Guide to the Papers of Neil Brian Davis




This collection of six boxes relates to the career of cameraman/photojournalist Neil Brian Davis. It comprises personal papers created and used by Davis and information collected by Tim Bowden for his biography of Davis One crowded hour: Neil Davis, combat cameraman. Most of the original material cover the period 1964 - 1985, including Davis's work diaries and notebooks. Many of the photographs and letters were held by other people and were donated by Bowden as part of the research used for his book. Other items in the collection include diaries, notebooks, photographs, letters, telexes, memoranda, radio reports filed by Davis and newspaper and magazine articles.

SERIES 1: Work diaries and notebooks, 1964 - 1985 - This series includes work diaries and notebooks used by Davis, covering consecutive years between 1964 and 1985. The diaries include names, addresses and phone numbers of colleagues and friends; also records of travel, appointments and days off. Many entries also include a summary of the day's events and expenses. Davis also recorded his location at the top of each page. Being work diaries they do not contain a record of Davis's personal feelings or thoughts, and only contain entries for the days and times Davis worked. From 1974, Davis occasionally amended entries in his diary. In 1979, he began to add personal appointments such as dinner dates with friends. From 1981, he recorded details of his investments and lotteries he entered. Also in 1981, Davis started recording on the bottom of each page the amount and type of exercise he had done each day. In the notebooks Davis recorded names, contact details of colleagues and friends, and travel details and appointments.; SERIES 2: Correspondence with Lillian Davis, 1964 - 1985 - This series consists of personal letters written by Davis to his aunt, Lillian Davis. Lillian was his father's older sister and formerly a nurse during the First World War.; SERIES 3: Correspondence with Malcolm French,1964 - 1985 - This series consists of personal letters written by Davis to his old school friend Malcolm French.; SERIES 4: Business correspondence, 1967 - 1980 - This series includes correspondence between Davis and his employers, Visnews and NBC News. The correspondence includes letters, telexes and memoranda.;SERIES 5: Radio and television reports,1975 - 1979 - This series includes typescripts of the radio and television reports Davis filed with NBS News. He filed these reports from South-east Asia, Africa and the Middle East, including from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Rhodesia, Angola and Lebanon. The reports are arranged chronologically and by region.; SERIES 6: Articles written by Neil Davis,1967 - 1985 - This series includes original newspaper and magazine articles written by Neil Davis. Also filed here are unpublished articles and draft manuscripts of published articles.; SERIES 7: Papers collected by Neil Davis,1964 - 1985 - This series includes articles and research documents written and compiled by Davis concerning the political and military situations in Southeast Asia and Africa. Other items include articles based on the hazards faced by war correspondents.; SERIES 8: Documentaries,1976 - 1985 - This series relates to two documentaries Frontline; (1977), a biographical film on Davis, by independent film maker David Bradbury, and the NBC News television documentaryVietnam - plus ten years (1985).; SERIES 9: Photographs,1924 - 1985 - This series is mainly comprised of photographs taken by or of Neil Davis. Many of these photographs appear to have been arranged and numbered by Davis. Most of the photographs were taken during his years as a war correspondent in Vietnam.; SERIES 10: Personal identification documents,1964 - 1985 - This series comprises personal documents belonging to Davis including press passes, passports and business cards.; SERIES 11: Tributes and obituaries,1985- This series includes newspaper and magazine articles written about Neil Davis after his death.; SERIES 12: One crowded hour: Neil Davis, combat cameraman by Tim Bowden, 1985 - 1989 -This series comprises correspondence to Tim Bowden relating anecdotes about Davis for the biography One crowded hour: Neil Davis, combat cameramanMuch of the correspondence related to personal memories written by Davis's colleagues after his death. Also filed here is background material collected by Bowden on some of the political and military situations Davis worked in.

Born Tasmania 14 February 1934, killed Bangkok 9 September 1985. For over twenty years Neil Davis was a well known cameramen and photojournalist. From the early 1960's until he was killed in September 1985, Davis brought images of war on three continents to the world's television screens. But it is for his coverage of the conflict in Indo-China that he is best remembered. He went into the field with the Viet Cong as well as American Forces in Vietnam, and filmed the war in Cambodia and Laos. One of his most famous films was the taking of Saigon's Presidential Palace in 1975 - the symbol of American defeat. After the Vietnam War Davis covered many of the world's conflicts for the American National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), eventually settling in Bangkok. It was in Bangkok in 1985, filming a Thai Army coup, that he was killed by machine gun fire from a Thai rebel tank. Records transferred to the Australian War Memorial in 1993. Davis's papers came to the Australian War Memorial in 1993. The material was collated by Tim Bowden, who used Davis's papers while preparing the biography One crowded hour :Neil Davis, combat cameraman. This collection consists of both Davis's papers and Bowden's own papers relating to Davis's career and death. Bowden also collected many articles about Davis and letters from Davis's colleagues, some of which contain anecdotes and first-hand information about Davis.

Contact Senior Curator, Private Records, Australian War Memorial.

Open - Contact Senior Curator, Private Records, Australian War Memorial.

Selected additional and related material available at using the search terms described under 'subject _local'. Copies of many items from the Memorial's collections may also be purchased @


Correspondence; Diaries; Personal papers

Journalism; Journalists

Lebanon; Photographers; Southeast Asia; Vietnam 1962 - 1972; War correspondents

Neil Davis

Coverage Spatial

Lebanon; Southeast Asia; Vietnam

Coverage Temporal



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