Australiana über alles in Wien, or collecting German-language Australiana in Vienna in a Habsburg milieu
THE VIENNESE associations of the Biblionews editor’s most recent article have prompted this one.1 After my last visit thirty years ago,2 I stayed in Vienna for four days in early December 2008 en route to England and again for eight days in late February 2009 on my return journey to Victoria’s languorous Longwarry, a village of some 1200 souls. As in 1978, I was in Vienna comfortably accommodated by an old school friend in his commodious flat that is located in a side building of the Baroque Palais Liechtenstein, now an art museum on the street named Fürstengasse, which intersects with Liechtensteingasse.
During both visits I was intent upon the acquisition of German-language Australiana for the commercial purpose of selling it to the National Library of Australia and one or more Australian state libraries. For up to twenty years this year, I have purveyed miscellaneous Australiana to these libraries. Although the books acquired were few in number and not inexpensive, my commercial mission in Vienna was successful.
My friend, an Austrian citizen for many years, but originally from seaside Maroubra in Sydney, is a senior official of the Austrian Mint (Münze Österreich) on the Heumarkt (once the site of the old hay market). Although it is not his only role, he is chiefly responsible for the historical exhibitions mounted at the Mint and the catalogues of them in association with the design and issue of commemorative coinage.
Since we were together in senior high school he has been immersed in Austrian history, pre-eminently the history of the supranational Habsburg dynasty from its thirteenth century origin to its 1918 eclipse in the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On 28th June 1964, when we were both teachers college students, we re-enacted on the steps of Newcastle Town Hall, in concert with friends—for the 50th anniversary of that seminal historical event—the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his morganatic wife, the Duchess Sophie Hohenlohe.
The following year was founded the Maroubra-based Imperial Austrian Historical Society. Between 1965 and 1967 the Society issued eleven information sheets on various aspects of Austrian history, which I still have. These included “Rudolf I – founder of dynastic power” (March 21–April 1966), “Austria before the Babenbergs” (March 1967), “Napoleon II: the Duke of Reichstadt” (March 1967) and “Austria-Hungary and the U-boat campaign of the First World War” (April 1967).
My friend’s initial youthful passion has long since been his erudite profession in a numismatic context. His “lateral” Palais Liechtenstein domicile is a library and minor museum of the Habsburg dynasty and empire. His books in English and German also encompass British and European history and Benedictine monasticism. His Habsburg holdings include manuscripts, photographs, other pictorial items, busts, coins, medals, Austro-Hungarian naval memorabilia and other historical artifacts carefully assembled over forty years or so. Familiarity with the flat’s contents recalls a march title of the old Imperial Army: “Hoch Habsburg!” (which might be somewhat colloquially translated as “Up with the Habsburgs!”).
On the day of my December arrival I was treated to an afternoon viewing of a DVD of pre-1914 film footage of the Austro-Hungarian navy which featured major warship launches and fleet visits by the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the Archduke Karl, who in 1916 became the last Emperor in his stead. This was a derivative of a 2004–2005 Austrian Mint exhibition, Österreich auf hoher See (Austria on the High Seas). Its catalogue contains an introductory essay on Austrian naval endeavours from the fourteenth century to 1918.3
Other English-language versions of Mint exhibition catalogues given to me included two on the long reign of the Emperor Franz Joseph (1848–1916):
- Beruf: Kaiser (Profession: Emperor)4, a survey in 150 exhibits plus pictures and contemporary film footage of the reign;
- Viribus unitis: with united strength: Franz Joseph I and the domestic politics.5
Austria-Hungary’s last Emperor, Karl I, who was beatified in Rome on 3rd October 2004, had been the subject of a 1999–2000 Mint exhibition.6
All the exhibitions present documents and other artifacts from a large number of Viennese museums, libraries and archives. Not infrequently the illustrated exhibition catalogues feature items from my friend’s personal collections that are referenced “TS” in the catalogue entries.7
As I had advised him before my arrival of my prospective quest for German-language Australiana, he promptly provided me with an internet printout of Viennese antiquarian booksellers. Their broad international and multilingual subject coverage evoked for me the traditional Habsburg Latin motto: A.E.I.O.U., Austriae est imperare orbi universo (It is for [the House of] Austria to rule the whole world).
