History Books: Part Three: History

Following on from last week’s posts about our ancient past, I am starting this post with a few crossover books about ancient civilisations to give a baseline for future developments.

Prehistory is defined as the time before written records and given that the first writing was developed in 3 600 BCE, the following books can easily be included in a post on the early history of mankind.

The Atlas of World Archaeology  Edited by Paul G Bahn 2006 (Earlier editions 2000 and 2003)

While Part One focuses on Prehistoric Man: the earliest hominids and first modern humans; tool making and use of fire; African genesis and the spread of archaic and modern humans; the Neanderthals; the Ice Age and prehistoric art, the rest of the book examines the development of the early civilisations.

Part Two discusses the major advances in the next 10 000 years: the emergence of farming (animal and plant domestication; dairying; animals for traction power and wealth; and use of wool); pyrotechnology ( pottery and metallurgy: copper; bronze; iron and gold); and writing and early settlements, while Part Three is devoted to a more detailed look at the rise of civilisations in the different regions of the world:

Europe and Western Asia: Uruk (Warka) in Southern Mesopotamia; Varna in the Balkans; Sumerians and Akkadians, Mesopotamia; Minoans of Crete and the Mycenean on the Greek Mainland; the Hittites and the Assyrians; the Philistines and the Israelites; the Phoenicians; the Assyrian Empire; Saba, Southern Arabia; the Etruscans; Classical Greece and Ancient Rome .

Central, South and East Asia: the Harappans of the Indus Valley, India; the ancient dynasties of China (Xia; Shang; Zhou; Qin; Han); Early states in Korea (Paekche, Koguryo and Shilla) and Japan (Yayoi period); the Maruyas, Kushans and Guptas of India; the Scythians and Steppe Nomads; the Persian Empire; the Greeks in Asia; and the Empires along the Silk Road.

Africa: Ancient Egypt (Predynastic; Old, Middle and New Kingdoms); Ancient Nubia (Kerma and the Kingdom of Kush) on the Upper Nile and Axum on the Red Sea; the Nok in Central Nigeria; the Kingdom of Ghana; and the Empire of Mali.

The Americas: the Bison Hunters and Mound Builders (Adena and Hopewell cultures; the Mississippian tradition) of North America; the Pueblo Dwellers of the South-West; the Olmecs and Classical Highland civilisations of Mesoamerica; the Mayan States of Central America; the Aztecs of Central Mexico;  Andean States and Empires (Chavan; Moche; Paracas; Nasca; Tiwanaku; Wari and Chimor); and the Inca Empire of Peru.

Australia and the Pacific: Ice Age peoples and Lake Mungo; Later hunter-gatherers; Early Melanesia; Colonizing the Pacific (the Lapita people; and Polynesian voyagers); Easter Island; and the Maoris of New Zealand.BlogHxBooksReszd20%Image (585)

History is such a fascinating, complex and enormous subject with so much happening in all the different parts of the world simultaneously, so I found this book really useful for getting a handle on the different regional developments. This understanding is reinforced by timelines and excellent maps indicating key archaeological sites, as well as feature boxes and photographs of specific finds. By no means exhaustive, this book is a good general guide, with a clear simple presentation, but for a more in-depth discussion of the early civilisations, it is worth reading the following book:

The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations Edited by Arthur Cotterell 1980

Written by over 30 international  experts, this interesting book provides a good overview of the prehistoric world and a detailed analysis of separate ancient civilizations. It discusses the art, architecture, language, mythology , religion and chronology of early societies, as well as  their emergence, development, interaction and decline. In the back are suggestions for further reading.

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Ancient History: From the First Civilizations to the Renaissance  by JM Roberts 2002

This would have to be one of my thickest books! This door-stopper of a book tells the story of more than 10 000 years of history and includes sidebars and feature boxes, which focus on major turning-points of history, as well as major figures and background information to the main text.

While the first half of the book recaps on the prehistory of mankind; the early civilisations; and Classical Greece and Ancient Rome, it then progresses to examine Islam and the Arab Empires; Byzantium; the Turks and the Ottomans; the consolidation of Medieval Europe; the Vikings, Angles and Saxons; Christianity; the Far East (India; Imperial China; and Japan); Africa and the Americas; and further historical developments in Europe (The Crusades; Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch explorations; and the Renaissance). Another very interesting and readable book!BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (581)

The Cassell Atlas of World History Forewood by Barry Cunliffe 1998

This excellent atlas also covers a larger time period than the first book I discussed.

It is divided into 6 parts:

The Ancient World (4 000 000 to 500 BC);

The Classical World (500 BC to 600 AD);

The Medieval World (600 AD to 1492 AD);

From Columbus to American Independence ( 1492 AD to 1783 AD);

The 19th Century World (1783 AD to 1914 AD); and

From World War One to the Present (1914 AD to 1997 AD).

Each part is again divided into different regional areas (Europe; the Middle East; Africa; South and East Asia; the Americas; and Australasia), with an overall global outline of each time period at the beginning and detailed insights into all the periods of dramatic change and major events shaping history.

The text is supported by comprehensive world and regional maps, which are colour-coded to show the major civilizations in each area and lines with arrowheads indicating journeys, migrations and trade routes, as well as timelines, arranged in geographical or thematic sections, also colour-coded for major extended events and historical periods with pointers to particular to particular events.

This is an excellent book for showing comparative histories at a glance. For example, in the section on the rise of agriculture (1.03), the world map is colour-coded to show the transition periods to agriculture throughout the world and details the different animals and plants domesticated in each area; as well as textile and pottery finds; the earliest centres of metallurgy and the early spread of wheeled vehicles; while the next map (1.04) gives a very clear picture of the different modes of life throughout the world in 2000 BC (hunter-gatherers; nomadic pastoralists; simple and complex farming societies; and chiefdoms and  state societies) with the names of the separate groups in each area.

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The Times Compact Atlas of World History Edited by Geoffrey Parker 4th Edition 1995 is a similar book, but is much smaller and more compact.

It is divided into four parts:

 The Ancient World : Human Origins; the development of agriculture and the rise of civilizations to the collapse of Ancient Rome;

The World Fragmented : The spread of Christianity; the Byzantine and Islamic worlds; the Franks and Anglo-Saxons; the Vikings; the Mongol Empire; the Muslim Empires of India and Persia; Africa; Medieval Europe; South East Asia to 1511; China and Japan to 1644; the Ottoman Empire and Precolumbian America;

The Rise of the West: Voyages of discovery; European overseas expansion; the expansion of France and Russia; Colonial America; the Reformation; Habsburg ascendancy in Europe; China to 1911, India to 1947 and Japan to 1830; The Age of Revolution (America; and the Napoleonic Empire); the Industrial Revolution in Europe; the emerging Global Economy 1775; the United States to 1865 and Australia and New Zealand from 1788; the Decline of the Ottoman Empire; Nationalism in Europe; Imperialism; the European Powers and the World on the eve of the First World War;

The Modern World: The Chinese Republic (1911-1949); the First World War; Russian Revolution; Political problems in Europe 1919-1939; The Great Depression; the Second World War in Europe, Asia and the Pacific; the United States since 1945; Europe 1945 to 1973; Soviet Union to 1991; East Asia since 1945 and Decolonization after 1947; Middle East since 1917; Latin America since 1930; Africa and Asia since 1945; the Cold War 1947 to 1989; Europe since 1973; the Collapse of Communism in Europe since 1989 and the World in the 1990s (world population; infant mortality and life expectancy; gross national product and foreign investment; and ozone depletion).

And now here we are, 20 years later with major problems like climate change and environmental degradation, over-population, resource depletion , terrorism and political instability throughout the world! History never stands still and is constantly being made or rewritten, but this small volume with its condensed maps, graphs and diagrams gives a brief overall picture of world history at the time.

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I often find children’s books are often a good way to get an overall basic view of complex subjects like space, archaeology and time and the next two books are good examples.

The Junior Wall Chart of History: From Earliest Times to the Present by Christos Kondeatis 1990

This wall chart covers the last 6 000 years (4 000 BC on) and is divided into illustrated coloured bands, representing the different areas of the world (the Americas; Europe- Western Europe/ Eastern Europe and Middle East; India; Asia; China; Africa and Australasia) and different themes (Explorers and Traders; Scientists and Inventors; The Arts and Religion; and ‘First’ Dates).BlogHxBooksReszd2517-09-24 22.34.02Designed to pull out in one continuous wall chart, marked at the top by the date, it is an excellent way of displaying comparative history in a simple uncomplicated style. For example, a quick glance at the year 1200 BC (photo above) reveals that the Sea Peoples from Greece and the Mediterranean were raiding and resettling neighbouring countries; the wandering Urnfield people, who were ancestors of the Celts, started to settle and farm in villages; Stonehenge had already been built;  the Trojan Wars started between rival Greek city states; the Assyrian Empire, the New Kingdom of Egypt  and Shang Dynasty in China were in full swing; the Phoenician seafarers and merchants were starting to establish trading posts in the Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean and West Africa’s coast; the Akkadian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh was written and the Jews began their worship of only one god, Jahweh.BlogHxBooksReszd2017-09-24 22.34.33In the Beginning: The Nearly Complete History of Almost Everything by Brian Delf and Richard Plat 1995

Another excellent book for children about the major world historical events, presented in a slightly different format.

After a brief look at the origins of our planet and geographical features and life on Earth, our past is examined through our achievements and developments and everyday life: our homes, buildings and bridges; clothing, medicine and weapons; writing and communication; inventions; and energy, work and methods of transport.

Each entry is illustrated with images of the subject at different time periods and in different countries, accompanied by brief explanatory text, a wonderful way of showing the diversity of each subject through time and space, as well as the development of each subject and man’s ingenuity. In the back is a biographical index of the key historical figures mentioned in the book.

An excellent book for inspiring a curiosity and interest in history, which can so often be presented in a dry or dusty way, which has the exactly opposite effect!BlogHxBooksReszd20%Image (582)

There are so many different ways of presenting history. The previous books have either been factual accounts, atlases with maps and timelines or wall charts. Another very successful way is in the form of story-telling his-story, the next two books being excellent examples.

A Very Short History of the World by Geoffrey Blainey 2004

Tracing the story of mankind over the last 4 Million years, this book examines the influences of geography, religion and technology in shaping the world.

Part One starts with the prehistory of mankind, the implications of agriculture, the specialisation of skills and the development of the early civilisations and their achievements from Mesopotamia through to the Ancient Romans.

Part Two progresses from the Mongol hordes to Medieval Europe; the Ottoman conquests; the Renaissance Period; advances in science and exploration; and the colonization of new lands.

Part Three covers American Independence and the French Revolution; the settlement of Australia; the African Slave Trade; the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Steam; the American Civil War and the Taiping Rebellion; Darwin and Evolution; the two World Wars; Liberation of the colonies; the Peoples’ Republic of China and all the technological advances of the last century.

