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Crime of the True Variety

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  • Gold Escort [The Victorian Gold Fields to Adelaide] – L. J. Blake.

    Gold Escort [The Victorian Gold Fields to Adelaide] – L. J. Blake.

    First edition published by The Hawthorn Press, Melbourne in 1971. Large octavo, 228 pages, illustrated with good end paper maps. Dust jacket a little rubbed otherwise a very good copy.

    The Gold discoveries in Victoria in the 1850’s caused a massive shortage of labour in South Australia with considerable economic effect. Alexander Tolmer who was the South Australian police Commissioner cam up with the idea of providing an armed escort service to bring gold back to Adelaide … it worked. A super story .. Tolmer a quick tempered man made many enemies due to the success of this initiative.

    Money to made in gold … the moving of it


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  • “Battler’s” Tales of Early Rockhampton – Grant Pattison

    “Battler’s” Tales of Early Rockhampton – Grant Pattison

    A very scarce first edition of this book about goings on in and around Rockhampton, Queensland.

    Self published by the author printed by Fraser & Jenkinson, Melbourne in 1939. Octavo, 152 pages, illustrated, bound in original cloth covered boards. This book appears prone to spine fading and deterioration and this one is no exception, the spine has been re-enforced with bindings tape and the board edges are rubbed heavily … maybe insect nibble. Having said that a pretty clean and bright copy internally so still a good copy.

    The author was a well known local identity and journalist in Queensland. The book is et out in 39 chapters dealing with a particular story that no doubt Pattison had covered in the press before.

    Starts with the “Birth of Rockhampton” … Gracemere Pioneers .. Canoona Rush … Rockhampton in the Sixties [1860’s] .. Pioneers of Fitzroy … Mr Booze .. Horse Dealers … Scrub Riders … Crimes Committed … The First Steeplechase … Murder of Fanny Briggs … Murder of Halligan … Horse thieves and Cattle Rustlers .. Mount Morgan [Gold] … etc etc.

    The author notes “ I regret I have to delete a good deal of the history of Mount Morgan and the Rape of William Pattison’s Estate. This has been done on legal advice to save the printer anxiety, and I regret I am not strong enough financially to contest any action the descendants of the wolves who did not bother to wear sheep’s clothing may be inclined to take.”

    Historical Curiosities – Early Rockhampton.


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  • Through Wildest Papua – Jack Hides 1937

    Through Wildest Papua – Jack Hides 1937

    Published by Blackie, London and Glasgow in 1937 part of the Travel Library Series. Not sure what sort of “’travel” they were envisaging you would have to be pretty tough. Published in the USA under a different title “Savage Patrol”.

    Octavo, 165 pages, end paper maps, very good illustrations throughout from period photographs. Presume previous ownership name cut from free endpaper corner, some spots to page edges otherwise a very good copy of a getting scarce and important New Guinea account.

    With an introduction by Sir Hubert Murray a great supporter of the Port Moresby born Hides. On patrol Jack Hides describes in vivid detail the raid on Lakekamu and the patrol to Loloipa west of Mount Nelson at the source of the Alabule River. Stunning photographs as suggested.

    Jack Hides, Voyager Hero, on Patrol deep into New Guinea


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  • Penal and Prison Discipline in Victoria [Three Parts Complete] 1870 – 1872

    Penal and Prison Discipline in Victoria [Three Parts Complete] 1870 – 1872

    Three reports published consecutively from a Royal Commission into the penal system in the colony of Victoria .. presented to Both Houses of Parliament by His Excellency’s Command. The first with the additional title “Pentridge Penal Establishment”; the second “Penal and Prison Discipline” and the third “Industrial and Reformatory Schools.

    In original form, foolscap, sewn … Part 1 xix, 26 with Plan of Proposed Workshop and Folding Plan of Pentridge [too big for our scanner] .. Part II xxx, 29.. Part III xxxvi, 23.

    An interesting and full report on the state of play and difficulties associated with the penal system in Victoria at the time. One benefit of being on “hard labour” was that you got fed more …. Hard to find any other benefits though.

    Pentridge and the Prison System in 1870 – interesting history.


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  • Man Tracks [With the Mounted Police in Australian Wilds] – Ion Idriess

    Man Tracks [With the Mounted Police in Australian Wilds] – Ion Idriess

    Published by Angus & Robertson 1936, a ninth edition issued one year after the first. The copy of Chicago resident, Idriess friend and admirer, Frances Van Cleef with a note indicating she acquired it in Melbourne on Feb 16, 1937.

    Very good condition, a couple of chips to the dust jacket, very clean and tight internally. A super copy.

    An impressive Idriess book about the Australian Mounted Police up through the Centre, the North and West. Many lively accounts recounted in the normal Idriess way. The photography in this book is special with a number of unique aboriginal images.

    Real Crime solved by Australian Police on Horseback


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  • Dreamtime Justice [In the Northern Territory] – Vic Hall – First Edition 1962

    Dreamtime Justice [In the Northern Territory] – Vic Hall – First Edition 1962

    A first edition of an interesting true bush crime book, the author a member of the Northern Territory Police.

    Published by Rigby, Adelaide in 1962. Octavo, 160 pages, end paper maps and illustrated throughout from period photographs.

    The event took place in the early 1930′s. The spearing of Constable Albert McColl and the shooting of the Rev John Evans is at the heart of this book. The perpetrators being from the Balamumu at Caledon Bay in Arnhem Land and then Woodah Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria. A patrol set out, including the author and aboriginal trackers. Despite the killings, the author writes with warm and sympathetic feelings towards the aboriginal people.

    Outback expedition to bring culprits to justice.


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