Deposit N57 - J Normington Rawling collection

Identity area

Reference code



J Normington Rawling collection


  • 1867 - 1965 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

17.3 m

Context area

Name of creator

(1898 - 1966)

Biographical history

James Normington Rawling, political activist and writer, was born on 27 July 1898 at Plattsburg, New South Wales. Rawling served with the Australian Imperial Force from 1916-1919. In 1920 he trained as a teacher and worked in the NSW Education Department. He worked in the steel industry in Newcastle for a number of years. He was involved in reorganising a Rationalist Association in Sydney in 1923 and in 1925 joined the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). In 1928 Rawling returned to a teaching position in Sydney and completed his BA. In 1932 he became a full-time functionary of the CPA. In the same year he became editor of the journal, World Survey, of the League Against Imperialism (LAI). In 1933 Rawling became editor of War! What For?, the journal of the Movement Against War and Fascism (MAWF) and continued to edit the journal and its successor, World Peace, until the end of 1939. He was appointed National Secretary of MAWF in November 1936. From 1934 he worked as a research officer to the Central Committe of the CPA. In this capacity he prepared speakers' notes, wrote articles for The Communist Review, Workers' Weekly, other publications and pamphlets. He gave lectures and talks on European and Australian history and anti-war matters. In December 1939 Rawling was expelled from the CPA. For the next five years Rawling worked as a temporary clerk with the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board, and was Secretary of the Salaried Division of the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Employees' Union. In 1945 he resumed teaching, mostly in private schools until 1960 when he rejoined the Education Department. During the 1940s and 1950s he studied early Australian literary history which culminated in the publication of his biography, Charles Harpur: An Australian in 1962. In 1962-63, as a visiting fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, he worked on his history of the CPA entitled Communism Comes to Australia. Rawling died on 7 March 1966 in Sydney.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Manuscripts, correspondence and other papers of Rawling, Guido Barrachi, and E M Higgins; records of and about Australian radicals and radical organisations, including manuscripts, press cuttings, pamphlets, leaflets, serials, maps, posters, broadsheets and illustrations.


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Researchers must sign an access agreement

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Item list

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Digitised copies of some leaflets and pamphlets at

Related units of description

Mitchell Library: MLMSS 1326 (K 21933-K 21943)

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from deposit description on 14 October 2011




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places