Series List and Summary Descriptions

Series 1 Professional achievements and polymer science

This series consists of a variety of records documenting Peter Dunnís professional achievements and contributions. Writing in Chemistry in Australia, Carolyn Morris explains Peter Dunnís scientific work as belonging to 'two broad areas: chemical defence and chemical weapons disarmament, and secondly, polymer science, technology and engineering' (volume 67, number 8, p.37). Series 1 focuses on the second area of Peter Dunnís scientific work, and includes correspondence, publications, photographs and awards.

The majority of content dates from the late 1950s to mid 1990s, reflecting the period of Peter Dunn's employment at the Australian Commonwealth government Materials Research Laboratories (previously Defence Standards Laboratories). The series includes records relating to Peter Dunnís Professional Officers Association Award and Australian Service Medal. His participation in a number of specialist committees and projects is also documented, including his role in the Technology Cooperation Programme (TTCP), the Special Army Task of 1974, and Project G10. Significant events at the Materials Research Laboratories are also documented. Series 1 includes three personnel files for Peter Dunn, dating from the 1980s. Three additional personnel files along with other related material can be found in Series 2.

The series also contains records relating to Peter Dunnís contributions to the development of products such as: protective clothing; Nylex; magnetic rubber; barra cable; antifungal sealing rings; and polymers in general. His attendance at a number of prestigious conventions and events is also documented in this series and includes his attendance at the 4th and 5th Australasian Rubber Technology Conventions; the Installation of the foundation Chancellor, Mr Creighton Burns, at Victoria University of Technology; the 1986 Civil Defence Symposium; and AusPlas 82 Australiaís International Conference and Exhibition of the Plastics Industry.

Date Range: c. 1943 - 2000
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 2 Research activities, including Operation Buffalo

This series contains publications, photographs and other records related to Peter Dunn's professional research activities, including files of material on subjects such as organotin chemistry, Operation Buffalo and compounds used in chemical warfare.

Between 1955 and 1963, the British military carried out testing of nuclear devices at Maralinga, South Australia. These atomic tests were known by the code name "Operation Buffalo". During 1956, Peter Dunn worked with the Target Response Tests Team at Maralinga. Files in this series relating to Operation Buffalo include reports and documentary material from the time of the tests, as well as records created after the cessation of Operation Buffalo. The later material largely dates from the 1980s and includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, and a transcript of an interview wherein Peter Dunn discusses the scope of his activities at Maralinga (as made available to the Secretariat of the Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia).

This series includes records that document Peter Dunn's career as a scientist and public servant, supplementing the material of a similar nature located in Series 1. Series 2 includes three personnel files, dating from the period 1956-1980, as well as documents pertaining to the Doctorate in science conferred on Peter Dunn by the University of Tasmania, and the award for bravery he received in 1971 for his actions during a fire at the Defence Standards Laboratory.

Date Range: 1930 - 1992
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 3 Chemical weapons and disarmament - UNSCOM working papers and other records

This series mostly contains documentation pertaining to the work of the United Nations Special Commission. It includes newsletters, meeting and plenary papers; inspection and other reports; items of correspondence; and exercise books, loose papers and other documentary materials gathered or prepared by Peter Dunn in his capacity as a member of the chemical weapons inspection and survey teams. Most of the holdings in this series relate to the period 1993-1997. Records of earlier UNSCOM activities (1991-1992) are more fully documented in Series 4 and Series 6.

A small amount of additional material produced or collected by Peter Dunn in relation to UN missions undertaken prior to UNSCOM's establishment (in particular chemical weapons inspections carried out during the 1980s Iran - Iraq war) is also present in the series. This additional material consists almost wholly of presentation and publication transparencies and photographic material (prints and slides).

Please note: photographic images held in this series may cause distress.

Date Range: 1984 - 1999, includes undated material
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 4 Chemical weapons and disarmament - UNSCOM reports and other publications

This series primarily contains official reports documenting the first two years of operation of the United Nations Special Commission (1991-1992). Examples include a report of the initial exploratory inspection of Muthanna State Establishment in Iraq, and a report of a meeting of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Working Group and Future Compliance Working Group. Other United Nations documents in this series include multiple drafts of the UN Chemical Weapons Convention.

