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Natural History

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  • Cruising the Coral Sea – Alan Lucas

    Cruising the Coral Sea – Alan Lucas

    This is the third edition nicely updated with aerial images and some extra anchorages. A really super book about the tropical coast of Queensland and the Ocean and Islands. The kind of book that is probably difficult to continue to produce spoilt by the accessibility of the internet. But nowhere is so much useful and interesting information presented in an orderly and balanced fashion.

    Published by Horwitz in 1976, large octavo, 336 pages with a multitude of maps, sketches, the aforesaid photographic images etc.

    After a useful introduction we have a description of the reefs , the islands past present and notes on conservation. Then a handy chapter on catching and cooking your own food .. and the number of poisonous creatures encountered. Safety in the waster … not just sharks but the stingers even the small ones that can kill. Then into the detail of the approaches and anchorages and what a good anchorage looks like …

    A special book on Queensland and only dated where it is interesting …


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  • Shores of Macquarie Island – Isobel Bennett – 1971

    Shores of Macquarie Island – Isobel Bennett – 1971

    A first edition of this interesting book on Antarctic Macquarie Island and its nature.

    Published by Rigby, Adelaide in 1971. Octavo, 69 pages plus useful bibliography and index. Nicely illustrated from photographs taken by the author. Very good. Another copy we like this book.

    Isobel Bennett was born in Brisbane and took an interest in Marine Biology at an early age. In her era one of the first females to be accepted into the Australian Antarctic program and onto Macquarie Island.

    A good “history of the island” is followed by a very readable sections on the role of the scientists, and the inhabitants and visitors to the island.

    A very good introduction and background to this lonely outpost.


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  • Zoo Quest for a Dragon including the Quest for the Paradise Birds – David Attenborough

    Zoo Quest for a Dragon including the Quest for the Paradise Birds – David Attenborough

    Two books in one and a first of type published by Lutterworth for the Readers Book Club. An unusual arrangement the Dragon book has previously been published by Lutterworth, the Birds of paradise book was specially written by Attenborough for the Book Club and has since become somewhat of a classic.

    Published in 1959 , a first edition effectively, 256 pages, illustrated from original photographs, simple map etc. tallow cloth covered boards, the dust jacket is nearly all there bar some loss front lower area; now protected in removable Brodart. Good image of a young Sir David.

    Pages to 159 regarding the Indonesian expedition taking in some culture before the focus on natural history. Taking in Bali, Borneo, Sumbawa and of course Komodo for the Dragons.

    In New Guinea we go to the Waghi region and then up the Jimi River Valley … with much on the unusual people encountered and of course the beautiful birds.

    Attenborough out among the animals and birds – how it all started.


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  • Northward over the “Great Ice”. A Narrative of Life and Work Along the Shores and upon the Interior ice-Cap of Northern Greenland in the Years 1886 and 1891-1897. In Two Volumes. Robert E Peary. First Edition 1898.

    Longer title continues …With a Description of the Little Tribe of Smith-Sound Eskimos, the Most Northerly Human Beings in the World, and an Account of the Discovery and Bringing Home of the “Saviksue,” or Great Cape-York Meteorites. with maps, diagrams and about eight hundred illustrations.

    American Polar hero Peary in the North of Greenland. Eventually Peary would claim the North Pole in 1909 contested by Frederick Cook. Over time Peary was generally given the recognition but in recent years, on further analysis, the barometer is swinging back to Cook. Cook and Greely participated in the adventures covered here.

    Peary was sponsored by the US navy and eventually given the rank of Commander. He went North many times and this account of two of those adventures, is enthralling. Well written and nicely summarised in the lengthy title.

    Published by Frederick Stokes, New York in 1898. Two quarto volumes printed on heavy paper stock, lxxx, 521 pages and xiv, 625 pages. Many illustrations as advertised one large folding image of Meteorite island, numerous maps on large folding at rear. Bound in original blue cloth with decoration to front, spines faded as usual with this set, binding holding firm, a pretty good example, and very clean inside.

    An expansive work which containing much information about the natives of northern Greenland and an expedition to McCormick bay which confirmed that Greenland was an island. Peary would learn much about Inuit survival that he would take forward to his later expeditions. He also took an Inuit mistress who he would later return to Greenland in 1909. There is also much about the Cape-York meteorites and an absolute monster at over 34 tonnes. Local Inuit had been using shards of the many meteorites to make tools and weapons so who knows how big they were originally.

    Robert Peary substantial work of Arctic Exploration and Ethnology in Northern Greenland


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  • Ice-Bound on Kolguev [Russian Arctic] – Aubyn Trevor-Battye – 1895

    Title continues .. A Chapter in the Exploration of Arctic Europe to Which is Added a Record of the Natural History of the Island.

    Published by Archibald Constable, London in 1895.

    Royal octavo, xxviii, 458 pages with 3 large folding colour maps, 25 plates and numerous in text illustrations. Original two tone cloth covered binding, top edge gilt. Showing a little age, still a good copy of a scarce account.

    The island of Kolguev is in the south-eastern Barents Sea of the coast near the Kanon Peninsula in Russia. The author went there in 1894. He studied the Samoyeds (now referred to as Nenets) wildlife, botany, geology etc.

    Illustrations by Nettleship and Charles Whymper.

    Oxford graduate Aubyn Trevor-Battye (1855-1922) travelled widely in the north both in America, Europe and Asia. During the Kolguev expedition winter came early and along with companion they had to make a long unplanned journey through northern Russia. Through this experience Trevor-Battye joined the Conway expedition to Spitsbergen in 1896.

    Unfortunately oil was discovered on Kolguyev in the 1980’s and the well is still active but a low levels. The population of the island is around 400 of which half work at the oil well the balance are Nenets who still hunt wild reindeer, fish etc.

    Kolguyev Island accessible in the 1890’s and first studied by Trevor-Battye.


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  • Kangaroo and Marsupial Friends – Bertuch 1800

    Kangaroo and Marsupial Friends – Bertuch 1800

    An original hand coloured copper engraving of the Kangaroo with some friends.

    This is one of the earliest images of the Kangaroo by Bertuch published in Germany c1800. It is based on the first ever painting by the great George Stubbs supposedly from an inflated kangaroo skin

    A good size, 40cm by 20cm on thick wove paper, strong original coloring.

    Price $140.00 unframed or $240.00 in cream mat with black core inside reddish gilt frame … a nice combination

    Early and delightful image of the Kangaroo


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