During my four-day December stay I visited several likely bookshops and obtained their Australia/ South Sea/ Pacific lists or listed eligible books on the spot. After checking these lists against Australian libraries’ online catalogues I was ready to make my purchases upon my February return.
In February, on Shrove Tuesday in the course of visits to several historic Viennese churches I visited the church of the Schottenstift (or the, misleadingly titled, Scots Monastery) on the Freyung, the irregularly shaped open space in front of the monastery. It was founded in 1155 by the Babenberg Duke Heinrich II, who introduced a community of Irish monks from Regensburg known in Latin as monaci iroscotenses or monaci scoti. German monks replaced the Irish ones in 1418.
In May 1847 the English Benedictine monk John Bede Polding, the first Catholic bishop in Australia (1835) and the first Catholic Archbishop of Sydney (1842–1877), visited the Schottenstift. In the course of his British and European travels Polding was ever an indefatigible acquirer of books for the Sydney Benedictine Collection, not least from the various religious houses he visited.8 At the Schottenstift Abbot Sigismund Schultes presented his English confrère from the Antipodes with two splendid monastic liturgical books in folio, both early imprints from the same printery in Toul in France. The earlier was a Benedictine monastic psalter of 1683,9 the later a monastic antiphonary of 1715.10 The bindings of both these folios feature a Habsburg double-headed eagle super-exlibris and both bear the same lengthy Latin presentation inscription from Abbot Schultes to Archbishop Polding as first Metropolitan of the whole of Australia and Archbishop of the city of Sydney.11
Both these books printed in liturgical red and black I recorded for the Early Imprints Project in New South Wales in 1982. The early eighteenth century monastic antiphonary was in the Benedictine Collection of the Veech Library at St Patrick’s College, Manly, a library now located with the Catholic Institute of Sydney at Strathfield. The late 17th century monastic Psalter was held by the Benedictine nuns founded by Polding, then in Pennant Hills, but who subsequently relocated to Jamberoo on the south coast of New South Wales.
With one slight exception my Viennese book purchases were entirely unrelated to such extraordinary books. On my first visit in the broadly dispersed Vienna Christmas Market I lighted upon a late nineteenth century book in shiny black cloth by a German Benedictine monk, Hermann Koneberg OSB, The Miraculous Statue of the Infant Jesus at Prague, (Augsburg: Michael Seitz, 1895), a history with devotions of this traditional Catholic cult, which centres on a 16th century Spanish statue of the Child Jesus located in Prague. I was astonished to find an Augsburg imprint but an English text.
By contrast, some of my German-language Australiana purchases in February showed a certain anthropological emphasis on Aboriginal subjects. At Antiquariat Moser on Helferstorferstrasse—not too far from the Votivkirche—which displayed an enticing array of early imprints, I obtained a German translation out of Basel of the Australian James Cowan’s Mysteries of the dreaming: the spiritual life of the Australian Aborigines, namely Geheimnisse der Traumzeit. Das spirituelle Leben der australischen Aborigines (Basel: Sphinx, 1994). Cowan is a prolific author who has published novels, poetry and anthropology, especially, but not exclusively, on Aboriginal culture, including art. He has been translated into seventeen languages.
Perhaps the most significant book I found was at Antiquariat Vielseitig, a short stroll up Liechtensteingasse from the Palais past the French lycée. Martin Kitzinger, its genial owner, produced for me a 300-page profusely illustrated catalogue with associated essays of an exhibition of the Aboriginal art of Northern Australia that was held from mid-May to September 2001 in the museum Sammlung Essl (Essl Collection) in Klosterneuburg. The text is in English and German for all contents. The exhibition covered Central Australia, Arnhem Land, the Kimberleys and northern Queensland. The associated essays explained the Dreamtime, travelling traditions in the art of Northern Australia and the incidence and characteristics of Aboriginal languages. This monumental work is Dreamtime: zeitgenössische [= contemporary] Aboriginal art: the dark and the light 18.05–30.09.2001. Ed. by Karlheinz Essl [senior](Klosterneuburg: Sammlung Essl, c2001). In response to Herr Kitzinger’s expressed interest I left my email address with him in the hope of a future cornucopia of German-language Australiana.
