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Tasmanian Books

Tasmanian Books

Tasmania’s rich history and scenic beauty has seen a phenomenal number of books published. Petrarch’s specialises in these Tasmanian books, both new releases and hard to find favourites from the past. 
Tasmania's Vanishing Towns: Not What They Used To Be

By Michael Holmes

A second volume of Tasmania's lost, forgotten and vanished towns from days gone by. Author Michael Holmes has delved deeper to find the history behind Tasmania's many towns, settlements and hamlets that have ceased to be. Tasmania's Vanishing Towns - Not What They Used to Be is a follow up to his very popular original Vanishing Towns published in 2015 and contains all new mater.
Mountain Stories: Vol 2

By Simon Cubit

Mountain Stories: Echoes from the Tasmanian High Country, Volume 2 is a collection of nearly 50 never before published stories, illustrated in most cases with an extraordinary range of historical photographs. It is a unique series of historical musings about people, places, huts and events of the Tasmanian high country.
The Vandemonian War

By Nick Brodie

Britain formally colonised Van Diemen’s Land in the early years of the nineteenth century. There was conflict, there was violence with the Aboriginal people who lived in political and social contradiction to that colony.   

The British won the Vandemonian War and then discretely and purposefully concealed it.

Historians failed to see through the myths and lies – until now. 
The Photography of Peter Dombrovskis: Journeys into the Wild

Images by Peter Dombrovskis

Journeys into the Wild is a poetic escape to a fragile and breathtaking wilderness, with celebrated photographer Peter Dombrovskis as our guide.

Commentary and an extended introduction by Bob Brown allow readers to engage with the photographs on a deeper level.
 Lefroy; Tasmania's Forgotten Gold Town

By Peter Cox

Tucked in the hills some 15 kilometres east of George Town lies the sleepy little hamlet of Lefroy. 

At the peak of it's mining boom its output surpassed all others, including Beaconsfield.
This is the story of these mines, their booms and busts.  It is also a story of the town, its people through celebrations and struggles.
The Enigmatic Mr Strange

By Yvonne Adkins

Creating a Past: The life and art of Frederick Strange c. 1807-1873.T

This publication tells the story of Frederick Strange, who was transported to Tasmania with a life sentence in 1838. He lived in Launceston and painted portraits along with views of the emerging city from various vantage points.
Transported: Tales of Misfortune & Roguery

By Brian Harrison- Lever

“The overcrowding of British prisons in the early 1800s was a problem solved by the transportation of convicts.

Those transported – some unfortunate, some, it must be admitted, rogues – all had lives before their convictions, but we know very little of them. The narratives here make no pretence of being factual accounts, but are rather an attempt at shedding some light beyond numbers and statistics and briefly bringing to life a cross-section of a community that suffered and survived transportation”.

By Robyn Mayo

Robyn Mayo’s third publication, a collection of prints and drawings, is a visual record of travels through Arnhem Land and the Gulf Country to the north, the central desert areas, and to the south Lake Eyre and the Flinders Ranges, between 1996 and 2013, that capture the geology, vegetation and history of this timeless land.

From Cape to Cape

By Richard Bennett

With beautiful colour pictures, From Cape to Cape presents a portrait of a unique and special place. The Southern Transit - South West Cape to South East Cape of Tasmania - concentrates all that is captivating and inspiring about the geomorphology and botanical richness of the Southern Tasmanian Wilderness.
The Anzac Tree

By Christina Booth

Local Launceston Author and Illustrator Christina Booth has done it again. This time she brings us the beautiful book The Anzac Tree.

In 1916, two brothers planted two trees on their farm. They then headed far away to France to fight in the Great War. The Anzac Tree tells the story of a century of Australian generations who went to war, and the story of those who were left behind.
Tasmania's Forgotten Frontier

By John Beswick

In his book Tasmania's Forgotten Frontier, John Beswick recalls the exploits of Bass and Flinders, Captain Charles Bishop, Captain James Kelly and George Augustus Robinson. He identifies and records in detail, for the first time, the settlers who braved the isolation to establish long term grazing ventures. These settlers and their families are the hitherto unrecognised pioneers of the true North-East.
Haunted Australia
Ghosts of the Great Southern Land

By J. G. Montgomery

Australia has a dark side embedded in the landscape, deserts, convict-build gaols, museums, public houses and civic buildings. It has a harsh history of brutality and cruelty based on a convict past, so there is little wonder it is haunted.

