About Uncommon Lives

Uncommon Lives website is a series of features on individual Australians. Each 'Life' is chiefly drawn from the collection of the National Archives of Australia.

The lives show how family historians and other researchers can find biographical evidence in the records of federal government held by the Archives.

The views expressed in each feature are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Archives.

Some records featured in Uncommon Lives were created in the 1960s or later and include identifying or otherwise personal information. In those cases we have either contacted or attempted to contact the subjects to seek their permission to use such records.


Authors: Hanifa Deen (Muslim Journeys); John Dargavel with Lenore Coltheart (Charles & Ruth Lane Poole); Peter Read (Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda); Lenore Coltheart (Jessie Street); Klaus Neumann (Wolf Klaphake)
Design: Art Direction Creative

Production: Kate Bagnall, Tikka Wilson and Tim Sherratt

Websites staff – Fiona Kilby, Russell Pym, Cath Styles, Cris McGrath, Brad Headland, Lenore Coltheart and Rose Chaffey – and Reference staff and Imaging Services staff of the National Archives provided invaluable assistance in developing this website.

The Muslim Journeys feature

Muslim Journeys was written by Hanifa Deen, author of Caravanserai: Journey among Australian Muslims. National Archives staff, particularly Michael Wenke, contributed to the initial research. Dr Tim Sherratt and Dr Kate Bagnall edited the text and provided additional research.

Special thanks to the expert review panel, Professor Trevor Batrouney, Bilal Cleland, Dr Nahid Kabir and Anna Kenny, for their invaluable comments. Thanks also to Ibrahim Dellal and Kuranda Seyit for kindly supplying photographs to use on the website.

Muslim Journeys was developed with the support of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

The Charles & Ruth Lane Poole feature

The Charles and Ruth Lane Poole feature was written by Dr John Dargavel, Visiting Fellow in the School of Resources, Environment and Society, Australian National University. Dr Lenore Coltheart contributed to the discussion of Ruth Lane Poole's interior design work.

Special thanks to the Lane Poole family for providing material for the website, in particular Phyllis Hamilton for providing the family photographs. Thanks also to Susan Mary Withycombe and Christopher Menz for their assistance with information on Ruth Lane Poole and her work.

Robin Cromer, the National Gallery of Ireland, the State Library of Victoria, the Australian National University Archives and the National Library of Australia have kindly supplied images for use in this website.

The Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda feature

The Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda feature was written by Professor Peter Read, Centre for Cross Cultural Research, Australian National University.

Special thanks to Dhukal, Wuyal and Mulkun Wirrpanda, who invited Peter Read and Kate Bagnall to their country in eastern Arnhem Land and recounted Dhakiyarr's story, the Olman's story, as told by their mother for this website.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the Northern Territory Library and Information Service have kindly supplied images of Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda.

The Jessie Street feature

'Red Jessie' was written by Lenore Coltheart, editor of Jessie Street: A Revised Autobiography, a new edition of Jessie Street's Truth or Repose (1966). Lenore is currently writing a biography of Jessie Street.

Special thanks to the Street family, in particular Belinda Mackay and Sir Laurence Street, for permission to reproduce photographs for this feature.

The National Library of Australia and the Mitchell Library of the State Library of New South Wales kindly supplied images from their collections.

The Wolf Klaphake feature

The text for 'A doubtful character' was written by Klaus Neumann, who also wrote the radio play A Doubtful Character: Wolf Klaphake, broadcast on ABC Radio National on 12 July 2003. See the ABC Radio Eye website for more information.

Klaus has written widely about Australian, Pacific Islands, New Zealand and German histories and cultures. His books include a history of the Tolai people of Papua New Guinea and an account of a volcanic eruption. In Shifting Memories (2000) he explored how Germans have publicly remembered the Holocaust. His paper, 'Fifth columnists?', is about stories of German and Austrian refugees who were interned during World War II.

He became interested in the internment experiences of German and Austrian refugees as the National Archives of Australia’s 2001 Frederick Watson Fellow. Klaus is currently writing about Australia’s treatment of refugees and the implementation of the White Australia Policy after World War II.

The author wishes to give special thanks to members of the Klaphake family – Alice Klaphake, Zita Klaphake, Van Klaphake and Rose Mary Crawford – for generously sharing their memories of Wolf and for granting access to his writings. Many thanks also to Erhard Nofz, Maria Sams, Ilona Hill, Lenore Rays, Heather Nicholson, Tim Bass, and others interviewed for this project.

Zita Klaphake, the Zeitz municipal archives and Daniel Beysens kindly contributed images for this website.

Thanks are also due to the National Archives of Australia and the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University for supporting Klaus Neumann's research.

A Doubtful Character was produced with the support of the Goethe Institut, Sydney.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019