Dear Readers, I seem to be incorrigible. Despite all my hopes and promises over the years of getting Biblionews out on time, I still fail dismally. I managed to get a double issue out just before I left for a month in Germany in October 2002 and intended to do the next issue as soon as I returned. However, on my return I discovered that, in connection with the University of Sydney’s intention to gut and refurbish a suite of 1960s buildings, all my colleagues in the Department of Germanic Studies had been moved out to other accommodation, and only I remained unmoved on Floor 8 of the Brennan Building. But I had instructions to pack up and move out too over the next few weeks, and so everything else took a back seat while I sorted painstakingly through books and papers that had accumulated over my 35 years residency in Room 874.
Not being one to allow books to become landfill, I had to find other accommodation for many hundreds of them, as I had no space for them at home or in my new smaller, shared university workplace. This involved donating a large number for sale at the our Chancellor’s Committee’s Book Fair and sending hundreds others off to university departments in Germany and Romania.
The time situation was not improved for me when I discovered that a colleague in another department, who had also been in his room some thirty years or so, had retired by simply walking out of his room and leaving it as it stood, with hundreds and hundreds of excellent books, some still in parcels that had not been opened in the years, even decades since they had arrived in the post. So, with his permission and with some help from another concerned colleague I disposed of all of those in all sorts of directions, though the Book Fair collection was by far the main beneficiary. But it all in the end consumed a number of weeks that was something approaching the number of years I had occupied my old room.
As will be obvious, this issue is made up mainly of the first part of an article on collecting books in the area of Australian English as part of the broader area of Australiana collecting, which was the topic of my address to the Annual General Meeting of the Society in September 2001. My apologies go to Nigel Sinnott for his having to wait so long to see his own article on his literary windfall appear in this issue. And while I am on the topic of apology, I hope Alan Rickard will forgive me for my not mentioning his contribution in the editorial to the March/June 2002 issue: as his happened to be the last in the table of contents, it proved impossible to fit mention of it in without the text running to a further page, which would have thrown the whole issue out of plumb. I take the opportunity now of expressing my belated thanks to Alan, who is one of our most loyal contributors.