Hard to find – but worth the hunt

One of the frustrations of historical research is knowing something exists but being unable to locate it. That was the case with letters from Allen Allen & Hemsley to client Angus & Robertson. The letters related to the copyright of several works by Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson, including The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses.

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Bookseller and publisher Angus & Robertson was a longstanding client of Allen Allen & Hemsley (one of the founding firms of Allens). From the late 1800s to the mid-1900s, Allen Allen & Hemsley provided legal services to Angus & Robertson, assisting with property transactions and business acquisitions, as well as copyright negotiations with some of Australia's leading literary figures. Among the firm's archives were old, scratchy copies of letters between the firm and the publisher that were hard to read. They did, however, suggest the firm had been involved in arranging copyright for some of renowned author Banjo Paterson's most significant works.

The letters were tracked to the Angus & Robertson collection in the State Library of New South Wales, an enormous compilation of correspondence between the publisher and authors. The collection covers the period 1854–1974 and is contained in more than 750 archive boxes. Finding two specific pieces of paper seemed like an impossible task. Thankfully, with the information Allens could provide and recent documenting of some of the files, the librarians were able to pinpoint the relevant box and share the letters with the firm. The letters confirmed the firm's involvement with the copyright of the important piece of literature – The Man from Snowy River.

Photo: Portrait of A. B. Paterson, Collection of National Library of Australia.

Letter from Allen Allen & Hemsley to Angus & Robertson dated 26 June 1908.

Letter from Allen Allen & Hemsley to Angus & Robertson dated 3 July 1908.

A glimpse into our history

A global platform: Joining forces with Linklaters

Ten years ago, on 1 May 2012, Allens and Linklaters formed a global alliance to enhance and expand our offering to our people and clients. Since then, more than 200 people have enjoyed global career opportunities through the alliance and we have worked together on thousands of matters spanning the world. Here is where it all began...

The launch of World Series Cricket

The summer holidays mean one thing for many Australians: cricket. Heading to a day-night match and watching the brightly coloured teams smacking the ball into the crowd is what we've come to expect. But, it wasn't always like this and Allens played a big part in transforming the game of cricket into what it is today.

George Allen's escritoire

We've welcomed the office of the past into the present with the arrival of a desk originally owned by our founder, George Allen. The desk, officially known as an escritoire, was a gift to the firm from the Allen family and has been lovingly restored to bring it back to its former glory.

Upholding the right to vote

In 2006, the Howard Government introduced significant changes to Australia's voting laws through the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006 (Cth). Among the changes contained in the legislation was the denial of voting rights to all people in prison.

The book that changed Australia

Today we take for granted our ability to read any book we choose, but it wasn't long ago that Australia had some of the most severe censorship regulations in the Western world. Allens played a pivotal role in changing this and bringing an end to literary censorship in Australia.

Hard to find – but worth the hunt

One of the frustrations of historical research is knowing something exists but being unable to locate it. That was the case with letters from Allen Allen & Hemsley to client Angus & Robertson. The letters related to the copyright of several works by Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson, including The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses.

Lawyers draft wills better than authors

When legal practices were first established in Australia, a significant portion of their work involved the management of complex wills and estates. However, over time, the founding firms of Allens shifted their focus from managing family estates and trusts to become predominantly commercial practices. This is the story of the firm's involvement in celebrated author Nevil Shute's will.

Hidden treasures

Research for the Allens history book has turned up a variety of interesting items, among them a hand-drawn map of Brisbane from 1849 and a mallet used by founder George Allen in 1859 to lay the foundation stone for a new chapel in Newtown, Sydney.

First true civil libel case in Australia

In 1817, 16-year-old George Allen was just a few months into his legal training when he found himself amidst one of the most interesting legal cases in the colony of New South Wales. George had just entered his articles of clerkship with Frederick Garling when Garling was appointed to represent defendant John Thomas Campbell in the first true civil libel case in Australia.

Helping Bush Heritage preserve precious land

Since 1995, Allens has committed thousands of hours of expertise to helping Bush Heritage with its vision of healthy Country, protected forever. This includes 14ha of land in the Liffey Valley of Tasmania, which former Australian Senator Bob Brown gifted to the organisation in 2011 with support from Allens.

Seeking justice for the Stolen Generation

Right from the start, almost 200 years ago, Allens has shown support for Australia's Indigenous communities and, in 1996, we helped pave the way towards the National Apology through our involvement in the first Stolen Generation legal trials.

Supporting critical Australian infrastructure

17 October 1949 marked the official start of what is still considered one of the largest and most ambitious engineering projects ever undertaken in Australia – the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

It all started in 1822

Allens was founded on 22 July 1822, the day 21-year-old George Allen was admitted as an attorney and solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and became the first person to complete their full legal training in Australia. When he began his small legal practice in a cottage on Elizabeth Street in Sydney, he could not have foreseen the story that would follow.