations made under that Act…”, S.A., 1940.
  • “Second progress report of the Building Act Inquiry Committee, sub-standard housing conditions in the metropolitan area…”, S.A., 1940.
  • “Third and final report of the Building Act Inquiry Committee, sub-standard housing conditions in the metropolitan area…”, S.A., 1940.
  • “The seventeenth annual report of the South Australian Housing Trust”, 1953.
  • “Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security, first report”, Canberra, 1977.
  • “Royal Commission 1978: Report on the dismissal of Harold Hubert Salisbury”, S.A., 1978.  Includes The Advertiser news cutting “The Salisbury affair”, 23 Jan 1978.
  • “Special Branch Security Records: Initial report to the Honourable Donald Allan Dunstan… by the Honourable Mr. Acting Justice White”, S.A., 1978.
  • “Royal Commission on Australia’s Security and Intelligence Agencies: Report on term of reference (c)”, Canberra, 1983.


Series 14: University of Adelaide, Teaching, Higher Education  (5 cm)

1 folder of teaching notes, correspondence, reports, citations, news clippings, etc. related to the University of Adelaide and to higher education generally.  Items of note, ordered chronologically, include:

  • The Institute of Physics’ letter confirming Medlin’s election as associate, 11 Jul 1957.
  • “Teachers’ notes: Social studies, 2nd yr. technical high school course”, part 3, Education Dept. S.A., 13 Jul 1964.
  • “Teachers’ notes: General science, 2nd yr. technical high school course”, part 3, Education Dept. S.A., 13 Jul 1964.
  • “Teachers’ notes: Leaving honours maths”, parts 2 and 3, Education Dept. S.A., c1964.
  • “Teachers’ notes: Leaving honours physics", part 3. Education Dept. S.A., c1964.
  • “The zoning of time, or How I came to love the clock and live by it”, Medlin, undated but c1972.
  • Photocopy of booklet cover “University of Adelaide Centenary of the appointment of Sir William Bragg”, Bonython Hall, 2 May 1986.  Includes associated correspondence and notes.
  • Photocopy of booklet cover “University of Adelaide Alumni Assoc. Golden Jubilee of the Bonython Hall annual general meeting and presentation of Jubilee graduates and diplomats”, 31 Oct 1986.
  • “Indonesian administrators”, Medlin’s paper on the development programme for senior Indonesian university administrators, 13 Jan 1986.
  • Citations for the Distinguished Alumni Award for Richard Hin Yung, Basil Stuart Hetzel and Datuk Samuel Abraham, the latter with ceremony photographs.
  • Correspondence between Medlin and Susan Graebner, Secretary Mawson Collection Trust Management Committee, re the Mawson Antarctic Collection Trust and Appeal, 2000-2003.
  • “Report to the Council on the invited visit to Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Singapore”, Medlin, Jun/Jul 2001.
  • Correspondence re Kathleen Lumley College and the relationship between its post-graduate residents and the University of Adelaide, 2001-02.
  • Letter of confirmation from Christine Giovannucci, Dept. for Environment and Heritage, to Medlin advising of the inclusion of the University’s Union Hall in the State Heritage Place register, 2010.
  • Various other news clippings, bulletins, correspondence and programs related to higher education, 2000-03.


Series 15: Other (General military)

4 folders of general military-related correspondence, excerpts from publications, flyers, news clippings, etc.  Items of note include:

Folder 1  (4 cm)

  • Correspondence with Independent Digital Studio related to the ‘Footsteps of Sparrow Force’ documentary.  Includes promotion brochure, 2010-12.
  • Correspondence with Erin McKnight and Madeline Chaleyer re Medlin’s donation of memorabilia related to his WWII service to the Australian War Memorial, 2003.
  • Original Australian Army paper “The heavy batteries in Rabaul and Timor 1941-1942”.
  • Correspondence and notes re military history nights.  Includes information by Lt. Col. David Brook on two coastal artillery batteries and their relationship to Fort Largs, plus four b&w photographs, 1984-1995.
  • Totally & Permanently Disabled Soldiers’ Association of Australia (TPI) documentation, including “TPI News”, Spring 2012; official newsletter “Remember” Mar and Jun 1990 and contents of either Jul or Sep 1989 (two detached covers but only one set of contents); typed list of TPI concessions.
  • Correspondence related to Medlin’s interview for The Australians at War Film Archive, interview accessible at:
  • Correspondence with MPs Bronwyn Bishop and Jocelyn Newman re the awarding of Defence Medals for Sparrow Force members, 1997

