AS NOTED in the last issue, our Editor, Brian Taylor, has been granted a year’s sabbatical from his duties, partly for rest and recreation, but primarily because his academic commitments this year will require his absence from Australia for a while. It is not an easy task to produce four issues a year, even of a small journal like Biblionews, and we owe Brian our thanks for having filled the editorial chair for the last thirteen years. But he promises to return, inspired and invigorated, for 2007.
For my part, I could not have contemplated taking on the role of Acting Editor without the assurance of technical support from John Newland. If Biblionews comes out on time, is interesting, and looks presentable, John’s efforts will have had a lot to do with that.
By coincidence, the principal article in this issue is mine. Biblionews usually publishes the texts of talks given to the Society’s meetings and, several months ago, it was decided that I would speak to the March 2006 meeting of the Sydney Branch. I will say no more, except that I hope those members who were unable to be present at that meeting will find it of interest. It will be a bonus if they also find it thought-provoking, and if it inspires them to look more carefully into some of the books on their own shelves. I have also contributed a note on a special anniversary catalogue of choice rare books published by Gaston Renard of Melbourne.
Victor Crittenden, who was the foundation Librarian of Canberra CAE (now the University of Canberra), enjoys a busy retirement as proprietor of the Mulini Press, a specialist publisher of Australiana. He has committed himself to re-publishing all of the literary works of John Lang (1816-64), the first Australian-born novelist, and has recently published a biography of Lang (to be reviewed in a later issue of Biblionews). One of Lang’s short stories, republished in Further Tales from Botany Bay (Canberra: Mulini Press 2005), concerns his friendship with Bungaree, “King of the Blacks”, and Victor has provided an interesting note on Bungaree as an historical figure in early Sydney.
Brian Taylor has provided a summary of the last meeting of the Sydney Branch of the Society, its annual ‘show and tell’ meeting, to which members bring an item from their collection and speak about it briefly. It is always a lively and interesting meeting.
Colin Steele is obviously a voracious reader, and very fortunately he also makes time to write reviews of books that he thinks will interest our readers. The reviews section of Biblionews would be thin indeed without his contributions, four of which are included in this issue.
Regrettably, the December 2005 issue of Biblionews was a victim of whichever law it is which says that if something can go wrong, it will. It seems that in many copies the illustration pages were out of order or, worse, blank. The printer’s explanation is that these pages have to be fed in manually, and some were obviously fed in wrongly by his staff. Unfortunately, there is nothing much we can do about this, and to those members whose copies were defective, we offer apologies.
Neil A Radford