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2011-03, 369, Editorial, Richard Blair


FOR A SOCIETY LIKE BCSA to continue to grow and prosper we need to embrace change. This has been reflected recently by establishing a website and in updating our constitution (see below), but, arising from discussions at the AGM and SGM, we feel we can also broaden our appeal base. A step in this direction is the decision, from this issue, to extend the subtitle of our journal name from ‗A journal for book collectors‘ to ‗A journal for book collectors and book lovers‘.

It was during Brian Taylor‘s tenure as acting president of the Society (2006-08) that he suggested it was time to review and update our 1944 Constitution, but nothing seriously happened until Chris Nicholls became president in September 2009. Utilising the Model Rules issued by the Department of Fair Trading in NSW and with consideration of constitutions of other organisations, a succession of draft constitutions were circulated among committee members over a 12 month period. Such was the level of scrutiny that went into our revised constitution that by the time it was presented at our Special General Meeting (SGM) at Summer Hill in December 2010, it was Draft Constitution #27. Further refinements emanating ‗from the floor‘ at the SGM were considered and adopted, and the revised and updated constitution was ratified that day.

Credit must go to all committee members for their efforts and this demonstrates the great value of email as the prime means of devising such a document without meeting, although there were some meetings which focussed on some contentious aspects. We particularly thank our president, Chris Nicholls, for his determination and persistence in driving this revision.

The revised constitution will be accessible: a) by reproduction in the next issue of Biblionews; or, b) on the Society‘s website; or, in advance of these, c) by email upon request (Victorian and South Australian branch members should approach their respective committees).

It should be recorded that traditionally our Annual General Meeting is held in September. Members will recall that in 2008 the AGM was deferred due to lack of a quorum, though Sydney had a ‗severe weather event‘ that no doubt kept most members indoors that day. Last year‘s AGM was also deferred because the committee had still not finalised the constitution. It wanted to hold a SGM immediately after the AGM to ratify the revised constitution and was required under the existing 1944 Constitution to give 21 days‘ notice and to have a quorum of 20 financial members present.

This issue of Biblionews contains the minutes of our 2010 AGM, a brief report on our SGM along with the annual reports of our President (which covers our membership drive, constitution revision, public liability insurance, cost effectiveness matters and key events for the year) and Publications Editor.

Further to the three articles from Victoria in the last issue, it is pleasing to present another article from that state, even though the focus of this article is on Tasmania, or more precisely on the collecting of Tasmanian books. A retired physicist, Ian Wilson has turned his passion into a book, which has recently been published, and he presented a paper on the topic to the Victorian branch last November. Ian‘s illuminating article includes a bonus, with his concluding section focussing on ‗book collecting theory and practice‘. He has devised a formula whereby a book can be evaluated in a fashion not unlike wine judging!

Continuing the collecting theme are two book reviews on collectors by Neil Radford and Colin Steele. The focus of Neil‘s collector is his passion for accumulating what most of us would regard as worthless ephemera, though he still owns over 8,000 books. Colin‘s subject is Howard Davies, a fascinating minor celebrity in England. Colin‘s other review is of Stuart Kells‘ ‗beautifully produced and profusely illustrated book [which] is the story of the ―Kay Craddock‖ Melbourne antiquarian bookshop and two remarkable women.‘ We are, of course, proud to have Kay as a BCSA member.

In the latter half of last year we lost two of our highly esteemed members – in August Gerald Fischer of the Adelaide Hills and in December Norman Hetherington (‗Heth‘) of Sydney. Brian Taylor‘s obituary for Gerald describes his career as an archivist (who spent 12 years as the University of Sydney Archivist) and as having his own private printing press – the Pump Press. He knew former BCSA Presidents and Publications Editors Walter Stone and John Fletcher well and had several articles in BCSA publications and a book about him in one of our series. Norman‘s varied career focussed on cartooning (he was a staff cartoonist with

The Bulletin for 15 years) and puppetry, where he was regarded as one of Australia‘s foremost puppeteers. Among his many creations was Mr Squiggle, for which he became best known. Several honours were bestowed upon him.

Notes & Queries focuses on various aspects of the life of long term South Australian member, Valmai Hankel; it also draws attention to Australian book collectors, a recent work edited by Charles Stitz. Is there a reviewer out there? Michael Hough makes a further request for information on the Society‘s history.

It seemed that we had barely posted out the last Biblionews when Neil Radford‘s email arrived containing the Biblionews index for 2010 and a note advising that it ‗took him a few a hours to compile on a wet day‘. Thanks again, Neil, for a mighty effort.

Sydney Secretary, Mark Ferson has advised of the following new members, all from NSW, who we welcome to the Society: David Blair, Roseville; Hillary Goldsmith, Rose Bay; Chris Neave, Katoomba; David Pringle, Bondi Beach.

My thanks to Brian Taylor for all his assistance with this issue.

Richard Blair

Special Note: In Ian Wilson‘s article, Brian Taylor takes responsibility for the translations of book titles from French and Dutch.


BCSA Members at the Society’s Special General Meeting on 4 December 2010 at Summer Hill were unanimous in voting to accept the revised and updated Constitution of the Society

(Photo: Mark Ferson)



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