This collection comprises drafts, research notes, reports, minutes, newspaper clippings and files relating to the building industry in New Zealand accumulated by Wilfred (Bill) McAra during the period 1935 to 1946.
The papers in this collection are rather a mixed bag, some items relate more to material held in MSS & Archives D-10: Papers relating to the Building Investigations Committee of the Wellington Branch of the Carpenters Union, and MSS & Archives D-6: Records of the New Zealand Building and Allied Trades Federation, than they do to each other.
In addition, prior to the preparation of this inventory in 2010 there were some twelve very thick folders of material labelled
miscellaneous rough notes in this collection. While from an archival perspective it would have been preferable to be able to arrange and describe the contents of these folders in more detail, the undated, unfinished and unsorted nature of the material made the task difficult. Material which was easily identifiable as drafts for specific publications or pertaining to the work of various committees of which McAra was a member were separated out and described individually, a proportion of the material however defied description and has been left as folders of miscellaneous rough notes.
If nothing else these
miscellaneous rough notes reflect McAra’s propensity not only to make notes on any piece of paper which came to hand but to keep every draft and scrap of paper.
Among the material in this collection are two files of semi official correspondence created by Graham W. Massingham (1884 -1947). These files document the establishment of an employment finding service in 1934 by Massingham under the control of the Unemployment Board, which in May 1936 became the State Placement Service.
McAra took over Massingham’s duties at the Wellington Placement Office in Sept 1939 (see MSS & Archives A-139, item 1/8). In a letter to McAra, written in Nov 1939, Massingham outlines his part in the establishment of the State Placement Service and notes that
The history of developments is best studied in the files of my weekly reports and correspondence now in your possession (MSS & Archives 94/4, item 253), perhaps referring to the two files found here. Other papers which originated with Massingham can be found in MSS & Archives A-139: Wilfred McAra papers, 1913 to 1970, series 8.