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Papua New Guinea

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  • Chance or Design? – A Pioneer Looks Back [Papua New Guinea] – George Seymour Fort

    Chance or Design? – A Pioneer Looks Back [Papua New Guinea] – George Seymour Fort

    George Fort (1851-1951) was prodding ninety when he wrote this reminiscence and it’s an interesting one particularly his time in New Guinea as an aid to Sir Peter Scratchley who carried out the annexation. Some history of events in that period that we have not seen elsewhere,

    Published by Robert Hale, London in 1942. Octavo, 180 pages, good images from early New Guinea photographs. Original blue cloth covered boards, a very good copy.

    As well as Australasia and New Guinea, Fort spent time in South Africa and Rhodesia. Chapters on Prospecting Experiences in Manicaland.

    Fort kept the Fort in New Guinea and had some interesting things to say about it…


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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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  • Through Wildest Papua – Jack Hides 1937

    Through Wildest Papua – Jack Hides 1937

    Published by Blackie, London and Glasgow in 1937 part of the Travel Library Series. Not sure what sort of “’travel” they were envisaging you would have to be pretty tough. Published in the USA under a different title “Savage Patrol”.

    Octavo, 165 pages, end paper maps, very good illustrations throughout from period photographs. Presume previous ownership name cut from free endpaper corner, some spots to page edges otherwise a very good copy of a getting scarce and important New Guinea account.

    With an introduction by Sir Hubert Murray a great supporter of the Port Moresby born Hides. On patrol Jack Hides describes in vivid detail the raid on Lakekamu and the patrol to Loloipa west of Mount Nelson at the source of the Alabule River. Stunning photographs as suggested.

    Jack Hides, Voyager Hero, on Patrol deep into New Guinea


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  • The Gold Trail – Henry Stacpoole – First Edition 1916

    The Gold Trail – Henry Stacpoole – First Edition 1916

    From the author of The Blue Lagoon and The Pearl Fishers.

    A first U.S. edition published by John Lane, New York in 1916. Octavo, 308 pages plus publishers advertisements. Original clay coloured cloth covered boards with striking design in black and gilt to front. Inner hinges re-enforced, bookplate removed from front past down, some age marks, internally pretty bright and clean. A pretty good copy of a now very scarce book

    Irish born Henry Stacpoole (1863-1951) was for some time a ship’s Doctor mostly in the South Pacific. He later became a very successful author. His novels often based in New Guinea or the Pacific Islands reflect his in depth understanding of the environment, people etc.

    This novel, titled “The Reef of Stars” in the UK starts in Sydney .. a venture is formed and off to New Guinea … up a river a heroine is found among the local tribes … the unfortunate Maquart goes made over his inability to move a fortune in gold … etc tense stuff in equatorial New Guinea,

    Scarce early novel based in unknown New Guinea


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  • Isles of Despair – Ion Idriess – 1949

    Isles of Despair – Ion Idriess – 1949

    A very good copy just a little chipped to the dust jacket.

    Octavo, 290 pages, end paper maps, illustrated with good line drawings befitting the historical nature of the account. Published by Angus and Robertson, Sydney a second printing 1949.

    A fictionalised account of the the true story of Barbara Thompson [Idriess Thomson] shipwrecked on the cutter “America” on the reef at Horn island and only survivor. She swam to Prince of Wales Island and lived with the Kaurareg people for five years before being found by Captain Owen Stanley and a young Thomas Huxley who as a junior officer on board the exploring vessel Rattlesnake.

    Barbara saved at last


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  • Sailing Directions – Territory of Papua – Leonard Murray – 1930

    Sailing Directions – Territory of Papua – Leonard Murray – 1930

    A second and final edition of this scarce maritime advisory printed and published in Port Moresby.

    Original brown card wrappers, marked with age and use bur really quite good. 42 pages with illustrations of approaches, coastal characteristics etc.

    Contents … Part I – Port Moresby and Approaches; Part II – Port Moresby Eastward inside the Barrier Reef, to Samarai and China Strait; Part III – The North-East Coast, and Notes on the Trobriands, Woodlark Island, the Conflicts, Misma, Sudest, and Rossel Islands, and the main routes thereto; Part IV From Port Moresby Westward, inside the Barrier Reef, Hall Sound and the Gulf of Papua.

    The bound in “Addendum” … Reported new islands, provides a bit of amusement.

    The author Leonard Murray was the nephew of the great Sir Hubert Murray, Governor of Papua New Guinea … he succeeded Hubert on his death in 1940. The war and other matters made life very difficult for him and he was replaced before the war was out. He had previously held a number of public administrative roles in Papua New Guinea some of which involved maritime expeditions … hence the “Sailing Directions”. He was a great swimmer and almost represented Australia in the Olympics.

    Sailing Directions around Papua specifics from one who knew …


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