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2003-03, 337, Book Reviews, Jeff Prentice

‘The Life of G. H. Barker Bookseller, Naturalist and Ornithologist.’ Ken Doolan.

A.C.T.: Ginninderra Press, 2002.

This new book by Ken Doolan, the grandson of George Herbert Barker, well known bookseller in Brisbane, is a welcome addition to the history of the book trade in Queensland. Very little has been written about book trade practices in Queensland and it is doubtful that booksellers themselves left their business records intact for historians to access.

Doolan’s well researched volume traces the life of G.H. from his early book selling days at Angus & Robertson’s shop in Sydney and his eventual move to Brisbane in 1907 to open his own shop. At A & R, young G.H. came under the influence of James Tyrrell, an expert on Australiana who not only encouraged G.H. to go north but gave him books on credit to start his own business in Brisbane. G.H. Barker rose to become the President of the Australian Booksellers Association.

Although the author has divided the life of G.H. into chapters centring on G.H.’s many interests, which is commendable, sadly the machinations of the book trade were not exhaustively treated due to the difficulties of clearing copyright.

Nonetheless, Doolan’s effort has brought into the public domain the talents and achievements of G.H. Barker thus adding vital information to Australiana book trade history.

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