Series List and Summary Descriptions

Series 1 Family correspondence

This series contains an extensive set of family correspondence, mostly from Robert Hill to his mother, May Hill. There are also letters from Robert Hill to his father, R. W. Hill and his sister Lorna Roberts (nee Hill).

The period of time best documented in Series 1 is 1934-1940, and in particular 1937-1939. During the latter period, Robert Hill carried out research at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom and, from 1938, at the University of Illinois in the United States. Series 1 also includes a smaller quantity of correspondence dating from the late 1940s through to 1971.

A number of letters in this series features annotated handwritten notes about the subject matter covered therein. These notes were made by Janet Roberts Billett during c.1986-c.1987 as part of a a planned publication of Robert Hill's letters. This publication did not eventuate (see Scope and Content section of the Guide to the Records of Robert D. Hill for more information).

Series 1 also contains a small amount of other correspondence and other records, including photographs and ephemera such as newspaper clippings.

The records in this Series have been digitised. The digitised images are not yet available to the public.

Date Range: 1934 - 1971   Quantity: 16 cm, 20 Inventory Items
Provenance: Robert Dickson Hill


Series 2 Correspondence from Phillip Law to Robert D. Hill, and other records

Series 2 contains an extensive set of correspondence from Antarctic explorer and administrator, Phillip Law, to Robert Hill. Other correspondents in this Series are Robert Hill's wife, Judy Hill, and Phillip Law's wife, Nel Law. The correspondence between the Hills and the Laws spanned a period of some fifty years, from c.1947-2001, encompassing personal as well as professional subjects.

Robert Hill was a few years ahead of Phillip Law at the University of Melbourne in the 1930s. Phillip Law, whose family was active in the university community in Carlton, became a lifelong friend, and the Laws regularly stayed with the Hills during their trips to the United States. Both men went on to work as lecturers in physics at the University of Melbourne during the 1940s. According to the family, Robert Hill recommended Phillip Law for a senior role in the new Antarctic Division at External Affairs. A supply list drawn up by Phillip Law for a group sking trip in 1942 to Mt Hotham in the Victorian High Country is said to have exemplified his talent for organisation and team management to Robert Hill, also a regular member of Melbourne University ski trips made during the 1940s. This supply list is available in Inventory Item HILR00042, Series 2.

Many of the Christmas cards in Series 2 feature photographic reproductions depicting Antarctic and ocean scenes. These photographs relate to Phillip Law's work at the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions [ANARE].

Series 2 also includes a small amount of other material, most of it by, from or about Phillip Law. This material include copies of scholarly papers and drafts, as well as newspaper clippings. There are also two unsent letters that look to be from Robert D. Hill to Phillip Law (see Inventory Item HILR00039).

Most of the records in this series have been digitised. The digitised images are not yet available to the public. Undigitised records in this Series are Inventory Items HILR00044, HILR00045 and HILR00046.

Date Range: 1947 - 2001   Quantity: 17.5 cm, 26 Inventory Items
Provenance: Robert Dickson Hill


Series 3 Correspondence between Eric Burhop and Robert D. Hill, and other records

Series 3 contains an extensive set of correspondence to Robert and Judy Hill from Eric and Winifred Burhop. Other correspondents are Eric and Winifred's children, Graeme, Ian and Anneliese, plus there are some copies of Robert Hill's outgoing letters to Eric Burhop. The correspondence covers the period 1944-1990. As well as containing personal content, the letters are a rich record of Burhop's work in the fields of post-war nuclear science and particle physics, covering subjects such as research developments, people, events and organisations. This series also contains other related records, including published excerpts as well as Robert Hill's summary notes in regard to his correspondence with Eric Burhop.

Eric Burhop and Robert Hill met in Ballarat, where they both attended Ballarat High School. Eric Burhop was a nuclear physicist and academic, who won an 1851 Exhibition scholarship to Cavendish Laboratory during the 1930s. Burhop returned to Melbourne in 1936, where he established Australia's first research programme in nuclear physics at the University of Melbourne. During the Second World War, he was involved with the production of optical munitions for the Australian armed forces, and he worked under Mark Oliphant in the development of radar. During the last two years of the war, he undertook work on the separation of uranium isotopes as part of the Manhattan Project, based in the United States of America. Burhop later became a professor of physics at University College London. An active socialist, Burhop promoted the socially responsible use of science. He was involved in the founding of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs during the 1950s. He won the Lenin International Prize for Peace in 1972.

Date Range: 1941 - 2004   Quantity: 2.5 cm, 3 Inventory Items
Provenance: Robert Dickson Hill


Series 4 Robert D. Hill - Biographical

This series contains Robert Hill's unpublished autobiography, entitled 'A Melbournian's Contribution to World Science', and an interview between Hill and Jan Roberts Billett, his niece, carried out in 2000.

Date Range: 1996 - c. 2006   Quantity: 2 cm, 2 Inventory Items
Provenance: Robert Dickson Hill


Series 5 Robert D. Hill - Associates including Mark Oliphant - correspondence and papers

This series includes a small number of letters received by Robert Hill from Sir Mark Oliphant, Australian physicist. It also includes letters received by Robert Hill from T. S. Laby and Les Martin, physicists, and G. M. Trevelyan, British historian.

Date Range: 1945 - 2001   Quantity: 1 cm, 1 Folder
Provenance: Robert Dickson Hill


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

The template for this finding aid is part of the Heritage Documentation Management System

[ Top of Page | Home | Series | Provenance | Search ]