I really enjoyed this book. It is very easy to read and I learnt so much! See if you can match a country to each of these imports: Potato; Indigo (blue dye); Turkeys; Porcelain; Cochineal (scarlet dye); Cloves; Quinine; and Logwood (red dye). The answers are at the bottom of the post!!!

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The Human Race: 10 Centuries of Change on Earth by Ian Mortimer 2014

An interesting read, examining the major changes, which impacted Western culture, defined as a product of Medieval European Christendom, between 1001 and 2000 AD. Some of the subjects the author covers include:  Religion and the church; Work and lifestyles; Population growth; Science, medicine and disease; Law and commerce; Education; Printing and books; TraveI and discovery; Weapons; The rise of the middle class; Transport and communication; the Industrial Revolution; Photography; the Media; and Electronics.

Mortimer writes so well and really makes history come alive. He summarises each century and the principal agents of change at the end of each chapter in order to address the initial question, which promoted the writing of the book: ‘Which Century Saw the Most Change?’, as well as explore the potential of the future.  You will have to read his book to discover his viewpoints!

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Now for some books on more specific areas:

Ancient England by Nigel Blundell and Kate Farrington 1996

I love the age of England – its old buildings and ruins; mysterious barrows, henges, hill forts and stone rings; its huge white figures carved into chalk hills; the remnants of ancient Roman walls and roads; and the wealth of statues and intricately carved Gaelic headstones.

We bought this lovely book after our trip to England in 1994 and it explains the history of this beautiful country so well! It describes the monoliths and tombs of Neolithic man (eg Stonehenge and Avebury); the fertility symbols of the Bronze Age Britons; the Iron Age forts of the Celts; the towns, road networks, villas, communal baths, theatres, temples and forums of Roman Britain; the Legend of King Arthur and Camelot; the Dark Ages; the Vikings and Danelaw; the Norman Conquest; the Plantagenets; the Medieval Period; Rebellion and the Wars of the Roses (1455 to 1487); the Tudors; Queen Elizabeth, the First; and finally, Oliver Cromwell and the subsequent restoration of the monarchy with Charles II (1660 to 1685).

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The Celts by John Davies 2000

Based upon the television series of the same name and accompanied by beautiful photos, this book explores the origins and development of the Celtic peoples and their migration from Central Europe to Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany and Galicia. It describes their culture and festivals, their religion and sacred groves; their grave goods, weapons and treasures; their language, legends and fairytales; their stylised art and music; and finally, the future prospects of modern-day Celts. I’d love to see the six-part TV series for the sound effects, as well as the visuals!BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (600)

Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of South East Asia by Stephen Oppenheimer 2001

And then, there is this book by Stephen Oppenheimer, an expert in archaeological DNA (http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/stephenoppenheimer/stephen_oppenheimer.php), who challenges the conventional view of prehistory, using evidence from archaeology, oceanography, ethnography, geology, linguistics, genetics and folklore.

He argues that the cradle of civilisation was not in the Middle East, but in South-East Asia, and that the biblical flood of Noah’s Ark did occur with the melting of the ice 8000 years ago, causing rapid rises in sea level and drowning Sundaland, the landmass containing Indo-China, Malaysia and Indonesia during the last Ice Age, resulting in a huge population dispersal north and west to China, India, Mesopotamia, Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean, taking their mythology and technology with them and creating the first civilisations 6000 years ago.

He also states that Polynesians did not come from China, but the islands of South-East Asia, and that rice was domesticated in the Malay Peninsula 9000 years ago, rather than in China, the official view. It is a fascinating book with so much information and while I am not certainly sufficiently expert to make any further comments, you can read more detailed reviews at: http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/reviews/atlantis.html and https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/10125/17129/1/AP-v38n2-book-reviews.pdf.

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History can also be appreciated through the study of the history of specific subject areas like language, mathematics and botany. Along with archaeology and our origins, the development and diversity of languages has always fascinated me, especially the origins of the English language, which reflects its history of successive invasions over time by the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans and now Americanization and the influence of other cultures and technologies.

It is an enormous subject area, if the following website: https://www.ethnologue.com is anything to go by. Apparently, there are 7099 living languages, divided into 141 different language families, of which one third are endangered with less than 1000 speakers, and just 23 languages account for more than half the world’s population. The next two books are an excellent introduction to this broad field.

The Origins and Development of the English Language 3rd Edition by Thomas Pyles and John Algeo 1982

This comprehensive book was a first year academic text for students of Linguistics, so probably provides a more in-depth study than the lay person requires, but it is all still fascinating! There is so much information about grammar and word order and the mechanics behind speech, but it is the history of Writing (Chapter 3) and Language (Chapters 4 to 7), which really caught my attention.

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After a brief discussion of the most common language families, it focuses in on the Proto-Indo-European language family, of which English is a member (see the photo from the next book).

It traces the history of our language from Old English 449 to 1100 AD to Middle English 1100 to 1500 AD and Modern English to 1800, before examining the background mechanisms behind the formation of new words. I was particularly fascinated by the large section on the foreign elements of our vocabulary.

Here is another challenge! See if you know the origins of the 20 following words (and that’s only the first half of the alphabet!):

Albino; Anaemic; Bazaar; Budgerigar; Crochet; Cartoon; Delicatessen; Dinghy; Eisteddfod; Etiquette; Flamingo; Giraffe; Gingham; Hinterland; Influenza; Jubilee; Karma; Lieutenant; Medium; and Menu.

The answers are at the bottom of the post!

The Atlas of Languages: The Origin and Development of Languages Throughout  the World  Edited by Bernard Comrie, Stephen Matthews and Maria Polinsky  1996

Covering over 200 languages, this lovely coffee-table book gives a global survey of the different language families: their history, distribution, spread and decline, then focuses in on the different regions of the world : Europe and Eurasia; South and South-East Asia; Africa and the Middle East; Pacific; Australia and the Americas.

There are over 30 colour maps, as well as feature boxes, detailing points of linguistic, cultural and historical interest; many photographs of present-day people and places and ancient artefacts, manuscripts, monuments and statues from the last 5000 years; and tables like the example below (Page 40), showing all  the major language groups in the Indo-European Family.BlogHxBooksReszd50%Image (620)The book also discusses Pidgin and Creole languages; the extinction of languages; and the evolution and diversity in writing systems throughout the world, another fascinating area of study.BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (579)

The development of numbers and mathematical  thought is equally absorbing and even though the following paperback is now over 42 years old, it is an excellent introduction to the basics!

Man and Number : An Account of the Development of Man’s Use of Number Through the Ages by Donald Smeltzer 1975

Here is a summary of the chapter contents:

Chapter One : Early man’s sense of number; Number words in different languages; the concept of Tallying; and the use of Number Bases:

Binary (base two), as used by computers;

Quinary (base five), used by the Joloffs of Africa; and

Decimal (base 10), used by most advanced societies today, though base three, four, twelve (eg: Imperial measurement of inches and feet/a dozen eggs) and twenty (vigesimal), as evidenced by: the English word, score, derived from tallying by making notches in wood with every 20th, a deeper notch or score; in French (the word for 80 is quatre-vingts ie four twenties); Scots Gaelic and Danish counting in the past; as well as ancient Mayan and Aztec societies.

Chapter Two: Number Recording: Egyptian hieroglyphics; Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform numerals, using base 10, base 60 (sexagesimal); Mayan Aztec symbols; Peruvian quipu (knotted cord); Chinese number symbols; Indian numbers; Ancient Greece (Attic/ Alexandrian) and Roman numerals.

Chapter Three: Early Calculating Devices: Abacus (used as long ago as the Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians); Chinese Counting Rods; and the Basics of Multiplication and Division.

Chapter Four:  The Modern Number System: Origins (Hindu-Arabic numerals); Early methods of Written Calculation (Hindu, Arabic and European);  Multiplication and Division methods; the development of Decimal Fractions; and the invention of Logarithms.

This is an interesting little book, which can be appreciated by lay people and non-mathematicians!

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For the gardeners amongst us, these next 3 books describe the history of plant collecting.

The Plant Hunters: Two Hundred Years of Adventure and Discovery Around the World by Toby Musgrave, Chris Gardner and Will Musgrave 2000

A wonderful tale of adventure, danger and derring-do, this book looks at two hundred years of plant discovery and collecting from Sir Joseph Banks’ three year journey around the world with Captain Cook on the Endeavour from 1768 to 1771 and Francis Masson’s investigations into the flora of South Africa, the Canary Islands, Portugal and North America to David Douglas’s explorations of North America; Joseph Hooker’s travels in Sikkim; the oriental botanical discoveries of Robert Fortune, Ernest Wilson, George Forrest and Frank Kingdon-Ward ; and the importance of the Veitch Nurseries, sending out William and Thomas Lobb to bring back new exotic plants for the Victorian nursery trade.

It contains beautiful colour photographs of the plants and locations throughout and inset boxes featuring specific plant discoveries at the end of each chapter, with details on the origin of each plant name; a description; size and distribution.BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (540)

The Flower Chain: The Early Discovery of Australian Plants by Jill Duchess of Hamilton and Julia Bruce 1998

This small book traces the discovery and journey of appreciation of our unique Australian flora through the analogy of the ‘flower chain’ from Dampier’s picking of Sturt’s Desert Pea Swainsona formosa back in 1699; Sir Joseph Banks’ extensive collection in 1770; and Labillardière’s botanical collection for Empress Josephine and subsequent publication of Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen in 1804; and finally, George Bentham’s Flora Australiensis in the late 1870s. BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (541)

Along the way, it examines Australia’s unique flora: its dominant plant groups and adaptations to fire and drought and the cultivation of Australian plants, as well as the early plant collectors; classification and scientific nomenclature; and the Dutch, French and British explorers and early botanists. One such man was Ferdinand Von Müeller (1825 to 1896), the subject of the next book:

Collecting Ladies: Ferdinand Von Müeller and Women Botanical Artists by Penny Olsen 2013

Ferdinand Müller arrived in Australia in 1847 and during his pharmaceutical studies, developed a keen interest in botany, becoming the first Government Botanist of Victoria in 1853 and the first Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne in 1857.

He enlisted over 3000 collectors to gather plant specimens and extend the knowledge of their distribution and  habits, including a number of women, including Louisa Anne Meredith; Euphemia Henderson;  Fanny Anne Charsley; Anna Frances Walker; Harriet and Helena Scott; Louisa Atkinson; Fanny de Mole; Margaret Forrest; Ellis Rowan; Rosa Fiveash; Gertrude Lovegrove; Flora Martin and Marie Wehl.

