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Antarctic, Arctic, Polar

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  • Richard Siddins of Port Jackson [Australian Maritime History] – Lyndon Rose.

    Richard Siddins of Port Jackson [Australian Maritime History] – Lyndon Rose.

    Published by Roebuck in 1984 a nice production, larger format, 152 pages, Illustrated, end paper maps. A very good copy.

    Richard Siddins was a merchant sea captain who sailed out of Port Jackson from 1804 to 1822. He operated sealing expeditions to the Antarctic Oceans; gathered sandalwood; carried cargo to India and China. Within all this he experienced more adventure seeking gold from a wrecked privateer; taking care at a cannibal feast; chased by Tongan war canoes; wrecked off Macquarie Island … it was all in a day’s work for Captain Siddins.

    Hinted above amongst all this was an important early voyage to the South Shetland Islands.

    Early Australian Maritime History.


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  • Cook’s Final Voyage – The Journal of Midshipman George Gilbert – Introduced by Christine Holmes.

    Cook’s Final Voyage – The Journal of Midshipman George Gilbert – Introduced by Christine Holmes.

    Published by Brian Clouston, Caliban Books in 1982, a first edition in this form. Also published in Hawaii.

    Large octavo, 158 pages, nicely illustrated. A near fine copy.

    Yet another source of exceptional information on the third, final and fateful voyage of James Cook. Due to James Cook’s discipline the Midshipman on his voyages kept impeccable journals. With a focus on the Central Pacific and up into the Arctic searching for the North-West Passage from the other side.

    The Third Voyage through Gilbert’s Eyes


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  • Polar Gleams – An Account of a Voyage on the Yacht “Blencathra”  [An Arctic Voyage] – Helen Peel – First Edition 1894

    Polar Gleams – An Account of a Voyage on the Yacht “Blencathra” [An Arctic Voyage] – Helen Peel – First Edition 1894

    The author Helen Peel was the granddaughter of Sir Robert Peel, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

    With a Preface by Arctic voyager The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava and contributions by Joseph Wiggins and Frederick G. Jackson.

    A first edition published in the same year in the UK and the USA. This is the American first by McClurg, Chicago, 1894.

    Large Octavo, 211 pages, cloth covered boards with bright silver gilt titling to front and spine, with walrus head design on spine. Burgundy end paper, portrait frontispiece with signature facsimile. 15 other illustrations and two maps – the Sea Route to Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway. Re-cased expertly by Roger Perry, original spine laid down, very clean inside a nice copy of a very rare item.

    The acknowledged adventurer the Marquess of Dufferin was the godfather of the adventurous Helen Peel. He admired her vigour and abilities in putting together this account of the Arctic voyage of the Blencathra that he provided his esteemed and thoughtful Preface.

    From Britain through the northern Norwegian waters, the Barents and Kara Seas, up the Yenisei River to Gol’chikha and back to Archangel in the farthest reaches of Siberia… much interaction with Laps and Samoyeds.

    The Blencathra (then named HMS Newport) was built in 1867 in the Pembroke Dockyard. Part of the Philomel class – a wooden screw gun vessel, with a single two-cylinder single expansion, single screw steam engine. She was the first ship to pass through the Suez Canal. She was bought by F.W. Laybourne-Popham in 1890 as a yacht. He had an interest in Arctic waters and appointed Joseph Wiggins as Captain for a voyage, the subject of this book. The whole exercise turned into a commercial one with the organisation of support vessels and the transport of rails for the Trans-Siberian Railway. Later the yacht was used by William Speirs Bruce and new owner Major Andrew Coats to cruise the Arctic as far as Novaya Zemyla and Kolguyev and then Spitzbergen. It was later purchased by the Russians who lost it near Franz Josef Land.

    Rare Arctic Voyage – Unusual Author and Pedigree – Hard Working and Fated Polar Vessel.


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  • Sitting on Penguins [An Antarctic Diary] – Stephen Murray-Smith

    Sitting on Penguins [An Antarctic Diary] – Stephen Murray-Smith

    A fine edition first edition of this provocative and we believe misunderstood book by the opinionated Murray-Smith.

    HS spent the summer of 1985-86 in the Antarctic and this represents his diary interspersed with history, information and opinions and views on individuals and the greater Australian objectives and achievements in this icy world.

    Octavo, 249 pages, illustrated and with end paper maps. A fine as copy as you will get. Published by Hutchinson in 1988. the jacket looks a bit strange front right but that’s what it’s like.

    PS never sit on a penguin!

    Murray-Smith a honed Antarctic diary with views and opinions that could still shape the future.


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  • The Polar Adventure – First Edition 1929 – Odd Arnesen The “Italia” Tragedy Seen at Close Quarters

    The Polar Adventure – First Edition 1929 – Odd Arnesen The “Italia” Tragedy Seen at Close Quarters

    A first English edition published by Victor Gollancz, London in 1929. Translated from Norwegian by Asta and Rowland Kenney.

    Original orange cloth covered boards no dust jacket. Large octavo, 158 pages with 24 full page excellent illustrations from photographs. Boards aged, with sun fading, rubbing and marks in parts. Foxing in the end papers and page edges and some odd marks otherwise reasonably clean. Still acceptable enough copy of scarce and very interesting first edition often found quite tired. Priced accordingly.

    Well written and as we say with excellent photographs. The tragedy of the Italia, a semi-rigid airship belonging to the Italian Air Force. In 1928 General Umberto Nobile crashed during the return from the North Pole. The rear engine mechanic, Vincenzo Pomella died in the crash, which separated most of the control cabin from the envelope. Six members of the crew were carried away with the envelope that floated off once separated, never to be seen again. Finn Malmgren died trekking for help and nine “rescuers” died in a series of rather un-coordinated rescue attempts. Among the lost rescuers was Polar hero Roald Amundsen who went missing in a plane flying to Spitsbergen to take part in the rescue operations.

    The book contains good detail of background, the manner of operation of the airship, the successes and “the failure” and the ensuing rescue attempts and aftermath. The story was made into a film in 1969 titled “The Rent Tent”. The Spitsbergen Airship Museum displays many items connected to the event.

    One of the great North polar Adventures and Tragedies with the loss of seventeen men including Amundsen


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  • Beyond the Frozen Sea – Visions of Antarctica – Edwin Mickleburgh

    Beyond the Frozen Sea – Visions of Antarctica – Edwin Mickleburgh

    A first edition published by The Bodley Head, London in 1987. Large octavo, 256 pages, endpaper maps, charts and great photographs throughout. Very good condition

    Much admired by the late Sir Peter Scott which makes it a winner for Voyager on that fact alone.

    This book is for one not only interested in the history of the discovery of Antarctica but also the preservation of its natural resources and environment.

    In the history we have from Cook and an interesting reference to Coleridge and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner [Spurred Voyage on to find a special copy]. Then the first sighting, perhaps first landfall, over-wintering and the heroic era.

    Moving to resources the best narrative we have read on the devastation of the seal colonies … island to island. Mineral resources, changes [then] in weather patterns, preservation of the krill, the Treaty and the reality of its working … food for thought with a big renewal coming up not too far off.

    In terms of depth and breadth of content a big book on the Antarctic.


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