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SL Magazine - Summer 2013-14 - State Library of New South Wales

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Summer 2013–14
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Transforming an icon
The State Library of NSW, and especially the much-loved
Mitchell Library, is an icon. Not only are the steps and
portico of the Mitchell a landmark of Sydney, but the
Library’s collections are a landmark of scholarship:
telling of our history, they are used by students and
scholars to shape our future.
From the great legacies of David Scott Mitchell,
Sir William Dixson and a host of other benefactors —
whose generosity continues today — to collecting today’s born
digital culture, this Library is truly the home of Australiana.
That heritage is becoming much more accessible through
the Library’s leading edge Digital Excellence program.
In 2012–13, we scanned 2.4 million newspaper pages to put
on the National Library’s Trove website, and we are starting
to digitise the David Scott Mitchell books and our intensely
moving collection of World War I diaries.
A similar transformation is under way in our buildings.
The bright and airy refurbishment of the Macquarie Wing
reading room in 2011 was followed by the opening up of the
bookshop and cafe in 2012. Turning to the Mitchell Wing,
Amaze: The Michael Crouch Gallery, the first new gallery
since 1929, opened in 2013 to exhibit historically important
and curious items from the Library’s extraordinary and
expansive collections. Early exhibits have included the
journals of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth in this
bicentenary of the European crossing of the Blue Mountains,
the James Cook ditty-box with a lock of his hair, and an
array of artists’ sketchbooks.
We are now moving to restore the grandeur of the historic
Mitchell Wing with more galleries and public spaces, better
study space, improved facilities for our friends and
volunteers, and the return of scholars and fellows to
the original Mitchell Reading Room. Those ambitions —
and how supporters, clients and staff can help realise them
— are summarised in this issue.
ALEX BYRNE
NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive
C
ontents
Summer 2013–14
SL
THE MAGAZINE FOR
FOUNDATION MEMBERS,
FRIENDS AND VOLUNTEERS
IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY
BY THE LIBRARY COUNCIL
OF NSW.
STATE LIBRARY OF NSW
SUMMER 2013–14
VOL. 6 NO. 4
ISSN 1835-9787
LIBRARY@SL.NSW.GOV.AU
P&D-4200-11/2013
OPENING HOURS
PRINT RUN 3500
MONDAY TO THURSDAY
9 AM TO 8 PM
EDITOR
CATHY PERKINS
CPERKINS@SL.NSW.GOV.AU
DESIGN & PRODUCTION
ROSIE HANDLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY
UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
ALL PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK
IS BY DIGITISATION AND
IMAGING SERVICES,
STATE LIBRARY OF NSW.
MACQUARIE STREET
SYDNEY NSW 2000
6
in the colony
Vox pop
Hidden gems
History awards
Macquarie’s medicine
Interrobang
8
10
ON THIS DAY
SPECIAL NEWS
Renewing
the Mitchell
FAX (02) 9273 1255
WWW.SL.NSW.GOV.AU
FRIDAY 9 AM TO 5 PM
WEEKENDS 10 AM TO 5 PM
EXHIBITION GALLERIES
OPEN TO 5 PM, TUESDAYS
TO 8 PM DURING EXHIBITIONS
THE MITCHELL LIBRARY
READING ROOM IS CLOSED
ON SUNDAYS.
14
WWI CENTENARY
16
EXHIBITION
COVER
PRINTED IN AUSTRALIA
BY LINDSAY YATES GROUP
PAPER: BJ BALL’S ECOSTAR
120GSM. THIS PAPER IS
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BACK: US SERVICEMAN AND
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18
War stories, our
stories, your stories
FEATURE
22
Speaking from
the flood plain H IGHLIGHT
Breaking news
F EATURE
Brueghel’s cockatoo
27
28
PROVENANCE
World of silver
FEATURE
32
Trout fishing
at Kosciuszko
NEW ACQUISITIONS
Speaking in pictures
Getting physical
This sporting life
The other Mitchell
36 P OSTCARD
38
BUILDING A STRONG
FOUNDATION
Australian
Jewish culture
Born to concrete
24 NEWS
PHONE (02) 9273 1414
FRONT: NED NOLAN KELLY
(DETAIL), 1983, RICHARD TIPPING,
FROM THE SYDNEY MORNING,
WORD WORKS 1979–1992,
STATE LIBRARY OF NSW
© RICHARD TIPPING, FROM THE
EXHIBITION BORN TO CONCRETE
SUSTAINABILITY
4
Christmas
40
42
44
47
Frederick Rose
archival collection
VOLUNTEERS
The bell ringer
FOR OUR FRIENDS
RECENT HIGHLIGHTS
Q&A
Michael Robotham
WITH THIS ISSUE
THE STATE LIBRARY OF NSW
IS A STATUTORY AUTHORITY OF,
AND PRINCIPALLY FUNDED BY,
THE NSW STATE GOVERNMENT
We enclose our Highlights of the Year and thank
SL magazine readers for supporting the Library this year.
CHRISTMAS
in the colony
At the first Christmas in Sydney Cove
in 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip
presided over a traditional Christmas
meal with his officers and their families
ending with a loyal toast to King
George III.* The convicts were given
their usual simple rations. One convict,
Michael Dennison, enjoyed a Christmas
bonus after stealing a pound of flour.
He was sentenced to 200 lashes but,
as it was Christmas, received only 150.
From this first Christmas the colonists
began to combine Australian imagery
4/SL
MAGAZINE
with old traditions. Cartoons and
Christmas cards in the Library’s
collection depict scenes of kangaroos
pulling Santa’s sleigh while Australian
newspapers show scenes of Christmas
with snow and reminiscences of the
‘old country’.
OPPOSITE FAR LEFT:
FATHER CHRISTMAS
IN AUSTRALIA,
THE ILLUSTRATED SYDNEY
NEWS, 23 DEC 1882, TN 115
* Sourced from David Collins, An Account
of the English colony in New South Wales ...
London: T Caddell & W Davis, 1798–1902
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
OPPOSITE TOP RIGHT:
SANTA CLAUS WITH
KANGAROOS, THE TOWN
& COUNTRY JOURNAL,
22 DEC 1883, TN 83
OTHER ITEMS ARE
FROM ‘COLLECTION OF
AUSTRALIAN CHRISTMAS
CARDS AND POSTCARDS’,
ML 745.59412/5
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 5
Vox pop
N EWS
Thank you to readers who responded to the survey we sent out
with the spring issues of SL magazine and What’s On. More than
100 people completed each survey, with 98% rating the quality
of the magazine very good or excellent (97% for What’s On).
Readers said they found SL ‘A splendid magazine — never
boring!’ and a ‘Great journal, well presented, interesting.
Great reminder of what’s on at the Library and what it has to
offer’. In response to our question about accessing the magazine
in print or online, 96% preferred the print format with one
respondent advising, ‘Don’t dare think of not printing this
wonderful magazine that brings the collection to the reader.’
Readers M Barnes and C Plim each won a $100 Library Shop
voucher for completing the surveys.
Macquarie’s
medicine
Hidden gems
At the time of European settlement
in Australia in 1788 there were some 250
known Indigenous languages, but now
only about 20 are spoken comprehensively.
With strong support from Rio Tinto, the
State Library of NSW’s Rediscovering
Indigenous Languages project set out
to identify as many word lists as possible
among the Library’s colonial manuscripts
and make them available to Indigenous
communities. Researcher and linguist
Dr Michael Walsh has spent the past two
years sifting through hundreds of letters
and diaries and boxes of personal
documents, and shared his findings at
the recent Hidden Gems symposium held
at the Library in August. Dr Walsh has
unearthed 200 original papers significantly
documenting 100 Aboriginal languages,
many thought to be lost. The project now
will focus on engaging communities with
the rediscovered material.
INDIGENOUS WORD LISTS FROM THE LIBRARY’S COLLECTION
6/SL
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
History awards
The 2013 NSW Premier’s History Awards
were announced by Minister for the Arts,
the Hon. George Souris, in the Mitchell
Library Reading Room on 12 September
with $75,000 in prize money awarded
across five categories. The Multimedia
History Award went to Martin Butler and
Bentley Dean for First Footprints: Super
Nomads (Episode 1), and Jackie French
received the Young People’s History Prize
for Pennies for Hitler. Patti Miller’s
The Mind of a Thief won the NSW
Community and Regional History Prize,
and the General History Prize was
awarded to Saliha Belmessous for
Assimilation and Empire: Uniformity in the
French and British Colonies, 1541–1954.
Janet Butler’s Kitty’s War, the story of
WWI nurse Kit McNaughton, won the
Australian History Prize.
Interrobang
A travelling medicine chest that
belonged to the family of Governor
Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie
was recently purchased by the
Library. Dated in the 1820s, the chest
is made of mahogany and lined with
blue crushed velvet. It holds 15 glass
bottles and came with an inventory,
dated 28 February 1848, which lists
substances such as Butcher’s pure
epsom salts, Indian rhubarb, powder
of jalap and essence of peppermint.
It was bequeathed by Lachlan
Macquarie junior to his close friend
William Henry Drummond, later
the 9th Viscount Strathallan, and
has remained at Strathallan Castle
in Scotland since the 1840s.
The Macquarie medicine chest
is on display in the Amaze Gallery.
MACQUARIE FAMILY TRAVELLING MEDICINE CHEST
1820–, R 2129
Digitising the Mitchell books
Through the Digital Excellence program funded by
the NSW Government, the Library is fast-tracking
the digitisation of the David Scott Mitchell
collection. Mitchell bequeathed his collection of
nearly 40,000 books, paintings and watercolours,
coins and manuscripts to the Library in 1907, as
well as an endowment of £70,000. The Mitchell
Library, which opened on 8 March 1910, is now the
repository of the world’s most important collection
of Australiana. Once digitised, readers all over the
world will be able to search the 1.3 million newly
scanned pages.
