Collection UQFL23 - John Denis Fryer Papers

Identity area

Reference code



John Denis Fryer Papers


  • 1876-2021 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

3 boxes, 2 parcels.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Denis (Jack) Fryer was born on 11 September 1895 at Springsure, Queensland, son of Charles George Fryer and Rosina Fryer (née Richards). Charles and Rosina had seven children: Elizabeth Stuart (later Gilmour), William Thomas, Charles George, Henry Hardy, John Denis, Richard Alexander James and Walter Ponsonby. Jack won a scholarship to the University of Queensland and commenced study in 1915. By the end of first term, Jack decided to volunteer for military service in the first Australian Imperial Force. He was commissioned in 1916 and went to France. On 4 August 1918 the Fifty-First Battalion was in the line near Amiens when they were attacked; among the casualties was Lieutenant Fryer who had wounds to his arm, leg and thighs. After being hospitalised in Britain, Jack returned to Australian in July 1919. He re-enrolled at the University of Queensland for the first term of 1920 to complete his English honours examinations. While at University he was engaged in extra-curricular activities such as cricket, rugby, editing magazines including Galmahra with P. R. 'Inky' Stephensen, the Dramatic Society, contributed to the recently-founded St. John's College magazine Argo (using the pseudonym 'Chut'). In September 1922 he was hospitalised for tuberculosis. His mother travelled from Brisbane in December 1922 and took him home to Springsure in early January 1923. He died on 7 February 1923. In 1926, as a memorial to their former member and vice-president, members of the University of Queensland Dramatic Society donated £10 to establish a collection of works in Australian literature. The Fryer collection was maintained in the English Department until the 1950s when it became part of the University of Queensland Library.

Name of creator


Biographical history

The Fryer Family of Springsure began with the marriage when Rosina Richards (16 Aug 1865-24 Aug 1949) and Charles George Fryer married on 19 December 1883. They had six sons and one daughter. The children were: Elizabeth Stuart Gilmour (nee Fryer) (21 Dec 1884-10 Jul 1984); William Thomas Fryer (20 Feb 1887-21 Feb 1946); Charles George Fryer (2 Jul 1889-10 Apr 1917); Henry Hardy Fryer (15 Mar 1892-17 Sep 1990); John Denis (11 Sep 1895-7 Feb 1923); Richard Alexander James (23 Oct 1899-17 Jun 1986) and Walter Ponsonby (18 Jan 1906-16 May 1980).

Elizabeth Stuart Fryer married James Stephen Gilmour. They had three children: Eunice Catherine Gilmour (11 Nov 1921-1 Jan 2022); Lex and John.
Henry Hardy Fryer married Irene Margaret Holmes on 21 November 1923.
Richard Alexander Fryer married Myrtle Ellen Rowlands (19 Apr 1913-?) on 11 November 1934.
Walter Ponsonby Fryer married Emma Amelia Simpkins on 9 October 1935.

Archival history

Collection previously titled as: Papers, [189-]-1990
Collection alternatively titled as: John Denis Fryer Collection.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection contains correspondence, school and university records, photographs; papers, commissions and badges relating from military service in the First World War for Jack Fryer and his brothers who served in World War One. There are papers relating to the Fryer Family and the establishment of the Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The collection has been arranged into three series: Jack Fryer Papers, Fryer Family Papers and papers relating to the establishment of the Fryer Library as a memorial to J. Fryer.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Unrestricted access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright applies. Pre-1955 photographs: copyright expired.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Publication note

Material from this collection has been cited in:
Cryle, M (2011) 'A very small acorn': tracing the origins of the Fryer Library. Crossroads: an interdisciplinary journal for the study of history, philosophy, religion and classics V No. 2, 57-63.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)



Millennium Local System Number


OCLC Number

222660632 ; 1058637747

Libraries Australia ID

21260430 ; 63004947

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Revised, Linda Justo, 12-May-2023. Migrated from LMS: April 2019, P.A.




Accession area

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Box: UQFL23 Box 1
  • Box: UQFL23 Box 2
  • Box: UQFL23 Box 3
  • Parcel: UQFL23 Parcel 1
  • Parcel: UQFL23 Parcel 2