Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2010 Issue

German Australiana from Harbeck Rare Books

Norfolkparrot

The extinct Norfolk Island parrot.


Item 87 is a photographic album of German internment camps in Australia during World War I. The photographs were taken and the album compiled by Karl Lehmann who served on a German ship. The ship had pulled into Fremantle shortly after the outbreak of the war. The ship was seized and the crew interned on Rottnest Island, just off the coast of this western Australia city. Photographs from this internment camp are rare, but this album includes many among the 300 photos contained. The prisoners were kept on Rottnest for a little over a year before being transferred. This album includes photos from the journey after leaving Europe but before reaching Australia, a look at Fremantle and the German Consulate, and then at the military camp at Fremantle. Next they go to Rottnest, where many of the photographs were taken, then to the Trial Bay internment camp, then Holdsworthy Camp, and finally, the return trip to Germany. Living conditions were apparently quite good by prisoner-of-war standards, though the crew undoubtedly would have preferred not spending a few years of their lives in this far-from-home land. AU $22,000 (US $20,170).

Item 116 is a bit ominous: Reichsstelle Fur Bodenforschung. This is a rare pamphlet on the location of various natural resources in Australia, such as coal, iron, chrome, nickel and tin. It was published in Berlin, and what makes it ominous is the date - 1941. This was published by the Nazi government, and it is evident the Nazis were preparing to take over Australia. $495 (US $453).

Item 23 is a booklet on the birds of Norfolk Island, Zur Ornithologie del Insel Norfolk, by August von Pelzeln, published in 1860. What is most notable is it contains several illustrations of birds collected and drawn by Ferdinand Bauer in 1805. It includes three of the Norfolk Island parrot, Nestor norfolcensis as he labeled it (now known to be the same as Nestor productus). This bird had become extinct by the time of this book, the last living example dying in a London zoo in 1851. $1,650 (US $1,512).

Harbeck Rare Books may be reached at 0416 362 443 or books@harbeck.com.au.

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