Barwon Booksellers - Secondhand and Collectibles


  • Voyages

    22 August 2017 -



    The weather during the last week or so here in Victoria has taken some riding out. Fuming gales, rain so steady it seemed intentionally stubborn, until it turned into crystalline hail, at which point the contrast to the fearful fires burning in New South Wales was complete. Someone remarked to me in the midst of all this that it would be nice if we could tilt the surface of the earth to tip some of our Victorian wetness north and help put out the fires. The imagination is a wonderful thing. Shame life doesn't work like an iPad game.


    Anyway, as if in step with current meteorological extremes and dangers we received this week a remarkable collection of titles from the Biblliotheca Australiana series on historical south sea voyages. This is a beautiful Amsterdam/New York co-production from the N. Israel and Da Capo publishing houses. Undoubtedly all the fifteen titles that have come our way - some produced in facsimile designed pages, others reset, but all printed on delicious laid paper - are rife with the challenges faced by legendary sea explorers on their hard-wearing but high-minded enlightenment ships. It seemed somehow timely therefore to, first of all, make our trusty BB Newsletter community aware of these books, and also to shine a light of just some of the many other titles we have in stock relating to great sea voyages, ships, and even amateur encounters with the humble ripples of Corio Bay. For those of you familiar with our shelves we do of course have whole sections on maritime matters, and also on polar journeyings, so this selection is very much just that - a brief peek constructed to celebrate the arrival of the Bibliotheca Australiana editions. If you have any enquiries about any of the titles don't hesitate to call or email.

    Bibliotheca Australiana - All these titles are in hardback, with their original plastic sleeves, published by N.Israel/Amsterdam & Da Capo/New York. They are in mint condition.


    #23 Charles P.C. Fleurieu - Voyage Round The World 1790-1792 Performed by Etienne Marchand Volumes 1 & 2 (1969)  $85

    #45 J.Arago - Narrative Of A Voyage Round The World (1971) - $65

    #67 M.Labillardiere - Voyage In Search of La Perouse (1971) - $65

    #57 William Funnell - A Voyage Round The World Containing An Account of Captain Dampier's Expedition Into The South-Seas In The Ship St. George In The Years 1703 & 1704 (1969) - $40

    #63 Woodes Rogers - A Cruising Voyage Round The World First To The South-Seas Thence To The East Indies And Homeward By The Cape Of Good Hope (1969) - $40

    #62 John Narborough - An Account Of Several Voyages To The South and North (1969) - $40

    #71 George Shelvocke - A Voyage Around The World (1971) - $40

    #74 EJ Wakefield - Adventure In NewZealand 1839-1844 (2 Vols) (1971) - $65

    #46 Frederick D. Bennett - Narrative Of AWhaling Voyage Round The Globe From The Year 1833-1836 (2 Vols) (1970) - $60

    #53 Peter Dillon - Narrative Of  La Perouse's Expedition (2 Vols) (1972) - $65

    #72 Pascoe Thomas - Journal Of A Voyage To The South Seas (1971) - $45


    Mariners are Warned! - John Lort Stokes and HMS Beagle in Australia 1837-1843 - Marsden Horden (MUP Miegunyah Press 1989 1st Ed.) - $100

    This is an urbane book on a rather wild subject. That being the third south seas surveying voyage initiated by the British Hydrographic Office. The first two were, famously, those of Flinders and King, and this one, under the command of John Lort Stokes, took place on the HMS Beagle, of Charles Darwin fame. It contains many forgotten accounts and historical treasures and has a strong sense of relatedness to times past and present. Its chains of association run through Stokes and Flinders and King and Cook, right up to a night in 1945 when a young naval captain heard an old surveyor's warning voice and saved his ship from disaster. It is also interesting to note how the Miegunyah Press editions, though very much a phenomenon of recent years, have quickly become so valuable. As with this book they fetch quite high prices, which only goes to show it's not always the age of a book but also the sheer quality of the publishing program under which it's produced that makes it a sought after item.

    Matthew Flinders Narrative Of His Voyage In The Schooner Francis: 1798  (Golden Cockerel Press 1946) - $550

    A facsimile edition in hard green boards with deckle edged pages and with engravings by John Buckland Wright. This is a rare and beautiful treasure, containing an overview of Flinders extraordinary life, including the printing in full of Flinders' own account of his voyage on the Francis in 1798.

    Sea Wolves and Bandits: Sealing, Whaling, Smuggling and Piracy, Wild Men of Van Diemen's Land, Bushrangers and Bandits, Wrecks and Wreckers - by L. Norman - $50

    This is in many ways a book of pre-history, a tale of the various hunters, sealers and whalers and general 'wild men' who, unofficially in many instances, were the first Europeans to inhabit Tasmania and Bass Strait. A must for those readers exploring this neglected and often 'picaresque' period in our history.