Including 150 ghostly locations around Australia and including Tasmania.
Dr Edward Swarbreck Hall
Colonial Medical Scientist and Moral Activist

By Carey Denholm and Stefan Petrow

Dr Edward Swarbreck Hall was a thorn in the side of the Establishment of Van Diemen's Land. For nearly fifty years after his arrival in 1833 he clashed with doctors, administrators, politicians and the clergy. As a doctor he protected the inmates of the convict system, the Cascades Female Factory and the Queen's Orphanage Asylum from oppression and mistreatment.
The Last Dog on the Island

By Steve Kelleher

Detector Dog Elise and her handler, Steve Kelleher, were the only drug detection unit in Tasmania. Working for Customs, Tasmania Police, Federal Police and the Tasmanian Corrections Service, they hunted down marijuana stashes, caches of amphetamines and were instrumental in smashing an international Mafia drug ring.  Elise's keen sense of smell and Steve's ability to interpret her behaviour led to the seizure of millions of dollars in contraband.
The Road Winds On
Memoirs of L.G. Irby

Edited By Judith M. Flint

Llewellyn George Irby's recollections as conservator of forests, adventurer and establisher of the beautiful settlement of Sisters Hills, are a treasure trove of insights into Tasmanian life between the world wars. His noble optimism, good humour and devotion to family shine through times of lost privilege and grinding poverty. The Road Winds On is a delightful cameo of Tasmanian history.
River & Coastal Vessels Trading Out of Hobart 1832-2015

By A.J. (Tony) Coen

A comprehensive history of the rivercraft and coastal traders operating out of Hobart from the boom years of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, through the slow decline after World War II to the current rebirth. The people and companies that ran the shipping and ferry services are brought to life in this fascinating insight into the working port of Hobart.
Lost Mines of the Tamar

By Nigel Burch

Forgotten mines, forgotten industries...

We've all heard of the Beaconsfield gold rush, but who remembers the rush to asbestos or the long search for coal? Do you remember sandsoap, or Loira and Dilston bricks? Did you know the best ochre in Australia is around the Tamar, and we used to have an ochre-based natural paint industry? This is the history of our great-grandparents' toils, and the mines (including gold) that were forgotten
The Convict Era in Van Diemen's Land

By David L. Hopkins


Harsh British justice despatched felons to the other side of the world and provided a reluctant workforce for the early settlers. Van Diemen's Land received many thousands of convicts - all consigned to virtual slavery under embattled colonial administrators.

Renowned Tasmanian artist, illustrator and author David Hopkins, has compiled a graphic and fascinating insight in pictures and text of Tasmania's notorious and infamous convict era.
Woven Landscape
Connections in the Tasmanian Midlands

By Peter E. Davies

The Tasmanian Midlands in a place of connection - across many scales and in many directions. This is an ideal place to see natural connections and to build a mental map of them. Woven Landscape of the Tasmanian Midlands around Ross. It serves as a case study, a starting point for seeing these connections in landscapes and places everywhere.
Blood, Sweat and The Sea

By Mike Swinson

Blood, Sweat and the Sea is the biography of a remarkable man, a Tasmanian. A man who started from scratch, defied the odds and built an internationally successful business in spite of the obstacles. Robert John Muir (known as John) wasn't destined to be just another small time Australian manufacturer, he was destined for greatness in this globally competitive world. John Muir had the foresight, a dream to build the perfect winch. As the business grew so did the size and capacity of his winches. Many seafarers across the globe owe their lives to John's commitment to creating perfection. 
Tassie's Whale Boys: Whaling in Antarctic Waters

By Michael Stoddart

In the 1920s the Norwegian whalers called into Hobart with their factory ships and harpoon guns. Their cruel slaughter eventually brought the huge fin and blue whales in the frigid water of Antarctica's Toss Sea to the brink of extinction. In October 1923, twelve young Tasmanian men signed on for 'the adventure of a lifetime' and altogether 132 Tasmanians joined the Norwegian whaling expeditions over the eight following summers. All of them sought adventure, and none was disappointed.

They called themselves 'Tassie's Whale Boys' and this is their story...
The Men Who Made The Celebrated Chairs
Windsor-chair making in Tasmania

By Denis Lake

The Peddle Chair touched the lives of many Tasmanians. The Government Railways had Peddle chairs in their waiting rooms; they were in schools, public buildings, and commercial offices. Most importantly they were at the heart of family life, set around the kitchen table in Tasmanian homes and farmhouses.

