Monday, November 23, 2015

Early Houses of Northern Tasmania: Abridged Edition by E. Graeme Robertson and Edith N. Craig.

Early Houses of Northern Tasmania: Abridged Edition by E. Graeme Robertson and Edith N. Craig. Hardcover book published by Georgian House 1966 (abridged edition with revisions), 323 pages with black and white photographs and a few black and white illustrations.

The sale of all sets of the original two volume, limited edition of EARLY HOUSES OF NORTHERN TASMANIA within three months of publication in 1964 clearly indicated a far wider interest in the subject than had been anticipated. The present abridgement in one volume has been prepared in response to many requests from those who were unable to acquire the limited edition. This richly illustrated work provides a pageant in word and picture of the houses built and occupied by the early settlers of Northern Tasmania. Today many of these beautiful old houses are occupied by descendants of the original settlers to whom their preservation is a duty handed down by those who have gone before. Others have come into the possession of new owners, who bestow equally loving care on their preservation. Franklin House, Clarendon and The Grange arc owned by the National Trust, whose excellent work earns for its members the gratitude of all who feel conscious of the need for protecting such properties from the vandal and the “developer”. More than 130 houses are illustrated and described in some detail, some being represented by a number of superb plates, and many more receiving brief mention in the narrative. The text contains brief accounts of the original owners, their arrival in the colony, their grants or purchases of land; and accounts from early travellers of their visits to some of the houses, as well as the names of present owners. The book contains 269 plates and eight itinerary maps—frontispieces to the eight chapters which deal in detail with each house as it is met with during the authors’ travels. The endpapers reproduce an early map of Tasmania. This abridged edition includes all buildings appearing in the original edition and three dwellings and two churches, which did not previously appear, have been added. Additional photographs of some houses, previously illustrated, have also been included where recent restoration or repainting has enhanced the aesthetic quality of the building.

Tasmania. It's not really that far from here, but far enough and over water enough for me to not have visited it. It's not that I have anything against the Apple Isle, it's just one of those places that whilst on the list, never seems to make it to the top of the list. I really must do something about this.

Despite not having ventured there, I am aware of the book buying publics appreciation for all (or most) books Tassie. Yep, a good Tassie book is as good a thing as you can get. I've got a few theories about why this is with the main theory being that people of Tasmania really do love Tasmania, more so than say those people who just live somewhere and like it. The people of Tasmania REALLY like it. Whenever i've flicked through any books about our southern most state, I start to dream a little about how nice it would be to live somewhere as nice as that*. I'm sure the reality is not all beautiful scenery and historic sites and there is no doubt a dark underside to Tasmanian living as much as there is elsewhere here in Australia... but possibly less than somewhere like Syria.

This book is not a first edition as the publishers blurb above indicates, yet it is still worth more than a few $$$... a bit like some of the houses in the book... but maybe not quite as much. I recently sold a book about Tasmania's National Trust properties which is possibly another way of getting a glimpse at historical Tasmanian architecture. I didn't have a thorough look at the National Trust book but I get the feeling that this one whilst not covering all of Tassie, it is a little broader in scope and is heading towards the bees knees of books looking at the Early Houses of Northern Tasmania.

*... and then realise I live somewhere just as nice.  

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