    Jolly Dogs Are We: The History of Yachting In Victoria 1838-1894 by Ralphe P. Neale (Landscape Publication 1984) - $25

    Not a dull catalogue of yacht races lost and won but more of a social history involving those who earned their living on the water or who aspired to become amateur sailors. Interestingly it touches on the beginnings of the sport of rowing in Victoria.

    The Letters of George & Elizabeth Bass ed. Miriam Estensen (Allen & Unwin 2009) - $15

    In August 1800, George Bass returned to England after five years in New South Wales. Gifted, ambitious and impatient with the limitations of a naval career, he took leave from the navy to purchase a ship of his own and organise a commercial venture to Sydney. He also met Elizabeth Waterhouse, and fell very much in love. They were married in October and in the following January, George Bass sailed for Australia. For the next two years letters were the only link between them. Rich in detail and deeply personal their correspondence provide a vivid portrait of two young people and the era in which they lived.

    Shipwrecks: Australia's Greatest Maritime Disasters - Evan McHugh (Viking 2003) - $15

    From a wreck in 1622 off  WesternAustralia to the tragedy of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race, this book is full of swashbuckling mutineers, violent storms, uncharted reefs, enemy warships, as well as ripping yarns about  Dutchmen, lascars, and escaped convicts. Basically a white-knuckle voyage through the last four centuries on the coast of the Great South Land.

    The Journal of Post Captain Nicolas Baudin Commander-in-Chief of the Corvettes Geographe and Naturaliste (Libraries Board of South Australia 1974) - $200

    The sumptuous and complete Journal of Baudin, documenting his departure from Le Havre in October 1800 to his decision to head for the Ile-de-France in July 1803. Complete with appendices on maps, plans, navigational instruments, ship dimensions etc.

    The Wreck Of the Batavia and Prosper - Simon Leys (Black Inc. 2005) - $12

    The wreck of the Dutch ship Batavia on a coral archipelago fifty miles off the Australian continent has, in its day, seized the European imagination even more than the sinking of the Titanic. In the hands of prose stylist Simon Leys this tale comes to life through sentences resonating with luminous factual detail and psychological insight, and also through a philosophical exploration of the Batavia's incredible aftermath, in which a visionary psychopath organised a methodical massacre of the hapless community formed from survivors of the wreck. Also included here is Leys' deeply personal account of his time as a member of the crew of the tuna-fishing boat Prosper.

    H.M. Bark Endeavour: Her Place In Australian History - With an Account of her Construction, Crew and Equipment and a Narrative of her Voyage on the East Coast of New Holland in the Year 1770 - Ray Parkin  (Miegunyah Press 1999) - $250

    Parkin's H.M.Bark Endeavour is the ultimate companion and supplement to standard works on Cook's voyages. It is also an absorbing book: discursive, erudite, at times poetic; full of wisdom, insight and detailed information. This lavish slipcased version comes with an accompanying box of beautiful plans, charts and illustrations by the author.

    Knots: An illustrated practical guide to the essential knot types and their uses - AndrewAdamides (Arcturus 2010) - $10

    A nifty reference book on knots containing chapters on hitches, loops, slip knots, bends, splices, stopper knots, trick & fancy knots and more. Interestingly it also includes a full glossary of knot-related words and phrases.

    The Handbook of Knots: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide To Tying and Using More Than 100 Knots - Des Pawson (Covent Garden Books 2000) - $10

    Pawson's handbook specialises in knots for fishing, camping, sailing, climbing, and also for general and decorative use. It also advises on selecting the correct rope for the job, including information on breaking loads.

    The Wind Is Free... - A History of The Royal Geelong Yacht Club 1859-1988 - Jack Champ (1989) - $15

    Jack Champ was a successful and passionate yachtie around Geelong and also a handy writer. His history of the Geelong Yacht Club includes chapters on the birth of ocean racing in Australia, sailing in the Depression and war years, and also incorporates appendices on various subjects including Famous Geelong yachts and the Cadet Squadron.


    There Was A Ship: Patsy Adam-Smith's story of her years at sea - Patsy Adam-Smith (Nelson 1983) - $15

    Patsy Adam-Smith - what a woman! Gutsy, intelligent, independent, and at one time Australia's premier feature journalist. When Adam-Smith took a job on the intensely male-dominated decks of a Bass Strait cargo tramp in the 1950s there were obstacles both meteorological and cultural she had to overcome. In There Was A Ship she writes about them all, with great panache and compassion. A remarkable eyewitness account of days gone by in Bass Strait.