SL MAGAZINE
The following is one of approximately
350 questions answered each month
by the Library’s ‘Ask a Librarian’ service.
? When did the waratah plant first
become protected in NSW?
!
On 18 June 1927 the Sydney
Morning Herald reported that the
Governor had issued a proclamation
under the Wild Flowers and Native
Plants Protection Act 1927 to protect
a limited number of species,
including the waratah, for one year
across the state of NSW. This was
to come into effect on 1 July 1927.
The article goes on to say that the
limited protection was necessary
‘owing to the vandalism practiced by
certain individuals’ and would afford
the waratah and other named
species a chance to recover. The idea
was to name different species each
year to give them an opportunity
to be re-established.
www.sl.nsw.gov.au/services/ask
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 7
DAY
on this
3 December 1854
Soldiers and police attack striking miners at the Eureka
Stockade at Ballarat, Victoria. The artist is believed
to have been on the spot a few hours after the riot.
EUREKA STOCKADE RIOT, 1854, JOHN BLACK HENDERSON, SSV2B/BALL/7
11 January 1934
The Australian Lawn Tennis Association
bans the wearing of shorts at national titles,
claiming they detract from players’ dignity.
TENNIS PLAYERS AT WHITE CITY, RUSHCUTTERS BAY, SYDNEY
1937, SAM HOOD, HOME AND AWAY – 13812
COMPILED BY
Margot Riley, Original Materials
26 December 1832
15 January 1908
15 February 1840
17 February 1864
Australia’s first professional theatrical
performance is staged at the Theatre Royal,
Sydney, organised by Jewish entrepreneur Barnett
Levey. (This image was recently added to Discover
Collections: Australian Jewish Community and
Culture on the Library’s website.)
The first Arnott’s biscuits are made at the company’s
Homebush factory in Sydney.
Local stockman Stewart Ryrie makes the first official
ascent of the Kosciuszko massif, coming within four
kilometres of the summit. Count Paul Strzelecki
completed his historic climb of Kosciuszko’s peak
on 12 March 1840.
Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson is born
at Narrambla, near Orange, NSW.
ARNOTT’S VAN DISPLAYING THE COMPANY’S WELL-KNOWN LOGO
C. 1940, MILTON KENT, PXA 978/20
PORTRAIT OF AB (‘BANJO’) PATERSON, 1927
AGNES NOYES GOODSIR, ML 269
THE FIRST GOVERNMENT TOURIST PARTY OF CLIMBERS TO REACH THE PEAK
OF MOUNT KOSCIUSZKO, C. 1900, BCP 05321
PLAYBILL FOR THE NAUTICAL MELODRAMA BLACK-EYED SUSAN, 1832
AT 35/ ITEM 1
8/SL
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 9
SPECIAL NEWS
RENEWING
the Mitchell
E M B RACI NG
HE R I TAG E
Generations of Sydneysiders
and visitors have passed the
Mitchell Library, sometimes
stepping into the cool of the
marble foyer with its striking
inlaid Tasman Map and gazing
in awe into the grand Mitchell
Library Reading Room.
Others have entered to study in that room or, if older,
in the original Mitchell Reading Room. Many have
drawn on the extraordinary collections of the State
Library for their research and writing. All think of
the Library with great affection and are protective
of its past and future.
So it is with much respect and care that we begin
the renewal of the Mitchell to respond to the needs
of today and tomorrow. We are working to restore
the grandeur of the Mitchell Library Reading Room,
to refurbish and reopen other heritage spaces and
to create better facilities for scholars and students,
visitors and volunteers, fellows and friends.
10 / S L
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
AND
THE
2 1 ST
C E N T U RY
A CONTINUING PROCESS OF RENEWAL
The process of renewing the State Library began
with the 2011 refurbishment of the Macquarie Wing’s
reading room and the 2012 opening up of the bookshop
and cafe to shape more inviting public areas. Also in
2012, the Digital Excellence program initiated the
renewal of our online infrastructure and a dramatic
expansion of digitisation of our valuable collection.
In the Mitchell Wing, Amaze: The Michael Crouch
Gallery was opened in 2013 to exhibit historically
important and fascinating items, our first new
gallery since 1929.
The Amaze Gallery is the first stage in the overdue
renewal of the Mitchell. Built in four stages between
1910 and 1964, many areas of that iconic building
are in poor condition and must be refurbished and
reequipped to meet today’s needs. We must draw
on international practice to create purpose-designed
galleries to show more of our extensive collections
of manuscripts, artworks, objects, coins and medals,
stamps and maps, books and journals — and our
two million photographs.
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 11
R E N E W I N G
1 ST F LO O R M ITC HE L L
T H E
M I T C H E L L
Specialist galleries
Children’s
Learning Space
The Sydney
Experience gallery
Amaze Gallery
We also need new spaces for those who use the
Library. Over many years, our clients have told us that
they wish to be able to use books from any part of our
collections in one place. Scholars have told us that the
current location for using rare books and manuscripts
is noisy and distracting. The success of the Verandah
in the Macquarie Wing has demonstrated the high
level of demand for extensive WiFi-enabled study
areas where our clients can access our collections
online without library service points or book delivery.
Our fellows, volunteers and staff need better places in
which to work and interact. And we need to move our
collections from the Mitchell Wing storage areas which
no longer provide the conditions to preserve them.
innovative digital displays as well as showing some
of our seldom-exhibited collections. Our extensive
collections offer a unique foundation for the planned
permanent collection spaces The Sydney Experience
and From EORA to Metropolis, both of which will
engage locals and visitors with our history and culture
including the cultures of Australia’s Indigenous peoples.
Later stages of the renewal will include more
public spaces including a 400–500 seat auditorium,
much-needed for our schools program and public
events, and a rooftop restaurant, built and funded
by an operator. Contemporary automated collection
storage and state of the art conservation laboratories
will ensure the long-term preservation of our collections.
RENEWING THE MITCHELL READING ROOMS
The next stage in this process of renewal will address
these issues by bringing together collection access
in the Macquarie Wing reading room and returning
scholars to the original Mitchell Reading Room,
adjoining the Friends Room (as outlined in the
plan opposite). A new Fellows Room will be built
next to a Scholars Room to establish an academic
hub where both fellows and scholars will be able
to use our special collections, rare books and
manuscripts in appropriate conditions with
professional support. A new Volunteers Room will
be more conveniently located near the refurnished
Friends Room. The grandeur of the Mitchell Library
Reading Room will be restored to its original 1942
appearance (pictured above right) but equipped with
WiFi to enable access to the Library’s growing born
digital and digitised resources.
This renewal of the ground floor of the Mitchell will
be followed by further developments on the first floor
(plan opposite). The areas on the Domain side, some
of which are currently used as meeting rooms and
others for collection storage and staff work areas, will
be opened to the public. They will provide space for
12 / S L
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
25TH ANNIVERSARY APPEAL
Fellows Room
Dixson Room
Vestibule
Volunteers Room
Scholars Room
Friends Room
ALEX BYRNE
NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive
For more information and to contribute to the Anniversary
Foundation, susan.hunt@sl.nsw.gov.au
telephone (02) 9273 1529.
Mitchell Reading Room
G R O U ND F LO O R M ITC HE L L
Marking the 25th anniversary of the State Library
of NSW Foundation, we invite our many friends and
supporters and all who hold dear the Mitchell Library
to join us in our historic endeavour to renew the
Mitchell. There are opportunities to make gifts to
record your own or your friend’s or family’s affection
and support for the Mitchell through ‘buying’ a chair or
study table, a bookshelf or a display niche. Larger gifts
can endow the new Scholars, Fellows, Volunteers and
Friends rooms, the Children’s Learning Space, the new
specialist galleries, the innovative digital Sydney
Experience and the engaging From EORA to Metropolis.
Please join us in this vital endeavour to renew
the Mitchell!
Appeal, please contact Susan Hunt, Executive Director,
Current galleries
From Eora to Metropolis gallery
Entry via the Mitchell steps
WWI CENTENARY
In this journal I am going to put forward
to the best of my ability a few of my impressions,
& experiences since joining the Army.
ARCHIE BARWICK, FARMER, THEN PRIVATE IN THE AIF, 1ST BATTALION, 1914
WA R S T O R I E S
our stories, your stories
My desire is to carefully chronicle
as far as possible all details
affecting the 3rd Field Artillery
Brigade which I have the honour
to Command, and also particularly
my own personal experiences
from the time of the acceptance
of my services by the Defence
Authorities of Australia to the
completion of the war, or as far
as I am destined to participate
in such war ...
CHARLES ROSENTHAL, ARCHITECT,
THEN LIEUTENANT-COLONEL, 3RD FIELD
ARTILLERY BRIGADE, 1914, MLMSS 2739
At the end of World War I the State Library embarked
on an extraordinary collection drive for soldier’s diaries.
Throughout the 1920s, the Library acquired diaries
written by men who, in their civilian lives, had been
farmers, clerks, carpenters, teachers and accountants.
Principal Librarian William Ifould advertised
extensively throughout Australia, New Zealand
and in Britain for returning servicemen to deposit
their war diaries with the Mitchell Library:
... where the men themselves and their friends
and descendants will be proud to know that their
contributions to Australia’s historical records will
be permanently preserved with the diaries and the
journals of all the great Australian explorers, navigators
and statesmen and others whose names will be forever
connected with the history of the Commonwealth.
of WWI diaries and related material out of the stacks
as part of onsite exhibitions. They will also be
presented online, with a new WWI website, and
on tour as select items travel to regional NSW.
