In the editorial to the last issue (June 2003) of Biblionews I indicated that this September issue would in all likelihood be made up of material from our Victorian branch collated by Richard Overell. However, after our waiting some time it seemed that Richard had not yet managed to get the requisite amount of material together, so we went ahead and compiled this present issue with other material we already had. In the meantime we have received from Richard plenty of material for a Victorian issue, but it largely contains material explicitly dating to 2004, so that issue will be held over till then. I am pleased to say, too, that a number of members have already sent us articles that will make up a considerable part of the December 2003 issue, so that readers can, I hope, look forward to receiving these issues in reasonably quick succession. I apologise to those contributors who have sent material that will appear in December, but who have not yet heard back from me. I trust that they will have by the time they receive this issue.
Our main article in this issue is that on P. Neville Barnett by Dr Diane Kraal, an academic expert on that amazing collector and producer of exquisitely fine books as well as champion of the Japanese woodcut. As she points out in the introduction to her article, it is based on the paper she gave to the Society’s Sydney meeting in December 2003. That the article should be in an issue of Biblionews notionally – but by no means actually – appearing three months before the paper was given is largely due to the longish wait adverted to above. It was in fact more appropriately to appear in the December issue that will now be the Victorian one. Admittedly, since Diane Kraal did her PhD on Barnett at La Trobe University, Victoria could lay claim to her and her article, but her paper was given in Sydney and Barnett was a Sydney identity after all. Dr Kraal has published a previous paper on P. Neville Barnett in Biblionews, “Barnettiana: Percy Neville Barnett and Japanese Colour Print Books” (March 2000, pp.19-29).
One of Biblionews’s most faithful contributors over the decades, Jürgen Wegner of the University of Sydney’s Fisher Library, has privileged us yet again with one of his wry contributions. Jürgen has picked up that I do copy-edit the contributions that come in so that they conform more or less to the Society’s publishing style. But since his contributions often contain bits of German, I also take it upon myself to gloss these in square brackets for the “unGermaned”. I have been asked by the author not to do this in the case of the present item “[b]ecause of the point of the piece”, so I haven’t.
I suppose I should apologise for popping up again myself in yet another issue but, before Neil Radford took over as Reviews Editor, I had already promised Nigel Sinnott and his publisher to review his book on place names in an area of Victoria (so Victoria certainly hasn’t been missed out in this issue after all). I decided to make this not just a review of one book, but also of one on Tasmanian place names, and finally not just a review, but a review article somewhat along the lines of my three-part article on books on Australian English, in the hope that it might stimulate someone to collect in the area of Australian onomastics.
And finally, there is a typically frank review by our Reviews Editor himself and a three-book review by our regular reviewer Colin Steele of the Australian National University Library.
My thanks go, as always, to Jeff Bidgood for his computing work on the preparation of the issue.