Folder 2 (2.5 cm)

  • House valuation for a home at Stirling, plus plans, questionnaire, correspondence and information booklet by the Dept. of Works and Housing, War Services Homes Division, 1952.
  • Correspondence, mostly emails, to and from Peter G. Winstanley re material for Barbed wire & bamboo, Japan Times POW article, etc. Includes photocopies of “Redmond Stuart Parnell Sheedy SX5435” and “Darling (nee Gunther) Janet Patterson NFX70493”, 2006-11.
  • Miscellaneous correspondence re military and POW matters generally, 1989-2011.
  • Miscellaneous military-related news clippings and excerpts from books/journals, 1976-2006

Folder 3  (2 cm)

  • Correspondence with Richard Sommers re Gavan Daws, American writer, filmmaker and historian, and the taped interview he conducted with Medlin on 8 Mar 1984.
  • Parts 1 to 5 of a commentary script, untitled and undated, related to the 2/40th Battalion’s role in Timor and paying tribute to the Sparrow Force units that took the Ouisow Ridge on the main road from Koepang to Tjamplong on 22 Feb 1942.
  • Correspondence of Norman E Anderton regarding the apology of Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara to five POWs in Mar 2011.
  • “Nominal roll – 2/1 Heavy Battery R.A.A., A.I.F.”, complied by Capt. A. R. Carrick in P.O.W. camp, Oesapa Besar, Timor in April 1942.
  • Miscellaneous notes and correspondence re military and POW matters generally, 1983-2010.

Folder 4  (2.5 cm)

  • Correspondence related to an interview recorded by S.A. historian, Rob Linn, 2007-09.
  • Letter to Luke Rockliff from Melissa Timsar, Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs, congratulating him on his essay about his grandfather, Adye Rockliff, for the National History Challenge.  Includes a copy of the essay, “The seeds of triumph” as well as “The examiner” news clipping which reported on his subsequent “highly commended” award, 2009.
  • Copy of “The order of wearing Australian honours and awards”, Govt. House, Canberra, 2002.
  • Correspondence between Sergeant Neville Noakes and Medlin re the former’s father, SX13229 Sgt. Frederick Sydney Brown.  Includes two copies of the story Noakes wrote for his family “Never meant to be heroes”, plus photos of his father, 2010-11.
  • Letter from Masaji Takahashi, Ambassador of Japan, to Medlin expressing regret for the latter’s treatment at the hands of the Japanese Imperial forces during WWII.  Includes a unofficial translation of the “Statement by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama”, approved by Cabinet on 31 Aug 1994.
  • Correspondence between Medlin, Leslie Poidevin and others re “The seed and the sower”, a 1963 book by South African writer, Laurens van der Post, 1986-1993.
  • Typewritten letter from Arthur Ross to Medlin re the former’s paper “Brief history of Fort Largs”, 1998.
  • Intelligence summaries, Combined Defence Report Centre, outlining Japanese tactics, Jan 1942.
  • Ex POW lunch menu, 15 Aug 2007.
  • Letter from S.A. Police thanking Medlin for his donation of his uniforms to Fort Largs, 12 Oct 1998.
  • “Gallipoli 2000: 85th anniversary of the ANZAC landing” poster/brochure.
  • Invitation to the launch of the Australian Prisoners of War memorial signage project and the unveiling of Captain Lionel Matthews GC, MC cultural walk plaque, 18 Apr 2010.
  • News clipping “Voyage to find my father”, Peter Cole-Adams, The Age, 12 Jun 1993.
  • Prince Alfred College Ex-Prisoners of War Association of S.A. Order of Service booklet, 13 Aug 2010.
  • 50th anniversary reunion booklet for 5 Aust FD SQN RAE, Warradale Barracks, 26 Apr 1992.
  • Photocopy of ANZAC Day dawn service program, Stirling, undated.
  • Invitation to attend 2/40th reunion, Ulverstone, 6 Jan 1976.
  • Letter from F.S.B. Peach to Medlin asking the later to acknowledge receipt of his Australian Efficiency Medal, 20 Dec 1957.

