Typewriter | State Library of New South Wales
Patrick White's portable Olivetti typewriter

Patrick White’s typewriter
XR 54

In 1991 the Mitchell Library was presented with a collection of furniture and furnishings that Patrick White (1912–1990) used in his former home in Centennial Park. This portable Optima type-writer was among the items which included his desk, chair, cushion, desk lamp, a ceramic ashtray and a couple of pens. Although the Library could recreate Patrick White’s writing environment, it would be impossible to reproduce the creative processes which resulted in a collection of novels, short stories, plays and addresses which established White’s extraordinary literary reputation and earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973.

Patrick White destroyed the majority of his manuscripts and most of his correspondence. White handwrote the early drafts of his work before producing a typescript version, with further corrections by hand.