Home' Ausmarine : August 2009 Contents SHIPWRECK ARCHAEOLOGY
Edited by MICHAEL NASH
Maritime archaeology is a very specialised
activity carried out by a small group of
usually intensely dedicated people. It is
obviously a much more complex and
difficult activity than archaeology conducted on land.
It is, though, an incredibly valuable branch of the archaeology
profession. Maritime history and maritime heritage has been a
vital component of human development.
Australia, of course, has had only a relatively short maritime
history. Its shipwrecks are much more recent than their
counterparts in the Mediterranean or southeast Asia, for example.
They are also considerably fewer.
Nevertheless, as Australia depends upon shipping for some 96
per cent of the volume of its trade, it is an important activity. More
so in the past before rail, road and air transport became a factor.
This attractively presented book examines fifteen famous
Australian shipwrecks in an archaeological sense. They range from the
'Batavia' of 1629 to the 'Tasman' of 1883. A good cross section. It also
describes the activities and techniques of maritime archaeologists.
Very interesting. A useful contribution to Australia's
Available from University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, Australia.
By PETER PLOWMAN
Another fine and very valuable effort from the
combined talents of author Peter Plowman
and publisher Rosenberg Publishing.
This creative team provides a very useful and
valuable service by producing high quality books for what must be
a very limited and not very lucrative market.
The successor to "Coast to Coast" published in 2007, this book
focuses on the Trans Tasman liners that operated from the 1930s
to the 1960s. 'Wanganella' was the definite star of that show. She
was a 10,000 tonne motor (i.e. diesel) ship that gave very good
service in both peace and war to owner Huddart Parker Limited.
A very detailed history is the result. Packed with interesting
anecdotes and replete with numerous excellent paintings and
photographs, it provides a first rate record of an interesting and
Available from Rosenberg Publishing, Kenthurst, Australia.
Voyager of the Winds
By KATE LANCE
A delightful, warts-and-all, biography of one
of the world's most notable chroniclers of
In a way Alan Villiers was a fossil. Born too
late to really participate in the era of maritime
sail, he devoted his life to chronicling what remained of it in the
A prickly perfectionist, Villiers made plenty of enemies but he
also enjoyed the support and backing of many others. His
memorial is still to be found in libraries all over the world. Many
of his forty odd books were best sellers and his articles, particularly
in the National Geographic, were published to great acclaim.
Your reviewer first experienced Villiers through that medium in
the 1960s and has enjoyed and valued his work ever since. This
fine biography does him proud.
Available from UNSW Press, Sydney, Australia.
HARVESTING THE SEA
The Story of the Puglisi Family,
By MICHAEL JOSEPH PUGLISI & NATALINA
The Puglisis of southern New South Wales
and Port Lincoln in South Australia are
among the very first families of Australia's
Originating in Sicily the family emigrated in the 1920s to seek a
new and better life in Australia. They did it hard. Through
determination, persistence, hard work and a willingness to take risks,
they mostly achieved success that is probably beyond the wildest
dreams of Joe (Giuseppe) the original Italian/Australian patriarch.
This large and incredibly intensively researched book does the
family proud. It is undoubtedly the best history yet produced of
the Australian fishing industry even as it focuses only on one
Starting in Wollongong with an open 25 foot (7.8 metre)
fishing boat, it is hard to believe the vessels and equipment used
by the family seven decades later. Throughout, the family were
innovators and conservers. They were long-term thinkers and this
has paid off for them.
A big, detailed and very valuable book describing the history of
a family that has contributed enormously to Australia's
unfortunately fast-fading fishing industry.
Available from Mini-Publishing, Sydney, Australia.
CHARLES DARWIN ON
THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
The Illustrated Edition
Edited by DAVID QUAMMEN
Just as four years ago we saw a rash of books
about Nelson and Trafalgar to celebrate the
bi-centenary of that furious battle, in 2009
there has been a feast of books on Charles Darwin. He was, of
course, born in 1809. His landmark book was first published
150 years ago.
As with the Nelsonian output, the quality of the Darwinian
deluge varies in quality. This one, however, is excellent in every
way. Only a died-in-the-wool creationist could find anything to
complain about in it.
Both editor and publisher have done an excellent job of
enhancing Charles Darwin's original material. They certainly had
high quality raw material but they have crafted it exceptionally
well. This is a very special book of the very highest quality.
Available from Sterling Publishing Co, New York, USA. Web:
www.sterlingpublishing.com and from Capricorn Link, Windsor,
Australia. Web: www.capricornlink.com.au
By KATHERINE JOHNSON
A very satisfyingly good book. Your reviewer
normally dislikes novels about the sea but
this one is different. He also normally
distrusts anything written by modern
marine scientists. Again, this one is different.
The author, until recently, worked as a science journalist. It is
good to learn she has been able to escape that activity.
Given her previous employment, it is remarkable that she has
been able to write such a book as sympathetic as it is to a crew of
Antarctic tooth fish smugglers.
Rather than spoil the plot or the characters by describing them,
all I can recommend is that you buy this delightful book and really
Available from Harper Collins Publishing, Pymble, Australia.
AUSMARINE August 2009 35
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