About the records

Title Records of Robert D. Hill
Date Range 1934 - 2009
Reference 2013.0009
Creator Robert Dickson Hill (1913 - 2009)
Extent 0.635 metres (56 items)
Repository University of Melbourne Archives
Abstract Assorted personal records of Robert Dickson Hill, Australian nuclear physicist, including family correspondence, and correspondence with Phillip Law, Antarctic administrator and explorer, and Eric Burhop, nuclear physicist and socialist.

Administrative Information

  • The collection is comprised of records from 3 accessions. The codes used to uniquely identify each accession range from HILR2012-01 to HILR2013-02.
  • The records have been allocated to 5 series. The codes used to uniquely identify each series range from HILS001 to HILS005.
  • Through the processing of the records, 2 provenance entities were identified. The codes used to uniquely identify each provenance entity, i.e. records creator or custodian, range from HILP001 to HILP002.
  • The inventory covers 56 items, and may include records of continuing value, records sentenced for destruction and records that have been destroyed. The codes used to uniquely identify each inventory item range from HILR00001 to HILR00056. The total collection occupies 64 linear cm of shelf space (or its equivalent).
  • The documentation of the records at inventory level started on 17 January 2013. The latest additions were made on 18 December 2013. The latest modifications were made on 28 April 2014. This collection profile was updated on 30 April 2014.

Scope and Content

The Robert D. Hill Collection includes a substantial quantity of correspondence written by Robert Dickson Hill about his experiences as an Australian scientist and expatriat in Cambridge, United Kingdom and the United States during the 1930s and subsequent years. Robert Hill was among those scientists whose lives and careers were decisively shaped by the onset of the war and by related developments in nuclear physics. The Robert D. Hill Collection also contains assorted papers in regard to a number of Robert Hill's contemporaries in science and other areas, including Phillip Law and Eric Burhop. Other records in the Collection include an extensive autobiographical interview with Robert Hill, carried out by Janet Roberts Billett, Robert Hill's niece, in 2000.

Archival Processing

The archival processing of the records in this Collection was carried out by staff at the eScholarship Research Centre in 2013-2014, after having acquired the records at various times over the previous ten years. The main donor was Jan Billett, with some records also coming from Rod Home. Processing involved inventory listing and serialisation, creation of the Guide to the Records of Robert D. Hill and digitisation of most of the collection.

Robert Hill's Family Correspondence

The correspondence from Robert Hill to his family in Australia contained in Series 1 of the Robert D. Hill Collection was made available to the University of Melbourne Archives by Jan Billett. According to the family, May Hill, Robert Hill's mother, to whom most of the letters were written, retained his letters in their entirety. In circa 1986-1987, a few years after May Hill died, his letters were passed on by Robert Hill's sister, Lorna Roberts, to her daughter, Jan Billett. Jan Billett planned to publish Robert Hill's correspondence, with the focus on his wartime letters, but this publication did not eventuate due to other family commitments. Her annotations to some of the letters in the collection were made at this time. Jan Billett's interest in making publicly available the story of Robert Hill's career culminated in her interview of him on the 3rd of July, 2000, at his home in Santa Barbara, California. The interview (two CDs and a transcript) are available in Inventory Item HILR00051, Series 4 Robert D. Hill - biographical, Robert D. Hill Collection.

Processing of Photographic Records

During the archival processing of the Robert D. Hill Collection in 2013, photographic records were removed from the files in which they were located. Each record was assigned a unique University of Melbourne Archives' control code, and rehoused separately. This step was carried out in accordance with the collection management procedures at the University of Melbourne Archives.

Researchers will find documentation of the rehoused records in the relevant inventory item listings in the Guide to the Records of Robert D. Hill, and also in the files from which records were removed.

Digitisation of Hill Records

Archival processing of the Collection in 2013 included digitisation of most of the collection. Digital copies were generated of: Series 1 (Inventory Items HILR00001-HILR00020), most of Series 2 (Inventory Items HILR00021-HILR00043), and Series 3 (Inventory Items HILR00047-HILR00049). Digitisation took place at file level, with each file digitised in full, in order from first to last record in each case. Due to time constraints, Series 3, Series 4 and Series 5 were not digitised.

Guide Image

The portrait of Robert Hill which appears in the Guide to the Records of Robert D. Hill is a digital copy of a photograph located in Inventory Item HILR00053, Series 1 - Family correspondence.

Published by the eScholarship Research Centre, University of Melbourne, 30 April 2014
Listed by Elizabeth Daniels, Ann McCarthy and Natasha Story
HTML edition
Updated 30 April 2014

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