Found in the papers of L.R. Reeve (see A.J. Balfour for background on him) this piece about the Australian writer and educationalist Sir Fred Schonell. He was also the author of several books aimed at teaching children to write and spell. The site Old School Reading Books suggests that some of these have become collectable. Reeve, having met the great man, had presentation copies of some of these...
SIR FRED SCHONELL
Professor Hamley once stated that the late Sir Fred Schonell was the best secretary the education section of the British Psychological Society had ever had. How right he was. Hamley, like Schonell, was an Australian, but there was no exaggeration in his assertion, for although Schonell’s unruffled manner was rather deceptive I also, whose knowledge of earlier secretaries is possibly greater than Hamley's, can announce that he was nearly perfect, and his professional career is a record of almost unbroken success. Moreover, although he and I were mutual members of three societies in London and frequently used to have a chat, I have to admit that until I read an obituary appreciation in The Times I was unaware of a great deal of his unusual career. I knew he was born in Perth, but it was news to me that he was one of the first graduates of the University of Western Australia to achieve a Hackett overseas scholarship. Continue reading →
A pamphlet found in a Fanfrolico Press book The Antichrist of Nietzsche illustrated by Australian artist Norman Lindsay. Printed about 1927 it is by his great champion P.R. Stephensen who was a friend of Lindsay's son Jack. Stephensen (1901-1965) was known as 'Inky' and was a curious figure, starter of many presses including Mandrake and something of a left wing firebrand who moved to the far right in his middle years. Here he is in his late twenties ranting in full épater le bourgeois mode:
Norman Lindsay Does Not Care An Outburst by P. R. Stephensen
Fanfrolico Pamphlets No. I
Price One Farthing
Why should Norman Lindsay care if suburbia shudders with a horror which is really terror of his stark and ruthless presentation of the image of beauty? Nothing else could be expected, for at this level criticism remains atavistically moral, tribal; and any artist making a vital expression is likely to be regarded as a spawn of Satan, Antichrist, lewd and wicked, abhorrent to all Right-Thinking People. Norman Lindsay does not care how loudly the Good People howl for his suppression. But the Ofﬁcial Art Mob (or Mobs) also dislike him, with the intensity of a fascination which repels as it attracts. And as these quite sophisticated persons officially disown Suburbia, it is difficult for them to damn the man in Suburbia’s phrasing. Yet they must do something about it, because his work is by contrast a continual exposure of their own artistic ineptitude and moral vacuity. So they seek to explain him away, ostrich principle. Continue reading →
It’s a long way from East Anglia, to Sydney, New South Wales, but Thomas Townshend, who was born in Raynham, Norfolk, in 1733, and who became Viscount Sydney in 1789, was the Home Secretary who gave his name to the growing coastal community which later became Sydney Town.
Here we have his bookplate, probably printed soon after his elevation to the Upper House. It depicts a coronet over a shield that features the scallop shell symbols of his branch of the Townshend family. The son of a minor aristocrat, Townshend attended Clare College, Cambridge and in 1754, not long after graduating, entered the Commons as Whig member for Whitchurch at the age of just 21.He subsequently held offices in various ministries until Shelburne appointed him Home Secretary in 1782. Not long afterwards he was elevated to the Upper House as Baron Sydney and under Pitt the Younger continued as Home Secretary until 1789. In office he declared his intention of reforming convicted felons by sending them to make a fresh start in New Holland, as Australia was then known. His policy proved so successful in New South Wales that the Governor, Arthur Phillips named the tiny community of Sydney Cove after him. Subsequent Australian historians, however, have been less enthusiastic about Sydney’s role in Britain’s transportation policy.
After leaving office in 1789 Sydney, now Viscount Sydney, retired to his country pile, Frognal House, near Sidcup in Kent, where he died in 1800. As the bookplate came from the estate of a descendant of the poet and essayist Austin Dobson, who was a great enthusiast of the Georgian period, it is very possible that it once formed part of his personal collection.
Found - a rare and sensational Australian pulp mystery/ thriller from the late 1940s. Unknown to online malls and the great bibliography of crime fiction by Allen J Hubin, although he lists other titles by Max Afford. It is titled An Ear for Murder (Frank Johnson, Sydney, no date). The inside cover reads:
This is a Magpie novel - read it now it will hold you to the end.
What manner of creature was this, to whom the slaying of his victim was not enough? What manner of foul beast was it whose bloody fingers must perform the further savagery of mutilation? What strange secrets lay behind the locked doors of the mysterious, corpse-guarded study? These are the questions answered by world-famous criminologist Jeffery Blackburn in this punch-packed story of murder on the loose. With thrills on every page, this grand story of crime and detection is a "must" for murder-fiction fans. You won't be able to put it down until you've turned the last page.
The book appears intelligent and well written , the sleuth's day job being a professor of higher mathematics. The claim on the cover 'No crime could be more horrifying in its ferocity' may be something of an exaggeration..the plot involves a crazed novelist, a millenarian sect and a titled British millionaire stockbroker. There are as many as 100 books in the Magpie series, not all thrillers or even fiction.