Series 16: Other (Miscellaneous)

Folder 1  (3 cm)

  • Typed poem by Medlin??, untitled and undated.  Includes prologue and epilogue. 94pp.
  • Printed poem by Medlin??, untitled and undated, 1p.
  • Medlin’s bookplate. The design, by Medlin, includes a double helix border, a dunny outside the Queen’s Theatre and the white horse to the lower half.
  • University of Adelaide Award Ceremony booklet, which includes a small biographical note about Diana Medlin and the presentation of the Diana Medlin Lecture, 16 Feb 2004.
  • Medlin’s birthday dinner guest book, with attendees’ signatures, plus seating plan, 1 May 1987.
  • Australian University International Alumni Convention paperwork, including Medlin’s notes for “The getting of wisdom” session, which he chaired; biographies of session speakers; steering committee menu, etc., 1998-2000.
  • Handwritten notes on graph paper, titled “Aide memoir V.R.B”, 1 Jun 1989

Folder 2  (1.5 cm)

  • Small vinyl Qantas Airways folder, including identification card and four photographs (x2 Medlin and x2 Diana)
  • Medlin’s dinner invitation to his guests, Adelaide Hilton, including possible seating plan, 27 Jan 2000.
  • Numerous emails and letters from Medlin to newspaper editors re his experiences as a POW, 1999-2010.
  • Correspondence between Medlin and Tom Nelson re the Adelaide University Footlights Club grand 75th anniversary dinner, 2005.
  • Letter from Hamish Angas, State Heritage Authority, confirming the Public Schools Club Building (former residence of William and Lawrence Bragg, 207 East Terrace), met the criterion for provisional entry in their Register. 27 Sep 2004.
  • Letter to Malcolm Hazell (Secretary to the Governor-General) declining Medlin’s nomination of Dr Albert Walter Jones for an award within the Order of Australia, 19 Jan 2004.


Series 17: Oversize items (encapsulated separately in Mylar)

  • Queens and Royal Victoria Theatres site, Playhouse Lane, Adelaide, “Workshop to discuss future strategies and options for the site”, Adelaide City Council.  Workshop booklet for participants, plus a 42 x 29.5 cm album of site photographs, 11 Nov 1993
  •  “Child care on campus”, handmade album (45.5 x 32cm) by the children of the Tertiary Institutions Child Care Centres, dedicated to Medlin and containing colourful drawings by 3-4 year old children, May 1987

Series 18: Oversize scrapbooks, Tape Recordings,

The following scrapbooks and tape recordings were received from University Archives in 2020.  See also Series 4 for other scrapbooks containing news articles and cuttings.

  • 5 paperback folio scrapbooks (2 labelled 'Festival Hall') containing news clippings about the Festival Hall, general theatre, the push for Eastern Standard Time for South Australia, plus Adelaide University generally and student protests, 1967-1969. 6 cm
  • Hard-bound scrapbook of Adelaide University Theatre Guild programmes, circulars, photographs, letters and memos, 1937-1961, 12 cm
  • Hard-bound scrapbook of Adelaide University Theatre Guild programmes, pamphlets, correspondence (typed and handwritten), invitations, photographs and hand-painted sketches, 1961-1969, 11 cm
  • Three tape recordings, "The Adelaide University Theatre Guild History", in which Medlin is interviewed by Kerrie Round, June 1999, 2 hrs 55 mins each (totalling nearly 6 hours). 2 sets (interviewee copy and donor copy).


A small number of books and journals were also received with Medlin’s manuscripts.  These have been catalogued separately for the Rare Books Collection and are discoverable via the Library catalogue.  Items include “Barbed Wire and Bamboo” (journal of the Ex-prisoners of War Association of Australia), “Never meant to be heroes: The story of Sparrow Force…” by Maj. Neville Noakes, plus several military engineering manuals.

Additional Harry Medlin papers were transferred to University of Adelaide Archives in 2016. Contact the Archives for access to his official/administrative papers.

Lee Hayes
June 2019

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