We are interested in connecting our diarists
with their descendants. Does the Library hold your
ancestor’s WWI diaries? Visit our website and meet
our diarists. Share your photos and records about
our servicemen and women, provide us with further
information about them, and join with us as we
commemorate Australia’s service in World War I.
www.sl.nsw.gov.au/ww1
Our extensive WWI collections have now grown
to more than 1100 diaries written by over 500
servicemen and women, along with related
photographs, artworks, posters, maps, books
and objects. We want to continue Ifould’s legacy
and make this material accessible to descendants,
students and researchers one hundred years on.
As part of the Library’s Digital Excellence
program, these collections are progressively being
digitised and will be the centrepiece of the Library’s
WWI centenary commemorations. Over the next
five years, we will be bringing our collections
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 15
EXHIBITION
Born to
CO N C R E TE
*
The State Library’s latest exhibition
explores concrete poetry in Australia
from its origins in the 1960s.
Artist Ruth Cowen was ‘amazed,
mesmerised, completely enchanted’
by the first concrete poem she saw,
Alan Riddell’s Revolver. She had to
try the artform for herself, and began
to create concrete poetry ‘for people
not for posterity’. Cowen’s work is
shown alongside Riddell’s in the Library’s
current exhibition Born to Concrete.
Bringing together an extensive
collection of works from Heide Museum
of Modern Art and the University of
Queensland art collection, the exhibition
features additional material from the
State Library of NSW. It focuses on
the emergence of this experimental
form of poetry in mid-1960s Australia
and traces its development through
subsequent decades.
Arising in the 1950s in separate
initiatives by Swiss and Brazilian writers,
concrete poetry soon became an
international movement, extending out
of the literary sphere and into the art
world. Treating the poem as an object,
artists combined language and visual
imagery in the spirit of earlier avantgarde movements — Cubism, Dada,
Futurism, Surrealism and Fluxus among
them — each of which used language
in experimental ways.
A focus of the exhibition is the work
of Sweeney Reed, the son of celebrated
modernist artists Joy Hester and Albert
Tucker, who was adopted as a child by art
patrons and Heide founders John and
Sunday Reed. Born to Concrete explores
Reed’s personal contribution to the
development of Australian art, as a
practitioner, supporter and promoter
of concrete poetry in the 1960s and 70s.
Pieces by Reed include Telepoem,
a cryptic and poignant telegram dated
from Heide in 1969, and Rose I, ‘widely
regarded as the artist’s signature work’,
according to Heide curator Linda Short:
‘The arrangement of the words “I am
hiding in a Rose” visually reinforces
the idea of concealment and enclosure
expressed in the poem; the letters
cascade down the page as if they are
folding in on themselves.’
The State Library’s contribution
includes screen prints and postcards
by Sydney-based artist Richard Tipping
that play on well-known road signs and
logos. Tipping has created a concrete
poem especially for the exhibition —
a striking installation on the Mitchell
Library staircase.
FROM TOP LEFT: DANGER: POSTMODERNISM
DOESN’T GIVE A FLYING DUCK, 1992,
RICHARD TIPPING, STATE LIBRARY OF NSW
© RICHARD TIPPING
ROSE I, 1977, AND TELEPOEM, 1975, SWEENEY
REED, HEIDE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART,
MELBOURNE, GIFT OF PAMELA,
MISHKA AND DANILA MCINTOSH 1990
© ESTATE OF SWEENEY REED
RADICAL PLEA (B), 1969, ALAN RIDDELL,
HEIDE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART,
MELBOURNE, GIFT OF ALEX SELENITSCH 1989
ANN BARR
OPPOSITE: BOMB – TERRIFIED,
BOMB – PARANOID, BOMB – PETRIFIED,
BOMB – DISTRESSED, BOMB – WIND UP YA ARSE,
2008, GORDON HOOKEY, COLLECTION
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND,
PURCHASED 2008, PHOTO: CARL WARNER,
REPRODUCED COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
AND MILANI GALLERY, BRISBANE
Born to Concrete is on show at the State
Library of NSW until 16 February 2014.
Exhibition organised by Heide Museum of
Modern Art and the University of Queensland.
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 17
Speaking from
THE FLOOD
PLAIN
*
WORDS
Sally Hone
F E AT U R E
In March 2012 Wagga Wagga experienced its biggest
flood since 1974. Hundreds of homes and vast areas of
land were flooded. Eight thousand people were evacuated
from the central business district and North Wagga
Wagga. The damages bill for homes, infrastructure
and businesses came to millions of dollars.
With a population of 60,000, Wagga Wagga
is located on the Murrumbidgee River and
the settlement is spread over a flood plain.
The town has a long history of flooding,
having endured 70 major floods since 1844.
Last year the State Library initiated an oral
history project to document the most recent
flood, in partnership with the Wagga Wagga
City Library. Not only would it provide an
opportunity for the community to tell its story,
but it would also create a valuable resource,
both for people living in flood zones, and for
future researchers of environmental history.
While researchers have been searching through
the Library’s collections of newspapers, official
records, manuscripts and photographs for
evidence of climate variation, there is little
that tells the story of human responses to
the environment in such an immediate way.
Working with Claire Campbell, the Manager
of Library Services at the Wagga Wagga City
Library, and award-winning local historian
Sherry Morris, we planned the interviews
as full life stories, with a focus on experiences
of the flood. The questions would explore
comparisons with past floods, local government
planning and responses, professional and
volunteer emergency services, methods
of communication (including the use
of social media), loss, damage and other
impacts of the floods, community responses,
resilience and recovery.
Between July and December 2012, Sherry
Morris completed over 20 interviews, recording
the stories of some 30 people. The interviews
show contrasting perspectives between
newcomers and long-term residents, and
between ordinary citizens and emergency
service workers. It is fascinating to learn how
these groups worked together throughout the
evacuation, rescue and recovery operations.
Residents of North Wagga Wagga, where
the levee broke, were the worst affected.
A close-knit community, many families have
lived there for several generations and their
slogan is ‘We shall not be moved’. As soon as
the waters had subsided, they got down to the
business of cleaning up, pulling together to
provide food, shelter and manpower to those
in need. The interviews are a moving portrait
of a community so attached to the place that
not even repeat flooding will convince people
to relocate.
SL MAGAZINE
ABOVE: NORTH WAGGA
WAGGA UNDER FLOOD, 2012,
PHOTO COURTESY OF
BRENTON VENABLES
OPPOSITE: HOUSE FLOODED
ON EAST STREET, NORTH
WAGGA WAGGA, PHOTO
COURTESY OF KYLIE CROUCH
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 19
S P E A K I N G
FITZMAURICE STREET,
WAGGA, 1922 FLOOD,
MCFADYEN FAMILY
COLLECTION
PXA 1150 / BOX 2/271
20 / S L
MAGAZINE
F R O M
T H E
The interviewees gave graphic descriptions
of the intense, stressful and disturbing
experience of a flood: the uncertainty, the rush
to evacuate, the violent and destructive force of
such a large mass of moving water. They
describe the swirling accumulation of cars,
equipment, fences, poles, household goods,
furniture, washing machines, and the sludge
of mud mixed with paint and chemicals that
coated everything inside and out.
After the water receded, people returned
to find houses flooded to the roofline, contents
swept away and precious belongings lost.
Not having experienced a flood before, Virginia
Anderson was hit hard. ‘That mud is something
else,’ she said. ‘It’s not just mud, it’s effluent and
dead animal and petrol and I’ve never smelt
anything like it. I think I will always remember
the smell of the floods’. The ‘old hands’, who
had been through it several times, related their
experiences with an understated pragmatism,
realism and even humour. Even so, after a false
alarm in 2010 many North Wagga residents
were caught out by the severity of the flood.
Seven hundred people of African origin have
recently settled in Wagga Wagga under
Australia’s refugee program. Community leader
Frank Jarfoi, formerly of Sierra Leone, related
how the flood evacuation experience brought
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
F L O O D
P L A I N
back memories of being a refugee — this
time escaping from a natural disaster,
not the guns of a civil war.
The interviews with council engineers,
other workers and volunteers are informative
on many levels: they give us context, history
and wisdom from past floods, and expert
accounts of the 2012 flood. We learn about
flood prevention and preparation through
the management of the levees and other
infrastructure; they highlight the environmental
change caused by farming and other
development, and how it affects the course
of each flood. We learn about council’s efforts
to prepare and educate people for floods,
and to consult with the community as it revises
and improves its flood operation manual
— their bible for flood response.
Some of these workers talk with surprising
honesty. They are critical of the media —
particularly for confusing people with
misinformation on the height of the levy.
They are critical of politicians who flew in,
posed for the media, and left, making no promises
about funding for levee reconstruction.
James McTavish, the Murrumbidgee
regional State Emergency Services director,
related the tension between him and the
Sydney headquarters when making the difficult
decision on whether to evacuate.
Despite all the engineering and preparation,
McTavish felt that floods were inevitable:
‘if [people] live in the flood plain they will
be flooded … there’s two types of levees — those
that have failed and those that will fail. But we
can’t take that risk … Invariably Mother Nature
will have the last laugh.’
The environment commands our attention
more than ever, with scientific reports on
climate change and its possible impact on
weather patterns. Oral history has become
a vital methodology for documenting the
stories of ‘extreme’ weather events such as
the Queensland floods in 2010 and 2011, the
2009 Victorian bush fires, and international
events such as Cyclone Katrina in New Orleans.
Interviews have revealed the social, cultural and
ecological dimensions of these natural disasters.
The Library’s Wagga Wagga project,
while modest in scope, provides important
perspectives of people living with floods.
