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  • The Life and Labours of George Washington Walker of Hobart Town, Tasmania. By James Backhouse and Charles Taylor – First Edition 1862

    The Life and Labours of George Washington Walker of Hobart Town, Tasmania. By James Backhouse and Charles Taylor – First Edition 1862

    First edition published by A.W. Bennett, London and Thomas Ready, York in 1862. Large octavo, 556 pages with 12 page “Friendly Counsel” bound at the rear. Original ribbed cloth binding with gilt title to spine. Appears re-cased retaining the original jet black endpapers. Frontispiece of George W Walker with facsimile note and signature. Light staining off the image on the frontispiece and a few signs of ageing here and there. Manuscript note on title indication from the Library of the Doncaster Friends, possibly donated by Backhouse of you understand the geography. Overall still a good to better copy of a very interesting compilation. Essential reading on Tasmania.

    George Washington Walker (1800-1959) was a Quaker and humanitarian born the 21st child! Of John Walker. He was brought up by his grandmother in Newcastle, England. His first job as a linen draper introduced him to the Quakers and James Backhouse of York. He became active in the movement. In 1831 he accompanied James Backhouse to the Australian and South African Colonies, investigation conditions for convicts and indigenous people. They encouraged schools for the poor, temperance, cleanliness and care in hospitals generally arousing a social conscience. Walker returned to Hobart and married Sarah Mather. He set up a linen draper’s shop and from there distributed Bibles. He formed the Hobart Savings Bank to assist those at the bottom of the pile. Generally, he was well liked although his campaign to stop drinking on Sunday’s did not go down well. He worked to suppress vice at the Female Factory and kept in close touch with the Aboriginal mission stations. His eldest son James Backhouse Walker became one of our most respected historians. He spent the last two years of his life living in Narryna and was buried in West Hobart following his death on 2nd February 1859.

    The book is comprehensive … Walker arrived with Backhouse at Hobart by page 32 after having described the approaches. He meets Governor Arthur, John Leach and G.A. Robinson. Observes the Bridgewater Chain-gang the toils of their work still seen today … the exhaustion and conditions of their work hard to imagine. They visit New Norfolk and the Clyde district and come into contact with aboriginal groups. Then a major voyage to Port Davey and Macquarie Harbour. Back in Hobart visits to Richmond and then off to Flinders Island and the aboriginal settlements and the ill-treatment of aborigines. To Launceston and up to George Town and on to Circular Head, Woolnorth and Cape Grim … and much more before leaving for New South Wales and Norfolk Island. Two hundred pages are devoted to Mauritius and South Africa before Walker returns to Hobart in 1840 to live out his life much of which is dealt with by reference to his letters from that period.

    Thorough treatment of Walker’s Life and an excellent complement to “A Narrative of a Visit to the Australian Colonies” by Backhouse


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  • Tasmanian Photographer ( Beattie) – Margaret Tassell and David Wood – 1981

    Tasmanian Photographer ( Beattie) – Margaret Tassell and David Wood – 1981

    Published by Macmillan in Australia. Quarto, 155 pages heavily illustrated, as you would expect. Good dust jacket and generally a very good copy.

    The first name that springs to mind when it turns to photography in Tasmania.

    A well put together collection by Tassell and Wood published in 1981. Many examples of his better work categorised into – Historic; Industrial and Scenic, and Norfolk Island for a broader interest in that association. Some of the “originals” clearly showing their age but the subject matter and technique still very worthy.

    Beattie Photographic Imagery – Defining Tasmania


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  • Fiji and its Possibilities – Beatrice Grimshaw – First Edition 1907

    Fiji and its Possibilities – Beatrice Grimshaw – First Edition 1907

    A first edition published by Doubleday, New York 1907. Published at the same time in London under the title “from Fiji to the Cannibal islands”.

    Large tick octavo, 315 pages, original green cloth covered binding, top edge clean gilt. Embossed image of native to front board. A very good, very clean tight copy. Carries the bookplate of Maine educationalist Walter Francis Kimball to the front past down. Despite the title more than Fiji with rather graphic writing from the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) and an unusual ending in the Norfolk Islands

    Beatrice Grimshaw (1870 – 1953) was an Irish born travel writer who spent most of her working life in the Western Pacific. In 1904, she was engaged by the London Daily Graphic to report on the Pacific Islands and she did so sailing around in her own cutter. She was commissioned to write for the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa and Tonga. This book on Fiji was one of her earlier works. In 1907, she went to Papua and remained there for most of the next 27 years becoming a close friend of Sir Hubert Murray.

    Nicely illustrated with over 80 photographic images including a frontispiece of the author. Contents cover … history of Fiji; the days of Thakombau; Fijian language; native food and “how to drink yanggona”; hospitality and introduction to mbill-mbill; Fijian fun and a night on the Wainikoro; Ndreketi and the Fijian smart society; the last of the cannibals; the vanilla planters; history of the New Hebrides; dynamite fishing; coffee and a plan to eat a Planter; Malekula an uncanny place; the marriage market; a stronghold of savagery; ten stick island; Malekula the outer and inner man; slaughtered traders; the idol dance; interview with the cannibal chief; poisoned arrows; hot times in Tanna; a Council of War; returned labour trouble; up the Volcano and the Valley of Fire; Norfolk Island and the fate of the Mutineers.

    Very good copy of key Fiji book – 1907


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