Many of these ladies were also highly accomplished botanical artists, as attested by their beautiful colour plates in the book. I also loved the old black-and-white photographic portraits and reading all the finer details about the lives of these talented women.BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (538)

While history can be viewed as a record of key events and developments, it is also the life journey of individual men and women and first-hand accounts are an invaluable source of information about the everyday lives of individuals within these historical periods. The final five books are excellent examples.

Local Australian History

A Fortunate Life by AB Facey 1981

AB Facey was born in 1894 and grew up on the Kalgoorlie goldfields and a farm in the wheat-belt of Western Australia. He received little formal education, starting his adult working life at the age of 8 years old, toiling on a farm and droving, before building railway lines and boxing in a travelling troupe. He fought at Gallipoli in the First World War, where he was injured, then returned to marriage and farming under the Soldier Settlement Scheme, before being forced off the land with the Great Depression and finally ending up working on the trams.

He taught himself to read and write at a young age and always kept notes about his life, publishing them originally for 20 family members, but suddenly achieving huge fame. Over 800 000 copies have been sold since its publication and it is now considered an Australian classic and is essential reading for courses in Australian history.

He writes simply and well with a no-nonsense approach and a great appreciation of his ‘fortunate life’, despite the extreme poverty, struggles for survival and just sheer hard work! But it is the story of our nation and our forebears, the ordinary individuals who created its history and national character, which is the reason it resonates so strongly with its readers.

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The Letters of Rachel Henning 1988

Written from a totally different perspective and an earlier period of Australian history, these letters written to and from Australia from 1853 to 1882 and published in the Bulletin in 1951 and 1952, 37 years after her death in 1914,  are equally fascinating!

Rachel Henning was born in 1826 and visited siblings in Australia in 1854, returning to England in 1856, but settling in Australia in 1861.

She had a keen eye for detail and was an excellent story-teller, so her accounts are a terrific record of the minutiae of daily life and her personal observations of these two very different countries, Victorian England and pioneering Australia, as well as life in the outback. It is so interesting reading about such a different time period, when transportation, communication, technology, entertainment and time scales were so different to our contemporary world.

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Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland by Constance Campbell Petrie 1904/ 1975

This book goes even further back in history to the early European settlement of Australia. Tom Petrie’s family settled in Brisbane in 1837, when there were only ten houses and a large population of indigenous Australians.

Tom Petrie was born in 1831 and grew up playing with the local aboriginal children, absorbing their language, customs and mythology and observing many of their ceremonies and festivals. He recounted his memories to his daughter Constance, who published them in 1904.

It’s a wonderful ethnographic record of the original Australians and their way of life before European settlement.

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The final two books are very valuable to us personally as they are based in South-East Queensland, my husband’s childhood home, and cover the history of the famous O’Reilly family and their guesthouse, now known as O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (https://oreillys.com.au/), as well as that of their Albert Valley neighbours, the pioneering Stephens family, my husband’s grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles.

Green Mountains and Cullenbenbong by Bernard O’Reilly 1940 is a collection of memories from the O’Reilly family roots in the Kanimbla Valley, Blue Mountains, and their reestablishment on a rainforest block on the Macpherson Plateau in South-East Queensland, four years before the declaration of Lamington National Park.

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They were tough men and hard workers, so typical of those early years, and they forged a new life from scratch, clearing rainforest, making tracks, building a home, planting crops and establishing a highly successful tourism venture.  And while it was certainly hard work, they enjoyed full lives and appreciated all they had. Bernard had a deep love of his rainforest environment and all it inhabitants, as well as his family and friends and the Australian way of life, particularly in the country, now a ‘lost world’ to today’s generations!

Bernard actually named the crag above our valley (the right-hand branch of the Albert River) ‘Lost World’ and the development of his own tourism venture, ‘the Valley of the Lost World’, on the top paddock of our family farm in 1954, despite the twin setbacks of flooding and Cyclone Bertha, is recounted in the next book, while another shared family experience, the Stinson Disaster 1937, in which Bernard and the Stephens men played a pivotal role, is described at the start of this book. The text is supported by old black-and-white photographs from 1912 on, as well as quaint pen-and-ink illustrations and beautiful romantic poetry written by Bernard.

Over the Hills  by Bernard O’Reilly 1974 is a delightful book, again showing Bernard’s deep love of natural history and environment. His descriptions are so beautiful and it’s wonderful reading about an area you know and love so well! Again, there are lovely old black-and-white photographs and quotations. Both his books are wonderful tributes to the Old Australia of his youth, which he describes in the final sentence of ‘Green Mountains and Cullenbenbong’ as a time of adventure, after which ‘the world was never so big, so beautiful or so wonderful again’!BlogHxBooksReszd30%Image (589)

It’s still a pretty special world, though very different to Bernard’s day, and my next book post will be visiting some of the wonderful travel books we have in our library! Next week though, it’s back to some more favourite roses, the Hybrid Musks!

Answers:

Origin of Imports: South America; India; North America; China; Mexico; Indonesia; Peru; and Brazil.

Origins of Borrowed Words: Portuguese; Greek; Persian; Australian; French; Italian; High German; Hindustani; Welsh Gaelic; French; Portugal; Arabic ; Pacific Islands; High German; Italy; Hebrew; Sanskrit; French (Norman) ; Latin; and French.

 

 

 

History Books : Part Two : Australian Prehistory

In my last post, I discussed some of my favourite general books on archaeology and the prehistory of mankind. Today, I am focusing on Australian Prehistory, beginning with three books by the celebrated paleobotanist, Mary E White. The Greening of Gondwana and After the Greening are the first two books of her trilogy on the evolution of Australia, the continent and its biota, over 400 million years, the third volume being Listen.. Our Land is Crying. They are all beautiful hardback publications with luscious glossy photographs by Jim Frazier! I am only discussing the first two, as those are the books we own.

The Greening of Gondwana by Mary E White  Third Edition 1998

This book tells the story of Australia’s floral heritage from the earliest times, when all life was aquatic; the emergence of the first land plants, 400 million years ago; and the evolution of Australia’s modern flora and the Gondwanan broad-leaf conifer forests, when Australia finally separated from Antarctica 45 million years ago and moved northward.

There are over 400 wonderful photographs of fossils and living plants, as well as palaeographic maps, artist’s drawings and diagram and tables (Geological eras; Linnaean plant classification; Evolution of the plant kingdom; Australia’s fossil pollen record; and Fossil age and locality).

Part One starts with a description of the rocks of the earth’s crust; the dawn of life; the first unicellular life forms: the Western Australian stromatolites (fossil reefs of cyanobacteria, 3 500 million years old) and unicellular algae; and the formation of plant fossils (macro-fossils and microscopic spores and pollen).

The book then goes on to discuss the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics; Australia’s Gondwanan heritage; and the evolution of an Australian flora from the ancestral Gondwanan flora, which developed in isolation for 30 million years without any significant input from migrants, despite Australia’s proximity to South-East Asia.

While Eucalypts and Acacias predominate, 80 per cent of all the plant species and 30 per cent of Australia’s genera are endemic, accounting for the distinctive Australian character of the flora: its leathery, hard, spiny or reduced leaves, an adaptation to the low nutrient status of the Australian soils and the dry arid conditions called scleromorphy, these plants being called sclerophylls.

Australian plants also have many adaptations to fire: thick insulating protective bark or the shedding of outer layers of bark, so there is no build up of inflammable matter; new buds produced along the length of the stem after fire has destroyed the crown of the tree and underground lignotubers; and hard woody fruits and seeds, which can survive intense heat and often need the stimulus of fire to burst open and start to grow.

Part Two examines Australia’s fossil record in detail:

Life in the early seas (Cambrian, Ordovician and Early to Mid Silurian times);

First land plants of the Late Silurian and Early Devonian periods;

Giant club mosses of the Late Devonian and early Carboniferous periods;

Primitive seed ferns of the mid to late Carboniferous and early Permian years;

Glossopteris flora of the Permian period, when cool temperate swamps formed the early coal deposits and early gingkos, cycad ancestors, conifers and tree ferns were abundant;

Dicroidium flora of the Triassic period;

Age of the Conifers and the cycads of the Jurassic period;

Dawn of the Angiosperms (or Flowering Plants) in the Cretaceous Era;   and

The sequence of events in the Gondwanan breakup and its effect on the flora.

Australia became an ark with a living cargo of Gondwanan plants (predominated by flowering plants) and animals (marsupials, monotremes, large monitors, penguins and emus, parrots and frogmouths, pollinating honeyeaters, Southern Frogs and Side-Necked Turtles) during the Tertiary period, moving northward and having no outside contact for 30 million years.

Specific families are discussed in the book:

Antarctic Beeches Fagaceae (genus Nothofagus);

Winteraceae, one of the most primitive angiosperm families alive today, which includes native pepper Tasmannia;

Proteaceae (Banksia, Proteas and Leucospermum, Persoonia, Telopea, and Macadamia);

Casuarinaceae (She-oaks, Desert Oaks and River-Oaks);

Myrtaceae (Eucalyptus, Leptospermums, Baeckea, Syzgium and Angophoras);

Salt bushes Chenopodiaceae;

Mistletoes Loranthaceae; and

Wattles of Mimosaceae (genus Acacia).

The final chapters discuss Australia’s modern flora from the Quarternary period on, including vegetation types and a map (alpine, rainforest, wet sclerophyll, dry sclerophyll, woodlands, mallee woodlands and scrub, mulga scrub, desert and semi-desert, salt-bush scrub, grasslands and mangroves), as well as a brief mention of the intrusion of northern plants and animals, which came with man, especially after European colonization.BlogPreHxBooksReszd20%Image (591)

After the Greening: The Browning of Australia  by Mary E White 1994

This book continues the story of Australia’s prehistory and the geological processes behind the rifting (160 to 45 million years ago), drifting (15 to 2.4 million years ago) and drying (2.4 million years ago to today) of the continent to become the driest vegetated continent on Earth.

Two thirds of the land is classed as arid and half is desert, yet it supports an amazing variety of desert-adapted fauna and flora. The last 2.4 million years are particularly significant, as they represent the Age of Man and a time when icecaps had a profound effect on the physical landscapes, climate and biota of Australia.

Aboriginal Australians arrived around 60 000 year ago, but the most dramatic changes have occurred over the past 200 years since European settlement, completely unbalancing our delicate ecological balance through grazing; clearing; and the introduction of feral rabbits, goats, horses, donkeys, pigs, buffalo, camels, cats and foxes, not to mention garden escapees and weeds.

The formation of the Great Dividing Range, Australia’s river system, the Murray Basin, the Great Artesian Basin, Nullabor Desert, Ayers Rock and the Olgas is covered, along with the adaptation of Australian flora to the changing climate; ancient weathered soils; droughts and flooding rain; fire; and salt.