It offers insights into a local ecology, disaster
prevention and management. And it is rich
in social history — local characters telling
their story, conveying the community’s sense
of identity and revealing the relationship
between citizens and officials. The themes may
be familiar to other parts of regional Australia,
but it is Wagga Wagga’s story and it highlights
the local: Hampden Avenue and Mary Street
in North Wagga, the Palm and Pawn and the
Black Swan hotels, the pony club and Wollundry
Lagoon. The story comes complete with a local
hero, with T-shirts and bumper stickers
declaring ‘WE JAMES MCTAVISH’.
The Wagga Wagga community appreciates
the opportunity to tell its stories and have
them preserved for posterity. They are
already making use of the recordings, which
can be accessed through Wagga Wagga City
Library and are streamed online at
<yoursaywagga.com.au/floodfutures>.
Most of us learn about floods and other
disasters through television or newspaper
reports, but there’s nothing like hearing
from people who have lived through it.
ABOVE LEFT: ALLAN
WOOLSTENCROFT,
NORTH WAGGA RESIDENT,
PHOTO COURTESY OF ALLAN
WOOLSTENCROFT
ABOVE RIGHT:
SANDBAGGING THROUGH
THE NIGHT, WAGGA WAGGA,
PHOTO COURTESY OF HEINZ
KAUSCHE, WAGGA WAGGA
CITY COUNCIL
Sally Hone is the
State Library’s Curator
of Oral History
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 21
HIGHLIGHT
Breaking
N EWS
*
WORDS
Peter Putnis
It is clear from the first and only surviving issue that America’s
attempt to create a newspaper for Australasia faced a sea of difficulties.
The best known newspaper called
the News of the World is the popular
British Sunday paper founded in 1843
and closed by Rupert Murdoch in
mid-2011 in the wake of a scandal
around illegal phone tapping. The least
known is undoubtedly a paper founded
in San Francisco in 1870 for circulation
in Australia, New Zealand, and the
Polynesian Islands. The first issue of
this monthly eight-page broadsheet
was recently rediscovered in the State
Library’s Dixson collection.
The launch of the News of the World
was prompted by a new monthly
steamship mail service between San
Francisco and Sydney, via Auckland,
which began in March 1870. This
‘steamship newspaper’ was published
on the eve of the departure of each
mail, drawing upon the American,
European and other world news
available in San Francisco at that date.
The paper’s commitment to moving
news at speed is graphically conveyed
in its masthead. We see a train racing
through a mountain that, prior to the
opening of the transcontinental
railroad in 1869, would have been
almost impassable. Ships in San
Francisco Bay await its arrival.
22 / S L
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
The founders believed their paper
would be in great demand in Sydney
because it would be first with British
news. San Francisco was linked to
London by telegraph via New York
while Australia as yet had no
international telegraph connection.
They believed they could get news
from London to Sydney in about
40 days, beating the London–Sydney
time of around 56 days for steamships
via Suez.
It turned out that they were
overly optimistic. In their first issue,
published 10 June, they announced
on the front page the death of Charles
Dickens. This was certainly up-to-date
news when it was published, as
Dickens had died in London just a day
earlier. Unfortunately, the steamship
service from San Francisco to Sydney
carrying the News of the World fell a
long way behind schedule. By the time
the paper arrived in Sydney,
Australians had known of Dickens’
death for about a fortnight.
News from America was fresher.
The first issue included news about the
Californian labour market and a tariff
debate in the US Congress.
There was a major feature on the travel
experience across the Pacific and the American
continent. In both 1870 and 1871 the paper
published the full text of President
Ulysses E Grant’s State of the Union address.
The News of the World fostered closer
commercial and cultural ties between America,
Australia and New Zealand, a move which ran
counter to the dominant influence of the British
connection. It proclaimed the ‘almost identical’
historical experience of Australia, New Zealand
and California. Each had ‘passed through the
same difficulties and trials, to the same goal’.
The paper reasoned that ‘the result must be
mutual fellow-feeling, sympathy and friendship’.
Much to the disappointment of its
publishers, the News of the World closed just
over two years after its foundation. The venture
had been a frustrating experience because of the
inadequacy of the steamship service on which it
depended. Direct competition from telegraphy
was looming. The final issue of the paper was
published in September 1872, just a month
before a direct telegraph link was opened
between Australia and Britain, via India.
As far as it is known, the copy of the first issue
of the News of the World held in the Dixson
Library is the only surviving copy of any issue of
the newspaper. Information in this article about
subsequent issues and the paper’s life dates has
been gleaned by examining references to it in
other newspapers. The paper is an important
artefact for press history, international
communication, and US–Australasia relations.
THE NEWS OF THE WORLD
SAN FRANCISCO:
FRED’K MACCRELLISH & CO.
VOL. 1, NO. 1, 10 JUNE 1870
Peter Putnis is Professor
of Communication and
Director of the News and
Media Research Centre at
the University of Canberra.
This article is based on:
Peter Putnis (2013),
‘Shipping the Latest News
across the Pacific in the
1870s: California’s News
of the World’, American
Journalism, 30:2, 235–259.
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 23
F E AT U R E
*
24 / S L
BRUEGHEL’S
cockatoo
WORDS
MAGAZINE
Warwick Hirst
The appearance of a sulphur-crested
cockatoo in an abundant tableau painted
by Jan Brueghel the Elder highlights
the mysteries of European exploration
in the seventeenth century.
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
In about 1620, the Flemish artist
Jan Brueghel the Elder completed an
allegorical painting that he called Taste,
Hearing and Touch, which now hangs in
the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid.
Depicting a luxurious dinner party, the
painting is filled — as its title suggests —
with images evoking the senses. A young
woman is about to sample some oysters
(taste), a lute player provides musical
entertainment for the guests (hearing) and
another woman is stroking a mink (touch).
But what is startling to Australian eyes
is the appearance, in the centre of the
painting, of a sulphur-crested cockatoo
perched nonchalantly on the back of
a chair. The same bird also appears in
Hearing, painted in 1617 by Brueghel in
collaboration with his friend and fellow
Fleming Peter Paul Rubens.
According to naturalist and ornithologist
JH Calaby in the authoritative Art of the
First Fleet (1988), the first known
European images of Australian fauna and
flora were the crude woodcuts in William
Dampier’s narrative of his voyage to
New Holland in 1699, published in 1703.
(The woodcuts were taken from drawings
made by ‘a person skill’d in drawing’,
who was a member of Dampier’s crew.)
In making this statement Calby appears
to have been unaware of the existence
of the Brueghel paintings.
Two years before Dampier’s voyage,
William de Vlamingh had sailed along the
west coast of Australia and an account of
his voyage, published in 1726, included an
engraving of black swans swimming in the
Swan River. Among de Vlamingh’s crew
was mapmaker and artist Victor
Victorszoon, who made a number of
coastal profiles in watercolour as well as
some drawings of fish which have since
been lost. It is possible that the engraving
of the black swans was based on another
of his drawings which has also been lost.
The swans are one element in a wider
scene, which includes two of the
expedition’s ships, whereas the Dampier
images are carefully identified and are
clearly more scientific in intent. All are
far too late, of course, to be known by
Brueghel, who died from cholera in 1625.
How then did he come by his knowledge
of the cockatoo? And do these two
paintings contain the first depictions of
Australian fauna by a European?
Soon after the Dutch East India
Company (VOC) was established in 1602
its ships were operating out of trading
posts in Indonesia within striking
distance of Australia. It is known that
earlier voyagers during this great age of
Dutch expansion had collected artefacts
as well as plant and animal specimens
from Asia, Africa and America. So it is
reasonable to assume that captains of
VOC ships looking for new trading
opportunities beyond Indonesia would
have continued this practice.
The first recorded landing by a
European on Australian shores was by
Willem Janszoon in the Duyfken. In
November 1605 he left Bantam in Java on
a voyage ‘to discover the great land Nova
Guinea and other unknown east and
south lands’. He charted parts of New
Guinea’s south coast and in the early
months of 1606 sailed down the west
coast of Cape York Peninsula (which he
assumed to be an extension of New
Guinea) to a point he named Cape
Keerweer (Turnabout) before heading
back to Bantam.
Janszoon’s journal is missing, but a
surviving copy of his chart clearly shows
the track of the Duyfken and the places
where he apparently anchored and sent
landing parties ashore for wood and
water. Janszoon was followed by Jan
Carstenszoon in the Pera and Willem
Joosten van Colster in the Arnhem.
SL MAGAZINE
ABOVE: ‘BIRDS OF NEW
HOLLAND’ IN A VOYAGE TO
NEW HOLLAND ETC. IN THE
YEAR 1699, WILLIAM
DAMPIER, 1703, ML 910.41/291,
VOL III, OPP. P. 123
OPPOSITE: TASTE, HEARING
AND TOUCH (EL GUSTO, EL
OÍDO Y EL TACTO), C. 1620,
COLLECTION OF THE MUSEO
NACIONAL DEL PRADO,
MADRID
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 25
B R U E G E L ’ S
They set out from Ambon in January
1623 with instructions to explore
New Guinea and that part of
Australia charted by Janszoon. On 14
April 1623 they sailed past Cape
Keerweer reaching the Staaten River
before heading north again.
Carstenszoon returned to Ambon
while the Arnhem crossed the Gulf of
Carpentaria, sighting the east coast of
Arnhem Land.
Prior to Brueghel’s death, a
number of other Dutch navigators
encountered the west coast of
Australia including Dirk Hartog, who
landed in Shark Bay in 1616 leaving
behind an inscribed pewter plate, and
Frederick de Houtman, who made
landfall in the vicinity of present-day
Perth in 1619. On a second voyage in
1618 Janszoon landed at a spot south
of North-West Cape. However, we
can discount these voyages as the
source of Brueghel’s cockatoo
because its natural habitat is
confined to northern and eastern
Australia and New Guinea.
