Edith Tattersall

Obituary EDITH TATTERSALL 1915-1989.  inCite vol 10, no. 11, 24 July 1989, p. 20.

The establishment of the first statewide free library service in Australia ...was one of the first outstanding events of the early years of the library profession in Australia, and was all the more remarkable because it took place during the war years 1939-45.  It was a heady time of expansion for libraries in Tasmania, and I felt privileged to be there taking part in it.'

Edith Tattersall (1988)

Edith Mary Tattersall, BA (WA), FLAA, who was born in Perth on 5 November 1915, died peacefully at her home in Armidale on 28 March 1989, aged 73 years.

Edith graduated with Honours from the University of Western Australia in 1938. In 1941, with the help of a Carnegie  scholarship, she studied at the Library School of the Public Library of New South Wales.  She was appointed to the staff of the Tasmanian Public Library in April 1942 as Senior Assistant. There, she became involved in the setting up of the statewide library system proposed in the Binns Report; and during 1944-46 she ran the Central Reference Library in the State Library.

Edith Tattersall was appointed Librarian of the New England University College in 1947. Her own account of those difficult early years at Armidale, when she fought to establish the status of both the Library and the Librarian within the College (and, from 1954, the University), appears in the essay she wrote for The New England experience: inside stories of UNE, 1938-1988, published at Armidale last year by the Alumni Association of the University of New England. (The introductory quotation is taken from this essay.)

Her 9-year span as Librarian in charge of the Dixson Library ended in 1956 with the creation by the new University of a new position of Chief Librarian, for which she did not apply.  However, she continued to work in the Dixson Library in various capacities until her retirement in 1980.

Edith developed an interest in Australian government publications, which culminated in the writing of her Australian Parliamentary publications in the Dixson Library, University of New England: a descriptive hand list, issued in 1980.

She is remembered by many for her long and dedicated service as a librarian, and - by those who had more than a passing acquaintance with her - for the extraordinary breadth and depth of her interests and concerns.

A special endowment fund has been established in the UNE's Dixson Library in honour of Edith, and contributions to this memorial fund are welcome. All donations are tax deductible and may be sent to the University Librarian, Mr Karl Schmude, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351.

Robert A. Boyd