blue mountains historical society

Latest additions to Hobby's Reach Lending Library

Australian History - sets covering extended periods:

The Europeans in Australia Volume 2: Democracy by Alan Atkinson [080.03.02]. Republished in 2016 and completing the trilogy in our collection, Democracy covers the period from around 1815 to the early 1870s in which Australia began to find its place. It shows what the Europeans did with Australia and why, during the first four or five generations of invasion and settlement.

Colonial History:

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright [115.03]. This book takes readers on a vivid journey of what life was like for families of the miners, merchants, prostitutes and police on the Eureka goldfields.

Australian History by Period:

The Eighties: the Decade that transformed Australia by Frank Bongiorno [129.26]. Although the big changes and great or would-be great are chronicled here, Bongioro also seeks to enlarge our sense of both the ordinary and the extraordinary things that happened to Australia and Australians during this liveliest of decades in our recent history.

Local History - Blue Mountains Exploration & BMCC City Planning:

To the Fertile Plains Beyond: the story of the crossing of the Blue Mountains between 1802 and 1969 by C. C. Singleton [140.18] - copies donated by both Stefan Indyka and the Australian Railway Historical Society. A detailed examination of the various ways that people have crossed the Blue Mountains - foot, road and rail. While the manuscript was completed in 1970, with the author's death in 1971 publication of this work was put on hold until 2016.

Hidden History of the Blue Mountains by Magda Cawthorne [146.21]. Hidden History explores the villages of the Blue Mountains, revealing how each village started, how it was named and the stories behind many of their landmarks and buildings.

Non Blue Mountains Local History:

Sydney's Great Experiment by Denis Winston [178.86]. Denis Winston was Australia's first Professor of Town Planning. His book is a comprehensive account, and critique, of the 1948 County of Cumberland Planning Scheme and its progress in implementation at the time of writing (1957). It will be of interest in making comparisons between the planning phase and how development has actually progressed.


From Convicts to Constitution by Graham Wilcox [198.03PT]. This is the story of one family throughout Australia's colonial past, from Edward Field's arrival with the Second Fleet to Arthur Rutledge's role in the progress of Federation.

The Summit of her Ambition: the spirited life of Marie Byles by Anne McLeod [202.39] - donated by the author and BMHS member, Anne McLeod. The book is a biography of Marie Byles, the first woman qualified to practise law in New South Wales. Her life story is described as having powerful narratives about human rights, conservation, ecology, feminism and spirituality.

The Travelling Table by Carolyn Williams [213.48PT] - donated and signed by the author. Williams connects the history of the Macdonald, Campbell, Innes and Boswell families in colonial Australia using the device of a small writing desk that travelled from Scotland to Australia and back. (See also Annabella Boswell's Journal at 790.08).

Women's History:

Women of the Outback by Sue Williams [227.32] - donated by Adrian Colebrook. Women of the Australian Outback are both the backbone and heart of Australia, tough, resilient and endlessly resourceful. They keep their farms going, their families together and their communities alive, often against overwhelming odds.

Social & Ethnic Groups:
      - Aboriginal History & Culture

The Aboriginal People of the Burragorang Valley by Jim Smith [257.15]. A culmination of 25 years research, Jim Smith has expanded on his previous works on the Gundungurra families who lived in the Burragorang Valley to produce a powerful family and community history.

Land Rights and Birthrights (the Great Australian Hoax) by Peter B. English [260.47] - donated by Adrian Colebrook. This contentious book examines the rights to ownership of former Aboriginal lands in Australia.

      - Convicts

Australian Genesis by John S Levi & G E J Bergman [262.42 ] - donated by Judy Barham. Of all the nations settled by Europeans, Australia may be the only one in which Jews played a part from the very first day. The Australian Jewish story is filled with memorable characters and gripping adventures. First published in 1974, this new edition now stretches the story to the gold rushes.

      - Bushrangers

Ned Kelly: The Jerilderie Letter edited by Alex McDermott [261.09] - donated by Adrian Colebrook. Written in 1878, The Jerilderie Letter is Ned Kelly's own account of his family's persecution and the events that led to his becoming one of the most famous outlaws in our history. The letter inspired novelist Peter Carey's praised reinvention of the Kelly tale, True History of the Kelly Gang at 922.03F.

