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Transportation, Convicts etc

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  • Photograph by B Sheppard – Spiky Bridge [Built by Convicts], Near Swansea, East Coast Road Tasmania

    Photograph by B Sheppard – Spiky Bridge [Built by Convicts], Near Swansea, East Coast Road Tasmania

    An original photograph by B (Benjamin) Sheppard (1902-1987). Size 21 x 16cm. Overall in good condition. Sheppard was most active in the 1950’s and the photograph likely cones from that period. The rear of the photograph carries B Sheppard’s stamp, that of the Agent General for Tasmania and a manuscript note identifying the location … a rather obvious one to those that love and live in the Apple Isle.

    You can still see the solid Spiky Bridge built by Convict labour in 1843. The road has been moved onto a more modern and rather boring structure. The spikiness is thought to be an invention to stop cattle falling into the water … maybe. If you go there the remain of the Governor’s cottage can be seen on the hill nearby.

    A Tasmanian landmark … Spiky Bridge a strange structure built by convicts


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  • First Fleet Journal – An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales etc – David Collins – First Edition 1798

    First Fleet Journal – An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales etc – David Collins – First Edition 1798

    Full title … An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, with Remarks on the Dispositions, Customs, Manners etc of the Native Inhabitants of That Country, to which is Added some Particulars of New Zealand from the MSS of Lieutenant Governor King

    A first edition published by T. Cadell Jnr and W Davies, The Strand, London 1798.

    Quarto, bound in half calf over marbled boards. Gilt title on separate red leather title label, gilt decorations to compartments between five raised bands. 680 pages complete including list of plates at rear which someone has ticked off. Frontispiece chart, 18 copper engraved full page plates (magnificent), a further 4 engraved illustrations within the text and a large folding chart. Very little wear and a very good copy aside from some foxing on pages close to the engravings.

    This account is the last published of the First Fleet Journals. In its content and style it represents the earliest history of Australia as an English Colonial settlement … the others being more personal narratives. This is the first edition published 1798 as a single volume with the fine engravings taken from water colours by Edward Dayes who in turn took them from drawings by convict artist Thomas Watling. A second volume or was later published in 1802 with an update on the intervening period. This second volume is extremely scarce.

    David Collins was Secretary to First Governor Arthur Phillip. At an early age he had joined the Marines and had seen action in the American War of Independence. In 1786 he volunteered for the First Fleet as Deputy Judge Advocate in the Marines. After two years instructions were received that the Marines were to return to England. Collins decided to remain at some personal cost. On Phillip’s departure in 1792 he stayed and helped hold the fort until Hunter arrived in 1795. Collins left the next year and two years later this account was published. From his central role he was in the perfect position to chronicle the events at the Colony as they unfolded.

    Goings on at Norfolk Island are included and the engraving of the township Sydney on Norfolk Island is particularly well done.

    The frontispiece chart comprises the Three Harbours of Botany Bay, Port Jackson and Broken Bay and the cultivated grounds in and around the different settlements, with the Course of the Rivers Hawkesbury and Nepean, and the situation of the wild cattle to the westward.

    The fine full page views include … the Governor’s House at Rose Hill; by Water to Paramatta with a distant view of the Western Mountains; Eastern view of Sydney; Western View of Sydney Cove; Direct South View of Sydney; South East View of Sydney including the Church; North View of Sydney Cove; The Brick Field, or High Road to Parramatta; View of Sydney in Norfolk Island;

    There is also an unusual folding chart of New Zealand drawn by Too-gee.

    Of further interest is Collin’s sympathetic comments regarding the aboriginal people and his lengthy Appendix is a special work in itself … he covers their Government and Religion; Stature and Appearance; Habitations; Mode of Living; Courtship and Marriage; Customs and Manners; Superstitions; Diseases; Property; Dispositions; Funeral Ceremonies and Language. The nine full size engraved plates, detailing the initiation of young men and the custom of the removal of a front tooth, are extra special and represent the very first ethnographically accurate portrayal of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the Sydney region.

    Collins First Fleet Journal – First Edition 1798


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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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  • Michael Howe: The Last and Worst of the Bush rangers of Van Diemen’s Land

    Michael Howe: The Last and Worst of the Bush rangers of Van Diemen’s Land

    A nice facsimile production by The Folio Society, London, published in 1977. With useful introduction by Ian Atkins

    Three copies of the original book are known to exist, one in the Bodleian (from which this facsimile is produced), one in the British Museum and the other in the National Collection, Canberra from which was bought from Maggs in 1946 having been purchased by them at Sotheby’s.

    This original account was the first book of general literature published in Australia, in Hobart Town, in December 1818.

    Nostalgic and interesting in many ways


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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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  • Account of a Duel between William Bland and Robert Case – George Mackaness – No 41 of 100 Limited and Signed.

    Account of a Duel between William Bland and Robert Case – George Mackaness – No 41 of 100 Limited and Signed.

    George Mackaness’s limited monograph published by the author in Sydney, 1942. Signed boldly by Mackaness and numbered 41 of 100 copies only.

    Mackaness referencing Bland’s own publication on the matter, the title continuing … and the circumstances that led thereto, drawn up for posterity by Dr William Bland. With a Report of the Trial, Rex v Bland, Randall and Fulton, before the Recorder of Bombay, 14th and 17th April 1813 (Extracted from the Bombay Courier) and a Memoir of Dr William Bland.

    Small quarto, 40 pages with illustrations, stiff wrappers in normal Mackaness style, rubbed with some transfer on inside of covers, internally very good.

    Bland one of the most interesting convict identities was sentenced to seven years transportation to Botany Bay for defending his honour and successfully killing Robert Case during a dual at Bombay. The circumstances leading up to the dual are lengthy and a most interesting account of all the carry on that ensues between gentlemen of the time to protect their honour.

    In Sydney it was not long before Bland was pardoned and put his medical training to use. He rose to be an important member of the Colony … but not without a wayward period initially were his penchant for criticising the establishment saw him back in jail.

    Dr Bland an interesting early identity and a good shot!


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