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2008-03, 357, Brian Taylor, Editorial


MY THANKS go to those readers who have made positive comments about the previous, 60th Anniversary Double Issue and to those who responded promptly to the enclosed subscription renewal notices. One thing I meant to mention there, but forgot to, was that the 60th anniversary of Biblionews coincided with the centenary of the death in 1907 of David Scott Mitchell, the obsessive collector of Australiana whose bequest of books and money to the state of New South Wales led to the establishment of the library named for him: the Mitchell Library. To compensate for my oversight, I am publishing in the June issue Colin Steele’s review article in which he deals with Brian Fletcher’s recent book on Mitchell.

This issue is made up almost completely of contributions deriving from the annual December Show & Tell meeting held in Sydney. Usually the contributions to this meeting and so to Biblionews are fairly brief, with my attempting to note down what the contributors say and submitting my version to them, their then correcting it and returning it to me for publication within a single article. This time, however, four—John Newland, Helen Kenny, Doug Mackenzie and Richard Blair—of the eleven contributors have chosen to expand their contributions into full articles.

In Richard Blair’s case it was rather a matter of his incorporating his Show & Tell comments into the talk that he gave to the Society in September last year, since his comments were supplementary to his talk. That talk was about the book of his father’s writings edited by Richard’s brother David and advertised in the September–December issue of Biblionews. However, the length of the resulting article would have made the present issue overlong, so it will appear in the June issue. The same applies to a few other items which I had implied to contributors would appear in this issue, but which have had to be postponed for the same reason. (The problem is in part that what looks to be a certain number of pages when I put it into Word turns out to be appreciably longer when John Newland lays the issue out in his program.)

John Newland’s article on his serendipitous finds of books and other material related to C J Dennis is sure to have other collectors of ‘Dennisiana’ salivating, albeit with envy.

Helen Kenny’s very informative article on the Tahitian Tupaia who accompanied Captain Cook on the Endeavour has as its core her need to find illustrations for her husband John Kenny’s posthumously published book. With Helen’s approval I have taken the liberty of adding a few linguistic notes to what she has written.

Doug Mackenzie tells us of a development in his collecting practice that many of us less obsessed collectors would be chary of moving to: telephone bidding. We have had experience previously of Doug’s writing about books connected with Tasmania, but this time he takes us even closer to home—his original home, Flinders Island off Tasmania. (I have often thought that the Flinders Islanders must be the most insular—in the strictly geographical sense of the word—population in the world, being offshoots of an island people, the European Tasmanians, who are offshoots of the European Australians – inhabitants of the island continent—who are in turn the offshoots of the inhabitants of the “sceptr’d isle”, Britain. But his grandparents were evidently, on the Inner Sisters, one step even further down the line of insularity than the Flinder Islanders.

I have rounded off the Show & Tell contributions with a photo and a barely relevant bibliographical item that probably belongs otherwise in the Notes & Queries section, but which a Victorian member from the Gippsland area might wish to take up critically in a subsequent issue of Biblionews.

Readers may also be interested in the reference to certain catalogues near the end of this issue. As no final decision has been made on the indexing of Biblionews, Neil Radford is continuing to provide his annual indexes. This issue contains his index for 2007.

Brian Taylor



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