The last part of the book discusses Australia’s vegetation regions in detail, as well as future challenges. Again, there is so much information, supported by beautiful colour photographs, maps, tables and diagrams.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%Image (590)

The final book in the trilogy: Listen.. Our Land is Crying examines Australia’s environmental problems: land and water degradation, increased salinisation and desertification, decreasing biodiversity and habitat destruction, water pollution, the greenhouse effect and feral weeds and animals, suggesting possible solutions and highlighting the amazing unique wonders of our continent. While we don’t own this final book, we do have another of her glossy geological books:

Time in Our Hands : Semi-Precious Gemstones: Keys to the Geological Past by Mary E White 1991, which covers many of her previous topics, but mainly concentrates on the semi-precious gemstones of Lune River, Tasmania: the agates, onyx, carnelian and jasper, all forms of quartz gemstones made from silica dioxide, as well as petrified conifers and tree-ferns.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%Image (592)

Now for some excellent books on aboriginal prehistory!  One of the earliest  books on Aboriginal origins and culture was the first edition of John Mulvaney’s The Prehistory of Australia in 1969, with a second edition in 1975. The following book is the third edition with substantial changes in content, while still retaining the orientation and much of the original structure of the earlier books, when Mulvaney was the sole author. John Mulvaney is one of Australia’s foremost prehistorians and John Kamminga, an expert on Aboriginal stone technology.

Prehistory of Australia by John Mulvaney and Johan Kamminga 1999

A very comprehensive guide to the Australian aborigines and their traditional way of life.

Chapters cover the following topics:

Diversity of surviving traces: Surface artefacts; shell middens; caves and rock shelters; earth mounds; ceremonial mounds and rock arrangements; stone and ochre quarries; rock art sites; stone hunting-hides and bird and fish traps; scarred trees; hatchet-head grinding localities; and human burials;

Dating the past;

Changing Australian landscapes: Topography, climate, vegetation, cleaning the land, fire-stick farming, water resources and carrying capacity of the land;

People, language and society: Population estimates, language groups, social organization, the Dreaming; and culture areas;

Subsistence and reciprocity: Mobility and seasonality; Animal and plant food: bulbs and tubers, starch extraction, seeds and the farming debate; Material culture : travelling light, hunting weapons, skin cloaks, bone and stone implements, and stone hatchets; Reciprocity and cultural diffusion; and Aboriginal trade in pituri and greenstone;

Seafarers from Sundaland (South East Asia and Indonesia) to Sahul (the super-continent of Australia and Papua New Guinea) during the fluctuating sea levels of Pleistocene;

Extinction of the Mega-Fauna;

Initial colonization, migration theories and Pleistocene settlement: Kow Swamp, Lake Mungo and Tasmania;

Conquest of the deserts: Willandra Lakes; Lake Mungo; Menindee Lakes; Lake Eyre; Nullabor caves; the Pilbara region; and Central Australia;

Pleistocene artefacts : Wood, bone, and stone tools;

Holocene stone tool innovations;

Coastal aborigines: Kakadu; Aurukun and Weipa; South-East Queensland; Sydney; South Coast of NSW; and South-Western Australia;

Regional challenges and responses: The Snowy Mountains; Murray River societies; the arid zones; trade and exchange networks; and technological developments;

Island settlement of the offshore islands and Tasmania;  and a major section on

Rock Art:

  • Panaramitee style of engraving from western NSW to Eastern South Australia and northwards to Alice Springs;
  • Simple figurative motifs of South-eastern Australia: Simple outlines or stick figures with solid or linear infills and simple geometric designs and stencilling                     eg the Southern Highlands and the Grampians;
  • Engravings and pigment art of the Sydney region;
  • Art of Tropical Australia:

1. South-East Cape York: Laura: Quinkan country and Jowalbinna: engravings and painted figurative and non-figurative art; and Koolburra Plateau;

2. Kakadu National Park: Succession of styles and X-ray painting;

3. The Pilbara: Burrup Peninsula engravings;

4. Victoria River District;

5. Kimberley region: Bradshaw figures and Wandjina paintings;

6. Asian and European Newcomers: the Trepang industry; Macassan sites; Chinese and Arab traders; and the Portuguese and Dutch explorers;

This book is an indispensable guide to aboriginal prehistory, especially if travelling around Australia, which we did in 2008!BlogPreHxBooksReszd30%Image (614)

We found the next set of books by Josephine Flood, another prominent archaeologist, very useful in our travels as well:

The Original Australians: Story of the Aboriginal People  by Josephine Flood 2006

This book tells the story of Australian Aboriginal history and culture from their distant beginnings to the present day. She writes for the general public and uses history and culture to answer some of the major questions about the genetic origins of the First Australians; their lifestyle, culture, religion and beliefs; their impact on the megafauna and the Australian environment; and modern problems, including the stolen generation; land rights; the challenges of contemporary aboriginal communities (lower mortality, poverty, poor health, education, alcoholism and drugs etc) and future directions.

Chapters cover:

European discovery of Australia and encounters between the aborigines and Dutch explorers, Macassan traders and Captain Cook;

European colonization and its impact on the original inhabitants, including disease, kidnapping, the treatment of women, confrontation and conflict and severe depopulation between 1820 and 1920;

Indigenous life at first contact: Spirituality; totemism and animism; the Dreaming; Songlines; oral traditions; language (of which there were 250 different language groups); medicine men and women healers; shamans and sorcerers; childhood; initiation ceremonies; marriage and sex; other ceremonies, burials and fertility cults; the wisdom of the elders; law and order; and economy and exchange networks;

Aboriginal origins over the past 50 000 years: Physical characteristics; patterns of settlement; climate change; environmental impacts: the extinction of megafauna and use of the firestick; new technologies and diets; rock art; and language; and

Assimilation and modern day problems and challenges.

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Archaeology of the Dreamtime: The Story of Prehistoric Australia and Its People by Josephine Flood 1995

This book covers many of the above topics.

Part One examines stone and bone tools; the first boat people; routes to Australia; migration; life and death at Lake Mungo; the Australoids of Keilor, Kow Swamp and Willandra Lakes; genetic evidence; the peopling of Australia; early sites throughout Australia; Pleistocene rock art: petroglyphs (engravings) and rock paintings, with a discussion of all the major art sites in Australia; and the extinction of megafauna.

Part Two looks at climate changes and rising sea levels; the arrival of the dingo; food resources: Bogong moths; yams; eels and fish traps; processing toxic cycads; and aboriginal trade, religion and art over the past 1000 years.

At the back is a reference list of all the different Pleistocene artefacts, their location and dates.

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The Riches of Ancient Australia: An Indispensable Guide for Exploring Prehistoric Australia by Josephine Flood 1990

This book certainly lived up to the claim of its subtitle, especially on our 2008 travels around Australia, although we discovered that many of the sites described were no longer accessible to the public, due to cultural sensitivities, and many had a policy of ‘No Photography’. After a brief introduction to Australian prehistory over the last 60 000 years and a discussion of Australian rock art, each state is explored in detail.

We used this book at the following places:

Queensland :

1.Lark Quarry dinosaur footprints

2.Cape York:

Quinkan country at Laura:

The Gugu Yalangi Galleries;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_4742BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_4828BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_4814 Split Rock;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_5029 Giant Horse site and Mushroom Rock;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_5068BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_5069BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_4993 and

Jowalbinna.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_4567BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_45613. Riversleigh megafauna

Northern Territory

1.Kakadu National Park:

Anbangbang Gallery;

Nourlangie Rock;

Nanguluwur (Xray style); and

Ubirr;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_5409BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_50872.Victoria River District

Western Australia

1.Chamberlain Gorge, El Questro

2.King George River and Mitchell Falls, Kimberley Plateau:

Gwion Gwion figures 20 000 years old;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9230 and the more recent Wandjina figures;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_91183.Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek

4.Burrup Peninsula engravings: Over 10 000 engravings of humans, animals and geometric figures up to 20 000 years old;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_1417

5.Stromatolites of Hamelin Pool, Shark Bay;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_2249BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_2240

South Australia:

Naracoorte Cave megafauna: This is a model of a Diprotodon, the largest marsupial ever!BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_8120 Victoria:

1.The Grampians;

2.Condah fish traps

We have also used this book at other times:

Carnarvon Gorge and Kenniff Cave, Mt Moffat, in Queensland; and

Mt Yarrowyck, Armidale;

The Warrumbungles;  and

Bawley Pt, NSW, with its giant shell middens;

and will definitely be consulting it before our trip to Lake Mungo, Willandra Lakes and Menindee Lakes at some stage in the future!

After our big trip around Australia, my appetite for further knowledge whetted by the large amount of rock art seen, we bought the following books:

 Lost World of the Kimberley: Extraordinary Glimpses of Australia’s Ice Age Ancestors by Ian Wilson 2006

We particularly loved the tiny exquisite and ancient Gwion Gwion Figures, also known as Bradshaw Figures, of the Mitchell Plateau in the Kimberley area! It was so exciting searching and finding these delightful artworks under rocky overhangs at the King George River area en route to Mitchell Falls. Because we had limited time, we splurged on a helicopter ride out over the stone circles on the plateau (photo below) and north to the sea, where we saw a mother and baby dugong, then followed the King Edward River back past huge salt water crocodiles lazing in the sun and the Lower Falls to the Upper Mitchell Falls, where we disembarked to explore the falls.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9373 Because we had not walked in, we easily lost the track on the way out, circumnavigationg the area and finding ourselves back at the falls, so if we ever returned to explore the Lower Falls (which we would love to do!), I would definitely use a helicopter both ways!BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9411 Apparently, there is a huge body of Gwion Gwion artwork at the Lower Falls, where the salt water meets the fresh water! Given that it is probably very unlikely that we will get back there, it is great to have this book! Ian documents the history of the discovery of this amazing artwork and describes the different artistic styles of Kimberley Rock Art:

Archaic Epoch: Cupules; Grooves; and Stencils;

Erudite Epoch:

Bradshaw Figures: Sash Figures; and Tassel Figures;

Clothes Peg Figures: Stick figures; and

Aboriginal Epoch: Clawed Hands; and Wandjina Period.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9470BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9237BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_9203He examines the huge range of art sites and paintings, musing on the lifestyles, artefacts and clothing depicted, as well as their origins, not to mention the more enigmatic paintings of reindeer and high-prowed boats, which look very similar to those of the Ancient Egyptians!BlogPreHxBooksReszd30%Image (613)

Rock Art of the Kimberley by Mike Donaldson and Kevin Kenneally 2007

A record of the proceedings of the Kimberley Society Rock Art Seminar back on 10th September 2005, this book contains chapters by different contributors on a wide variety of topics.

The editor, Mike Donaldson, writes an overview of the Kimberley area: its geology, past climate changes and sea level rises; early European discoverers; the different art forms (cupules; engravings; stencils; beeswax figures; stone arrangements and paintings); the materials used (ochres, charcoal and clays); the subject matter (Gwion Gwion and Wandjina figures; animals; and fighting scenes); and finally, the topic of repainting rock art sites, particularly pertinent to the Wandjina art work.