Another voyage which merits
consideration was by the Spaniard
Luis Vaez de Torres in search of the
Great South Land. After departing
from Vanuatu in June 1606 he sailed
through the strait that now bears his
name, establishing that New Guinea
26 / S L
MAGAZINE
C O C K A T O O
was separated from Australia. Having
made several landings on the south
coast of New Guinea, he probably
sighted the Cape York Peninsula but
it is unlikely that he landed there,
although he did go ashore on a few
islands that are now part of Australia.
A year later Torres sent four
drawings by one of his officers, Don
Diego Prado de Tovar, back to Spain.
The drawings depicted inhabitants of
places they had visited, including
Torres Strait islanders, but there is
no record that Prado made any
natural history drawings.
Brueghel’s paintings provide
strong evidence that the first Dutch
voyagers to Northern Australia and
New Guinea collected specimens of
local wildlife and sent them home to
enrich European collections of exotic
animals and plants. While we don’t
know exactly how Brueghel’s
cockatoo arrived in the Netherlands,
it appears that Taste, Hearing and
Touch, and its precursor Hearing,
may well contain the earliest existing
European images of a bird or animal
native to Australia, predating the
images from Dampier’s and de
Vlamingh’s voyages by some 80 years.
Warwick Hirst is a former State Library
Curator of Manuscripts.
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
PROVENANCE
WORLD of silver
A medal commemorating Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation
of the world is now on display in the Amaze gallery and on Curio.
The earliest original images
of Australian fauna by a European
in the Mitchell Library are the
drawings of an emu and a kangaroo
by First Fleet Surgeon Arthur
Bowes Smyth in 1788.
EMU, OR ‘NEW GENUS OF BIRD AT BOTANY BAY
1788’, ARTHUR BOWES SMYTH, SAFE 1/15
TOP: TASTE, HEARING AND TOUCH (EL GUSTO, EL OÍDO Y
EL TACTO)(DETAIL), C. 1620, COLLECTION OF THE MUSEO
NACIONAL DEL PRADO, MADRID
Bequeathed to the Library in 1952 by
Sir William Dixson, the Drake silver medal
is one of only nine known to exist. One side
of the medal, measuring 66 mm in diameter,
depicts a map of the eastern hemisphere,
with the western hemisphere on the other side.
The route of Drake’s voyage, between 1577 and
1580, is shown by a dotted line and two ships.
Among other inscriptions on the medal are the
words ‘Terra Australis numdum cognita’ (the
southern land not yet explored).
In 1577 Francis Drake was chosen to lead
an expedition intended to pass around South
America through the Strait of Magellan and
to explore the coast that lay beyond. The
expedition was backed by Queen Elizabeth I
herself, and on 13 December 1577 Drake set
out from Plymouth in the Pelican (Drake’s
own ship, later renamed Golden Hind). In
September 1580 Drake returned to England
having circumnavigated the world, his ship
laden with gold, silver and spices plundered
from the Spanish. In recognition of his
achievements, the Queen personally boarded
the Golden Hind to bestow a knighthood.
The date of the engraving and identity of the
engraver had been a matter of conjecture until
the discovery in 1967 of the specimen that is
now part of the Kraus Collection of Sir Francis
Drake at the Library of Congress. This unique
example of the medal has a cartouche
identifying the maker as Michael Mercator,
grandson of Dutch cartographer Gerard
Mercator. It also indicates that the medal
was sold in London in 1589.
There is considerable variation in the weight
of the nine known examples of the medal.
At 424 grains or 27.48 grams our version
is believed to be the heaviest, in 1900 it was
described in Miller Christy’s The Silver Map of
the World as ‘by far the best of the three known
examples. Besides being in perfect condition,
it is more than one third heavier than either
of the other examples’. It is highly probable
that the medals were made out of some of the
silver that Drake ‘acquired’ on his expedition.
In 1926 Henry Wagner wrote of our
specimen, ‘This is a particular fine one and
it is to be regretted that it has recently passed
to Australia, which Drake never saw …’ Perhaps
it was regrettable for the author, but it was a
great coup for the people of New South Wales.
MEDAL COMMEMORATING
SIR FRANCIS DRAKE’S
VOYAGE AROUND THE
WORLD FROM 1577 TO 1580,
C. 1589, ENGRAVED BY
MICHAEL MERCATOR,
DN / M 1144 / ITEM A
SARAH MORLEY
Original Materials
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 27
F E AT U R E
Trout fishing at
KO S C I U S Z KO
*
WORDS
Meg Stewart
A silk fishing map recently
acquired by the Library
was created by the artist
Margaret Coen for her husband,
the poet Douglas Stewart.
It holds powerful memories
for their daughter, Meg Stewart.
For anyone who knew my parents, the great joy of the
fishing map painted by my mother for my father is in the
way it expresses so perfectly the bond between them
— their abiding love of nature, poetry and, of course, art.
At the same time it is a unique record of the natural life
around the streams of Kosciuszko in the 1960s and of
trout fishing there.
My father, Douglas Stewart, grew up in the New
Zealand country town of Eltham in the South Taranaki
District on the west coast of the North Island. As he
described in his fishing memoir The Seven Rivers, seven
trout streams tumbled to the sea between Eltham and
Opunake, 24 miles away on the coast. Growing up in
Eltham it was hard not to go fishing. There were some
like his father, Alec Stewart, and uncle Geordie Stewart
(a visitor from Melbourne) who preferred cricket; but
most Eltham males, including the town’s jeweller, the
undertaker and my father, chose fishing.
At New Plymouth Boys’ High School where he was a
boarder, the headmaster and sometimes the English
master, too, would sneak my father out of school to go
fishing with them. His English teacher also encouraged
him to write poetry. As a consequence my father’s first
28 / S L
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
SL MAGAZINE
TOP: MARGARET COEN AND
DOUGLAS STEWART, C. 1945
OPPOSITE: KOSCIUSZKO
FISHING MAP FOR DOUGLAS
STEWART, C. 1960,
MARGARET COEN,
MT3 814.14/1960/1A
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 29
T R O U T
F I S H I N G
I N
K O S C I U S Z K O
LEFT: MEG STEWART
AND DOUGLAS STEWART
GETTING READY TO FISH
THE MOONBAH RIVER,
SNOWY MOUNTAINS, 1962
FROM ABOVE LEFT:
MEG STEWART
AND DOUGLAS STEWART
FISHING IN THE SNOWY
MOUNTAINS, 1964
DOUGLAS STEWART
DEMONSTRATING THE SIZE
OF A TROUT, MOONBAH RIVER,
SNOWY MOUNTAINS, 1984
MARGARET COEN PAINTING
IN THE CAR WHILE MEG AND
DOUGLAS ARE FISHING,
SNOWY MOUNTAINS, C. 1983
30 / S L
MAGAZINE
poem, ‘His First Trout’, soon appeared in the
school magazine. And so began the entwining of
his two lifelong passions, poetry and trout fishing.
In 1938, after a six-month sojourn in
England, he arrived in Sydney, aged 34, to take
up the position of assistant literary editor of
the Bulletin. It was not long before he was also
trout fishing at Richards’ guesthouse on the
Duckmaloi River, out from Oberon. By 1939,
his relationship with my mother, Margaret
Coen, had also begun, and whenever he stayed
at Richards’ he wrote to her. Both his letters
and a number of her replies are held in the
Mitchell Library. Reading them, it’s easy
to see a connection with the fishing map.
The whimsical and warm correspondence
is filled with ‘bird, beast & bug news’.
My mother, who spent her early years in Yass,
New South Wales, had a particular love of
nature’s oddities. When her family moved to
Randwick, Sydney, she kept a collection of
Hairy Molly caterpillars, all named after
actresses, the prettiest caterpillar being
Louise Lovely. At school at Kincoppal convent,
Elizabeth Bay, she was always in trouble
because of the contents of her desk, which
housed an ever-increasing accumulation
of beetles, moths and lizards — live and
dead and even a specimen preserved in
a jar of mentholated spirits.
‘I haven’t yet managed to bottle for you any
lugworms, tapeworms, horse-stingers, bot-flies,
bats, bits, hairy elephant flies, ape-grubs,
snukas, gazookas or palookas, but if you like
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
STEWART FAMILY
PHOTOGRAPHS, PXD 744
AND A7462 ONLINE,
COURTESY OF MEG STEWART
I will send you 2,000,579,321 ordinary bush
flies which live on the back of my coat & roost
in my ears,’ my father wrote jokingly to her
from Richards’. With another letter, he
enclosed a sloughed, spotted snakeskin as a
present for her. ‘If it was not so fragile I would
wear it in my hair,’ my mother responded,
delighted with the gift.
Writing to her again,my father concluded:
‘You are everything that lives with grace in air
or water and I miss you all chimes of the clock.’
Because he was deemed medically unfit (twice)
he did not fight in the Second World War and
the trout fishing letters continued throughout
the war years, giving ongoing evidence of their
deepening intimacy.
My parents were married in December 1945.
For their honeymoon, they drove to the
Duckmaloi in a borrowed car. It was my
mother’s first visit to Richards’ and one of the
hottest Decembers on record. She spent most
of her honeymoon under the house where it
was coolest, reading Henry Handel Richardson
in the company of the Richards’ fowls that had
also taken refuge there. But, despite the
discomforts, she relished the proximity
to nature and painting subjects she found on
a trout fishing holiday. In two letters (also held
in the Mitchell Library) written to Norman
Lindsay (with whom she had once been
romantically involved), she enthused about
the countryside. The sights that thrilled her included a
princely sparrow hawk poised close on a branch and a
skylark’s nest with three brown speckled eggs in it.
I was born in 1948. Although we had two family holidays
on the Badja near Cooma in the early 1950s and one at
Kiandra in 1959, our association with the Snowy
Mountains didn’t really begin until January 1960 when
we stayed three weeks at the Creel, a guesthouse on the
Thredbo River, some kilometres up from the straggling
town of Old Jindabyne on the road to Kosciuszko.
