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Natural History

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  • [Tasmania] Letters of G.P. Harris 1803-1812 – Barbara Hamilton-Arnold

    Only edition published by the Arden Press, Victoria in 1994. A super copy.

    Softcover, 158 pages, nicely illustrated some in colour from original period paintings. A very nice production despite soft cover.

    George Prideaux Harris was a young lawyer was appointed Deputy Surveyor General of New South Wales. He came out with David Collins on the Calcutta and after the brief abandoned stay at Port Phillip ended up at the establishment of Hobart in Van Diemens’s Land.

    His has a special interest in natural history and was an accomplished artist. He identified new species including the Tasmanian Devil and the Thylacine. He explored the Derwent and Huon Rivers and the lakes areas of the Central Highlands.

    The letters contain real substance and are mostly to his mother and sister back in Exeter, and to his brothers in London.

    George Prideaux Harris we have to thank him for his Letters


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  • The Passenger Pigeon – by Joseph Quinn.

    The Passenger Pigeon – by Joseph Quinn.

    No date comb bound copied item published circa 1990, see below. This was its original form – self published by the author.

    Subtitled “A Boys Story” but not a story for Boys, in fact a compilation of the writings of the author, many of them, published in Bird World … and all about the demise of the Passenger Pigeon.

    We learn that the last pigeon a female was given the name of Martha, after George Washington’s wife … the second last Passenger Pigeon, her brother, named George … naturally. We like this unusual work not just for its obvious rarity but the love of the writer for his subject. The Boys story is a reference to him finding his childhood scribbles about the subject matter.

    96 pages in all, some images from the magazine that have not copied too well. Cream card covers.

    A total of 20 separate articles, all of some length, published variously between 1982 and 1987.

    Inserted on posh faux vellum paper is a poem written by the author in honour of the sadly retired bird; rather well penned and definitely moving.

    Joseph Quinn – his life’s work on the Passenger Pigeon all in one place.


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  • Black Widow – America’s Most poisonous Spider – Thorp and Woodson

    Black Widow – America’s Most poisonous Spider – Thorp and Woodson

    What a super subject for a standalone book.

    First edition published by The University of Morth Carolina Press in 1945.

    Octavo, 222 pages, illustrated with spidery goodness. A very good copy and very clean and well produced given the end of WWII publishing date.

    All about the Widow as one would expect. Comparison’s with other spider devils, experiments on people .. the life cycle and habits of this avoidable octopod.

    Would make a great gift for someone who has it all …


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  • The Living Sea – John Crompton

    The Living Sea – John Crompton

    A first edition of this interesting easy to read book about the natural history of the oceans. Quite broad in content … starts with prehistory and then moves into Whales (nice content), Manatee, Sharks, Rays back to Caelacanth .. all the good stuff.

    Published by Collins, London in 1957. Octavo, 256 pages, some sketch like illustrations. And the dust jacket … we had to have it just for

    Good period all rounder dressed to impress.


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  • Matto Grosso – Waclaw Korabiewicz

    Matto Grosso – Waclaw Korabiewicz

    A peculiar and enchanting travel book about a bird hunting expedition to the Matto Grosso in South America. Watch out for the piranhas!

    Translated from the original Polish. Octavo, 238 pages published circa 1958 by the Travel Book Club, effectively Jonathan Cape, London. A lovely clean copy with the striking jacket designed by Leslie Wood.

    Parrots and Piranhas


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  • Jack Thwaites – Pioneer Tasmanian Bushwalker and Conservationist – Simon Kleinig

    Jack Thwaites – Pioneer Tasmanian Bushwalker and Conservationist – Simon Kleinig

    Published by Forty Degrees South, Hobart in 2008. A very good copy of a hard to come by book.

    Soft cover, perfect bound, 261 pages, illustrated throughout including images from hand drawn maps.

    This is a different sort of biography. We have the background of Jack Thwaites born in 1902 at Kendall in the Lake District, England. Arrived in Tasmania with his family at the age of ten. Around 1928 Jack began his ambitious walking trips. He was three years ahead of Bert Nicholls who is famed for cutting the Overland Track between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair .. the first genuinely up Frenchman’s Cap and likewise to the mountains in the South West.

    This book is partly written around the diaries he kept during these long hikes, often written in pencil at the evening camp fire. Many diaries are missing … such a pity.

    Simon Kleinig called on the help of many to produce this intimate and rewarding book not the least Jack’s grand children Anne and Bill Thwaites who also manged to find some memorable images of this pioneering walker.

    Jack Thwaites – The First Real Tasmanian Bush Walker.


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