      - European Migrants

The Italians by Gianfranco Cresciani [265.12] - donated by Stefan Indyka. Based on the ABC TV series of the same name, this book traces the Italian migrant experience in Australia, the forces which spurred the Italians to emigrate to the Lucky Country in the first place and the reasons why they do not come here any longer.

Ten Pound Poms: Australia's Invisible Migrants by A. James Hammerton and Alistair Thomson [265.13]. This is a life history of post-war British emigration to Australia. The stories told by the informants extend from the tragic to the triumphal, with a huge variety of familiar and extraordinary experiences in between.

Australian Migrant Ships 1946-1977 by Peter Plowman [265.14]. The content of this book about the migrant ships that served Australia will be of great interest to those who travelled on them and their families.

Transport - Railways:

Australian Railway Disasters by Ken Pearce [301.48] - donated by Stefan Indyka. This book gives an account of nearly 100 sensational accidents that have befallen Australian railways over a 120 year period from the 1870s to the 1990s, as documented by one of Australia's leading railway researchers.

Built Environment - Architecture, Building & Garden:

Fine Houses of Sydney by Robert Irving, John Kinstler and Mux Dupain [404.58] - donated by Stefan Indyka. There is an astonishing range of architectural modes covered in this book, from the Gothic dignity of Vaucluse House to Ken Woolley's award-winning house at Paddington, completed in 1980.

Labour & Industry:

And So We Graft From Six to Six: The Brickmakers of New South Wales by Warwick Gemmell [503.05] - donated by Annie Ross. In possibly the first book to ever explore the subject comprehensively, Gemmell examines the bricks and brickmakers from convict times to the early 20th century. He looks at wider historical contexts as well as focusing on individual brickmakers.

Electrifying Sydney: 100 years of Energy Australia by George Wilkenfeld and Peter Spearritt [505.03] - donated by author Dr George Wilkenfeld. Electrifying Sydney traces the development of Sydney's electricity system from the 1880s to the early 2000s.

Government & Government Agencies:

The Dismissal by Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston [607.17]. The dismissal of the Whitlam government on 11 November 1975 never loses its capacity to astonish from one generation to the next. It remains Australia's greatest political crisis. This book reinterprets the 1975 political and constitutional showdown in a way that makes this event even more surprising.


Hitler's Lost Spy: the true story of a female spy in Australia by Greg Clancy [632.09] - donated and signed by the author Greg Clancy. The story of the broadcasting spy - who spent July 1939 in luxury at the Hydro Majestic Hotel - is a captivating narrative from within the global Nazi intelligence machine on the eve of World War II. It includes the link with Japanese espionage in Australia during the late 1930s and presents new evidence in the continuing debate on the battle for Australia.

The Coo-ee March [636.06PT]. Prepared by the Gilgandra Museum and Historical Society, this booklet commemorates the centenary of the ANZAC and the Coo-ee March of 1915.

Education - Museums & Conservation of Artefacts:

Rare & Curious: the Secret History of Governor Macquarie's Collectors' Chest by Elizabeth Ellis [704.25]. The story unfolds many of the secrets of this rare colonial artefact, seeking answers to who created it, who owned it and what was, and is, its significance.

Conservation - Environment - Botany & Zoology:

Australian Bush Birds in Colour by Irene & Michael Morcombe [730.60]. This book describes and illustrates 48 species, and offers a guide to bird-study and bird-watching and useful tips of the techniques of bird photography.

The Claremont Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by Ken Simpson, Nicolas Day and Peter Trusler [730.61]. The guide contains 132 full-colour plates showing all Australian bird species; key points of identification; distribution maps for all species; breeding information; a vagrant bird bulletin; a core library list; and easy-to-use indexes.

The Arts & Literature:
      - Culinary & Home Craft

Eat Your History: Stories and Recipes from Australian Kitchens by Jacqui Newling [760.25]. Jacqui Newling is the curator and resident gastronomer at Sydney Living Museums. Her book offers stories about our food sources and how our tastes and culinary practices have evolved.

      - Photography

Australia A Camera Study by Frank Hurley [762.67] - donated by Stefan Indyka. Frank Hurly, famed photograph and explorer, presents pictures of the land and its people that tell Australia's story. Informative legends accompany many of the pictures. Published in 1955, this book is a pictorial reference of its time.

      - Art & Sculpture

Australian Landscapes in Miniature text by Roy H Goddard [765.80] - donated by Stefan Indyka. This book contains 45 colour reproductions of paintings by artists who were the pioneers of the Australian school of landscape painters.

