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Biography/ autobiography

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  • The Life of George Bass (Surgeon and Sailor of the Enlightenment)  – Miriam Estensen

    The Life of George Bass (Surgeon and Sailor of the Enlightenment) – Miriam Estensen

    Fine first edition published by Allen & Unwin in 2005. Octavo, 259 pages with maps and illustrations.

    So George Bass discovered the strait that carries his name. But he was more – an adventurer who lived an astonishing seafaring life until he disappeared – possibly taken prisoner in South America and taken off to work as slave labour in the silver mines.

    Bass – Adventurer to the end

    $45.00

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  • The Diaries of John Helder Wedge 1824-1835 [in Tasmania]

    The Diaries of John Helder Wedge 1824-1835 [in Tasmania]

    A first edition published by the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1962 much credit given to the North-West division.

    Small quarto, 99 pages, illustrated, bound in blue cloth covered boards, gilt title to spine … no dust jacket as issued. A very good if not fine copy.

    Very few early diaries exit from this period. The fact the Wedge meticulously made records of every day makes this account most readable and rewarding.

    Norn in England in 1793 youngest son of Charles Wedge a leading surveyor of the day. John Helder Wedge assisted his father and brought his skills to Van Diemen’s Land where he arrived in the thick of it in 1824. He settled on land near Perth just south of Launceston where he was granted land by Sorell. He began to ply his trade which meant travelling the length and breath of Tasmania. There are many interesting points of detail … the Church in Launceston has not been built square to the roadways so Wedge is asked to change the street plan which he duly does … he gets called down to Hobart, as the Van Diemen’s Land Company has been formed under Charter and he is required to assist in the surveying of the allocated pastures which takes him up to the North-West and area he becomes most intimate with.

    The book is nicely set out and put in context. We start with the background of Wedge; the forming of the Van Diemen’s Land Company; the Survey Department; Exploration; Land Settlement; Bushrangers and the Aborigines … before the diaries in full followed by research notes, a bibliography and useful index.

    Wedge made an early impact and left a lasting record

    $50.00

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  • Bligh – Master Mariner – Rob Mundle

    Bligh – Master Mariner – Rob Mundle

    A fine first edition of Rob Mundle’s excellent hardback book on Bligh. Large octavo, 368 pages with end paper illustrations and coloured illustrations inside. Published by Hachette, Sydney in 2010. Very good condition.

    The writer, a sailor from a sailing family writes about Bligh with a focus on detail and Bligh’s unrivalled skill as a navigator.

    He was at the forefront at an early age. With Cook on his fateful third voyage on the Resolution, it was a 24 years old Bligh who took command of the navigation on the voyage home. He was 34 when he found himself in conflict with Fletcher Christian resulting in the epic 47 day open boat voyage from Tonga to Timor. And, 36 when he commanded HMS Pandora around the world … among his company a young Matthew Flinders

    William Bligh – another perspective – and no less enlightening

    $30.00

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  • Lachlan Macquarie – His Life, Adventures and Times – Ellis   – First Edition 1947

    Lachlan Macquarie – His Life, Adventures and Times – Ellis – First Edition 1947

    The definitive work on Australia’s early Scottish Governor. The man that brought civilisation to the country from paved streets to the arts – also pushed harder for inland exploration and a greater understanding of the vast outback.

    First edition 1947, quarto, 697 pages, differing end paper maps and eight full page colour plates. Dust jacket a bit tired but scarce and has protected the boards well, flecking to page edges and some age near the ends, otherwise bright and clean internally. Previous ownership name and stamp at front. A pretty good copy priced accordingly. A heavy book which mat require a tad more postage dependent on buyer location.

    The author Malcolm Henry Ellis (1890-1969) … Queensland born journalist and historian. An avid ant-communist … he dislike Manning Clark and his historical work believing Clark inclined to leftist’s views in his writing and inclined to via away from historical fact when it suited his point of view.

    Lengthy but written in an easily read style, we can see why this has become the go to text on Macquarie. The format is set out as if five separate books covering distinctive periods in his life … the titles of which give little away as to content Needless to say we cover his early years as a dashing lieutenant, time in India, his loves, Egypt and to Australia and his early successes … a period that would stretch from 1810 to 1821. He pioneered the development of commerce, inland exploration and urban development. A patron of the arts and literature.

    Macquarie much more than a flash Bank

    $50.00

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  • A Taste of the Hills – Miles Smeeton – First Edition 1961

    A Taste of the Hills – Miles Smeeton – First Edition 1961

    A first edition published by Rupert Hart-Davis, London in 1961. Octavo, illustrated with maps, and illustrations from photographs. A very good copy.

    Miles (1906-1988) and Beryl Smeeton (1905-1979) were adventurers as if from a different era. Well known for their sailing adventures and twice near disaster going East around the Horn .. they made it successfully from the west.

    Miles had a distinguished military background … Yorkshire born … full of grit.

    Miles was posted to India before WWII and he writes about his time there. And, with Beryl, his overland adventure from Basra back to England. Finishing with an attempt in the Himalayas on 25,460 feet Tirich Mir with Tenzing … Beryl became the highest climbed female at the time.

    Miles Smeeton with Beryl on land and just as adventurous as the sea..

    $40.00

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  • Testimony – The Memoirs of Shostakovich. – Solomom Volkov – First UK Edition 1979

    Testimony – The Memoirs of Shostakovich. – Solomom Volkov – First UK Edition 1979

    A first UK edition of the memoirs … as related to and edited by Solomon Volkov.

    Much controversy surrounds this book perhaps because of its fairly frank position of the great man’s views on … other composers, Stalin, the system etc. However, Solomon Volkov was very close to Shostakovich in his final years … and unsurprisingly Shostakovich instructed for it not be published until after his death and Volkov, who presumably had the control, never published the book in Russia.

    Published by Hamish Hamilton, London 1979. Octavo, 238 pages with index and numerous illustration from period photographs. Very nice.

    Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was nine before being taught the piano by his mother … his natural talent was immediately identified … he could repeat the pieces the next day without reference to the music score. His first symphony at 19 was success. Not all of his efforts were successful afterwards … his music too experimental at times for the Communist rule … particularly Stalin … who later had a habit of disposing of his friends and relatives. Later his music softened and he was gradually brought into the embrace of the hierarchy.

    The photographic images are special … with Prokofiev and Khachaturian … imagine the conversations.

    Shostakovich thorough and believable

    $40.00

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