The Creel had a smell of trout about it. The regular
guests and their garments had been so long saturated with
river waters and the viscous slime of fish that they almost
emanated trout. The verandah posts had special pegs on
which the khaki-clad regulars could unwind their waxed
silk lines to dry out after a day’s fishing. In the morning,
amid much stomping of boots, there was a chorus of rich
creaking as lines were wound back in. A ritual adding of a
shot of spirits to pre-breakfast cups of tea also took place.
We returned to the Creel for the next six summers, with
the poet David Campbell, my father’s fishing companion
of many years, inevitably joining us for a few days. After
the guesthouse closed its doors in 1966, just before the site
was covered by the waters of Lake Jindabyne, we stayed
further up the mountain at Sponar’s Lakeside Inn and
then later at a motel near the new township of Jindabyne.
My mother never fished. Mostly she worked on
landscapes in watercolour or drew near the car while
my father and I explored the streams with our rods.
But every year for at least a day or two she was struck down
with a tummy bug that regularly assailed the Creel’s guests
(dead cows too close to the source of its drinking water
was a suspected cause) and chose to remain in the relative
fly-free cool of the Creel and paint there. Sometimes,
too, with no upset stomach, she opted out of fishing
expeditions, just preferring a few days working on her own.
On some such retreat, she began the fishing map in one
of the Creel’s big front bedrooms, working from a rough
guide on paper that had been handed onto my father.
She had begun painting on silk in the late 1950s when
she was given some specially prepared rolls from Japan.
She drew directly onto the silk with her brush, not using
any pencil. She had to be very skilful in the application
of her paint. With works on paper the paint can be moved
around with water. But once it is applied to silk there
can be no changes.
My father and I regarded the fishing map’s creation
as quite magical. The surprise of what she had added
each day when we returned from fishing was a delight
that added immeasurably to that year’s holiday.
Meg Stewart is the author of works
including Autobiography of My Mother
and Margaret Olley: Far from a Still Life.
The Kosciuszko Fishing Map will
be on display in the Amaze Gallery
until March 2014.
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 31
NEW ACQUISITIONS
OPPOSITE: BRONWYN
BANCROFT AND KIRSTEN
THORPE, STATE LIBRARY
OF NSW INDIGENOUS UNIT
COORDINATOR
PHOTO BY JOY LAI
RIGHT: DETAILS FROM
ORIGINAL ARTWORK
FOR REMEMBERING
LIONSVILLE, 2012–13
© BRONWYN BANCROFT
PXD 1344
Speaking in
PICTURES
32 / S L
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
The original artwork
for Bronwyn Bancroft’s
autobiographical picture book
Remembering Lionsville will
be preserved by the Library.
It only takes a glance at the artwork Bronwyn
Bancroft produced for her family memoir to
recognise that she has perfectly captured her
identity and the experience of growing up in
regional NSW. The striking paintings were created
between 2012 and 2013 as double-page spreads for
the recently published picture book Remembering
Lionsville. The images are overflowing with
obvious and nuanced symbolism because, as she
explains, ‘They’re my childhood memories,
everything has powerful meaning.’ This year, the
16 acrylic illustrations were acquired for the State
Library’s pictures collection.
Bancroft learned early in life that it was necessary
‘to know how to get heard’. The youngest of seven
children, she was born in 1958 to an Aboriginal father
and a Scottish/Polish mother in Tenterfield. As a
contemporary Bandjalang artist of the Djanbun clan,
her strong sense of self, family connection and cultural
heritage manifest this voice visually. Bancroft’s works
weave her stories within a determined use of tonality,
bold rhythmic patterning and an unmistakable affection
for her subject matter.
A lively personality, Bronwyn Bancroft rose to
prominence in the 1980s and has been a committed
advocate for Indigenous arts and education. Bancroft
has written and illustrated 29 books since 1992, as well
as producing paintings, prints and textile designs.
In addition to professional accomplishments, she has
completed several university qualifications in visual
arts, most recently two masters degrees at the
University of Sydney. Her memorable artworks have
been exhibited internationally, to acclaim and national
award recognition, and have been purchased and
commissioned for state, corporate
and private collections. She was acknowledged as
an Australian living treasure in 1999 and received
the Centenary Medal of Australia in 2003.
Asked about having her work in the State Library
collection, she credits the advice of artist Jeannie Baker,
whose work has been in libraries for many years.
‘Ten years ago she said I should think about putting
all my work from a book together one day.
I thought for my inaugural contribution, the first time
my work has been acquired as a complete collection,
that I would approach the State Library of NSW.’
In each painting, measuring over a metre
wide, Bancroft intimately represents her everyday
upbringing, relatives and formative life events.
A captivating mix of personal and Indigenous imagery
is balanced with collage, including photographs from
her private collection. Vibrant compositions of her
family home and their activities on the Lionsville land
interact comfortably with the relaxed and inviting
account she shares in the book. From beginning to end,
the work resonates in a traditionally Indigenous
manner — orally. ‘I read it to my 93-year-old Uncle Pat,
and my 73-year-old cousin, they vetted it for me and
made sure the narrative I’d written was historically
accurate, that I had the family context right.’
In describing the Remembering Lionsville collection
for the Library, Bronwyn Bancroft declares, ‘This book
encapsulates the journey in a historical/social context
of my Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal family … the book
will be an important record of Australia’s history and
promotes a deeper respect and understanding for each
others’ stories.’
LAUREN MCCUNNIE
Original Materials
Remembering Lionsville (Allen & Unwin)
is available in the Library Shop.
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 33
newacquisitions
NEW ACQUISITIONS
Getting physical
A recent purchase of photographs highlights a
uniquely Australian female dance sport called
Physie. Physical culture is not new, with the Bjelke
Petersen School of Physical Culture celebrating its
121st anniversary. It began as a physical education
institute for men and boys in Hobart in 1892, but
today all participants in Bjelke Petersen Physie are
women. It is primarily an east coast phenomenon,
with 130 clubs, including 59 in Sydney alone.
Nationally, the BJP School of Physical Culture
provides a new syllabus and music each year and
runs annual competitions for individuals and teams.
Physie promotes physical fitness and mental
wellbeing through a program of exercise and dance.
It remains distinct from dance and aerobics in two
main areas. Whereas dance tends to be constant
movement to music, Physie has both flowing
movement and static exercise. The other distinctive
feature is ‘sync’, or synchronisation, in team
exercises, in which Physie is more precise than
dance, in the manner of synchronised swimming.
In 2012, photographer Lyndal Irons spent several
months recording local Physie competitions in
NSW, culminating in the national titles held at the
Sydney Opera House. This year, those photographs
won her runner-up in the Qantas Spirit of Youth
Awards for photographers under 30.
This sporting life
ALAN DAVIES
Curator of Photographs
BJELKE PETERSEN PHYSICAL CULTURE CLASSES AND COMPETITIONS, SYDNEY, 2012, LYNDAL IRONS
A8774 ONLINE
34 / S L
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
Vivian (Viv) Thicknesse (1910–1986) excelled
at a variety of sports, including water polo and
rugby union, before turning to rugby league in
1931. He represented Australia, touring Great
Britain with the Kangaroos in 1933–34.
Thicknesse maintained extensive records of
this tour, including a diary, scrapbooks and
many photographs. His collection recently
arrived in the Library.
Included is Thicknesse’s original diary from
the Kangaroo tour, in which he discusses the
voyages to and from Great Britain, and the sad
death of teammate Ray Morris following
an ear infection en route to Malta. The tour
diary tells not only of the matches but also of
activities that kept the players entertained in
between playing and training: shopping trips,
concerts and the occasional pub crawl.
Viv Thicknesse trained as a journalist, and
was an ideal choice to report on the 1933–34
Kangaroo tour for the Sydney newspaper
Truth. Thicknesse retained cuttings of these
reports, as well as the articles he wrote after
retiring from the game in 1937. There are
several scrapbooks in his collection, holding
photographs, menus and souvenir programs
as well as newspaper clippings.
This is a wonderful snapshot of sporting life
in the 1930s, and will be a great primary source
for sports history and social history research.
ABOVE LEFT: VIV THICKNESSE,
DAVIS SPORTING COLLECTION,
PXE 653, VOL. 25, NO. 52
ABOVE: FROM
VIV THICKNESSE DIARIES,
SCRAPBOOKS AND
PHOTOGRAPHS, 1931–34
ANDY CARR
Access & Information
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 35
POSTCARD
*
WORDS
Susan Taylor
The other
MITCHE LL
The Mitchell Library
building is a familiar sight
on Sydney’s Macquarie
Street, but how many
of its visitors know
‘the other Mitchell’?
Founded with a bequest from tobacco merchant
Stephen Mitchell (1789–1874), Glasgow’s
Mitchell Library was established in 1877,
and has been in its present location at Charing
Cross since 1911. The building was designed
by William B Whitie for an architectural
competition in 1906. Its distinctive copper
dome, added later to the design, holds a statue
by Thomas Clapperton titled Literature,
which is locally known as Minerva, the
Roman goddess of wisdom.
As well as being one of the largest public
reference libraries in Europe, the Mitchell
Library contains a lending library and is the
centre of the city’s library network. A Glasgow
landmark with an exhibition space, cafe
and theatre, the Mitchell hosts the annual
Aye Write! Book Festival.
36 / S L
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
One of the world’s largest collections
of works by and about Scotland’s national poet
is held in the library’s eponymous Burns Room.
Its latest manuscript acquisition is ‘My Nanie’s
Awa’, written at the end of Burns’ passionate
correspondence with Agnes M’Lehose; others
include a rare copy of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, and
the only known copy of ‘The Ordination’,
a criticism of old-school Calvinist ministers.
