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Science: cancer survivor endures surgery without anaesthetic. A writer who once documented much of her life in detail now seems to speak to us directly. Frances Burney, one of England’s best selling female novelists, described her surgical procedure for cancer in the year 1811 without anaesthetic. Burney, Frances The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay . Edited By Her Niece ( 1854) $495.
Business History: For three months Melbourne’s newspaper was handwritten. Emerging on the first day of January 1838, the weekly Melbourne Advertiser was handwritten until a printing machine arrived. The South Australian Gazette and Register described it as “…a neatly written foolscap sheet filled with advertisements and articles of news.” Bonwick’s account includes the four page facsimile of the second week’s handwritten paper. Bonwick, James. Early Struggles of the Australian Press (1890) $125
Language: breakfast table autocrat shaped his thoughts by talking . “ I rough out my thoughts in talk as an artist models in clay…When you work that soft material ’’ Holmes wrote “there is nothing like it for modelling.’’ Some of the shapes emerging, he suggested, could then be turned into enduring material of written words. Holmes, Oliver Wendell The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table (1909) $55.
Music: learn to sing sea chanties during your apprenticeship in sails. Hearing the chanties sung by old time seamen, Captain David Bone became a lifelong student of old sailor songs. Words and airs appear in his book as they were actually sung on windjammers of those eras. Each chanty is accompanied by a small essay descriptive of the song's history and application. The illustrative wood cuts are by Captain Bone's daughter Freda, niece of the book's illustrator, Muirhead Bone. Bone, David W. Captain Capstan Bars (1931) $85.
Horses: the nobility of failure emerged from an owner's concern for his horse. Tuesday 5th November 1946 was a big day for Australia's Melbourne Cup. Crowds pouring into Flemington racecourse packed the venue to capacity. Authorities worried about spectators climbing grandstand roofs for a better view. Flash Jim Bendrodt would have been watching the race with apprehension. Having discreetly shipped Spam, Ireland’s Leger champion out to Australia, he had carefully planned for a surprise win. Equally nervous were one particular group of punters.They staked their bets on an elderly stable hand’s apparent dream of Spam winning, but the horse lost. Bendrodt, J.C. Irish Lad and other stories ( 1966 ) $190 .
Convicts: English pioneer of prison reform helps convicts bound for Australia. Elizabeth Fry's work and teaching, along with that of fellow reformer Jeremy Bentham, influenced experiments in Australian imprisonment. Her journal and correspondence demonstrate her driving force behind 19th century legislation to make the treatment of prisoners more humane. They include her work in convict ships, her attention to the treatment of convicts in Tasmania and other parts of Australia and the letter from Reverend Samuel Marsden written from Parramatta. Fry, Elizabeth Memoir of the Life of Elizabeth Fry ( 1847 ) $525.
Philosophy religion and theology: making sense of Charles Darwin was difficult if you had strong religious beliefs. Professor Henry Drummond's 19th century lectures, popular at the time, were in response to Darwin's theories of evolution. They were published in book form as people struggled to make sense of Darwin's conclusions in relation to their religious life and beliefs. Drummond, Henry The Lowell Lectures On The Ascent Of Man ( 1894 ) $100
Management: the British Royal Navy tapped into its human potential effectively. How it did soemerges in the Nicholas account of British naval administration. Copiously annotated , this two volume work is augmented by its supporting records. A frontispiece of Knights of France and England under the Duke of Bourbon embarking for Africa in 1390 captures the imagination. Anticipation seems to shine in the face of soldiers clad in armoury, packed in tightly, the banners of their regions held high. Nicolas, Sir Nicholas Harris History of the Royal Navy From the Earliest Times to the Wars of the French Revolution (1847) $425
Australian literature: "...a romance with its gastronomic bushranger, lawless lover and daring minx of a bush girl..." was how Hume Nisbet described his published romance set in Western Australia. In the book's preface he also wrote that he tried his best to give a faithful picture of Australia " in its western portion." Describing his faith in Australia as unshaken, the author shared Philip Mennell's belief in a golden future of Western Australia, expressed by Mennell in "The Coming Colony" 1894. Nisbet, Hume A Bush Girl's Romance ( 1894 ) $295 .
Queensland: Australia’s prominent early republican envisaged Queensland as three separate states. John Dunmore Lang came from Scotland in 1823 to found the Presbyterian Church in Australia. Becoming a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council , he travelled between England and Australia promoting emigration. Advocating an independent Australian republic, Lang envisaged seven suggested states - “united provinces”- of eastern Australia. The far northern part of New South Wales ( later separating to become Queensland ) is shown as three states – Flinder’s Land, Leichhardt’s Land and Cook’s Land. Lang, John Dunmore Freedom and Independence For the Golden Lands of Australia (1852) $150.
Australian politics: An invitation card was to be handed in at entry. The opening in Melbourne of Australia's first parliament took place on Thursday 9th May 1901 . Attended by over 12000, the ceremony was distinguished ( in the report of The Argus on 10 May 1901) “…by the splendor and solemn impressiveness which befitted its historic importance. By the hand of Royalty, in the presence of the greatest concourse of people that Australia has seen in one building, and with splendid pomp and ceremonial, the legislative machinery of the Commonwealth was ... set in motion.” Invitations were printed in black on a light green card. The rubbed card for sale has survived the ensuing century and longer. Invitation to the Opening Ceremony of The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia 1901 $395.
Yachting: A Governor of Victoria owned "...the most famous cruising yacht in the world" . The Sunbeam was known for its round the world achievement in 1876 - 1877. Travelling two thirds of its voyage under sail only, coal consumption, owner Lord Brasssey reported, did not exceed 350 tons. Built in 1874, the Sunbeam remained in service for over 50 years, sailing more than 530000 miles. .Lord Brassey sailed the yacht to Australia when he was appointed Governor of Victoria in 1895. Twenty years later, during the first world war, aged 79, he sailed it to Mudros Bay in support of the troops as a hospital ship. Famous Yachts( 1928) by John Scott Hughes described Sunbeam as the most famous cruising yacht in the world. Brassey,Mrs. A Voyage In The Sunbeam (1879) $250.