Thursday, February 2, 2012

Congratulations Paul Brunton OAM

I am delighted  to see that Paul Brunton, Senior Curator of the Mitchell Library of the State Library of New South Wales, has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours for 2012.   Paul is known to us as a first rate professional,  a generous  colleague in sharing his expertise and overall fine person to know.  I note that in the article about his award in the  “Australian" newspaper on the 26th January, the first line states that Paul Brunton may not be a “household name”.   Whilst this is a very good article overall   I would think there is grounds for disagreeing a little with that judgement - certainly in the academic, archives and library worlds.    He is a popular presenter of talks at local libraries for instance and of course at his State Library where he inevitably attracts  good audiences.  Paul is also often the “go to” person for journalists doing stories about manuscripts or rare historical materials. The journalists recognise him as  articulate and able to summarise for the public the worth for historical research purposes. He is the all round professional.

Paul is  a very talented  speaker and presenter. An example of his skills can be viewed through  his talk at the Mosman Municipal library in Sydney on one of his favourite topics , Miles Franklin, from whom the Library has a large donated collection of papers and manuscripts.

I think it is fair to say Paul is an expert on these papers. In this talk Paul engrosses the audience for almost an hour talking without notes on Miles. His fluency and knowledge on display there underpins the huge value of his curatorship to the State Library of NSW, Australian history, and Australian archivists and librarians.

In quoting from "The Australian" newspaper article again, I note  Paul tells us he started at the State Library 40 years ago after his post-grad studies at Sydney University -  a very brilliant career. Paul has been a great collector for the Mitchell Library, touring the globe for valuable additions to the Library.  He says he is honoured to receive the award and we are honoured to have him as our colleague and very pleased he has received this fitting recognition.

Faye Lawrence

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