Robyn Annear

Research notes.

Since I don’t use footnotes, I sometimes hear from readers and scholars seeking to pinpoint the exact source of a quote or fact appearing in one of my books.

My original research notes include extensive quotes and excerpts from a wide range of sources. Usually, they originated as a series of handwritten notes on file cards, which I shuffle and order according to whatever arcane scheme of organisation is uppermost in my mind at the time, before typing them up as Word files. The ‘shape’ of my research notes broadly determines the shape of the book that ensues – although they include a good deal of detail that never makes it onto the printed page.

Included here are my research notes for Nothing But Gold and A City Lost and Found. My Bearbrassnotes still exist only as file cards in a shoebox, while the notes for The Man Who Lost Himself are (like the Tichborne Claimant himself) of so sprawling and eccentric a design as to be now almost unfathomable to me – let alone to anyone else.

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The notes for Nothing But Gold reflect the book’s original chapter plan. At my editor’s insistence that no chapter should take longer to read than a train trip between the Melbourne suburb of Blackburn and the city, each of those original chapters would be divided into several. A bibliography identifies the sources cited in brief in the notes.

In the case of A City Lost and Found, the notes are grouped according to (fairly arbitrary) geographical zones within central Melbourne, and by theme – e.g. Town Planning, Heritage. Again, this scheme seemed logical to me at the time; it may seem less so to a looker-on or a seeker after facts. I find that no bibliography exists for this book. From the brief source cited in brackets after each entry, however, it ought – in most cases – to be apparent, or readily discernible, whence the information came. References prefixed by ‘SLV/WW’ refer to box and file numbers within the Whelan the Wrecker archive in the State Library of Victoria’s Australian Manuscripts Collection. If a source is thoroughly obscure, an email to Mrs Bradley may result in elucidation. Or it may not.