The latter is further discussed by Donny Woolagoodja, a Worrorra elder and artist, while Denis Callaghan discusses the natural deterioration of rock art sites and Ian Crawford describes the 1960s field work on Wandjina art.

Jim Ross examines evolution and genetics, the migration of the original aboriginal ancestors, climate change, current dispersal theories and the peopling of Australia.

Sue O’Connor describes the different rock art sites and occupation sites in the Kimberley, while David Welch focuses specifically on the Bradshaw Figures.

And finally, Philip Playford explores the aboriginal rock art in the limestone ranges of the West Kimberley: Geike Gorge, Wandjina Gorge; and Tunnel Creek, another area we visited in 2008. Again, beautiful photos and an excellent record of the rock art of the Kimberley region.BlogPreHxBooksReszd30%Image (609)Mike Donaldson has since published a three-volume series on the prolific rock art of the Kimberley :

Kimberley Rock Art -Volume One: Mitchell Plateau Area,  released in April 2012;
Kimberley Rock Art -Volume Two: North Kimberley,  released in October 2012;
Kimberley Rock Art -Volume Three: Rivers and Ranges , released in April 2013.

See: http://www.wildrocks.com.au/ for details.

Mike Donaldson has also produced a lovely book on the rock engravings of the Burrup Peninsula:

Burrup Rock Art : Ancient Aboriginal Rock Art of  Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago by Mike Donaldson 2010

See: http://www.wildrocks.com.au/publications/burrup-rock-art-book/.

I would love to see this book one day, as we were so impressed with these ancient petroglyphs, of which there are over 10 000, up to 25 000 years old, at Deep Gorge, near Karratha, Western Australia, and so little is known about them.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_1430 When we first started looking, all we could see were huge mullock heaps of red rock, but once you have spotted the first engraving, they suddenly become obvious, covering most of the rocks and depicting animals, birds, marine animals, geometric symbols and strange looking figures.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_1406 Here are some more useful websites:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/burrup-peninsula-rock-art-shows-extinct-megafauna/6561788

https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/publications/archaeology-and-rock-art-in-the-dampier-archipelago/    and

http://rockart.net.au/Burrup.htm.

Rock Paintings of Aboriginal Australia by Elaine Godden and Jutta Malnic 2008

Another terrific publication on aboriginal art work throughout Australia and the stories behind the paintings. It discusses the materials and techniques used and their deterioration and conservation. It then focuses on a few specific areas: The Kimberleys, Cape York, Arnhem Land and the Central Australian Deserts, with superb photographs of the art work throughout.

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 Journey in Time: The 50 000 Year Story of the Australian Aboriginal Rock Art of Arnhem Land by George Chaloupka 1999

This book explores the 50 000 years of Australian Aboriginal rock art of Arnhem Land: its depth and complexity, aesthetic achievements and the life of its creators. This fabulous book is so comprehensive and has wonderful photos.

The introduction starts with a world perspective and a description of :

Rock art in Australia ;

Rock art dating;

Arnhem Land Galleries;

The Land Gulbok:  its physical characteristics and climate;

The People: their totemism, language groups and clan territories; and

Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories and mythology, illustrated by examples of the artwork.

There is a large section on the rock art sites; the materials and techniques used; the aboriginal view of the art; a non-aboriginal sequence of the rock art; and

The different art styles and periods:

Pre-Estuarine : 50 000 to 8000 year ago:

Object imprints;

Large Naturalistic Figures Complex: Large naturalistic human figures and large naturalistic animals, including a thylacine (photo), a long-beaked echidna and a tapir-like Palorchestes, now extinct, and a Tasmanian devil, no longer found on the mainland;BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%IMG_5423Early X-Ray paintings;

Dynamic Figures;

Post-Dynamic Figures: Progressively stylised artwork representing boomerangs, fighting picks, spears and spear throwers, and yam figures.

2.Estuarine : 8 000 to 1500 years ago:

Early Estuarine Paintings;

Beeswax Designs;

X-Ray Art Complex: Humans and animals: fish; crustaceans; fishing spirits.

3.Freshwater Period : 1500 years ago to present day: Paintings of the contact period between aborigines and visitors:

Makassan fisherman from Sulawesi, Indonesia;

European explorers eg Ludwig Leichhardt; the riders and horses of the McKinley Frieze; and paintings of guns and a two-masted lugger.

Chinese gold diggers;

Buffalo shooters; and

Sorcery paintings.

Finally, there is a discussion of :

Particular motifs and themes: East Alligator Figures; Powerful Women; Human Sexuality; Dismembered Bodies; Dilly Bags and String Bags; Crocodiles; Turtles; and Ceremonies;  and

Other art forms: Stencilling; Rock Engraving; Earth Art; and Stone Arrangements.

It finishes with appendices of neighbouring rock art (Kimberleys and Papua New Guinea); and a list of international rock art sites.

Given these unique and priceless art sites are outside and vulnerable to deterioration and damage, these books are so important as a record of the wonderful ancient legacy of Australia’s original inhabitants.

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For more information about Australian rock art, another book, which we don’t have in our library, but is a classic in the field is:  Visions From the Past: The Archaeology of Australian Aboriginal Art by Mike Morwood, an archaeologist, renowned for his knowledge of Aboriginal Art. See:

https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/academic-professional/archaeology/Visions-from-the-Past-MJ-Morwood-9781864487176.

Australia’s Living History: Arts of the Dreaming by Jennifer Isaacs 2002

Another fabulous book, which celebrates the diversity and richness of aboriginal culture, art work and oral traditions and covers a very broad range of artistic expression.

After a look at the regional variations in cultural expression, a wide variety of aboriginal art is discussed:

Body Adornment and Ornamentation;

Ceremony and Dance;

Fibre Crafts: Spinning and natural dyeing; Basket making; String bags and nets;

Rock Engravings and Paintings: Techniques; Styles; and Regional Examples;

Bark Painting;

Papunya Painting of the Desert;

Contemporary Works on Canvas;

Carved Weapons and Utensils;

Sculptures;  and

Future Directions for Aboriginal Art.

In the back is an appendix titled the Antiquity of Aboriginal Art.

BlogPreHxBooksReszd20%Image (606)

My final book is also edited and compiled by this knowledgeable lady:

Australia Dreaming : 40 000 years of Aboriginal History Edited by Jennifer Isaacs 2005

For aboriginal peoples, their artwork is a proud expression of their heritage and mythology, the stories of the Dreaming, the subject of this lavish book. This first aboriginal history of Australia and its people is told through the traditional myths and legends of over 40 aboriginal storytellers from a wide cross-section of communities and areas, showing regional variations in the beliefs of different aboriginal groups.

The stories are accompanied by beautiful photos of the land, people and artwork and are divided up into different themes:

The Reality of Myth: Arrival of the First Australians and their way of Life; Megafauna;  Rising Seas; and Volcanoes;

The Creation Era: Desert Ancestors and the Creation of the Desert Tors; the Origin of Lake Eyre; the Nullabor Plain; The Sky-Heroes of South Eastern Australia; The Earth Mother; the Great Serpents; the Wandjina; and the Creation Ancestors of NE Arnhem Land and North-Eastern Australia;

The Great Journeys: that of the Zebra Finch; and the Kangaroo and Euro;

Earth, Fire and Water;

Seasons: Lightning; Thunder; and Clouds;

Sun, Moon and Stars;

Cycle of Life: Men and Women; Birth of the Tribes; Early Years; Passage to Adulthood; Hunting and Food Gathering;

Death and the Spirit World;

Designs from the Dreaming;

The Visitors: Baiini; Macassans; and the Badu Islanders; and

The Invaders: First encounters with White Men; Violence; Spread of Disease; Vengeance of the Spirit Ancestors; and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

As my last book in my post, it is very fitting that aboriginal people should have the final word on their own prehistory!

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Next week is the third and final post on history books in our library, covering the time since written records.

History Books : Part One: Archaeology and Anthropology

My previous posts on environmental books highlight the speed with which the modern world has evolved, producing massive changes to our planet and the rest of its inhabitants, but human beings have existed on this planet in harmony with nature for over two million years.

I have always been fascinated by the origins of our species, to the extent that I actually started an archaeology degree back in 2000 at the University of New England, Armidale. Unfortunately, the workload conflicted with our circumstances at the time, when we were still in the throes of child rearing and developing our bed-and-breakfast business, and given the scarcity of jobs in the field, it was always going to be an interest area only, so I only studied for a short while, but have continued to follow new developments and finds over the intervening period.

It is a fascinating area and knowledge and theories are constantly evolving with new discoveries and improvements in dating technologies, like the recent news of the  excavation of the Madjedbebe rock shelter in Kakadu National Park (http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/archaeology/what-globally-significant-archaeological-discovery-in-australia-actually-means/news-story/e5744f4826789b7300afe581d1521f98), so many of the following books are probably out-of-date, but they still form the basis of my knowledge and many of them have links to more up-to-date internet sites.

There are also many new archaeology programs on television, fulfilling that thirst for knowledge about our prehistory that many other people obviously share! One excellent program, which I recently watched was Alice Robert’s Lost Tribes of Humanity (2016) : https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x58use1 .

I will start with two books about the history of our planet’s formation, progressing through to general prehistory books and finally, books related specifically to Australian prehistory. Because of the large word count, I will discuss the latter in Part Two on Thursday.

Prehistory of Planet Earth

A Short History of Planet Earth  by Ian Plimer 2001

Our planet is 4600 Million years old, a time period of such enormity that it is often very difficult to comprehend, so this small publication, written for a non-scientific lay audience, is especially valuable for explaining the basics of the formation of our solar system and its planets, particularly our own planet Earth, its geological processes and the beginning of life forms, starting with cyanobacterial colonies, 3800 Million years ago.

Ian Plimer is a geologist with a special interest in Australia, so he provides plenty of examples of Australian geological history. His book is very readable and interesting, and even poetic in parts. For example:

‘Planet Earth and we humans are recycled stardust;      and

‘Our planet is an oasis in space, delicately balanced in its orbit’.

The first chapter explains the origins of our solar system and its planets and why there is life on earth.

While I am always daunted by the whole field of astronomy, I learnt many interesting new facts like the following:

40 000 tonnes of interstellar dust falls on planet Earth each year.

The earth’s magnetic field can suddenly reverse, an event, which has happened over 100 times over the last 50 million years, even when humans have existed, but would be catastrophic today with our dependence on modern communication.

The rates of continental drift vary from 1 cm per year to 17 cm per year and continents can move more than 1000 km over short geological time spans like 20 million years.

The first multicellular animals appeared 700 to 543 million years ago, leading to an explosion of life 540 to 520 million years ago.