Löcker at Annagasse 5 yielded Heinrich Hauser’s 1939 book Australien, der menschenscheue Kontinent (Australia, the continent afraid of people— or perhaps: the continent shy of humabns)(Berlin: Büchergilde Gutenberg, c1939), an Australian travelogue and remarkably comprehensive history of Australia from earliest European exploration, illustrated with photographic plates. It is also a perceptive German writer’s impressions of the state of the nation immediately before the Second World War. Heinrich Hauser (1901–1955), born in Berlin, was a writer on the staff of one of Germany’s newspapers, the Frankfurter Zeitung, from 1925, the year of his first novel, Das zwanzigste Jahr (The twentieth year). He published seventeen books during his life. Variously he was also a sailor, world traveller, farmer and photographer. He emigrated to the USA in 1939 and returned to Germany in 1948 to become editor-in-chief of the newly founded magazine Stern for a few months.
At Antiquariat Bourcy & Paulkusch on Wipplinger Strasse I acquired an edition of Stefan von Kotze’s Australische Skizzen (Australian sketches)(Berlin: Täglicher Rundschau, 1918). Unlike Hauser’s book, which was published in the Nazi era, it is printed in traditional German black letter type.
Stefan von Kotze (1869–1909) worked as a journalist in Australia from the 1880s into the early 1900s. He wrote sketches of his impressions of Australia for various newspapers. In 1899 he became editor of The Eagle in Charters Towers. Four years later a German version of those sketches was published in Berlin entitled Australische Skizzen. Fern im Süd (Australian sketches: far in the south)(Berlin: Sklarek, 1903), the first edition of the book I bought.12 In the last ten years of his life he was also a prolifically published poet and short story writer in English, notably in The Bulletin from 1898 to 1909. Over a hundred poems and nine short stories by him were published in it during these years. One of those poems, “Australia”, which appeared in The Bulletin in September 1899,13 is printed in English between the title page and the Vorwort (foreword) of my 1918 edition of Australische Skizzen. It is a maudlin, almost lachrymose, presentation of Australia as a solitary old maid to whom “…the white man’s love came late—so late!”. This gloomy metaphor is sustained through two four-line and two three-line rhymed verses. It concludes:
Your face is sad, your voice is mute, your haire [sic]
Is bleached with age, and life is dull and grim
Poor faded maid, whose springtime none would share!
An English edition was published in 1945 as Stefan von Kotze, Australian Sketches (Melbourne: Pan Press, 1945). Its translator was Ludwig Louis Politzer, whose Bibliography of German Literature on Australia 1770–1947 was published by the same Melbourne publisher seven years later, in 1952, as a limited edition of 75 signed and numberd copies.
As in the case of Heinrich Hauser, this is but a brief and incomplete indication of the extent of von Kotze’s prolific literary endeavours in two languages. By reason of the meagre calibre of reduced reference collections in local public libraries, to produce it I have had to Google the internet.14
Most usefully the internet yielded the Stefan von Kotze Society’s Bibliographie of 32 publications, all but the first in German, and a list of over 150 published works, held by the National Library of Australia, including poems and short stories in periodicals and single short stories in German collections such as Die Antipoden. Stimmen von Da Drunten (The Antipodes: Voices from Down Under)(Berlin: Fontane, 1906). Interestingly, this list is headed by an untitled account by von Kotze of a journey from Cooktown to Maytown in Queensland which is included in The MacmillanAnthology of Australian Literature, edited by Ken L Goodwin and AlanLawson (Melbourne: Macmillan), which was published as late as 1990(pp. 429–432 there).
Here ends the selection of German-language Australiana from what might pretentiously be called a Viennese bibliographical Drang nach Süden—the drive to the south.
1 Brian Taylor, “by their books ye may (get to) know them (2): Liesel Künzler”, Biblionews 359th Issue (September 2008), pp.107–128.
2 See F. Carleton, “Visiting archives: the sublime to the ridiculous”, Biblionews 307th Issue (September 1995), pp. 85–87.
3 Österreich auf hoher See = Austria on the High Seas, 17th August 2004 till 4th Fevbruary 2005, Exhibition room of the Austrian Mint. Exhibition Catalogue (Vienna: The Mint, 2004).
