During my research for Badge, Boot, Button: The Story of Australian Uniforms, I looked at one of the many curious treasures in the National Library's collection: a large metal trunk painted red and black, with a label engraved ‘P. Shaw Esq'. Inside the trunk, folds of black wool and a burst of feathers resolve themselves into a uniform decorated with gold braid and topped with a plumed bicorn hat.
Most good picture books have some kind of dual narrative going on, another story that's quite apart from the text. As visual narrative, illustrations should not be a direct reflection of the text—they should be so much more.
For a book like This Is Banjo Paterson, where young children are introduced to a topic that's not typical for their age, it was very important to get this visual narrative right.
When I was first approached by the Library's publisher Susan Hall to write what would become What Do We Want? The Story of Protest in Australia, I declined. I was too busy with ‘more serious' things. Besides, I'd never written a ‘picture book' before and was unsure what it would involve.
Do you ever feel like a box of birds? Is a man ever a camel? Do you know someone who couldn't organise a chook raffle at a poultry farm? The language in our fortnightly publications meetings became considerably saltier (and decidedly un-Public Service-like) during the production of Fair Dinkum!: Aussie Slang with H.G. Nelson.
This little red book about the papers and speeches of Colonel Hutton 1894-1898 was recently brought up to the Preservation lab for a few repairs. When we took a closer look, it was evident that this leather tightback with false raised bands had not only lost its lower board with its upper board hanging on by a thread, but it had already received some treatment in the past.
Last month, local ABC radio presenter, Hailey Renault, asked Mount Isa residents about what having MIMAG—the Mount Isa Mining Magazine—available in Trove meant to them.
MIMAG was the in-house magazine of Mount Isa Mines; copies from 1947 to 1996 have been digitised and are now available in Trove.
Bunboé, Murrangurk, Duramboi, Waki, Giom, Anco. These are the names that Indigenous people gave to some of the convict escapees and shipwreck survivors they took into their communities during the nineteenth century. Their generosity ensured the Europeans' survival and, for the most part, both parties mourned the white people's return to European life.
The idea for a children's picture book about the pedal radio first came up at a meeting I attended in Melbourne in 2013, with publisher Susan Hall, literary agent Jacinta Di Mase and illustrator Robert Ingpen.
Having established a clear link between the City of Aberdeen and a London bookseller, sometime hosier and dealer in articles of natural history last year, the life of Alexander Shaw has continued to cause me to itch.
And so while in Scotland recently I was delighted to come face-to-face with records relating to Alexander Shaw's business dealings, his estate and the Alexander Shaw Hospital.