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Archive for the ‘Boolarong Press’ Category

Booksigning at New FarmLAST Saturday morning’s book-signing at New Farm Editions in Merthyr Village brought lots of interesting conversations, particularly with people who love books and good stories, and are intrigued with the publication process.

On hand to assist Gerard were his mother Vivienne Benjamin and his middle sister Leonie McEniery. All the way from Ballarat (though not just for this event) was Sandra. She and her mother Aline were interested in Ethel Monk, grand-daughter of the novelist JCW. An enlarged family tree came in handy in order to plot the connections.

Tom Hurstbourne at New FarmJohn Clavering Wood's descendants celebrate his bookFamily meet-up at booksigning
Local New Farm resident Tamsin O’Connor, having grown up on the edge of Shropshire, obliged listeners with an ‘accent sampling’ of how both John Clavering Woods may have sounded.

Almost all who lingered to chat at this busy spot in Merthyr Village, knew about or had read Reflections on New Farm, but had not necessarily connected it with the editor of Tom Hurstbourne and A Shropshire Squire.

Many thanks to Chris Derrick for taking superb photos on the day.High traffic area for New Farm booksigning

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Queensland University of Technology "Links Alumni Magazine" Aug10SPRING’S arrival has given Gloria pause to recall her start at Kelvin Grove Teachers’ College 65 years ago, a milestone marked in the latest QUT Alumni Magazine with an interesting story and superb photo. (Thanks to Sandi Hutchinson and Erika Fish).

August 28 was the day for book launches, including the very handsome volume Brisbane: Houses, Gardens, Suburbs and Congregations, edited by Rod Fisher. We contributed Chapter 9: “Reflecting the suburb… New Farm”. Also on the day’s program at the Merthyr Road Uniting Church Centre, was Gerard’s talk which sketched our approach to writing the continuing local best-seller, Reflections on New Farm.

Patrick Leslie BookletAt the same time, further up the peninsula at Newstead House, a booklet entitled Patrick Leslie Started Something Great, was enjoying its debut. Helen Gregory’s text and historic photos portray Newstead House’s first owner, as well as the remarkable social network surrounding subsequent residents of Brisbane’s oldest remaining home. Our job was to typeset, design and produce the booklet for Friends of Newstead.

Research never quite stops even once the book is published. You’ll note from recent posts (below) that intriguing links have been established between John Clavering Wood, the diarist of A Shropshire Squire, and the prominent Quaker, anti-slavery Rathbone family of Liverpool.

This connection in turn leads back to Shropshire and the ironmasters of Coalbrookdale, a spot on the Severn River which played such a pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution.

Family features...

Family resemblance after 5 generations?

August also saw us signing books at Angus & Robertson, Carindale in Brisbane, ably assisted not only by Boolarong Press publisher, Dan Kelly, but also by another kinswoman in the Wood family, Pam Cosgrove of Brisbane. In fact, Pam’s daughter Janice was particularly struck by the photo of her ggg-grandmother, Emilia Horsman (1809-61). Is it our imagination or is there a resemblance there?

Another happy encounter at Carindale was meeting Peter Collins of Garrison Communications, the well-known Brisbane Family History research service. Peter’s enthusiasm for the genealogical quest is truly infectious. In fact, his forebear and Tom Hurstbourne’s author are likely to have rubbed shoulders in the colonial outpost of early 1860s Brisbane. With Peter’s encouragement, we’ve taken the plunge into the Twitterosphere, as per <twitter.com/GGBooks>. The brave new world of Facebook is the next challenge…

New Farm Village News article - September 2010

Thanks to "New Farm Village News", as well as Anna Stewart's 'Village Voice', for great local support.

We also signed books at Angus & Robertson Victoria Point, where there was no shortage of people wishing to talk history. Another happenstantial encounter had us chatting to the descendant of Mabel Forrest (1872-1935), a Queensland poet who lived in Bowen Terrace, New Farm in 1902. Her most successful work was The Wild Moth (London, 1924), filmed by Charles Chauvel as The Moth of Moonbi. Chauvel chose for one of his locations, Teneriffe House in Brisbane.

