Commonwealth Patronage for a Patron’s Daughters
The files of the Commonwealth Literary Fund in the Australian Archives. Canberra, provide a wealth of biographical information on the literary men and women who applied for government assistance, with varying degrees of success, over the seventy-four years of the scheme's existence. They also reveal a great deal about the working of the fund and the criteria used to select worthy recipients of its beneficence. In an earlier era Nicol Drysdale Stenhouse dispensed financial aid to distressed colonial authors and their families with no guidelines other than Christian charity and the limitations of his income. When his function was assumed by the Commonwealth in 1908 a committee replaced the patron and the cold hand of policy endorsed the supplicant's cheques.
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