Secondhand Rows 

Join Stephen (Blackheath) and Scott (Glebe), our secondhand managers, every month here as they takes a closer look at a couple of titles from their shelves.

November 2019

Gleebooks Bookshop - Friday, October 25, 2019
The River Murray Guide—When the water flowed ...
London H. S. Nichols & Co. 1894. 12 volumes.
First edition of the Nichols/SmithMurray Shipping Ltd (Morgan) Murray Memories Club, Woori Yallock. Victoria. AUST. Soft cover. Condition: Good. No Jacket. 36pp., b/w illustrations. Stapled booklet. Light marking to covers. Explanatory notes by Murray Memories Club attached to front hinge. A 1970s (?) Facsimile edition of a 1920s original issued by Murray Shipping Limited, Adelaide. $20.00.

‘The Australian who has not been afloat on the Murray and its many affluents, does not know his native country. There is a charm in a holiday trip on these highways which has a peculiarity all its own…For a restful, health-giving change, there is no other resort in Australia to compare with a voyage along these zig-zag tracks, which reach into the interior of the Commonwealth.’ Thus, David J. Gordon (1865–1946)—journalist and South Australian Federal politician—in his book, The Nile of Australia: Nature’s Gateway to the Interior. A Plea for the Greater Utilization of the Murray and Its Tributaries (1906) which provides an introduction to this evocative—and charming—tourist booklet.
The Murray River Navigation Company (from 1919 Murray Shipping Ltd) was formed in 1888. The front cover of this Guide shows it was purchased for sixpence at the South Australian port of Morgan—home to hundreds of paddle steamers which carried cargo and from the 1880s onward, increasingly—passengers. Our Murray paddle steamer journey of 1367 miles (2200 kms) begins at Morgan and ends at Albury. The guide sequentially lists, the towns of interest, notable sights (on both the Victorian and NSW side), pastoral properties, farms and the fifteen Murray Locks.  At each location there are listings for miles travelled both from the Murray mouth and distance those remaining until our final destination. We travel in style. Our vessels are either The Marion or the Gem. The Marion—built in 1897—was converted to a cruise steamer in 1908. It became along with the Gem, the most popular of the passenger boats. Serving five meals a day, with hot and cold-water baths, two berth cabins, a smoking room and a piano in the dining room, the Marion offered seven-day cruises from Murray Bridge to Renmark and return for £6.00 ($500 in 2018). The Gem originally built 1876 at Moama, Victoria, was rebuilt and refitted as a 40m (130ft) tourist steamer in 1882—one of the largest to have ever worked the Murray-Darling rivers. Gem was able to keep trading right up until the end of the steam boat era on the Murray in the early 1950s. She served as a boarding house at Mildura till 1962. Since 1963 until 1999 as an art gallery and restaurant. Gem is now a tourist attraction at Swan hill having undergone a painstaking restoration. On 6–10 June 1963, the Marion made her last voyage—a 381 km (237mile) journey from Berri (SA) to Mannum (VIC).  She had lain idle at Morgan since 1941. Purchased by the South Australian National Trust the Marion was to be fully restored as a floating museum at her final destination. A special representational cargo was loaded: dried fruit, cases of oranges, a bale of wool, cases of wine and brandy. Recommissioned in 1994, the Marion now serves both as a museum and runs passenger trips throughout the year—one of the world’s only operational, steam driven, wood fired, side paddle steamers with overnight
passenger accommodation still operating.

The  Australian Labor Movement 1850–1907:
Extracts from contemporary documents by Noel Ebbbels

Noel Ebbels was a part-time law student prior to WW2 but after he returned from active service in the Pacific he became a full-time student taking a course in history and political science. Around 1949 he started a collection of documents of the Australian Labor movement which comprised a selection from contemporary sources illustrating the main developments in the Eastern States of Australia between 1850 and 1907. This work wasn’t finished when he was killed in a road accident in  1951—so a committee was appointed, at a crowded memoiral meeting of his friends held in the Assemby Hall Melbourne, to complete and publish it. First published in 1960, this 2nd printing (1976) includes a memoir of R. N. Ebbels by C.M.H. Clark, and a foreword by Russel Ward. ($30, HB)

Webster’s New International Dictionary: Second Edition
An Entirely New Book—Latest Unabridged With Reference History ($100)

Anybody who’s had the pleasure of reading The Grammarians, Catherine Schine’s novel of twins with ten unusual words for every occasion will understand my excitement when this hefty tome (8.3 kilos) came to my attention. It is the very book Daphne and Laurel’s father proudly installs (with its own plinth) in their living room—where standing on tiptoe to pore over its contents their obsession with language begins. It’s the prized family heirloom they go to war over after their mother dies. It’s gorgeous—littered with black & white illustrations, plus the odd colour plate, and a thumb index. This volume is in good condition apart from a few crumpled first pages. If no-one puts their hand up, I may have to home it myself.

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