The Mitchell’s special collections include
works of great significance and rarity,
representing milestones in book production.
Of particular note is a complete set of the
Kelmscott Press, established by artist and
textile designer William Morris, featuring
beautiful typefaces and wood engravings.
An interesting aside is that Morris’ business
manager, George Wardle, married Madeleine
Smith, whose early life was marked by her trial
in 1857 for poisoning her lover, Pierre Emile
L’Angelier. Despite a ‘not proven’ verdict, doubt
over Smith’s innocence persists. The sexual
frankness of her love letters, many of which
the Mitchell holds, shocked respectable society.
Her case is the most famous of many grisly crimes
committed within close distance of the library, in
an area known as the ‘square mile of murder’.
OPPOSITE: THE MITCHELL
LIBRARY, GLASGOW
LEFT: THE MITCHELL
LIBRARY’S MAIN HALL, 1935
BELOW LEFT:
STEPHEN MITCHELL
BELOW RIGHT:
MADELEINE SMITH
The Mitchell’s family history centre
offers a variety of resources and staff expertise,
providing access to information on births,
marriages and deaths, together with Old Parish
Registers (1553–1854) and census records
(1841–1911). Documentary heritage of Glasgow
over the past eight centuries is maintained in
the library’s city archives. More than one
million applications for poor relief provide
stark detail of those who sought help from the
city fathers. The Glasgow Room aims to tell the
story of the city and its people, both natives and
incomers through successive generations; its
resources can help to determine their reasons
for coming and, in many cases, for leaving.
An ongoing project is the indexing of the
Evening Times Roll of Honour of Scottish
servicemen reported missing, injured or killed
during wartime, which will form part of an
exhibition to mark the centenary of the
outbreak of World War I.
As Glasgow prepares to host an international
cultural festival to coincide with the 2014
Commonwealth Games, the Mitchell will play
its part. If you’re coming to Scotland, visit ‘the
other Mitchell’ and experience Glasgow life.
Susan Taylor is a Librarian
in the Special Collections
department of the Mitchell Library
in Glasgow, Scotland, with a
particular interest in Robert Burns.
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 37
B U I L D I N G A S T R O N G F O U N DAT I O N
LEFT: DAGUERREOTYPE BY
GEORGE BARON GOODMAN,
MIN 323
FAR LEFT: KIM JACOBS,
PRESIDENT (NSW) AUSTRALIA–
ISRAEL CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE, PHOTO BY
MERINDA CAMPBELL
Australian Jewish culture
The Foundation is celebrating the completion by the
Australia–Israel Chamber of Commerce of a threeyear commitment to support the digitisation of the
Library’s collections relating to the Australian Jewish
community and its culture. At a function to mark this
collaborative online project, David Gonski AC
promoted the importance of education, in all its
facets, in achieving a successful economy and society.
The contribution of the Jewish community to all
aspects of Australian life has been remarkable,
particularly in politics, law, public service, business
and the arts. The latest enhancements to the Discover
Collections online story Australian Jewish
Community and Culture include some notable ‘firsts’.
The first free Jewish male settler to arrive in
Australia was Barnett Levey who joined his
emancipist entrepreneur brother, Solomon, in Sydney
in 1821. From the outset, Levey interested himself in
the cultural activities of Sydney, establishing one
of the colony’s first lending libraries in 1826, and
the first permanent theatre in Australia in 1832.
George Baron Goodman was Australia’s first
professional photographer. Arriving in November
1842, Goodman set up his studio on the top floor of
the Royal Hotel (now Dymocks) in George Street,
Sydney, taking Australia’s earliest known surviving
photograph — a daguerreotype of William Bland.
38 / S L
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
In 1847, Isaac Nathan composed Don John
of Austria, the first opera to be written, produced
and performed in this country. Known as the Father
of Australian Music, Nathan also assisted the careers
of many colonial musicians during his 20-year
residence in Australia.
Alderman Ernest S Marks became Sydney’s
first Jewish Lord Mayor in 1930. A successful
businessman, Marks was a keen sportsman and
foundation member of the International Amateur
Athletic Federation, amassing a vast personal library
of sporting literature and athletic data which is
preserved in the Mitchell Library.
Australia’s first native-born Governor-General was
Sydney judge Sir Isaac Isaacs, who held the vice-regal
post from 1931 to 1936 through the height of depression.
Through the support of partners such as the
Australia–Israel Chamber of Commerce, the Library
is able to make available to the public fascinating
aspects of Australia’s developing society and its
inclusive history. This online project is now fully
accessible on the Library’s Discover Collections
portal and is a critical resource for students, teachers,
researchers, genealogists and historians, both
nationally and internationally.
www.sl.nsw.gov.au/discover_collections/
society_art/jewish/
Frederick Rose
archival collection
The State Library has a long history of providing
services to Indigenous communities and, with
the establishment of the new Indigenous Unit,
we will be focusing on enabling access to our rich
Indigenous collections.
The Foundation is seeking support to preserve
and make accessible the significant Frederick
G Rose collection. The Library first acquired material
from Professor Rose in the early 1970s. Rose, who
died in 1991, provided in his will for the remainder
of his archive to be deposited in the Mitchell Library,
and the collection was transferred in several
consignments between 1994 and 2011.
Professor Frederick George Godfrey Rose was
born in England in 1915 and educated at Cambridge.
After immigrating to Australia, he undertook extensive
anthropological fieldwork with the Indigenous peoples
of the Northern Territory from 1937 until 1942.
His field trips resumed with the 1948 American
Australian Expedition to Arnhem Land after which
Rose became an advisor to the Commonwealth.
PHOTOGRAPHS
FROM FREDERICK ROSE
COLLECTION, A8921046
AND A8921050
Rose’s professional work in Australia ceased after
the Petrov Royal Commission cast him under a cloud
of suspicion of supporting communism. He sought
institutional support for his academic career in the
German Democratic Republic where in 1960 he
published his classic text, The Classification of Kin,
Age Structure and Marriage Amongst the Groote
Eylandt Aborigines.
Frederick Rose’s work on kinship continues to be
an important resource for Indigenous communities
and is of great interest to researchers (see ‘Memory
trigger’, SL magazine winter 2013, p. 6).
The material includes a significant collection of
photographs, including passport-sized black and
white photographs of individuals, and group
photographs and portraits of communities in
Central Australia and Groote Eylandt. The collection
requires rehousing, preservation, cataloguing
and digitising, linked with community consultation
and enabling access to the broader community.
For enquiries please contact Kay Payne,
Partnerships Manager, on (02) 9273 1517.
SL MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 39
VOLUNTEERS
25th Anniversary Appeal
State Library of NSW Foundation
The bell ringer
It might surprise you that John Fryer still
wanted anything to do with maps after working
for 38 years at the NSW Land Titles Office.
But if you watched him as he rolls out and
pores over plans in the Library’s maps room —
where he volunteers for half a day each week
— you would see how absorbing he finds the
task of organising and describing historical
maps. You would also get a sense of the benefit
he is providing for anyone who wishes to access
the State Library’s maps collection.
When the Land Titles Office microfilmed its
historical collection in the late 1960s hundreds
of plans were transferred to the State Library.
For the past three years, John has been going
though these collections, and others held by
the Library. His lists of dates, street names
and landmarks provide searchable details
for historians, family researchers and those
with an interest in a particular property.
John has worked his way through a
collection of maps from the Australian
Agricultural Company, mainly nineteenth
century charts of the Newcastle area. As he
unfolds each chart he notes the hotels, post
office and police station for towns such as
Maitland and Morpeth. Next to each police
station is the horse field, where the police
would put the stray horses they rounded up.
40 / S L
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Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
For John, the more time you spend
with a map ‘the more they reveal’. One map
depicts a scene at a railway station in which the
women carry parasols and the men wear top
hats. The clothing suggests the early twentieth
century but a second look with a magnifying
glass shows up the year 1893.
The occasional letter or drawing that
surfaces among map collections, such as those
of surveyor Henry F Halloran, offers a sense
of the lives of those who created the first charts
of NSW. One example is a note from the
surveyor to a client which mentions that the
chain-man, who had laid out chains to measure
the property, has left town without a trace after
receiving his wages.
There is only one interest John Fryer has
pursued for longer than his focus on maps.
He became a bell ringer at St Mary’s Cathedral
at the age of 14 and has been striking the bells
there ever since. A highlight of that career was
jointly composing the peal ‘St Mary of the
Cross Surprise Major’, which was played in the
cathedral when Mary Mackillop was canonised
in October 2010.
With the peal played on eight bells, involving
5000 different sound permutations, and lasting
about three hours, bell-ringing sounds as
complex and compelling as a historical map.
PHOTO BY ANITA KRIVICKAS, HERITAGE SERVICES, NSW PUBLIC WORKS, 2011
JOHN FRYER, PHOTO BY HAMILTON CHURTON
We welcome your donation — you can make
a difference to this great Library.
Name:
Mastercard
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Amex
for the amount of $
Name on card:
Address:
Phone:
Credit card: Fax:
Email:
Cheque: enclosed is the amount of $
payable to the State Library of NSW Foundation
Direct debit: Westpac BSB: 032 001 Acc no.: 206613
Name: State Library of NSW Foundation
Card No.:
Expiry:
Signature:
Date:
Please return to:
State Library of NSW Foundation
Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2000
www.sl.nsw.gov.au/about/support ABN 76 343 150 267
Enquiries: Susan Hunt, Executive Director, Foundation,
susan.hunt@sl.nsw.gov.au or telephone (02) 9273 1529.
friends
Being a Friend gives you a different
perspective on the Library. You’ll enjoy
a closer involvement with our work and
contribute to the Library’s exciting future.
for our friends
Season of events
There have been several well-attended events in
the past few months. Margot Riley gave us insights
into the wonderful exhibition Selling Dreams:
One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography from
the V&A, and also shared her knowledge of
Australian fashion history. Claudia Chan Shaw
stimulated our collecting antennae with personal
collecting revelations, and delved into the
psychology of the collector.