This book is an illustrated history of George Peddle and Harry Hearn and the traditional craft of Windsor-chair making in the Colony of Tasmania.
Fleeting Hopes
A History of Port Davey
South West Tasmania Vol. 1

By Tony Fenton

Tony Fenton has woven ground-breaking research into an intriguing narrative that reveals an unexpected past alive with people and plans, set in an impressive but unforgiving landscape.

Port Davey, in Tasmania's rugged South West corner, is roadless even today. Such a wild landscape suggests an untrodden past, yet Tony Fenton has unearthed stories of human hopes and schemes, courage and folly, avarice and downright hard work.
Losing Streak
How Tasmania was Gamed by the Gambling Industry

By James Boyce

A jaw-dropping account of how one company came to own every poker machine in the state of Tasmania – and the cost to democracy, the public purse and problem gamblers and their families.
From the toppling of a premier, to David Walsh, the man behind MONA, taking an eccentric stand against pokie machines and the political status quo.

Losing Streak is a story of broken politics and back-room deals and is a meticulous, compelling case study in governance failure, which has implications for pokies reform throughout Australia.

Flames of Fear

By Roger McNeice Oam

A photographic and documentary history of the fear and destruction caused by bushfires in Tasmania since 1820.

Huge Fires struck in 1854, 1897-1898, 1933-1934, 1967, 2013.

Includes much unpublished new material on the 1967 disaster.
Enterprise, Risk and Ruin
The Stage-coach and the Development of Van Diemen's Land and Tasmania

By Steven Walker

A broad picture of life in Van Diemen's Land and Tasmania from earliest European settlement right through to the 1920s with topics such as the changes in colonial society as former convicts moved into the mainstream, the roles played  by women in what was traditionally a man's field, the threat of bushrangers, the beginnings of tourism, the opening of access to remote areas rich in mineral resources, and the tussle with the developing railway network - and eventually, motor vehicles.

Hardcover also available $79.95
The Abels
Volume 1
2nd Edition

Edited By Bill Wilkinson

Tasmania is world famous for its magnificent mountains.
Including a vast photographic collection and information sourced from a wide range of experienced bushwalkers The Abels Volume One captures the unique qualities of each summit

Hardcover also available $69.95
Brutality and Exile

By Michael Powell

Musiquito was an Aboriginal leader of resistance to white settlement in NSW and was exiled to Norfolk Island in 1813. When Norfolk Island residents were moved to Van Diemen's Land he became a well-known figure in and around Hobart. He was seen as a catalyst for resistance by the Tasmanians to white occupation and was hanged for his part in the murders at Grindstone Bay in 1825.

Dr Michael Powell is an Adjunct Researcher at the University of Tasmania who has depicted this important story in Tasmanian history.
Seascapes from the Roaring Forties

By Andrew Wilson

Renowned Tasmanian photographer, Andrew Wilson, has spent many years documenting the entirety of the beautiful, dramatic coastline of Australia’s only island state, and this luminous book is the result.
This brand new, large format, coffee table-style photographic book presents an innovative and dramatic view of Tasmania, its freshness, its wildness, its beauty.

A wonderful complement to Andrew’s first two books: the swashbuckling Old Sea Dogs of Tasmania volumes 1 & 2.
366 Days of Tasmania

By Thomas Gunn

Were you aware that Abel Tasman first sighted what would become Tasmania on 24 November 1642?

Or that Tasmania was the setting for one of the first actions of World War 1 when the German merchant ship the ss Oberhausen was boarded and seized in Port Huon on 5 August 1914?
Swamp Town
Invermay and it's People

By Barbara Rechberger

From the first bridge over the North Esk , the first settlers, Swamp Town, Dorset Road Trust, the railway, churches and schools, tramways and the residents and characters on The Swamp.

All 'Swampies' and former Swampy Families will want Barbara's Book.

A Field Guide to Tasmanian Fungi
2nd edition

By Genevieve Gates and David Ratkowsky

Eagerly awaited second edition.
A Field Guide to Tasmanian Fungi will enable readers to appreciate this diversity and the extraordinary variety of fungi that are present in the island state of Tasmania.
Featuring 650 species superbly illustrated with descriptions provided for each species.
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