WITH THE appearance of this issue of Biblionews so soon in the new year we are effectively up to date after years of being very late getting issues out to members. I hope we can keep this up now, but it will depend in part on sufficient copy being available. It has been quite gratifying recently that this has not been a particular problem for me, as sufficient material has been coming in. The lateness of issues is, as I have so often said, due rather to my own time problems. I will return to this point a the end of the editorial.
Because the present issue is up to date, it seemed a good idea to let the membership at large know what goes on at some of our meetings, especially as most members are too far away from Sydney ever to attend one. For this reason we are publishing the minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Society held in September and the President’s Report that was given there by our now Immediate Past-President, Dr Neil Radford, who at his own request was replaced by our new President, Janet Robinson, as mentioned in my September editorial.
While our Melbourne members have on occasion submitted an account of one of their Show and Tell meetings for publication in our journal, I cannot remember this ever being the case for Sydney (though Doug Mackenzie did a few years ago kindly note down the necessary details at my request, but I managed to lose them). Since they can be quite jolly sessions, I thought it worthwhile to put together an account of this month’s Show and Tell, using the recall of others as well as my own.
Our main article in this issue, on the Englishman Robert Barnard, who spent some time in years gone by as an academic at the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales, comes from the pen, or keyboard, of UNE’s Professor John Ryan, who has long been a contributor to Biblionews and was also a contributor to our 50th Anniversary volume, Fellows of the Book, published in 2000.
Another contributor to that volume, as he reminds us himself, is Victor Crittenden, who has again provided a paper on that slippery literary gentleman John Lang, the subject of the John Lang Project advertised in the September issue and again in this one. Victor Crittenden is the editor of the magazine MARGIN. Life and Letters of Early Australia, and I have only just become aware that Alan Ventress’s article on William Augustus Miles which appeared in our September issue had already appeared in a very similar version in the November 2002 issue (No 58) of that periodical.
Sadly, obituaries seem to be becoming a feature of every issue of our journal lately, and Kenneth Hince of Euroa Fine Books in Victoria has been kind enough to provide us with an assessment of the work of the bookseller James Dally. There is also a note from Keith Cornish supplementary to the March issue’s obituary for Alan Rickard.
Since the subtitle of our journal is Australian Notes & Queries (doubtless lifted originally from the old and famous Cambridge bibliophilic journal Notes & Queries), I have restored that as a section heading in this issue. It was for long a regular heading in issues but seems to keep falling into desuetude. In future, obituaries, inter alia, will be located there. But it also traditionally provides members with the opportunity to put in short notices of interest to our readership and to make enquiries about books or requests for assistance in obtaining bibliographical information (hence the Queries). Obviously any answers to enquiries and requests would belong there too.
The December Show and Tell meeting was preceded by a short meeting to discuss aspects of the future of Biblionews. I took advantage of that occasion to point out to the members present that, though all the office holders of the Society had changed since I was asked to join and become Editor of Publications back in 1992, I am still there in that position thirteen years later. I also pointed out that 2006 is going to be a particularly heavy year for me. I therefore requested that I be given a ‘sabbatical’ year off from my work on Biblionews. The meeting approved this, thanks to Neil Radford’s being prepared to be Acting Editor during 2006 assisted by John Newland.
Thus, all Biblionews contributions for the next twelve months should be addressed to: Dr Neil Radford, Unit 24, 9 Nicholson Street, Balmain NSW 2041, or, preferably, emailed to him at <email@example.com>.
Incidentally, staining on pp.95, 97, 104 and 106 in some copies of the September issue occurred during the printing process and is apologised for.