On Thursday a distant relative of famous Australian author Miles Franklin, Dubbo’s Kim V. Goldsmith, handed over a long lost diary of the literary great to the State Library of NSW.
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.
Everyone believed the diary was lost until Miles’ distant relative Margaret Francis spotted it in an old suitcase.
The special handover was held at the Macquarie Regional Library and adds a 47th volume to the 46 diaries to the author and feminist's record of Australian literary and domestic life from 1909.
Macquarie Regional Library director John Bayliss said it was a “very successful event.”
“Approximately 80 people attended, including a number of Miles Franklin’s extended family for the handover,” he said.
While the long lost diary is at the State Library now, other items found in the suitcase are on display at the Dubbo Library.
“It will be here on display for the next week or so,” Mr Bayliss said.
He encouraged all local history and literature lovers to come down to the Library and take a look.
Ms Goldsmith said when she read Miles’ final words, the author was no longer the famous writer of My Brilliant Career which she studied in high school, but someone very real to her.
“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.
Some of the items on display included a photo album, family photos, corresponding letters and a Royalty statement for books.
Richard Neville, the State Library’s Mitchell Librarian said he was 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 past eight years.