Chapter 2 covers geological time scale, dating methods and the history of geological knowledge, while Chapter 3 examines the beginning of life on earth ‘before the oxygen revolution’, including 3500 million year old stromatolite colonies, some of which we visited at Shark Bay and Lake Clifton, in Western Australia, in 2008 (photos below); and eukaryotic organisms 2700 million years ago; as well as the impact of global glaciations, atmospheric changes and meteorite bombardment.BlogPreHxBooksReszd50%wa visit 027BlogPreHxBooksReszd50%wa visit 030Chapter 4 describes global stretching, resulting in the formation of rift valleys 1700 million years ago; mountain building and the development of continents, the evolution of multicellular organisms and the Age of the Bacteria.

When the glacial period ended 575 million years ago, the number of life forms exploded with most major animal groups appearing in the fossil record 540 to 530 million years ago. This is the subject matter of Chapter 5, well supported by diagrams of the biological time scale and mass extinctions.

While there are 550 million year old fish fossils from China, the first vertebrates appeared 530 million years ago.  Amphibians came on the scene 370 million years ago; reptiles 330 million years ago; insects 310 million years ago; mammals 214 million years ago  and hominids 4 million years ago.

The first land plants colonised continents 470 million years ago, but flowering plants are only 150 million years old. There have also been five major mass extinctions over the past 530 million years, most of which have been caused by impacts from extraterrestrial asteroids and comets.

Chapter 6 discusses the last 175 million years, especially in Australia, the formation of the Great Dividing Range, continental drift and the global greenhouse effect.

Chapter 7 focuses on the ice ages and the evolution of humans, starting with the 4.4 million old fossils of ape-like Ardipithicus ramidus in Ethiopia, followed by 4.2 Million year old Australopithecus aramensis, Northern Kenya; 3.8 to 3 million year old Australopithecus afarensis, East African Rift Valley; 3.5 to 3 million year old Australopithecus bahrelghazali, Chad; and 3 million year old Australopithecus africanus, South Africa.

Global cooling 2.5 million years ago and the resultant contraction of the East African Rift forests and expansion of grassland led to Australopithecine diversification with more species: Australopithecus garhi (2.5 million years ago, between A. africanus and the emergence of own genus, Homo); and a robust group of hominid species Paranthus aethipicus (2 to 1.4 million years ago), Kenya; Paranthus boisei, East Africa; Paranthus robustus and Paranthus crassidens, both South Africa.

Homo first appeared in the East African Rift Valley 2.5 to 1.8 million years ago and since then, numerous new hominid species have emerged, competed, coexisted and colonised new environments . Three early Homos flourished at the time: Homo habilis; Homo rudolfensis and Homo ergaster. Homo habilis had a larger brain than the Australopithecines, had primitive speech, used fire and made stone tools.

During the ice age, beginning 1.6 Million years ago, Australopithecines became extinct; and Homo erectus had migrated out of Africa and into Europe, India, China and South East Asia.

By 800 000 years ago, Home antecessor appeared in Spain; Homo heidelbergensis appeared in Africa 600 000 years ago and was well established in Europe and China 500 000 to 200 000 years ago; Homo neanderthalensis flourished in Europe and Western Asia 200 000 to 30 000 years ago and Homo sapiens, our species first appeared in the fossil record 200 000 to 150 000 years ago in Africa and lived in Europe 40 000 years ago, although this figure has now been increased to 300 000 years ago with the very recent find of Homo sapiens in Morocco. See: http://www.nature.com/news/oldest-homo-sapiens-fossil-claim-rewrites-our-species-history-1.22114 and https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/science/human-fossils-morocco.html?_r=0.

Australia was colonised by Homo sapiens up to at least 60 000 years ago, though there I always the chance that Homo erectus may have been the initial colonisers, given they survived in Java up to 40 000 years ago. Knowledge is always changing and growing with each new discovery, making it a very exciting field! The book concludes with chapters on climate change and the geology of history and of the future.

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The Atlas of the Prehistoric World by Douglas Palmer 1999

Sometimes, childrens’ books are an easier way to absorb monumental information and this is an excellent publication with maps of the globe during the different geological time periods, showing continental drift and formation, modern continental outlines, ancient seas and mountain ranges, and subduction zones with annotated key points discussed and a timeline at the top of each page.

The next section explores all the key changes, accompanied by excellent illustrations and examples: the origin of planet Earth and the solar system; aquatic microbes and the emergence of multicellular organisms; the Cambrian explosion; life in Ordovician seas; the colonization of land during the Silurian Period; the Age of the Fishes in Devonian times; the Age of Coal; the Permian expansion of life forms, including mammals; mass extinctions; the Age of the Dinosaurs; early birds and mammals; the evolution of plants and flowers; the giant Riversleigh marsupials; and the divergence of apes and hominids and the human journey.

The Earth Fact File at the back of the book discusses geological time scale; dating methods; geological controversies; rock types; plate tectonics; earthquakes and tsunamis; volcanoes; sedimentation; the fossil record; evolution; and catastrophic events; as well as including biographical entries; a glossary and a list of places and websites to visit. It complements the previous book well.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%Image (593)

Now for a raft of books, specifically devoted to :

The Prehistory of Mankind

People of the Earth: An Introduction to World Prehistory by Brian M Fagan 12th Edition 2007

An update of my original 1998 archaeology textbook, though now, it is up to its 14th edition (2013)! After defining key archaeological concepts in the introduction, Part One describes the earliest stages of human evolution 7 million years ago to the emergence of tool-making Homo habilis in tropical Africa 2.6 million years ago, the spread of Homo erectus throughout the Old World and the spread of the first modern humans Homo sapiens into South West Asia during the last Ice Age. The text is supported by excellent diagrams, maps, photos of fossilized skulls and bones and tools and descriptions of early archaeological discoveries.

Part Two examines the Great Diaspora- the spread of humans all over the world from 45 000 years ago to modern times: Europe 40 000 to 8 000 BC; the first Americans 14 000 BC to modern times; Past and present African Hunter-Gatherers; Homo floriensis, 900 000 years ago; and the settlement of Australia, now dated to 60 000 years ago. Their lifestyles, tools, art and culture, and survival and adaptations during the Ice Age are all discussed in great detail.

Part Three focuses on the origins and development of agriculture and animal domestication from 10 000 BC on in all areas of the world, starting in South West Asia, and the repercussions- the development of sedentary lifestyles and early agricultural societies, which develop into the Old World urban civilizations and complex states of Part Four from 3000 BC to modern times:

Early Nubian States in the Land of Kush 4000 BC;

Archaic Period of Egypt 3100 BC (hieroglyphics, mummification and pyramids);

Sumerians of early Mesopotamian societies: the Sumerians ( cuneiform writing) 3000 BC; the Akkadians 2334 BC, the Semites 1990 BC and Assyrians 1000 BC;

Harappan civilization in India 2000 BC (pictographic symbols on seals; irrigation and flood control);

Shang Dynasty in Northern China 1766 BC (war lords and royal burial mounds; and bronzework);

Minoan Crete 2000 BC ;

Hittites of Anatolia 1650 BC;

Mycenaean civilization of Greece 1600 BC;

Phoenicians 1100 BC (the Sea People of the East Mediterranean);

Ancient Greeks (500 BC) and Etruscans and Ancient Romans (1 AD);

Angkor Wat, Cambodia 802 AD.

Pre-Roman Europeans: the Kurgans 3200 BC (Battle Axes) and Beakers 2700 BC (Copper); Bronze Age societies: Druids of Stonehenge 2950 BC, Urnfield cultures of Western Hungary (burial urns) 1800 BC, and Scythians of the Steppes from China to Ukraine 400 BC; Iron Age cultures: the Hallstatt culture, Austria 750 BC, La Tene culture of the Celts 390 BC.

Part Five describes the early Native American civilizations from 2000 BC to 1534 AD: the Mayan civilizations: the Olmecs 1500 BC; Teotihuacans 200 BC, Toltecs 900 AD and Aztecs 12th century AD of Mesoamerica and the Chavin 1500 BC ; Moche 200 BC; Chimu 1375 AD and Incas of the Andes 1476 AD in South America.

The book finishes with  glossaries of cultures and sites, and technical terms and a bibliography. It is such a comprehensive book and a wonderful guide to human prehistory.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%Image (595)Essentials of Physical Anthropology by Robert Jurmain, Harry Nelson, Lynn Kilgare,and Wendy Trevathen   3rd Edition 1998

My other basic text for first-year archaeology! The first few chapters cover key definitions; the development of evolutionary theory; the biological basis of life and principles of inheritance; human evolution and population genetics; human variation and adaptation and the fundamentals of human growth and development.

The next block of chapters investigate our primate origins, behaviour and evolutionary history; our Hominid origins and taxonomy; Home erectus; Neanderthals and other Archaic Homo sapiens; and modern man, Homo sapiens sapiens and Upper Paleolithic art and culture.

The book finishes with a look at future prospects and problems with possible solutions and appendices (primate skeletal anatomy and population genetics), a glossary and a bibliography.

This is another excellent guide with timelines; a running glossary, maps and tables and interesting photo essays on  the tools and techniques of physical anthropology; primate studies; and paleoanthropology.

At the end of each chapter is a summary; questions for review; and suggested further reading and web sites.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%Image (596)

The next two books are beautifully illustrated  coffee table hardback books, part of a five-part series of The Illustrated History of Humankind, produced by the University of Queensland Press and edited by Goran Burenhult, with chapters from a number of contributors from a wide range of scientific and academic fields:

The First Humans: Human Origins and History to 10 000 BC  1993

Chapters cover diverse topics from human origins and behavioural qualities, the Neanderthals and the Ice Age, prehistoric art and culture, and stone age tools; to the settlement of Ancient Australia; the first Pacific Islanders; the first Americans and early Arctic cultures.

The book starts with a diagram of key advances in the evolution of humans during the Lower, Middle and Upper Paleolithic Periods and finishes with a glossary and notes on the contributors.

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Traditional Peoples Today: Continuity and Change in the Modern World  1994

Starting with a chapter on the evolution of races, populations and cultures, the book progresses to detailed accounts of the customs, economies and social life of indigenous societies in Asia, South-East Asia, Australia, the Pacific, Africa, the Arctic and North and South America.

It finishes with a chapter on the  future challenges of mankind. It has such beautiful photographs of many cultures, of which I had never even heard : the Wahki on the roof of the world; the Bhotia, yak herders on the Changtang Plateau; the Ainu of North Japan ; the Naga headhunters of the Assam Highlands; and the Iatmul of the Sepik River Basin. This is a fascinating book, showcasing the huge global physical, cultural and linguistic variety of our species.

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See : https://www.goodreads.com/series/74407-the-illustrated-history-of-humankind  for the names of the other three books in the series.

Atlas of Man: A Cultural, Historical and Sociological Survey of the Way We Live   Omega Books 1987

This book covers over 400 different peoples throughout the world.

