Barry Long recalls his lifetime with books old and rare starting as a 13 year old in a rubbish heap. Rag paper pages of an old copy of Johnson's Works of the Poets bound in worn leather were poking out. He reached down and was soon holding a book someone else held in their hands centuries ago. It evoked his first sense of travel in time.
Employed as a city messenger during school vacations,he would sneak into Tyrrell’s to buy books from his pay packet. Absorbed in his purchases, he almost forgot to collect lunches his workplace ordered. Further along he discovered an Aladdin’s cave: hidden upstairs , his newly found treasure house was a second hand book section of Dymock’s George Street Sydney store. The quietly spoken and kindlySid Mann in his grey dust coat was always there, ready to be of service.
Searching each and every city book shop, he discovered finely hand-bound gilt tooled books. In one bookshop he bought a 19th century set of 22 Thackeray novels. Passengers helped him on and off the Bronte bound toast rack tram with his parcels tied loosely with string. As he climbed down from the tram, the parcels collapsed and fell onto the roadway and tram tracks. Although he gathered up all 22 volumes, most of their gilt decorated spines were broken and separated from their covers.
Years later there followed decades of weekends hunting Sydney for rare items at bookshops, auctions, garage sales and fairs. With his wife Judy, son Nicholas and a portable barbecue, he extended the search into the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and South Coast regions.
Half a century after the rubbish heap escapade, collecting slowed and eventually Banfield House Booksellers began. Information unexpectedly accumulated from collecting books of so many topics became an idea of the business. The bookstock, 100 catalogued subjects and Letter from Gympie are now translating the idea into reality.
Buying from Banfield House Booksellers: Banfield House Booksellers is the trading name of reflective bookseller Barry Long PO Box 1047 Gympie, Queensland 4570 Australia. Telephone +617 5482 1214. All terms are subject to prior sale and availability at net prices in Australian dollars plus the cost of postage. Pay by Visa, MasterCard, EFT or direct bank deposit. Orders placed through abebooks.com may be also be paid for by American Express. Your right to privacy and your right to return books is in accordance with Australian privacy legislation and Australian consumer law respectively. Postage quoted on abebooks for overseas buyers is based on 500 grams weight.