And Susannah Fullerton’s hugely popular threepart Victorian literature series explored the themes
and characters behind the famous novels of Charles
Dickens, William Thackeray and Anthony Trollope.
Don’t miss out on our program of talks in 2014 —
keep your Friends membership up to date.
CLAUDIA CHAN SHAW IN THE LIBRARY SHOP
PHOTO BY HAMILTON CHURTON
For the diary
Friends Around the Domain, Sunday 2 February
Inspired by Canberra’s ‘Friends Around the Lake’
program, the inaugural ‘Friends Around the Domain’
will allow the members of State Library Friends, and
supporters of other cultural organisations, to take
a leisurely stroll around the Domain for exhibition
viewings, talks and special events over the course
of one day.
Joining the larger institutions will be two hidden
gems that many people may not know about — the
Lucy Osburn-Nightingale Foundation medical museum
inside Sydney Hospital in Macquarie Street, and the
John Passmore Museum in Sir John Young Crescent.
‘Friends Around the Domain’ will start at the Art
Gallery of NSW with a free viewing of America:
Painting a Nation from 8 am to 10 am. Details of each
institution’s events will be listed on their website,
and a full-day program will be available.
42 / S L
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
THE DOMAIN, SYDNEY, 1877
Merry friends
A gift membership to the Library Friends
makes a terrific Christmas, birthday, retirement
or anniversary present for lovers of literature,
history and culture. Friends gain a special
involvement with our world-class Library and
its collections, and receive the beautiful quarterly
SL magazine along with many other benefits.
You can arrange a one-year gift membership
starting on your nominated date.
YOU CAN JOIN OR RENEW ONLINE AT
www.sl.nsw.gov.au/support
OR CONTACT
Helena Poropat
State Library of NSW Foundation
Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9273 1593
Email: friends@sl.nsw.gov.au
The Sydney punchbowl
shop
the library
Open 7 days
(o2) 9273 1611
libshop@sl.nsw.gov.au
www.sl.nsw.gov.au/shop
A magnificent replica of one of the
treasures of the State Library collection
is now available in a strictly limited
edition of 25 copies.
Each one an individual work of art, the bowls have been handmade and painted by traditional craftsmen in the ‘porcelain
city’ of Jingdezhen, using the same methods as would have been
used when the original Sydney punchbowl was made in China
nearly 200 years ago.
Elizabeth Ellis OAM, Emeritus Curator of the State
Library and author of Rare & Curious: The Secret History
of Governor Macquarie’s Collectors’ Chest, has written
a fascinating book to accompany the Sydney punchbowl.
The book is also sold separately in the Library Shop.
This project was undertaken by Hordern House Sydney
in conjunction with the State Library of NSW.
The replica Sydney punchbowl is priced at $16,500.
Only 25 copies will ever be for sale.
For further information please contact the Library Shop.
/01
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/03
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/05
recent highlights
H I G H L I G H T S
/10
/06
/11
/12
/13
11
/07
01 PETER FITZPATRICK, WINNER
OF THE NATIONAL
BIOGRAPHY AWARD FOR
TWO FRANK THRINGS, IS
PHOTOGRAPHED AT THE
AWARD ANNOUNCEMENT,
5 AUGUST. PHOTO BY
MERINDA CAMPBELL
04 THOMAS KENEALLY AT THE
LAUNCH OF THE ATLAS OF
THE GREAT IRISH FAMINE,
22 AUGUST. PHOTO BY
MERINDA CAMPBELL
02 JOHN ELDER ROBISON GIVES
THE NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY
AWARD LECTURE IN THE
METCALFE AUDITORIUM,
13 AUGUST. PHOTO BY JOY LAI
05 & 06 KIMBERLY CHRISTEN,
DARYL BALDWIN, HIDDEN
GEMS SYMPOSIUM,
26 AUGUST. PHOTO BY
HAMILTON CHURTON
03 ALEX BYRNE AND THE
HON. GEORGE SOURIS MP,
MINISTER FOR THE ARTS,
REVEALING THE QUEIRÓS
MEMORIALS, 15 AUGUST
PHOTO BY JOY LAI
07 & 08 KRISTA PAV AND BAND,
TE PAEA PARINGATAI,
GHIL’AD ZUCKERMANN,
HIDDEN GEMS SYMPOSIUM
COCKTAIL PARTY, 26 AUGUST
PHOTO BY BRUCE YORK
44 / S L
MAGAZINE
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales
12 RACHEL LANDERS
PRESENTING THE NSW
PREMIER’S HISTORY AWARDS
ADDRESS
/15
/14
09 ELISE EDMONDS, DAVID
HASSALL, JUDY HASSALL
(DAUGHTER OF ARCHIE
BARWICK) AND ALEX BYRNE
AT THE LAUNCH OF IN GREAT
SPIRITS: ARCHIE BARWICK’S
WWI DIARY, 28 AUGUST
PHOTO BY JOY LAI
10 CLARE WRIGHT, JASMIN
TARASIN AND LUCY
MACLAREN, NSW PREMIER’S
HISTORY AWARDS,
12 SEPTEMBER
/08
CLAUDIA CHAN SHAW,
THE HON. GEORGE SOURIS MP,
MINISTER FOR THE ARTS,
SALIHA BELMESSOUS,
BENTLEY DEAN, PATTI
MILLER, THERESE RYAN
(KITTY MCNAUGHTON’S
GRANDDAUGHTER,
ACCEPTING ON BEHALF
OF AUTHOR JANET BUTLER),
NSW PREMIER’S HISTORY
AWARDS
AWARDS PHOTOS BY BRUCE
YORK AND JANINE THOMPSON
SL MAGAZINE
13 YAMIN BELMESSOUS AND
SALIHA BELMESSOUS,
WINNER OF THE GENERAL
HISTORY PRIZE, NSW
PREMIER’S HISTORY AWARDS
14 LIBRARY SUPPORTER
NANCY TUCK, ELS
GROENWEGEN AND MARY
BAGTAS, NANCY’S 99TH
BIRTHDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER
PHOTO BY MERINDA
CAMPBELL
15 ROBERT CAMERON AO,
REVEREND GRAEME
LAWRENCE OAM AND GREG
GOYETTE, CUSTODIAN
EVENT, 13 AUGUST, PHOTO
BY MICHAEL COOPER
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 45
Q&A
IN THE GALLERIES AND THE MITCHELL LIBRARY
FREE
APP
Michael Robotham
Award-winning crime fiction author
Michael Robotham recently donated
45 foreign language translations
of his novels to the Library.
PHOTO BY TONY MOTT
HOW DID JOURNALISM AND
GHOST WRITING SET YOU UP
FOR WRITING CRIME?
Fast, free download to your device
from the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store
or
use our inhouse tablets.
Check our website <curio.sl.nsw.gov.au> for available times.
I wanted to be a writer from
the age of 12, but felt as
though my idyllic childhood
in small country towns had
given me nothing to write
about. Journalism gave me
the experience. It allowed
me to travel the world,
reporting on wars, conflict,
coups and human behavior
at its best and worst. Ghost
writing showed me I had
the patience to spend long
periods of time working on
a single project but, more
importantly, it taught me
how to capture the voice
of a subject and bring them
to life on the page.
WHERE DOES YOUR
INSPIRATION COME FROM?
Dark places. Insomnia.
Daydreams. Newspapers.
Spicy food. Overheard
conversations … Most
novels begin with a ‘what if’
question — something that
snags in my consciousness
and won’t let go until it has
been thought through,
explained and solved.
When it comes to reading,
it’s not the truly great novels
that inspire me, because
they are so perfect that I
want to give up in frustration.
I’m inspired by books that
could have been improved
with more imagination and
better crafting.
IS ANYTHING LOST
IN TRANSLATION?
Almost certainly yes, but
I don’t lose sleep over it.
I once asked a Dutch friend
to translate the opening
page of a Dutch language
edition back into English.
In the opening scene I describe
someone as having ‘pizza
breath’ but it was translated
as ‘pizza face’. Oops! Jokes
and one-liners are
notoriously difficult to
translate, particularly when
they rely on wordplay or
puns. To their credit, my
translators often pick up
mistakes that dozens of
English proofreaders and
editors have missed,
because they are studying
every word so carefully.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN
ABOUT CRIME WRITERS
WHEN YOU RECENTLY EDITED
A COLLECTION OF THEIR
INSIGHTS?
If I Tell You, I’ll Have to
Kill You is a fascinating
collection of essays —
it reveals how every writer
finds his or her inspiration
and ideas in different ways.
Some are plotters while
others are ‘pantsers’
(writing by the seat of their
pants). Some start work at
3 am at their kitchen table,
while others have foibles
like writing hats, favourite
tipples or bizarre research
methods.
SL MAGAZINE
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT
LIBRARIES?
I love how our libraries have
become so much more than
repositories of knowledge.
They are now the heart and
soul of communities. When
I wrote my first novel, my
mother took weeks to read
it. When I asked what was
wrong, she said, ‘Oh dear,
I had three library books to
get through — did you want
me to read your book first?’
After hearing of this
sacrifice, her local library
gave her a special award.
Summer 2013–14 State Library of New South Wales / 47
Kings Cross 1970 to 1971: Photographs by Rennie Ellis
View early 1970s Kings Cross
with this evocative series
of black and white images
by photographer Rennie Ellis,
from the State Library’s
collection.
A FREE EXHIBITION
IN THE GALLERIES
UNTIL MAY 2014
www.sl.nsw.gov.au
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