In addition to UN reports, this series also contains other reports and published documents on subjects to do with chemical weapons and disarmament, dating from 1985-1993. Examples include the Gillis Report (a historical account of Australian field trials with mustard gas), a report of the Johnston Atoll Chemical Weapons Disposal Program (the US Army's first chemical munitions disposal facility, also known as Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System or JACADS), and Greenpeace International's publication Alternative Technologies for the Detoxification of Chemical Weapons: An Informative Document.

The United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) was set up to implement the non-nuclear provisions of the United Nations Security Council resolution 687 of 3 April 1991 (which established the terms and conditions for the formal cease-fire between Iraq and the coalition of Member States co-operating with Kuwait), and to assist the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the nuclear areas.

UNSCOM's mandate, as documented in UN records, was: "Öto carry out immediate on-site inspections of Iraq's biological, chemical and missile capabilities; to take possession for destruction, removal or rendering harmless of all chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related sub-systems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities; to supervise the destruction by Iraq of all its ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 km and related major parts, and repair and production facilities; and to monitor and verify Iraq's compliance with its undertaking not to use, develop, construct or acquire any of the items specified above."

Date Range: 1975 - 1998
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 5 Records and accounts of United Nations and UNSCOM work in Iran and Iraq 1980s-1990s

This series contains a diverse set of records documenting the work carried out by the United Nations in Iran and Iraq during the 1980s and 1990s, including the work of the United Nations Special Commission. The records include reports, personal accounts and notebooks created by Peter Dunn, photographs, correspondence, news clippings, agendas and meeting notes and correspondence. For the years 1997-1998, by which time Peter Dunn had formally retired from UNSCOM, this series documents media coverage of chemical disarmament issues, including contributions by Peter Dunn and other UNSCOM members.

Specific UN missions documented in Series 5 include missions to Iran in 1984 and 1986, and to Iran and Iraq in 1987. There are also records of the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Plenary Sessions of UNSCOM held between May 1993 and November 1994, and of the Chemical and Biological Working Group, which Peter Dunn co-ordinated from 1993-1997.

Date Range: 1970 - 2000, (also includes older records, beginning at 1918)
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 6 Records and accounts of UNSCOM activities (including Muthanna State Establishment) and other chemical weapons and disarmament initiatives

Series 6 contains assorted visual and technical records in relation to the work of the United Nations Special Commission and the UN in Iran and Iraq, with a focus on the period 1991-1992. There are many records of and about UNSCOM's activities at the Muthanna State Establishment near Baghdad, in particular the June 1991 inspection of the Iraqi chemical weapons facility. Other records of note in this series include a master set of Peter Dunnís viewfoils (transparencies used in presentations) from the years 1988, 1991 and 1996.

Series 6 also includes many reports in the media and other public forums documenting or relevant to the work carried out by UNSCOM, and more generally about developments around chemical warfare and chemical weapons. Records include publications, copies of talks, papers and presentations (many of which include visual records such as transparencies and photographs), and also a radio interview with Peter Dunn from 1992, entitled ĎEinstein or Go Goí

Date Range: 1976 - 1996, (also includes older records, beginning at 1918)
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 7 Records and accounts of chemical aspects of the Iran - Iraq War and investigations by the United Nations 1984-1987

The main focus of this series is the United Nations' investigations into the use of chemical weapons in Iran and Iraq in the 1980s, and in particular Peter Dunnís involvement as an inspector working on behalf of the UN during these investigations. The majority of records in this series are from the period 1986 to 1988. The records in this series were housed in a drawer of one of Peter Dunn's filing cabinets.

Record formats include photographs, maps, transparencies, reports and other documents. Representative content includes: copies of official reports to the United Nations and Australian Defence Department regarding the use of chemical weapons in Iran and Iraq; media accounts from Australian, Iranian and Iraqi newspapers; and Peter Dunnís own personal accounts of the UN missions and associated matters.

Date Range: 1973 - 1991
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 8 Appointment diaries kept by Peter Dunn

This series contains Peter Dunn's appointment diaries, kept for each year between 1978 and 1992, inclusive. These diaries were used by Peter Dunn to create a summary record of his personal and professional appointments and activities. Supplementary notebooks in which he kept detailed daily records of fieldwork periods (including those missions where he acted as a UN chemical weapons inspector) are held elsewhere in the collection.

