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Papua New Guinea

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  • Orokaiva Society Papua New Guinea – F.A. Williams – First Edition 1930

    Williams was the then Government appointed Anthropologist. Published by the Oxford University Press, with an introduction by Sir Hubert Murray.

    Octavo, 355 pages, illustrated with images from period photographs.

    The Orokaiva are the rather fierce proud people of Oro Province in New Guinea, the Owen Stanley Range bordering the southern reaches of their territory. They are divided into three groups … River, Salt Water and Inland. There tribal practices are complex and rather strange, partly resulting from their belief that they are descendants of Giants. As with most New Guinea tribes the initiation customs are rather complex and scary.

    Francis Edgar Williams (1893-1943) was an Australian Rhodes Scholar who studied anthropology at Balliol, Oxford. He met the great Hubert Murray back in Australia who persuaded him to come to New Guinea. He spent over twenty years there much of it in the field strongly supported by Hubert Murray. He died in a light plane crash near Kokoda.

    Tough growing up in Oro.


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  • Adam in Plumes [New Guinea] – Colin Simpson.

    Adam in Plumes [New Guinea] – Colin Simpson.

    A first edition published by Angus and Robertson, Sydney in 1954. Octavo, 268 pages, many illustrations, great condition albeit small piece missing from free end paper. Dust jacket to die for.

    This is Simpson’s fourth book and third non-fiction work, and the second time in New Guinea.

    An often overlooked account of the Wahgi Valley, an astonishing place, so immense in New Guinea. And, the Leahy brothers who following an expedition set out to live among, exploit and integrate (they certainly did that) with the local people.

    Very nicely illustrated with some quite special images … we particularly like the Wahgi man brandishing his stone axe at Jim Taylor … some passion there.

    Adam in Plumes – Well among the Wahgi.


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  • Argonauts of the Western Pacific – Bronislaw Malinowski – First edition 1922

    An account of Native Enterprise and Adventures in the Archipelagos of Melanesian New Guinea.

    Malinowski’s other landmark book published by Routledge, London in 1922. Octavo, 527 pages with 5 maps and 65 illustrations from l photographs. We have another copy, layer published but with provenance.

    Rebound nicely at some time in black cloth covered boards with gilt titles to spine. A very good copy accepting this.

    A richly illustrated account of the ceremonial exchange of manufactured shell valuables linking the Trobriand Islands with other island groups in Eastern New Guinea. Malinowski follows a canoe voyage around the Kula ring of islands.

    Following an introduction about subject, method and scope which is regarded as some of the most influential pages in the field of social anthropology .. Malinowski explores the country and inhabitants of Kula; the Natives of the Trobriand Islands; Canoes and sailing; Ceremonial Buildings at Waga; Ceremonial Visiting; an Overseas Expedition; the Fleet at Muwa; Sailing to Pilolu; a Shipwreck; in the Amphlets – the Sociology of the Kula; Tewara and Sanaroa- mythology; the beach at Sarubwoyna; the journey Home; the return visit of the Dobuans to Sinaketa; Magic and Kula; the Power of Words in Magic; Expeditions to Kiriwinan d Kitava …. meaning of Kula.

    Malinowski a pioneer in the field of social anthropology and perhaps not yet eclipsed and, the most interesting of subjects – First Edition 1922.


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  • The Rattlesnake – A Voyage of Discovery in the Coral Sea – Jordan Goodman.

    The Rattlesnake – A Voyage of Discovery in the Coral Sea – Jordan Goodman.

    We have always though that this was the most accessible book regarding the important Voyage of the Rattlesnake.

    Published by Faber in 2005. Large octavo, 357 pages, nicely illustrated, a very good copy.

    From the preparations in London and Portsmouth which take up the short Part I we head for the Tropics and Rio before a sharp east to the Cape and on to Mauritius in 1847. Part III is to Hobart, Sydney and on to the Barrier Reef. Dropping explorer Kennedy at Cape York [from whence he was speared and killed by aboriginals]. Then off to the objective and New Guinea and much coastal exploration, charting and the usual naming after friends, sponsors and the upper levels of society.

    Of course not you normal seagoing adventure we have the truly talented artist Captain Owen Stanley [Mountain Range behind Port Moresby his name] and the soon to be famous Thomas Huxley as naturalist.

    The discovery of Barbara Thompson on far north Darnley Island, sole survivor of a calamitous shipwreck and living with the local aboriginals adds extra drama to an already riveting account.

    Rattlesnake without the poison.


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  • The Happy Isles of Oceania (Paddling the Pacific) – Paul Theroux

    The Happy Isles of Oceania (Paddling the Pacific) – Paul Theroux

    Value for money, the best modern book by far on the western Pacific – Oceania by the talented Theroux.

    Published by Hamish Hamilton, London in 1992 a first edition. Thick octavo, 541 pages with maps at the end for those that are unfamiliar.

    Seemingly Theroux was encouraged to visit the Trobriand Islands by Malinowski’s “the Sexual Life of Savages” a ground breaking and “’writer’s taboo” breaking work from the esteemed anthropologist.

    All of this is after the Land of the Long White Cloud and before the paddle to Fifi and Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Marquesas. Then straying east to Easter Island and up and back a bit to Hawaii and “Paradise” … and some others in-between.

    Theroux throws his lot into the Pacific.


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  • Albert Hahl – Governor in New Guinea – Edited and Translated by Sack and Clark

    Albert Hahl – Governor in New Guinea – Edited and Translated by Sack and Clark

    Albert Hahl (1868-1945) was the German Governor of New Guinea until relived through the consequences of WWI. This excellent book about his life and work in New Guinea was first published as “Gouverneursjahre” in Germany. This edition translated by Peter Sack and Dymphna Clark, published by ANU, Australia in 1980.

    Octavo, 164 pages, illustrated from period photographs. The editors have added significant introductory content of 22 pages which must significantly enhance the original work. A glossary of the many German named organisations and institutions is included.

    Includes maps of German New Guinea, Astrolabe Bay, Ponape and New Britain. Photographs of the survivors of the Ehlers Expedition, Ponape, Hotel Furst Bismark, Herbertshohe, Namanula etc hint at the contents.

    A scarce book of an important story in the history of Papua New Guinea.

    Albert Hahl put his lasting stamp on New Guinea


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