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Natural History

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  • Pig Raising in Tasmania – V.J. Fagan

    Pig Raising in Tasmania – V.J. Fagan

    Published in 1966 when pigs were not as full on the meat rich Australian dinner table – now we like a bit of crackling and as many chooks as we can eat.

    Octavo, 171 pages, Lots of images from photographs, diagrams of various constructions, statistics etc.

    Obviously mass animal husbandry practices have moved on (not sure in which direction) since the 1960’s. However, if your thinking about raising a few oinkers this is a good book to start with.

    It was written at a time when first time hobby farmer types actually made things rather than just going to the wholesaler and buy absolutely everything or where it cannot be bought get the man in.

    Also, we like the careful simplicity without the mention of organics or welfare – it was a time when animals were er looked after like the family.

    So a small investment if you are in say the Huon Valley or Southern Highland of NSW or the Queensland tablelands – get to it!

    For all those pig lover out there


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  • Australian Antarctic Expedition 1911-14. Scientific Reports Series C – Zoology and Botany – Vol VIII Part III – Echinodermata Echinoidea [Urchins].

    Australian Antarctic Expedition 1911-14. Scientific Reports Series C – Zoology and Botany – Vol VIII Part III – Echinodermata Echinoidea [Urchins].

    By Professor Rene Koehler, Lyon France – edited by professor Launcelot Harrison, University of Sydney.

    We have mentioned previously about how long it took to get the scientific reports from Mawson’s expedition published. This one 1926 so twelve years after the event.

    It is alos interesting how widely the field samples were dispersed in this process. This one from Lyon printed in Sydney in French without an English translation. So one for those that have the linguistic capability or the knowledge to interpret, and admire, the thirty three magnificent plates full page plates.

    Large format, soft cover, staple bound as issued, 134 pages of narrative followed the plates, very good condition.

    Cold water urchins given the French treatment with super plates


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  • Antarctica – Reginald Ford

    Antarctica – Reginald Ford

    An unusual facsimile presentation of one of the rarest heroic era publications – the tiny book “Antarctica” which was originally published in New Zealand in 1906.

    A boxed set of items by the Erskine Press issued in 2015 comprising solid black box with a front label copy of the front cover repeated .. inside two postcards – Discovery in Winter Quarters from a painting by A.E. (Uncle Bill) Wilson and A new and accurate map of the islands of the Antarctic etc by Talland Power for the Erskine Press; a stout copy of a broadsheet advertising a lecture “Farthest South” by Mr C Reginald Ford with various positive opinions and press remarks. Also, a 12 page, card covered potted biography of Charles Reginald Ford by Crispin de Boos. And, the said facsimile with linen textured card cover, 32 pages numerous images – a faithful facsimile including the odd light stain from the original.

    Ford was a steward on the Discovery Expedition and was the first person to beak his leg on the Antarctic when he was skiing. He was so well regarded that on return he acted as Scott’s secretary during his extensive leaders lecture tour.

    Try to find an original if you can – the next best thing is this unusual collection from the Polar mad Erskine Press .


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  • Encyclopedia of the Antarctic – Edited Beau Riffenburgh- 2 Volumes

    Encyclopedia of the Antarctic – Edited Beau Riffenburgh- 2 Volumes

    Published by Routledge in 2006 this two-volume set is regarded as the font of all things Antarctica.

    A substantial effort the number of distinguished contributors runs to over a hundred.

    Two quarto volumes, 1,272 pages heavily illustrated with all sorts, high technical level with many maps, charts, explanatory diagrams etc. Very good condition. Weighs in at circa 3.6kgs so not really suitable for Overseas postage.

    The elements relating to the History of Exploration and History of Science are understandably our favourites. Other broader topics include … Atmosphere; Birds; Conservation; Geography; Glaciology; Technology; Oceanography; Physics and astronomy etc.

    It is all here in the Encyclopedia of the Antarctic – more than a winter’s reading


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  • African Silences – Peter Matthiessen

    African Silences – Peter Matthiessen

    A super narrative that combines a West African wildlife trip of 1978 {Gambia, Ivory Coast etc} with a Forest Elephant Survey in the broader Congo Basin {Gabon, Congo, Zaire, Kenya} in 1980.

    Published by Random House, New York in 1991. Octavo, 225 pages, end paper maps of the travels. Very good condition, good dust jacket over an elaborate binding with quarter green cloth and parchment like paper with delightful embossed pygmy elephant motif.

    The author is a great writer {author of the Snow Leopard etc} but as usual he forgot to take his camera. This is a disappointment considering his subject matter and the search for the elusive pygmy elephant.

    The second adventure dominates the book and they both contain good detail of the goings on surrounding the trip – the scariest light aircraft experiences imaginable. The Forest Elephant survey was truly important because at that time the poachers had moved into the jungle and were taking large numbers of elephant down for the ivory – the rate was predicted to be fatal to the elephant without a proper scientific census on number – still not sure.

    Matthiessen in Africa searching for the pygmy elephants – good content -


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  • Terre Napoleon – Australia Through French Eyes 1800-1804 – Susan Hunt and Paul Carter.

    Terre Napoleon – Australia Through French Eyes 1800-1804 – Susan Hunt and Paul Carter.

    This is the upmarket hardcover version of this beautiful book published by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales in association with Hordern House – hence the quality.

    Introduction by subject super expert Jacqueline Bonnemains of the Le Harve Museum where much of the great artwork from the early French expeditions resides.

    Largish quarto, 148 pages, illustrated throughout from the Baudin voyage, many in illuminating colour. A very good if not fine copy in a fine dust jacket.

    Baudin presented and described so well ..


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