A single desk calendar, for the year 1989, is also extant in this series.

Date Range: 1978 - 1992
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 9 Overseas travel files

This series documents Peter Dunnís work-related travel between 1981 and 1993, through travel documents such as receipts, tickets, schedules, lists, notebooks, correspondence, technical notes and reports, and other records.

In particular, the series contains documentation of: Peter Dunnís 1984, 1986, and 1987 United Nations missions to Iraq and Iran; his travel to South East Asia in 1988 and 1989; and multiple trips to other nations including Sweden, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Canada. As a consequence of this focus, the series also provides material documentation of Peter Dunnís involvement with various trans-national organisations including the United Nations, UNSCOM, and the Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP).

Additional travel documentation is held elsewhere in the collection. Of particular interest are Peter Dunn's travel notebooks and diaries in Series 5 and documentary albums in Series 10.

Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 10 Photograph and ephemera albums documenting overseas visits and missions

Ten albums containing photographs and assorted travel documentation pertaining to seven official overseas visits Peter Dunn participated in between 1984 and 1989. Those visits were: UN missions to Iran in 1984 and 1986; a UN mission to Iran and Iraq in 1987; three regional initiatives in South East Asia and the Pacific regarding chemical weapons and chemical disarmament in 1988-1989; and a visit to the United States in April 1988.

The five albums documenting UN missions comprise mostly colour photographs. The content of the albums related to regional initiatives is more diverse, and includes photographs, and a variety of travel documents including airline tickets, postcards and brief accounts of daily activities.

The records in Series 10 have been digitised.

For conservation reasons, each album in this series has been disassembled and the contents rehoused in archival enclosures. Researchers interested in the original layout of photographs and other material in the albums in this series are advised to consult the Manuscripts staff at the State Library of Victoria about gaining access to the digital records.

Please note: some photographic images in this series may cause distress.

Date Range: 1984 - 1989
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 11 Photographic and audio-visual material, mostly documenting chemical weapons and disarmament

This series contains loose photographs, slides, photograph albums, transparencies, audio and video cassettes, and occasional correspondence or other notes relating to Peter Dunn's work as a defence scientist and United Nations chemical weapons inspector and UNSCOM commissioner.

The series mostly consists of documentary, interview and presentation materials featuring or created by Peter Dunn in the course of his professional work. Some external reference materials are also included, in particular among the video items - these include a number of recordings of television programs relating to chemical warfare as broadcast on news and current affairs programs in Australia, Britain and Iran.

Please note: this series contains images that may cause distress.

Date Range: 1981 - 1999, includes undated material
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 12 Alphabetical subject files

This series contains subject files that were arranged alphabetically and stored in the first and second drawers of Peter Dunn's filing cabinet. File contents include correspondence, photographs, publications, drafts, press clippings and other documentary and reference materials relating to Peter Dunn's working life and professional relationships. Representative subjects include: Chemical Trials WWII [World War Two]; Dunn Media Items; Hoenig Visit; Mesothelioma; RACI [Royal Australian Chemical Institute]; University of Tasmania; and UNSCOM [United Nations Special Commission].

The main focus of the material held in this series is chemical weapons, although other aspects of Peter Dunn's professional interests and experience are also in evidence. Copies of Peter Dunn's curriculum vitae are held in this series, as are a number of published obituaries (added to the collection posthumously by Peter's widow, Roma Dunn).

Date Range: 1932 - 2000
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 13 Files from office cupboard

This series contains documents that were originally housed mostly in box files, stored in Peter Dunn's office cupboard. The records held in this series are primarily publications (including journal articles, press clippings, newsletters and reports) written by or about Peter Dunn, or otherwise related to chemical weapons, disarmament, and conflict in the Middle East, and in particular between Iran and Iraq.

The series also contains material relating to Peter Dunn's doctoral thesis and to other awards, such as the ANZAC [Australian and New Zealand Army Corps] Peace Prize, which he received in 1989. As well, there is documentation relating to his supervision of Bridget Goodwin's doctoral thesis, a modified version of which was later published by University of Queensland Press under the title Keen as Mustard. A complete copy of Bridget Goodwin's thesis is also extant in the series holdings.