Who can forget 21 August, Australia’s hung-parliament Election Day? We were on duty at the Merthyr Road polling booth, where lots preferred to talk books and history, rather than discuss their ballot paper. There was no shortage of appreciative feedback about Reflections on New Farm, plus we were kept busy signing copies and taking note of fresh stories…

On the subject of fresh stories, there are some intriguing epilogic notes to be offered on Tom Hurstbourne, including a detailed physical description of the author, but let’s leave them for another time…
Our next exciting project is to plumb the mysteries of Gloria’s Nonmus forebears which even take in a slave-ship captain and privateering on the high seas…

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Mary Ryan staff

Mary Ryan's Andrea and Christine pay rapt attention...

A HAPPY BAND of book-lovers raised a glass to Tom Hurstbourne at New Farm’s Mary Ryan Bookshop last Thursday evening 15 April.

The well-publicized “Editors at Dusk” event attracted around 20 notable locals to hear how John Clavering Wood’s 1865 manuscript – against all the odds – survived for 145 years until the happenstantial appearance of the author’s gg-grandson Gerard Benjamin and transcriber par excellence, Gloria Grant. Boolarong Press recently published this remarkable early work of Queensland literature.

Gloria and Gerard presentation

Gerard makes a point about his gg-grandfather John Clavering Wood.

With superlative publicity organized by Andrea Clifford (Boolarong and Mary Ryan’s) and owner Christine Purdy’s expert rearrangement of the New Farm shop into a congenial launch pad, the evening proved a delightful opportunity to salute a by-gone author and mix with like-minded bookophiles, all against a sumptuous backdrop of well-stocked shelves.

Sincere thanks to Christine and Andrea as well as Chris Derrick for doing the photographic honours.

Trio at Mary Ryans

Mother and daughters trio are on a quest for their own Queensland ancestor.

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Emerald Mayor Peter Maguire (left) performs the honours for "Tom Hurstbourne".

SENIOR librarian Margaret Forbes was on hand at Emerald airport to welcome Gloria and Gerard for the regional launch of Tom Hurstbourne on Friday 5 March – meanwhile publisher Dan Kelly was on the road from Rockhampton battling rising rivers to make the rendezvous.

Luckily the sun came out and despite the Springsure contingent’s bowing out because of water-logged roads and Councillor Penny Bulger phoning in from a flooded creek with her apologies, there was a welcoming crowd at Emerald’s congenial library. A special guest was Mrs Flora Jaques formerly of Bogantungan, whose prodigious memory has helped many local historians.

Margaret invited Dan Kelly of Boolarong Press to address the literary and historical significance of Tom Hurstbourne, before Mayor Peter Maguire declared this remarkable 1865 novel, officially launched.

Gerard Benjamin, the author’s great-great-grandson, explained how the book came to be written as well as how the manuscript was discovered after being ‘lost’ for so long. A humorous excerpt from the novel reminded listeners that some things never change even over the course of 145 years…

Coincidental attendees were a couple touring from Wales who had a particular interest in the author’s Shropshire origins.

There’s something magical about having your copy of freshly-published book signed, so the editors only earned their place at the impressive afternoon tea after more than 25 copies were signed. Luckily, there are still a couple of signed copies still available from Joanne at Blossom’s Gift and Homewares (4982 2489) in Emerald.

Emerald book launch

Sincere thanks to Margaret and staff (Ann, Jenny and their trainee, not forgetting Dylan who managed the slideshow) for making Emerald a memorable stopover in the territory that author John Clavering Wood once knew so well.

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Mercy Heritage Centre, the setting for Tom Hurstbourne's launch

Perfect day, perfect setting...

JOHN CLAVERING WOOD could not have hoped for a more successful debut for his novel penned 145 years ago. 150 people gathered at the congenially-historic Mercy Heritage Precinct under miraculously clear skies to enjoy a socially, intellectually and historically interesting afternoon.

