Interest Poetry


Robert Menzies' interest in poetry can be traced back to his early life. At school at Wesley College, he was 'encouraged' (Martin, 19) to memorise thousands of lines of verse. At the University of Melbourne, he wrote a series of three essays, 'A Century of Australian Song', for the Melbourne University Magazine and regularly contributed his own poems. Interviewed in 1963, Menzies is reported to have said, 'Poetry keeps the mind in order' ('Sir Robert Tells TV Viewers of an Unfamiliar Subject'). His favourite Australian poets, he went on to say, were Judith Wright, Douglas Stewart and Kenneth Slessor.

There are around 200 hundred poetry books (including anthologies) in the Robert Menzies Collection. Many came from the Commonwealth Literary Fund (CLF), but others were personal gifts from the authors.


Martin, A.W. Robert Menzies: A Life. Volume 1, 1894-1943. Carlton South, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1993.

'Sir Robert Menzies Tells TV Viewers of an Unfamiliar Subject', The Age, 5 August 1963, 3.

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