One of our main specialties, our extensive Tasmanian section encompasses Tasmanian novels and poetry (by Tasmanians, and/or about Tasmania); general and specific Tasmanian history; Tasmanian travel and walking guides; independently published works; souvenir and gift pictorial books; and secondhand Tasmanian books.
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The Last Lighthouse Keeper
In Tasmania, John Cook is known as: 'The Keeper of the Flame'. He spent a good part of his 26-year career in Tasmanian lighthouses tending kerosene, not electrical, lamps. He joined the lighthouse service in 1969, after a spell in the merchant marine and did two stints on Tasman Island, in 1969-71 and 1977, and was the head keeper on Maatsuyker for eight years. This is his story.
I Shed My Skin
I Shed My Skin - A Furneaux Islands Story evolved out of an exhibition of Jane Giblin’s artwork which toured Tasmania in 2019. It revolves around strangers who come to a remote land and learn how to win a living from it. Traditions and relationships to the Furneaux Islands, built since the 1890s, were consolidated across five generations. During the latter part of the 20th century significant changes had to be met.
Giblin travelled up and down the eastern seaboard of Australia interviewing her father’s cousins in addition to some senior Furneaux community members. She sought memories of her great grandparents, feelings about the islands, and farming and birding as well as how they were acclimatising to changed land access and tradition due to successful land rights claims by local First Nations people. Giblin’s part-collaborator on her exhibition/book is retired lecturer in geography and well-known Tasmanian writer, Pete Hay.
The Ghost And The Bounty Hunter
A poignant true story from Australian colonial history. The astonishing tale of convict William Buckley living amongst the Wadawurrung Kulin Nation peoples for thirty-two years ended as a precursor to the Frontier Wars. In 1835, Van Diemen's Land bounty hunter John Batman, arrives seeking to acquire and control the perfect pastureland of Kulin country, and the resulting historic theft would result in the birth of a city.
Top Walks in Tasmania
Experienced travel writer Melanie Ball has hiked every track in this book for walkers of all levels of experience. Included are some of Tasmania's most famous walks, such as the Overland Track and Frenchman's Cap, plus some hidden gems. Most of the tracks can be completed in a few hours, but there are some multi-day walks for those wanting more of a challenge. For each walk there is detailed trail information, a map and photographs.
Can an evangelical pastor and former football star, Tommy Rayfinger make it to the the top of Australia politics? The relationship between Pastor Rayfinger and Paddy Kennedy's PR team becomes frayed as each spies on the other and the outcome is murder. Then, it is market day in Hobart. No one is expecting the Salamanca Incident.
Purity #1 Abels Photography
Purity #1 Abels Photography features stunning images of Tasmania’s Abel Mountains, coupled with musings of our place in the landscape.
Australian journalist Peter Grose tells the infamous true story of a band of convicts who escaped the living hell of the penal colony at Sarah Island in Van Diemen's Land. By stealing a leaky and untested brig they had helped build, then sailing it across the Pacific from Tasmania to Chile with neither a map nor a chronometer, ten convicts began an incredible escape and an unbelievable journey.
The Rain Heron
Ren lives alone on the remote frontier of a country devastated by a coup. High on the forested slopes, she survives by hunting and trading-and forgetting. But when a young soldier comes to the mountains in search of a local myth, Ren is inexorably drawn into her impossible mission. As their lives entwine, unravel and erupt-as myths merge with reality-both Ren and the soldier are forced to confront what they regret, what they love, and what they fear.
Beneath the Peak of Lyell
A fully illustrated history of the copper mines of Mount Lyell at Queenstown, Tasmania, and the 2 ft gauge tramways which served them. It describes the copper mining and ore treatment processes over the life of the various mines from the beginning around 1890, and the way the extensive series of 2 ft gauge tramways were essential to the mines’ success.
A Treacherous Country
Gabriel Fox, the young son of an old English house, arrives in a land both ancient and new. Drawn by the promise of his heart's desire, and compelled to distance himself from pain at home, Gabriel begins his quest into Van Diemen's Land. His guide, a Cannibal who is not all he seems, leads him north where Gabriel might free himself of his distracting burden and seek the woman he must find. As Gabriel traverses this wild country, he uncovers new truths buried within his own memory. Authentic, original and playful, A Treacherous Country is a novel of loyalty, wisdom and the freedom to act.
Winner of the Vogel's Literary Award 2020.
Hiking the Overland Track
This guidebook covers the iconic Overland Track in Tasmania's stunning Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. The well-maintained 80km route from Cradle Valley to Lake St Clair is described over seven stages, along with optional side trips to the area's many accessible peaks including Mt Ossa, Tasmania's highest mountain.