The unexpected and unofficial attendance of a high-profile public figure, who wished to pay tribute to John Clavering Wood’s achievement, was the cherry on what was already a well-iced cake.

All Hallows Chapel, setting for book launch

Brisbane History Group President, Lisa Jones.

Newly-elected President of the Brisbane History Group, LISA JONES, welcomed attendees in the beautiful All Hallows’ Chapel, before handing over to DAVID HINCHLIFFE, Councillor for Brisbane Central, who discharged his ‘mastery of ceremonies’ with consummate skill and humour.

GUEST OF HONOUR, Ian Callinan AC QC provided a 20-minute address in which he expressed surprise at the novelist’s detailed grasp of the essentials of colonial outback life. Despite difficulties with the microphone, David elicited from the retired High Court Justice the pivotal one-line verdict: “It is a very important book”.

Books on Sale

Many attendees invested in a signed copy!

The publisher is the one who enables a manuscript to see the light of day, so DAN KELLY of Boolarong Press, put his case in a nutshell: “You are not purchasing a book, but making an investment.” Whether it was this point, or David’s repeated requests for those who hadn’t yet bought a book to raise their hands, the result was 90 sales of the softback edition and several inquiries about the hardback version.

In his reply, GERARD BENJAMIN paid tribute not only to his fellow-editor GLORIA GRANT, but also his second cousin twice removed RICHARD WOOD who generously gave the manuscript to Gerard.

Guest of Honour

Guest of Honour, Ian Callinan AC QC, described the novel as "a very important book".

Following afternoon tea and tours of the centre, the seminar commenced with the editors’ remarkable account of what historians and genealogists only dream about – finding a long-lost manuscript of historic and literary importance.

Professor PATRICK BUCKRIDGE offered an absorbing account of how the novel was comprised of several different literary styles and themes. If the result appeared somehow ‘unpolished’ in part, whereby the ‘stitches’ were visible, this only added to the understanding of how the author constructed his narrative. Besides, the editors verified that the manuscript was unedited as regards content, in contrast to most books which undergo significant editorial modification before they are published. Patrick’s illuminating examination will be available in a coming issue of the Queensland Review along with an extract from the novel.

David Hinchliffe and Rod Fisher

MC David Hinchliffe (left) & chief planner Dr Rod Fisher.

ROD FISHER spelt out Tom Hurstbourne’s historical perspectives, contrasting it with an earlier novel, Fern-Vale (1862) which was published in London. Its author, Colin Munro, later became a Brisbane shop-keeper.

Historical Group

Gerard and Gloria with Stephen Sheaffe, RHSQ and Sue Finnigan, National Trust of Queensland.

Gloria and Gerard were kept busy throughout the whole afternoon signing copies of the book. Costumed members of Dance Kaleidosocope entertained attendees and helped to evoke the 1860s era.

How happy John Clavering Wood must have been that six of his direct descendants were present, as well as his grandnephew, Richard Wood, who had travelled all the way from Melbourne just to be there.

Who was the mystery guest? None other than the gracious, intelligent and down-to-earth Penelope Wensley AO, Governor of Queensland.

Dance Kaleidoscope members Denis and Sheree

Dance Kaleidoscope dressed for the period.

Awaiting the first arrivals

Gloria, Patricia & name cards await attendees.

Publisher and Editor

Publisher Dan Kelly of Boolarong Press with Gerard

Launch Conversations

The event generated conversations and contacts galore.

The outlook from All Hallows'

The Story Bridge overlooked the event.

Grateful thanks to Chris Derrick for the excellent photographic record of the event (plus last photo by Gaye Fitzpatrick)

Booksigning was in demand

Booksigning was in demand

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GLORIA was in seventh heaven at Boolarong Press’ Salisbury office yesterday, surrounded by softbacks and hardbacks of the freshly printed Tom Hurstbourne.

Bookophiles claim that authors’ (in our case, editors’) signatures add value to the tome, so signing a carton was a sure way of enhancing Tom Hurstbourne’s cultural worth for generations to come.

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