A Pictorial History of Australian Painting by Peter Quartermaine and Jonathan Watkins [765.81Q] - donated by Stefan Indyka. Introduced by a discussion tracing significant developments in Australian history and culture, this large volume details almost 100 pictures painted in Australia between 1792 and 1987.

      - Poetry - Blue Mountains Authors

Winter in Stone Country by Deb Westbury [780.27PT]. This is the sixth volume of poetry by local poet, and former Varuna Poet-in-Residence, Deb Westbury.

Communication - Newspapers:

The Bible of the Bush: 125 years of The Weekly Times edited by Hugh Jones [800.25Q] - donated by Shirley Evans. The Weekly Times was first published in 1869 in Victoria, with this anniversary book marking 125 years of publication. Australia's biggest selling rural weekly newspaper, The Weekly Times mixes news, information and entertainment to service readers living outside metropolitan areas and major country towns, yet still being of interest to city dwellers.


Palace of Tears by Julian Leatherdale [931.13F]. Local author Julian Leatherdale has produced a work of fiction, parts of which were inspired by the history of the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath.


REFERENCE - for research purposes only, not for loan:

Dictionaries, Encyclopaedias, Atlases etc:

Singleton District Pioneer Register [017.41REF] - donated by Annie Ross. This volume, edited by the Family History Society Singleton and produced for the Bi-centenary, contains genealogical details of pioneer families in the Singleton district pre 1900.

General History & Exploration:

Captain James Cook, Navigator edited by Dr David Cordingly [086.04REF] - donated by Stefan Indyka. Produced as an adjunct to the Bicentennial exhibition of the same name, this book is based on the collections of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. It concentrates on maps and charts, navigation and instruments, ships and ship models, and paintings and drawings by the official artists on Cook's voyages. The accompanying articles are fascinating.

Non Blue Mountains Local Hisory:

Disastrous Decade: Fire and Flood in Windsor 1864-1874 by Michelle Nichols [182.10REF] - donated by Roberta Johnstone. The title says it all. Michelle Nichols has gathered jigsaw pieces of documentary and physical evidence to piece together the first historical account of events that are counted among the great disasters of Australian history.

Local Aboriginal History & Culture:

Gandanguurra The Language of the Mountain People ... and beyond by Jim Barrett [257.14REF]. This compilation of the surviving vocabulary and grammar of the Gandanguurra language was drawn from researches recorded from informants from the Burragorang, Kedumba Valley and upper Cox area.

Built Environment - Architecture, Building & Garden:

Australia's Oldest House: Surgeon John Harris and Experiment Farm Cottage by Sue Rosen [402.09REF] - donated by Roberta Johnstone. Sue Rosen contends that Experiment Farm Cottage at Parramatta is the oldest surviving European building in Australia, but for many years it has been misinterpreted as a building of the 1830s. This book reminds readers of the damage done when heritage "experts" do not engage with historians.

Restoring Old Houses: A Guide to Authentic Restoration by Ian Evans [404.16REF] - donated by Roberta Johnstone. This book sets out broad guidelines and provides a basis upon which to approach the restoration - not renovation - of houses constructed during the Victorian and Edwardian periods from 1837 to 1910.

The Australian Terrace House by Brian Turner [405.28REF] - donated by Roberta Johnstone. The terrace is the most enduring of Australia's architectural styles and this book portrays the stylistic variety of their facades.

Land Settlement - Surveying & Map History:

Macquarie's Towns by Ian Jack [628.02REF] - donated by Roberta Johnstone. This book recognises and celebrates Governor Macquarie's foresight and capability in laying out the towns of Liverpool, Windsor, Richmond, Wilberforce, Pitt Town, Castlereagh, Campbelltown and Bathurst, as well as the amendments he made to the existing towns of Sydney, Parramatta and Newcastle.

Research Aids - Copyright:

The following publications have been produced by the Australian Copyright Council:

      Historians & Copyright [903.34REFPT];
      Copyright Essentials [903.35.REFPT];
      Photographers & Copyright [903.36REFPT];
      Libraries & Copyright [<903.37REFPT];
      Websites & Social Media [903.38REFPT];
      Galleries, Museums & Copyright [903.39REFPT].

Hobby's Reach Library

Copyright - Blue Mountains Historical Society Inc.