4 The exhibition title comes from the anecdote that on a census form Franz Joseph entered under Beruf (profession) the word Kaiser (Emperor). Beruf: Kaiser = Profession: Emperor, 28th February till 28th July 2006, Exhibition Room of the Austrian Mint. Exhibition Catalogue (Vienna: The Mint, 1999).
5 Viribus unitis: with united strength: Franz Joseph I and the domestic politics 27th february 2007 till 17th August 2007, Exhibition Room of the Austrian Mint. Exhibition catalogue (Vienna: The Mint, 2007).
6 Karl I. Austria’s last Emperor, 28th Septemebr 1999 till 14th January 2000, Exhibition Room of the Austrian Mint. Exhibition catalogue (Vienna: The Mint, 1999)
7 Sammlung [collection] Kerry R.J. Tattersall, Wien.
8 For a profile of the Sydney Benedictine Collection at the first St Mary’s Cathedral and from 1864 at St Mary’s College, Lyndhurst, in Glebe see: F Carleton, “Monastic books: the Sydney Benedictine Collection”, The Australian Antique Collector Jan. 1992, pp.71–73; republished in: Tjurunga: an Australasian Benedictine Review 66 (July 2004), p.21.
9 Psalterium monasticum dispositum per hebdomadam secundum Regulam S. Benedicti. Cum ordinario Officii de tempore… …Tulli-Leucorum, ex officina Alexii Laurent, & Viduae l. fr. Laurent, 1683. For a complete descriptive entry see: F. Carleton, “The Rule and monastic liturgical books: pre 1801 editions in Sydney Catholic libraries”, Tjurunga 26 (1984), p.50, no. 16.
10 Antiphonale diurnum, dispositum juxta Breviarium monasticum… Tulli-Leucorum, ex officina Alexii Laurent. [Pierre Joseph Herluysen. Ludovicus Gabriel Berault, typog.] 1715. For a full descriptive entry see Carleton, op. cit., p. 49 no. 13. An antiphonary is a book of antiphons, and an antiphon is a verse of psalm intoned or sung responsively by alternating choirs during Divine Office before and after the set psalm.
11 “Hunc librum olim suum, Sigismundus Schultes, Abbas, P. Edmundus Goetz, p[ro] t[empore] Prior totiusque Conventus BMV [= Beatae Mariae Virginis] ad Scotos Viennae in Austria, in perennum memoriam fraterni amoris dedicarunt gratissimo hospiti suo reverendissimo illustrissimo ac doctissimo Dni Joanni Bedae Ploding, primo totius Australiae Metropolitae et Archiepiscipo urbis Sydney, ceterisque delectissimis in Christo Fratribus ibidem sub Regulae SSPN Benedicti strenue militantibus die mensis Maii 1847, UIOGD [= Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus].“ (This book formerly theirs Sigismund Schultes, Abbot, Father Edmund Goetz, for the time being Prior of the whole Convent [of the Blessed Virgin Mary] of the Scots of Vienna in Austria, have dedicated in eternal memory of fraternal affection to their most gracious guest the most reverend, most distinguished and most learned Dom John Bede Polding, the first Metropolitan of the whole of Australia and Archbishop of the city of Sydney, and the other most choice Brothers n Christ in the same place soldiering vigorously under the rule of St. Benedict on the [?th] day of May 1847, [That in all things God may be glorified].) The Latin is as quoted in: Terence Kavenagh, “Polding among the Germans (May-June 1847): motives, precedents and the Schottenstift”, Tjurunga 66 (July 2004), p.21. (Responsibility for any errors in this attempt at translation is mine, Ed.)
12 A later edition seems to occur with the title reversed to Fern im Süd: Australische Skizzen.
13 The Bulletin, vol. 20, no. 1023 (23 September 1899), p.3.
14 For von Kotze I have for example found useful information on a website of the Stefan von Kotze Gesellschaft (St. v. K. Society) at
It contains reproductions in colour of the covers of eleven of his books, a listing in German of some editions of his works and, rather surprisingly, a listing of 114 of his books and other writings (including stories in his books, items in The Bulletin etc.) explicitly derived from the Australian National Library.