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Memento : Issue 25
6 MEMENTO News from the National Archives THE ARCHIVES holds many personal and unexpected treasures. When Maev O'Collins was researching her grand- father Patrick McMahon Glynn's contri- bution as an important Federation figure, she discovered that he played a key role as Minister for External Affairs in the administration of Norfolk Island. This took her research in a new direction, and led to a book called An Uneasy Relationship: Norfolk Island and the Commonwealth of Australia, published in 2003 by Pandanus Books. Maev O'Collins is Emeritus Professor at the University of Papua New Guinea, Visiting Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Change, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University, and Adjunct Professor at the Australian Catholic University, Signadou Campus. Her book explores the history of the relationship between Norfolk Island and its inhabitants and the Australian Government and its official representatives after the transfer of the island's administration from the British in 1914. The key players in this new arrangement were Commonwealth Minister for External Affairs Patrick McMahon Glynn, Departmental Secretary Atlee Hunt, Administrator Michael Murphy, and community leader Charles Chase Ray Nobbs. Drawing on official and unofficial correspondence, the book shows the influence of these four players on the decision-making of the time. Below Professor Maev O'Collins discusses how she went about her research and what she found. Official departmental files from the early years after Federation often reflect a much more personal engagement than the minimalist records of later years. The value for the researcher is that they provide significant insights into the way governors and governors-general, politicians, public servants and influential members of the community viewed their roles and responsibilities. The focus of my research was on the socio-political context of the transfer, on 1July 1914, of authority for Norfolk Island from Britain to the Commonwealth of Australia. This only came about after lengthy negotiations between governors, politicians and public servants, generally with little or no consultation with Norfolk Islanders -- the people who would be most affected. In order to really understand the processes involved, it was important to read official reports and other communications, and then check these against other less formal sources such as private letters, diaries, newspaper articles and reports of community meetings. Days spent at the National Archives combing through boxes of files related to Norfolk Island were balanced by similar activities in the Manuscript Collection and Newspaper Room at the National Library, and occasional contacts with the Mitchell Library and other research collections. Four Imperial Bushmen, natives of Norfolk Island, in Commonwealth contingent sent to London for the Coronation of King Edward VII, also one clergyman and one civilian, London. NAA: CP697/96, photo 1 erendipitous discoveries on