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Curiosities

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  • Port Arthur Railway Across Tasman Peninsula – Australia’s First Railway – Bayley

    Port Arthur Railway Across Tasman Peninsula – Australia’s First Railway – Bayley

    Published in the early 1970’s this is an interesting historical account of what was the first railway in Australia, albeit convict powered.

    The author William Bayley self published a number of well researched historical documents. Octavo, 64 pages, illustrated heavily and well throughout. Fine copy.

    Much about Booth and his plans, the Port Arthur settlement and discovery of coal on the other side of the peninsula. The need for the railway, its construction and the manpower. The visit of Trollope and other incidentals.

    The first railway – no mean feat for anyone.

    $25.00

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  • The Shot Tower [Hobart] and its Builder Joseph Moir – Richard Lord

    The Shot Tower [Hobart] and its Builder Joseph Moir – Richard Lord

    A special local history item by Richard Lord who also authored the respected book on St David’s graveyard and the Isle of the Dead at Port Arthur.

    More than a local history is the shot tower is the only stone and brick built circular shot tower in the Southern hemisphere.

    Anyone coming to Hobart may not have a visit here on the agenda … after reading this thorough account I doubt you will neglect the tower.

    First Printing 1980, self published, printed by Specialty Press, Hobart. Perfect bound, ninety-one pages, nicely illustrated mainly from historical photographs.

    The builder of the shot tower Joseph Moir was an incredibly enterprising individual. Already successful in business. He went to England and came back with a shipload of hardware and set up the Economy House at 49 Murray Street. It did very well.

    In the 1860’s his mind turned to making shot … a quite complex process fundamental to which is the action of gravity hence the tower. His careful planning led him to select the perfect site some seven miles form the centre of Hobart. The author goes through the considerations regarding the location, the structure, the outhouses for arsenic, powder etc and the incredible feat in erecting the tower in eight months with the help of only two stonemasons. The process for making shot was designed by William watts of Bristol in the 1700’s. A bit of experimentation was required at Hobart, but Moir eventually cracked the technique … which he guarded for year to come.

    The Shot Tower – Tasmania’s finest industrial structure.

    $25.00

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  • They Reigned Supreme [Steam Ships in Tasmania] – Thomas W. Fox

    They Reigned Supreme [Steam Ships in Tasmania] – Thomas W. Fox

    Self published second printing, scarce as hen’s teeth.

    Red card wrappers, 50 pages plus advertisements, including one for Purdon & Featherstone Shipyard! Illustrated with a few images of steam boats.

    Excellent account of the steam ships that used to ply the Derwent, Tamar and coastal routes in Tasmania. From the very beginning to the very end.

    Lengthy list of vessels in alphabetic order with details regarding their construction, when and where they were put to use and by whom. Often ending in a mishap.

    After the boats comes a chapter on the famous O’May family who for three generations were at the heart of the Derwent ferry services. Then a brief section on boat builder and a most interesting account of River Steamer racing.

    Super primary reference for anyone interested in the now gone steamer activity in Tasmania.

    $50.00

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  • Georgian Guinea Scales c1800

    Georgian Guinea Scales c1800

    A good set of early Guinea Scales no makers label but likely by Anthony Wilkinson. Wilkinson died at Ormskirk in 1804. This set carries the original paper instruction label. All in very good working condition.

    Self-erecting and known generally as the Lancashire Gold Balance. The brass beam is rectangular in section and has a hinged “turn and swing” over weight which counter poises the beam for the guinea or half-guinea.

    A small rectangular sliding weight on the load arm registers in graduations to show discrepancies in of under-weight coins.

    The collapsing mechanism makes the whole entirely portal in the gentleman’s trouser.

    Functioning Georgian Gold Sovereign Scale

    $190.00

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  • Bruny Island and Adventure Bay  – John McLean – 1950′s

    Bruny Island and Adventure Bay – John McLean – 1950′s

    Extremely scarce historical booklet concerning Bruny Island. Self-published likely with the help of the Tasmanian Government circa 1950.

    18.5cm by 12cm, 783 pages. Attractive decorative soft cover (a fold line down the front). Tow full page maps of Bruny Island and Adventure Bay … both with references.

    Potted histories including Tasman; Dufresne; Furneaux and Cook; Bligh; Cox; D’Éntrecastaux; Hayes; Baudin and Bass … and Captain Kelly. Other content includes … Adventure Bay Historical Sites; Bruny Island Aborigines; Triganini and “Bruny Island Nomenclature”

    A scarce little history from a devoted local with some little treasure that only a local and an enthusiast could properly articulate.

    $60.00

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  • Unpublished Work – “The Dream and the Reality” – Single Handed Transatlantic Yacht Race 1968 – Brian Cooke.

    A unique item, the typescript account of Brian Cooke relating to his participation in the 1968 Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race (STAR) east to west from Plymouth to Newport Rhode Island.

    182 pages of foolscap, corrected in manuscript. Having read through it all … it is an exceptional account ready for the press … we are not sure why he did not follow through with the publication.

    Cooke was very much an amateur before this event and he states clearly in his Preface that the book has been written “to indicate the way in which the dream of crossing the Ocean became a reality to me … what is involved for the ordinary person … to know first hand that it is quite a feasible proposition and a very worthwhile challenge …”.

    We like the way the book proper starts … “It was 1949, when I was walking down St James’s Street, London one lunchtime. I looked in a Bookshop window. One of the books on display was by Allcard describing the Atlantic voyage he had made. It was the dust cover that took my eye. On it was a photograph of Allcard, at sea, sailing his yacht single-handed, looking up at his sails, which conveyed to me a most vivid picture of satisfaction and achievement”

    The first sixty eight pages are taken up with establishing and preparing for the dream. First the yacht that had been commissioned to be built by an acquaintance with the wherewithal connected to his work at the Westminster Bank. The first trials, the personal training, the qualifying voyages etc all very interesting. At page sixty nine we have the race start proper. What follows is a very detailed account of the events of the race, nothing tedious in our view. Cooke came in sixth, out of 48, many had to turn back. Those ahead were either trimarans or larger boats, on any handicap system he may have won.

    The appendices are good for perspective and emphasise his comments in the Preface that preparation is key. We have the “sailing instructions” from the Royal Western, Plymouth. The list of yachts by nation, rig, length, hull, and rating where available. Daily records of sailing achievements and sail changes. Provisions of all sorts … we are amused to see Mars Bars, Steak and kidney puddings, HP sauce etc.

    Yachting treasure unpublished major single-handed yacht race

    $380.00

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