Wednesday, 7 March 2018
The missing diary of Australian literary great Miles Franklin, discovered in a battered old family suitcase, will be donated to the State Library of NSW TOMORROW [Thursday 8 March 2018].
The small, red pocket diary which Miles wrote in just four days before her death on 19 September 1954, remained undisturbed for more than 60 years.
Plagued by ill health, her very last entry reads: “Went to Eastwood by ambulance to be X‐rayed. Ordeal too much for me. Day of distress & twitching. Returned to bed.”
Richard Neville, the State Library’s Mitchell Librarian, said he is honoured to accept into the State Library’s collection the final written words of one of our greatest writers whose pioneering first novel My Brilliant Career, published in 1901, is now an Australian literary classic.
“Miles’ missing diary will at last be reunited with her collection of diaries, private letters, literary papers, photo albums and personal belongings which she generously bequeathed to the Library,” said Mr Neville, a Miles Franklin Award judge for the pasteight years.
In a special event at Macquarie Regional Library in Dubbo today, Miles’ relative Kim V. Goldsmith will officially hand over the diary on behalf of the family, many of whom reside in the Central West of NSW.
The suitcase containing the diary has been in Ms Goldsmith’s possession for three years, having been passed down through three generations of Miles’ extended family.
“Despite the fact Miles was incredibly ill, she still wrote, she didn’t abandon her writing,” said Ms Goldsmith. “When I read her final words, she was no longer the famous author of My Brilliant Career which I studied in high school, but someone very real to me.”
“I’m personally pleased the diary is going to join its ‘mates’ in the collection at the State Library, and as a family we agree it’s right the diary go somewhere it will be looked after, cherished and made available to those who are interested,” said Ms Goldsmith.
John Bayliss, Manager of Macquarie Regional Library, says it is a privilege for the library to be hosting the handover of Miles Franklin’s last diary to the State Library.
“Miles Franklin is an iconic Australian author and we are pleased to be involved with the State Library and Miles’ extended family on this auspicious occasion,” Mr Bayliss said.
Miles Franklin published 15 books in her lifetime, four posthumously, and her legacy to Australian literature is evident in the establishment of the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award ‐ a secret gift to the nation revealed after her death.
Richard Neville and Kim V. Goldsmith are available for interviews.
Vanessa Bond, Media & Communications Manager, State Library of NSW
(02) 9273 1566, 0411 259 898, firstname.lastname@example.org