Part One, The World of Man, describes man’s evolution and history over the past 100 000 years and the factors which shape and influence all human societies: the universal features of social organization, kinship, and politics; language, writing and printing, and mass media; religion, ritual and mythology; and economics and lifestyles, finishing with an examination of the impacts of industrialization, modern communication and technology and population growth and their implications for the future of mankind.

Part Two is divided into 9 sections, corresponding to different geographical areas: North American/Caribbean; Central/South America; Europe; Middle East/North Africa; Africa; Soviet Union/Mongolia; India/South Central Asia; China/East and South-East Asia; and Australasia/Pacific region.

Each section begins with the historical, geographical and cultural characteristics of the region with appropriate maps ( including physical geography, population distribution and density;  language groups; colonization; temperature and rainfall; vegetation types) and then there are individual entries describing the countries and main ethnic groups in each region, with a map showing their location and a population estimate, which no doubt has changed considerably over the thirty years since its publication.

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Vanishing Primitive Man by Timothy Severin 1973

Tim Severin is a British explorer, historian, lecturer, film maker and writer, who has made a career out of researching, then re-enacting and writing about the legendary journeys of mythical and historical figures. His books include: Tracking Marco Polo 1964; Explorers of the Mississippi 1968; The Golden Antilles 1970; The African Adventure 1973; The Oriental Adventure: Explorers of the East 1976; The Brendan Voyage 1978;The Sindbad Voyage 1983; The Jason Voyage 1986; The Ulysses Voyage 1987; Crusader: By Horse to Jerusalem 1987; In Search of Genghis Khan 1991; The China Voyage 1994; The Spice Islands Voyage 1997; In Search of Moby Dick: Quest for the White Whale 1999; and Seeking Robinson Crusoe 2002. He has also written historical fiction  with  his Saxon, Viking and Pirate series. See: http://www.timseverin.net/.

We have read the Brendan Voyage. In fact, on our overseas trip in 1994, we actually saw his leather-hulled currach at Craggaunowen, Ireland ( watch the first video on https://www.shannonheritage.com/Craggaunowen/), as well as the spot, from where he launched his voyage (Brandon Creek, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland). His books are always so interesting and readable that I knew this book would be well worth reading!

In this lovely book on the vanishing  tribes of primitive man, Tim describes the physical features; tools and weapons; way of life; art; social organization; beliefs, rituals and customs of a wide variety of primitive peoples from Australian Aborigines and Polynesian and Melanesian Islanders; the hunter-gathering pygmies of Equatorial Africa and the Kalahari Bushmen; the Cunas of Golden Castile, Panama, and the Xavante of Brazil; the Inuit (eskimos) and the Lapps;  and Ainu (Sky People) of Hokkaido, Japan.

Throughout the book are superb photographs, as well as numerous picture portfolios, illustrating more general concepts, including living with nature; the hunter-gatherer lifestyle; the structure of primitive societies; rituals and ceremonies; art; religion and the pressures and changes primitive peoples face.

In the final chapter, he focuses specifically on the problems of contact with the modern world (disease, cultural collapse, psychological decline, habitat destruction, competition for resources, poverty or outright annihilation) and possible solutions to maintaining their cultural heritage, while slowly adapting to the changed world. Unfortunately, it is too late for many primitive tribes, so this book serves as a important record of the wide variety of primitive cultures that used to exist.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%Image (599)Prehistoric Europe: An Illustrated History Edited by Barry Cunliffe 1998

A detailed look at prehistoric Europe, its changing climate and man’s adaptation and response to these changes and the development of Western culture from the arrival of Stone Age Man to the Fall of the Roman Empire, with chapters written by a number of different experts.

It starts with the historical background to the study of archaeology in Europe; the Ice Age climate and the earliest arrivals in Europe; and the knowledge we can draw from fossil hominids and their tools. It then explores the Upper Palaeolithic Revolution: its economy, society and art, before progressing to the Mesolithic Age: their settlements, dwellings, food, tools, boats, rituals, art and societies.

The following chapters looks at:

The first farmers in Greece and the Balkans, Central and Western Mediterranean and Central and Western Europe during the Neolithic Age;

The transformation of Early Agrarian Europe and the enormous changes which occured;

The Palace Civilizations of Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece;

The emergence of the elites in Early Bronze Age Europe and the development of long-distance trade routes;

The collapse of Aegean civilizations at the end of the Late Bronze Age;

Reformation in Barbarian Europe (the Agricultural Revolution, trade, transport and warfare);

Iron Age societies and Celtic migrations;

Scythian and Thracian societies;

The impact of the Rome Empire on the rest of Europe; and

Barbarian Europe after the Fall of Rome: the Goths and  the Visigoths, the Franks, the  Vandals, the Saxons and Angles and the Slavs: their settlements, cultures, craftsmanship, war and migrations.

It is such a detailed and comprehensive book with over 300 plates, maps and figures. In the back is a list of further reading on each chapter, as well as chronological tables: a simplified time chart; the Palaeolithic Period (climate, technology, human type, culture and achievements and time before present); Early Farming and Metallurgy in the different parts of Europe: Northern, Western, Central, Mediterranean, Balkans and Aegean; and Steppe; the Mediterranean States and Temperate Europe; the Roman Empire (Emperors and Events); as well as the historical events after the Fall of Rome. I wish I had owned this book before our overseas trip in 1994!BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%Image (602)

I have already mentioned Craggaunowen with respect to Tim Severin’s Brendan Voyage, but it is also worth visiting for its living history exhibits of life in a Celtic Bronze Age village, built on an artificial island called a crannog (photo below).BlogPreHxBooksReszd50%Image (621) Heritage Parks are such a wonderful way to get a feel for the past, especially for kids. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn2wwYfjNAI. My children thoroughly enjoyed exploring the quaint houses, getting their hands dirty, applying mud to wattle-and-daub fences and learning about the weaving and natural dyeing.BlogPreHxBooksReszd50%Image (622) We visited another open-air museum at the Prehistoparc, Tursac in the Dordogne (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKgPzyI35Ns and http://www.prehistoparc.fr/),with life size models of Cro-Magnon Man (Homo sapiens sapiens) and the animals they hunted, many of which we had seen painted and engraved in 12 000 to 15 000 BC artwork on the walls of caves and rock shelters, like that of Font de Gaume, Les Ezyzies; the Cave of 100 Mammoths, Rouffignac; and the recreation copy of Lascaux II, the previous two days.BlogPreHxBooksReszd50%Image (617)BlogPreHxBooksReszd50%Image (617) - CopyThe National Museum of Prehistory at Les Ezyzies (http://en.musee-prehistoire-eyzies.fr/) is a wonderful place to see over one million prehistoric objects from the earliest stone tools to bone objects, harpoons and fish-hooks (photo 2), weapons, needles and points (photo 1); whistles (photo 1); jewellery, engravings (photo 4), female fertility symbols (photo 3) and other phallic objects and a series of skulls and bones showing the development of mankind.BlogPreHxBooksReszd50%Image (618) - CopyBlogPreHxBooksReszd50%Image (618)BlogPreHxBooksReszd50%Image (620)BlogPreHxBooksReszd50%Image (619) We bought the following book there to learn more about the Prehistory of the Perigord region, especially since all the cave tours were in spoken French!

Wonderful Prehistory in the Perigord  by JL Aubarbier, M Binet, JP Bouchard, and G Guichard 1989

This is a very useful guide for visiting the rock art sites of the Dordogne region in France. After introductory chapters on the overall picture of the prehistory of man; Palaeolithic and Neolithic life; and rock art, it focuses on the Dordogne region and all the local rock art sites, supported by wonderful photographs, a full-colour map and explanatory tables illustrating time periods, prehistoric cultures and tool-making technologies and other inventions.

It certainly is a wonderful area to visit to see early prehistoric art in Europe and appreciate the ingenuity and skill of the early rock artists.BlogPreHxBooksReszd25%Image (601)

The Cave Painters : Probing the Mysteries of the World’s First Artists by Gregory Curtis 2007

A fascinating paperback for those of us, who cannot get enough of prehistoric cave art, especially that of France and Spain, and I would say without hesitation that would be anyone, who had ever visited these wonderful sites! They are so dramatic and awe-inspiring and tell us so much about the local lives, their culture and beliefs and the animals they hunted, but there is still so much more that isn’t known!

This book describes various theories about their lives and the role of art, as well as the history of the archaeological discoveries in the area. While many of the known sites are open to the public, some have been closed due to their fragility and potential for damage or contamination  like the original Lascaux ( closed in 1963, though it has been accurately reproduced in the impressive Lascaux II, opened in 1984) and some are underwater like the Cosquer Cave, so it’s great to learn more about them from this book. A very enjoyable and interesting read!BlogPreHxBooksReszd30%Image (604)

On Thursday, I will continue this post with books about Australian Prehistory.

Walter Duncan and the Heritage Garden

We were very fortunate to stay in the old cottage at the Heritage Garden, the highlight of our rose holiday, from the 28th to the 30th October 2014. It had been a long-held desire and it was every bit as wonderful as we had hoped. It was so exquisitely beautiful! All the Old roses were in full bloom- in fact, the very next weekend was the annual Open Day for the general public, the garden opening only one day a year on the first weekend in November and the proceeds going to charities like the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit the garden anymore – its days as a bed-and-breakfast, the open days and its use as a venue for weddings and photo shoots are all over and Walter and Kay can now enjoy a well-earned retirement after all their years of hard work!

So, in a way, this post is an ode to Walter, Kay and their wonderful rose garden! I just hope I can do them all justice!

Note: I have interspersed specific roses grown in his Heritage Garden throughout the text. First up, Damask roses Botzaris (1st photo) and Quatre Saisons (2nd photo).BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9454blogdivinedamasksreszd20img_9496Walter was born in Adelaide in 1939, though his family roots were the grazing property of Hughes Park, Watervale, South Australia, owned by his family since 1887 and now run by the sixth generation. He inherited his love of roses from his mother, Rose.

After learning to prune roses from Alex Ross in 1958, he joined the Rose Society of South Australia Inc in 1959. He began growing roses and exhibiting them at the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia (R.A.H.S.), an organization with which his family had a long association with five generations involved.

He started writing cultural notes for the Rose Society of South Australia in 1960, becoming the editor of the South Australian Rose Bulletin and serving on the committee of the Rose Society  of  South Australia Inc. from 1962 to 1974. He was Vice-President at three stages over 15 years from 1964 on, then President from 1972 to 1974, and has been an honorary life member of the society since 1978.

Here are photos of the bright yellow Species rose Rosa hemisphaerica and Gallica rose Sissinghurst Castle.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9704BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9712In 1976, he established a rose and cut flower nursery called ‘The Flower Garden’, later trading as ‘The Rose Garden’, based at Hughes Park and supplying thousands of bare-rooted roses and cut roses to nurseries and supermarkets all over Australia for 24 years. He retired from the nursery  in 2000.