The Bay: The European History of St Helens
St Helens’ tin mining history and social history are showcased here in The Bay. Richardson reveals the hardships endured by the early settlers of St Helens before tin was discovered, and the even more significant changes when tin mining ended.
The Vandemonian War
In the 1820s and 1830s the British deliberately pushed the Aboriginal tribespeople out, driving them to the edge of existence. Whole societies were deliberately obliterated. The Vandemonian War was one of the darkest stains on a former empire which arrogantly claimed perpetual sunshine. This is the story of that fight, redrawn from neglected handwriting nearly two centuries old. Acclaimed author Nick Brodie now exposes the largely untold story of how the British truly occupied Van Diemen’s Land, deploying regimental soldiers and special forces, armed convicts and mercenaries.
Longlisted for the Premier's Literary Awards 2019.
Matthew Evans captures Fat Pig Farm’s year of growing, cooking and feasting. It’s part how-to, part evocative diary, part cookbook, and with more than 100 recipes it is the perfect inspiration for those about to embark on a simpler life.
The Lost Boys of Mr Dickens
Old Sea Dogs 2
After a much anticipated wait, bestselling author Andrew Wilson has finally completed his second book in the Old Sea Dogs of Tasmania. Book 2 features a tender load of 'new’ Old Sea Dogs and seascapes from all around Tasmania, including remote destinations such as King Island, Flinders Island, Port Davey as well as stories on the world renowned Franklin Wooden Boat Town, The Australian Wooden Boat Festival, The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and much much more. Captured in glorious black and white and for the first time, colour photography, Old Sea Dogs of Tasmania 2 is a striking and beautiful book that includes 5 fold-out sections.
An Unconventional Wife: The life of Julia Sorell Arnold
Julia Sorell was an original. A colonial belle from Tasmania, vivacious and warm-hearted, Julia’s marriage to Tom Arnold in 1850 propelled her into one of the most renowned families in England and into a circle that included Lewis Carroll and George Eliot. Her eldest daughter became a bestselling novelist, while her grandchildren included the writer Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, and the evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley.
Longlisted for the Premier's Literary Awards 2019.
He was an Austrian immigrant; she came from Tasmania. He grew up beside the Carinthian Alps; she climbed mountains when few women dared. Their honeymoon glimpse of Cradle Mountain lit an urge that filled their waking hours. Others might have kept this splendour to themselves, but Gustav Weindorfer and Kate Cowle sensed the significance of a place they sought to share with the world. When they stood on the peak in the heat of January 1910, they imagined a national park for all. Kindred: A Cradle Mountain Love Story traces the achievements of these unconventional adventurers and their fight to preserve the wilderness where they pioneered eco-tourism.
Longlisted for the Premier's Literary Awards 2019.
Bone of Fact
Back in print: David Walsh - the creator of Mona in Hobart - is both a giant and an enigma in the Australian art world. A multi-millionaire who made his money gambling, David has turned a wild vision into a unique reality; he is in turns controversial, mysterious and idolised. A Bone of Fact is his utterly unconventional and absorbing memoir.
Snips & Snaps: The Frith Family
In the early nineteenth century, likenesses in profile, or silhouettes, sometimes delicately highlighted in gold were all ordinary folk could afford. The Frith family travelled the British Isles inviting the "gentry and residents" to sit for these "highly finished" portraits. This art form was overtaken by the camera and photographic portraiture. This is the story of portraiture and photography in its transitional stage during the colonial foundations of Australia and New Zealand.
An Activist Life
An Activist Life is the story of an apparently ordinary woman - a high-school English teacher from northwest Tasmania - who became a fiery environmental warrior, pitted against some of the most powerful business and political forces in the country. Christine Milne tells her story as an environmental and human rights activist at the national and global level.
Me Write Myself
The fate of the First Nations peoples of Van Diemen's Land is one of the most infamous chapters in Australian, and world history. The men, women, and children exiled to Flinders Island in the 1830s and 40s have often been written about, but never allowed to speak for themselves. This book aims to change that. Penned by the exiles during their fifteen years at the settlement called Wybalenna, items in the Flinders Island Chronicle, sermons, letters, and petitions offer a compelling corrective to traditional portrayals of a hopeless, dispossessed, illiterate people's final days. The exiles did not see themselves as prisoners, but as a Free People. This is a compelling story that will profoundly affect understandings of Tasmanian and Australian history.
The story begins with the toppling of a premier, and ends with David Walsh, the man behind MONA, taking an eccentric stand against pokie machines and the political status quo. It is a story of broken politics and back-room deals. It shows how giving one company the licence to all the poker machines in Tasmania has led to several hundred million dollars of profits (mainly from problem gamblers) being diverted from public use, through a series of questionable and poorly understood deals. Losing Streak is a meticulous, compelling case study in governance failure, which has implications for pokies reform throughout Australia.
