There is no point in my pretending that my editorial to this yet again very late June issue is being written in June or before, when in fact I am writing it even after the following September issue was due to appear. The reasons being much the same as ever I will not go into them again here. However, it is important that members be made aware of a significant decision taken by the Committee of the Society at this year’s September meeting, hence my lack of pretence.
As most members are probably aware, the Society has been very much carried in recent years by Betty and Jeff Bidgood, thanks to their work as Hon. Treasurer and Secretary, Jeff’s immense help in the production of Biblionews and their combined efforts in posting out the copies. They had hoped to retire from the Treasurer/Secretary functions at the September meeting and pass their work on to other members, but no volunteers were forthcoming. They kindly offered to keep going, but only with the proviso that these administrative responsibilities be reduced as much as possible. The Committee resolved, therefore, that in view of the Society’s present very healthy financial state, current financial members would not have to pay the annual subsidy this year, and possibly not until replacements were found for Betty and Jeff. New members and anyone unfinancial wishing to return to their financial status would, however, have to pay the $20 subscription for a minimum of two years. So, if you have been wondering what happened to that reminder, now you know.
A further consideration in not asking for a subscription this year was the desire by us in the Committee to compensate members of the Society for the ongoing lateness of this journal over recent years. It is a consideration that I heartily applaud. But now to the journal itself.
We are very pleased to be able to have as the first contribution to the present issue the second part of Graham Stone’s excellent survey of Australian science fiction and thereby to complete his authoritative account of this specialised area of Australiana, the first part of which appeared in the December 2000 issue. It might, of course, have been more logical to have the second part in the following, March 2001 issue. However, that was due to be an issue put together by our Victorian members, and Graham needed more time to further revise his original talk anyway.
While talks given at Sydney meetings tend to be published pretty promptly in Biblionews if they are felt by speakers to be suitable for publication and they offer them for that purpose – often helped along by my hand on their shoulder as soon as the meeting finishes -, this has been somewhat less the case with talks given at Melbourne meetings, so it was a source of pleasure to see a considerable backlog of such material in the March issue, thanks to the efforts of our Victorian editor, Richard Overell.
In this issue the former University of Sydney Librarian, Dr Neil Radford, has provided us with a nice contribution on a piece of neglected ephemera, namely tickets from what was possibly Australia’s first (il)legal lottery. And trust a canny Highland Scot to win the very handsome first prize with a ticket he had purchased for only four pounds from its original possessor – who was doubtless subsequently devastated.
The contributions to this issue close with a brace of book reviews by another university librarian, Colin Steele, the Australian National University Librarian, who had previously furnished us with a review for this year’s March issue. I look forward to receiving more from him, and anyone else who might like to try their hand at reviewing. Dr Radford has offered to look after reviews for us, and I will be taking him up on his offer. More details in the September or December issue for potential reviewers.