As well, photographic materials are also present in this series. Images found in this series may cause distress.

Date Range: 1951 - 1997
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 14 Compilation volumes on chemical weapons, including chemical aspects of Iran - Iraq conflict

This series consists of a set of perfect bound (case bound) volumes, compiled by Peter Dunn in his capacity as Superintendant of the Organic Chemistry Division (later Chief of the Protective Chemistry Division) at the Materials Research Laboratories of the Australian Commonwealth Department of Defence. The volumes contain various source materials - including press clippings, journal articles, correspondence, memos, reports, file notes and scientific data - assembled in a largely chronological arrangement. Together, the volumes provide a full contexual record of the environment in which Peter Dunnís work as a defence scientist was taking place, with particular regard to his role with United Nations' chemical weapons inspection teams during the Iran - Iraq conflict during the 1980s, and as an UNSCOM commissioner in the early 1990s.

The majority of the contents are photocopies, however the presence of some original and annotated documents suggests that these volumes were likely intended as a personal reference collection. Wider circulation within the department may also have occurred. The cover sheet of each volume is printed on Department of Defence (Materials Research Laboratories) letterhead and is clearly marked "Unclassified".

Individual items contained or reproduced within these volumes may also appear elsewhere in the collection.

Date Range: 1983 - 1993
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 15 Chemistry in Australia publications

This series contains volumes of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute magazine, Chemistry in Australia, as maintained by Peter Dunn for his personal library.

The set runs from Volume 58, number 9 (September 1991) to Volume 67, number 4 (May 2000). Holdings constitute a continuous run excepting issues for April 1999 and the period October - December 1991, all of which were missing at time of transfer from Peter Dunn's home.

Due to the generic nature of the content, this series of publications was not transferred to the State Library of Victoria as part of Peter Dunn's archival collection. All items in the series have instead been retained by the eScholarship Research Centre at the University of Melbourne.

Date Range: September 1991 - May 2000, with gaps
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 16 Objects relating to research and chemical warfare

This series contains a selection of objects accumulated by Peter Dunn, apparently relating to his work on polymer chemistry and chemical weapons and warfare. Some (but not all) of the items are accompanied by handwritten notes wherein Peter Dunn provides context to their collection.

Most of the items in this series can be described as falling into one of two broad functional categories: technical instruments and apparatus (including, for example, WWII era slide rule for determining the coverage of gas contamination, and child's gas mask); or weapons inspection field samples (metal shrapnel and melted or intact plastics, including samples of Tefzelģ, a modified copolymer of tetrafluoroethylene and ethylene).

Date Range: c. 1939 - 1999, includes undated material
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Series 17 Published Documents including Materials Research Laboratory Reports

This series mostly consists of government documents including annual reports pertaining to the roles and activities of the Materials Research Laboratory and its predecessor, the Defence Standards Laboratory.

Series 17 also contains other offical and technical reports, papers and publications on subjects regarding chemical science for defence purposes, chemical weapons and chemical disarmament. This includes records of the Technical Cooperation Program, Subgroup P. Peter Dunn served as the Executive Chairman of this Subgroup from June 1981 to February 1987, in his capacity as Superintendent of the Organic Chemistry Division, Materials Research Laboratory. It also includes documents issued by the United States government in the 1980s in relation to the Soviet Unionís military capacities.

To avoid duplication with the holdings of the State Library of Victoria, selected records from Series 17 were deaccessioned and removed during processing of the Dunn Collection. The deaccessioned records comprise the Annual Report for the Munitions Supply Laboratories for 1947, and the Annual Reports for the Defence Standards Laboratory for the years 1948-1950 and 1953-1973. For more details, see the relevant item listings.

Date Range: 1947 - 1993, includes undated material
Provenance: Dunn, Peter


Published by the eScholarship Research Centre, The University of Melbourne,
Listed by Ann McCarthy, Antonina Lewis, Anna Russell, Elizabeth Daniels, and Arlie McCarthy
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Updated 14 July 2014

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