WA State Library buys letter penned by rocker Bon Scott

The WA State Library is the mystery buyer of a letter by former AC/DC frontman Bon Scott which was auctioned in Los Angeles in January for almost $14,000.

Minister for Local Government, Heritage, Culture and the Arts David Templeman announced that the State Library had expanded its heritage collection after acquiring the letter penned by the former Fremantle resident,  who grew up in the port city after migrating from Scotland.

The letter went on display at the library on March 27.

A 1978 letter from former Fremantle resident Bon Scott is on exhibition at the WA State Library.

Scott, who died of alcohol poisoning in 1980, writes about the challenges of recording a live album, his grueling tour schedule, the band’s alcohol consumption and his financial woes in the handwritten 1978 letter to his childhood friend Valerie Lary.

Scott also talks  about his connection to West Australia and wanting to return home.

“I know I’m pretty slack when it comes to letters & phone calls but I’m always travelling or drunk or hungover … today I’m shaking so much I can hardly write,” he says.

Auctioneers Nate D. Sanders described the item as a “very rare and lengthy autograph letter” written on Hilton stationary.

A notable West Australian

Adam Trainer, Community Engagement Officer for WA music at the library, told Government News the letter was purchased after the library’s acquisitions team became aware it was going under the hammer.

“Bon Scott’s obviously a very notable West Australian,” Dr Trainer said.

“So obviously he has a great significance to West Australian music, having begun his career here before moving on to greater public renown.

“The letter obviously falls within our collecting remit because it denotes the life of a notable West Australian, someone who lived here and spend time in the state and actually began their career here.”

Dr Trainer said while there hadn’t been “queues around the block” there had been considerable public interest in the new acquisition.

A ‘dynamite’ acquisition

Mr Templeman says the letter adds to the library’s expanding collection of items with significant historical and culture value to the state.

He described it as a “one-of-a-kind treasure and a rare insight into the life of one of WA’s most celebrated music legends”.

“The letter is a dynamite acquisition for the library and will add to its collection of AC/DC materials and artefacts,” he said.

“It also adds to AC/DC music recordings, photographs, books, posters and newspaper articles currently held in the museum’s heritage collection.”

The letter is on display at the State Library until April 2019, when it will be sent for storage in an archival climate-controlled room. It will remain available to the public in digital form.

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