|Phillip Garth Law Guide to Records
About the records
The collection was processed by the Australian Science Archives Project during 1988, and remained in Melbourne (transferred to the Museum of Victoria 4 April 1989) while Law's biographer Kathleen Ralston worked on the material, and was transferred to the National Library of Australia, Canberra, in May 1998. The Records of Phillip Garth Law (the guide to the records, published in 1989) covers those materials transferred to the National Library (Accession Number ASAP 27/3/88) and some material still then in Law's possession.
In 1998 the Australian Science Archives Project received funding from the National Library of Australia to process records remaining in the possession of P.G. Law (Accession Numbers LAWP1999/0001, LAWP1999/0002, LAWP1999/0003), which were processed at his house in January-March 1999. Further material, accessioned separately (LAWP1992/0001, LAWP1994/0001), was processed at this time. Processing of new material took place in May 2003 (Accession Numbers LAWP2003/0001 and LAWP2003/0002) funded by the National Library of Australia. In June 2003 most processed material remaining in Dr Law's possession (series 9, 10, 11, 13 and 15) was transferred to the National Library of Australia.
Series 2 and 3 (diaries) were transferred to the National Library of Australia in September 2006. Processed records (Series 18) and unprocessed records (to be added to Series 15-17) remaining in Dr Law's possession were transferred to the custody of the University of Melbourne in late 2006, to the eScholarship Research Centre (formerly the Australian Science Archives Project).
Further records relating to both Phillip and Nel Law were transferred to the eScholarship Research Centre following the death of Phillip Law in 2010 (Accession Numbers LAWP2010/001, LAWP2010/002, LAWP2011/001, LAWP2011/002). These records were processed in 2011 and transferred to the National Library of Australia in May 2012.
Scope and Content
Dr Phillip Law was a prominent and active member of the Australian scientific and academic community. As an Antarctic explorer, he was one of an elite group which boasted names likes Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton, Mawson, Byrd and Fuchs. Dr Law amassed a rich and significant collection of papers chronicling his childhood, education, family, interests and remarkable career. This archival collection is unique in terms of its content and breadth, particularly in relation to the development of post-war Australian exploration, the Antarctic, scientific pursuit and education.
Law was a great champion of education and science and his collection, with its extraordinary number of talks, addresses, speeches and lectures captures well the way he presented science, particularly Antarctic science and exploration, to the general public, be they Rotarians, college graduands, or a troup of Boy Scouts. The key series in the collection, however, is the set of diaries kept by Law while he was with the Antarctic Division. In conjunction with the official records held by the National Archives of Australia, they document the trials of exploring the iced continent and the difficulties of conducting science in such an environment. Other records encompass many public issues of the 1960s through to the 1990s, from student activism, the development of the Victoria Institute of Colleges and the setting up of the "FOX-FM" radio station, to lobbying to establish the Victorian Institute of Marine Science, and attempting to establish an Antarctic Museum in Hobart and Melbourne.