Shortlisted for the Premier's Literary Awards 2017.
The book we have been waiting for. Discovering Hobart looks at historic Hobart street-by-street, with photographs old and new. A well-priced gift for locals and visitors to our beautiful city.
Hop Kilns of Tasmania
In this new publication, Pen Tayler brings to life the history of the hop kilns on 12 properties, tracing the highs and lows of the industry and its effect on those who relied on it.
Pufferfish - aka Detective Inspector Franz Heineken - remains haunted by his failure to apprehend the killer of a young Hobart woman. He absorbs himself in the mystery disappearance of Romeo Ferrari, whose bloodied clues - including a gun - link Romeo to the death of a cop and an international drug cartel war. Across the wilds of Tasmania, from the majestic Central Plateau to remote Arthur River and using his intimate knowledge of the the island's people, Pufferfish aims himself at the increasingly dangerous mystery of Romeo's gun, and at the evil predator stalking his patch.
Sixteen-year-old Stephanie West has been dragged from Sydney to remote Maatsuyker Island off the coast of Tasmania by her parents, hoping to come to terms with their grief over the death of Steph's twin brother. Cut off from friends and the comforts of home, Steph's saviour is Tom Forrest, a 19-year-old deckhand aboard a crayfishing boat. When the weather allows, Tom visits the island, and he and Steph soon form an attraction. Wildlight is an exquisite, vividly detailed exploration of the wayward journey of adolescence, and how the intense experience of a place can change the course of even the most well-planned life.
Award-winning cartoonist Jon Kudelka shares his sketchy love letter to Australia's southernmost capital city with a series of watercolours from the heart.
The Making of MONA
The inside story of Australia's most exciting museum. MONA has shaken up the art world by breathing life and delight back into the museum experience and is now hailed as the most important addition to the Australian cultural landscape since the opening of the Sydney Opera House. Visitors are flocking to MONA, but what is it about MONA that makes it such a transformative experience? And how on earth did an amateur private collector manage to set up one of the world's great art destinations on the edge of a remote island city? This is the inside story of how MONA came to be.
Optimism: Reflections on a Life of Action
Inspirational, compassionate, outraged, Bob Brown's stories are rich with metaphor, entertaining and full of warmth. A great promoter of activism he is keen for all to experience life as richly as he has. Although he has seen much of the world through the prism of politics he still believes that there is reason to believe that the changes he has pursued can be made and will be for the better. His stories reveal a complex man with a quick wit and a joy for life.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
A novel of the cruelty of war, the tenuousness of life, and the impossibility of love. August, 1943, in the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, cholera, and beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever. This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2014.
Abandoned Women: Scottish Convicts Exiled Beyond the Seas
In the early 19th century crofters and villagers streamed into the burgeoning cities of Scotland. Orphan girls, single mothers, women with feckless husbands and widows all struggled to feed and clothe themselves, and were left with few options other than theft and prostitution. Anxious to quell the rising tide of petty crime, the Scottish authorities imposed harsh sentences, consigning these women - and often their children too - for transportation to the Australian colonies.
Lucy Frost tells the stories of the lives of a boatload of women and their children who arrived in Hobart in 1838. While convict men of that period worked in road gangs, the women were assigned as domestic servants, seamstresses or to work in dairies, and were often ill-treated by their employers. Some managed to snare a good husband once they'd earned their tickets of leave, and became solid citizens. For others errors and disasters continued to plague their lives in the colony.
The Roving Party
Winner of the 2011 Vogel Literary Award, Rohan Wilson's novel is a surprisingly beautiful evocation of horror and brutality: a meditation on the intricacies of human nature at its most raw. The Roving Party is a historical novel tackling the story of John Batman in Tasmania in the 1830s.
The roving party consists of Batman, ruthless, single-minded; four convicts, the youngest still only a stripling; Gould, a downtrodden farmhand; two free black trackers; and powerful, educated Black Bill, brought up from childhood as a white man. Their purpose is massacre, and with promises of freedom, land grants and money, each is willing to risk his life for the prize.
In Tasmania on holiday, novelist and Chatwin biographer Nicholas Shakespeare discovered a house on a 9-mile beach and instantly decided this was where he wanted to live. He didn't know then that his ancestor was the corrupt and colourful Anthony Fenn Kemp, now known as ‘the Father of Tasmania', or that he would find relatives living on the island.
Shakespeare interweaves his personal journey into a new-found paradise with a brilliant account of the two turbulent centuries of Tasmania's history in this fascinating and timely book.
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