Also in 1976, he was elected to the Horticulture and Floriculture Committee of the R.A.H.S. and has served in a number of positions from Chairman (1985 to 1996; 1998 to 2007), Treasurer (2004) and Board Member (1994).

Here are photos of China roses: Viridiflora 1833 and Perle d’Or 1884.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9654BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9555 He has won a number of awards for his exhibits, including the Banksian Medal twice from the Royal Horticultural Society, United Kingdom, and five Grand Champions.

Below are photos of Tea Roses: Devoniensis 1838; Rosette Delizy 1922; and Francis Dubreuil 1894.BlogTeasReszd20%IMG_9628BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9679BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9662 Walter has written numerous articles, including their culture, cultivars and propagation, some of which can be read at : http://sarose.org.au/growing-roses/cultural-notes . He was also a co-author of Botanica’s Roses. He has also delivered many speeches about roses and was a Lecturer at the 2008 Rose Conference, Adelaide.

These photos are of the beautiful Kordes rose, Fritz Nobis 1940.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9677BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9678He has been actively involved in the development of many prominent rose gardens in South Australia, including the old rose section of the Adelaide International Rose Garden and the modern rose garden at Carrick Hill.

In 1999, he attended the International Rose Conference in Lyon, France, where he met Jean-Pierre Guillot and became the Australian agent for his new breed of roses called ‘Rosa Generosa’. He also bought a 9 Ha (22 acre) block of land at Sevenhill as a retirement property, but more about that later!

This stunning Guillot rose is called Sonia Rykiel 1991.bloghxroses20reszdimg_9491Walter is a highly respected rosarian, both here in Australia and internationally. He was Winner of the Australian Rose Award in 2007 and the TA Stewart Memorial Award and Distinguished Service Award from the Heritage Rose Society in 2008.

In 2009, he was given the World Rose Award (Bronze Medal) by the World Federation of Rose Societies. Finally, for all his services to the rose industry, the show and his charity donations from his open days, he received an Australia Day Mayoral Award from the Clare and Gilbert Mayor in 2014.

The unusual roses below are Hybrid Teas: White Wings 1947 and Ellen Willmott 1935. Both have Dainty Bess, a light pink Hybrid Tea with similar stamens as a parent.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9666BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9670Hughes Park

712 Hughes Park Rd.  2 km from Watervale in the Clare Valley and 100 km North of Adelaide

PO Box 28, Watervale 5452

Phone: (08) 8843 0130

http://www.hughespark.com/

Hughes Park has been a Duncan family property for six generations. The original part of the homestead was built between 1867 and 1873 for Sir Walter Watson Hughes, a co-founder of Adelaide University. When he died in 1887, he left Hughes Park to his nephew, Walter’s great-grandfather, Sir John James Duncan (1845-1913), who built a further section on the front of the homestead in 1890. The homestead complex also included a dairy, blacksmithy, stables, a petrol house, coach house, offices, workmen’s cottages, maids’ quarters and a manager’s house.

The two-storey honey coloured sandstone homestead has a very old Noisette rose, Cloth of Gold 1843, growing along the front verandah. It is over 100 years old, being one of the earliest yellow roses in Europe, and flowers early with the tall bearded iris, repeating in Autumn. While this photo was not taken at Hughes Park, I have included it as it is a photo of Cloth of Gold.BlogNoisettesReszd2014-10-19 13.43.09Walter had his nursery and rose display garden at Hughes Park for many years and featured in many magazine articles, as well as Susan Irvine’s book ‘Rose Gardens of Australia’.

The display garden was situated below the old homestead and sheltered on one side by two enormous Ash trees, originally planted by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and on the other side by huge century-old olive trees, through which an old Rosa laevigata clambers, its creamy white single fragrant flowers (in early Spring) contrasting beautifully against the blue-grey foliage of the olive trees.

The display garden was divided into quarters by North-South and East-West pathways, over which there are 20 decorative metal arches, 5 metres apart, supporting a Climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison 1843 on either side. Walter fell in love with this rose, which was painted extensively by Hans and Nora Heysen and planted at their garden at The Cedars, Hahndorf.

On either side of the paths were rose-filled borders, under-planted with self-seeding plants, including forget-me-knots; white honesty; poppies; foxgloves; violets; hellebores; blood lilies; and tall bearded iris, with climbers espaliered on tall fences at the back. Here is a photo of that beautiful romantic Bourbon rose: Souvenir de la Malmaison.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9465Beyond the display garden were extensive nursery beds in open paddocks. Walter sold over 100 000 roses each year. He used Dr. Huey 1915, a vigorous thornless rose which grows easily from cuttings, as his understock and flew his budder out from England every year. Walter ran his nursery from 1976 to 2000.

After he left Hughes Park, the homestead was empty for 10 years, before being renovated by his nephew, Andrew Duncan, and his wife Alice. They opened the two-bedroom 1845 cottage as a bed-and-breakfast in April 2009.

I fell in love with the next rose below – a Hybrid Tea and Alister Clark rose, Cicely Lascelles 1932, a rose which was new to me, but has a future place in my garden!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9667BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9468BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9669The Heritage Garden                   136 km North of Adelaide (1.75 hours drive)

LOT 100 Gillentown Rd or 12 McCord Lane

Sevenhill SA 5453

Postal address: PO Box 478 Clare 5453

Phone: (08) 88434022; or Kay’s mobile phone: 0418837430

http://theheritagegarden.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/theheritagegarden/

Image (567)BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9506When Walter and Kay bought the 9 ha property back in 1999, it was just a bare paddock with a rundown 140 year old cottage, originally owned by Agnes, Polly and Jack McCord, who had an orchard and a reputation for growing the best chrysanthemums in the Clare Valley.

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When his childhood home in Greenhill Rd., Eastwood, was to be demolished in the late 1990s, Walter salvaged all the materials, including 1 1/8 inch Baltic pine floorboards, bricks and blue stone, cast iron, windows and doors, transporting it all and storing it in old sheds on his new property.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9642BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9489 He designed a house, similar in style to the old place, but adapted to modern style living with a large open-plan kitchen and family room at the back of the house.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9623 The decorative cast-iron verandah railings are swagged in Mme Grégoire Staechlin 1927 (also known as Spanish Beauty) and the stone walls are covered in ivy, connecting the house with the garden.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9498BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9631 Other walls are covered with a Chinese Wisteria Wisteria sinensis, Mme Alfred Carrière 1875 and Lamarque 1830 , under-planted with erigeron, forget-me-knots and aquilegia, and Bonica 1982 and the Edna Walling Rose 1940.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9739BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9494Once they had built the house, they turned their attention to the old sandstone cottage, converting it to bed-and-breakfast accommodation by 2002.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9518 It has two living areas, a wood fire and a cosy bedroom.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9790BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9792 Kay is a keen quilter, so her beautiful quilts can be seen in every room.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9793BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9795BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9799 We stayed three nights for the price of two, a very generous offer, especially given the provision of a full breakfast, a complimentary bottle of Clare Valley wine, and port and European chocolates, as well as wonderful vases of fresh roses from the garden!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9683BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9517 Breakfasts was eaten out on the front patio near the old chimney ruin, covered with R. brunonii.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9682BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9522BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9523 The cottage walls are covered with Noisette roses Céline Forestier 1842 (1st photo) and Crépuscule 1904 (2nd and 3rd photo).BlogNoisettesReszd20%IMG_9520BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9521BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9513 The fence is covered with a huge yellow Banksia Rose, which blocks the southern wind  and there are two arches of Phyllis Bide 1923 at the entrance to the cottage on McCord Lane.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9542BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9508

They also built a romantic summerhouse for use by guests, with three full-length recycled French doors opening out onto shady green lawns,BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9515BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9559BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9687 and colourful garden beds, full of roses, perennials and annuals: the garden to the left of the garden entrance from McCords Lane with its rugosas; BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9781BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9500The garden to the right with its golden Kordes Shrub Rose, Maigold 1953;

BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9503BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9505And the riot of colour in the garden bed at the back of the main house.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9740Walter and Kay designed a 2 ha (6 acres) English-style garden with a backdrop of the Australian bush.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9462BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9780 In 2012, Catherine O’Neill painted a watercolour plan of the garden, showing the main sections of the garden.BlogDuncanReszd50%Image (568) Walter and Kay used the existing trees as a starting point: a 70 to 80 year old walnut tree; and gnarled old plum and fig trees.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9782 They planted a quick-growing row of poplars, which are now 40 feet high and provide shelter from the north, as well as birches and prunus.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9680 At the side of the property, they planted a quince orchard (Smyrna Quinces) with 200 trees, the fruit used by Maggie Beer for her famous quince paste. I loved the statue at the end of the quince orchard.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9639

A crab apple walk of Malus ‘John Downie’, with its cream Spring flowers and orange to red Autumn fruit, leads to the rear of the garden, where Walter has his French-bred Guillot rose collection.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9418 These hardy, drought-tolerant free-flowering, fragrant, pastel roses have an even growth habit and look a bit like David Austin roses. They include Sonia Rykiel 1991; Paul Bocuse 1992 (photo below); William Christie, bred before 1998; and Gene Tierney, bred before 2006. Knight’s Roses are now the agent. See: http://knightsroses.worldsecuresystems.com/guilliot.htm#.WQAqa9zafIU.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9420 Behind the Guillot rose patch is a vegetable garden and a contemplative area with a gravel courtyard, wellhead, candle pines and a claret ash.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9626BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9409However, it is the front of the house, which is the highlight, with a 200 foot long archway, transferred from Hughes Park, extending from the front gate to a wedding pavilion near the house.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9681BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9487 The 22 arches are spaced 4 metres apart and support Climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9731 The arch is narrowed in the middle by two urns, giving the tunnel an illusion of increased length.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9732 It is such a romantic beautiful sight in full bloom!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9467  On one side of the fragrant avenue are deep beds of Tea Roses including : Nestor; Maman Cochet 1892; Triumph de Guillot Fils 1861; and Monsieur Tillier 1891.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9463BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9717 Walter has over 2000 roses, including Species Roses; Rugosas; Gallicas; Albas; Damasks; Centifolias; Bourbons like Mme Isaac Pereire 1881; Teas; Noisettes and David Austin Roses like Golden Celebration (2nd photo).BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9705BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9452 They are planted on arbours, arches, along swags and up pillars and under-planted with foxgloves; delphiniums; erigeron; forget-me-knots; iris and poppies to create a total picture.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9483BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9709BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9486BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9645BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9734 Climbing Lorraine Lee 1924 is one of the first roses to flower in Spring, then continues right into Winter.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9449 The Mutabilis 1894 against the house is enormous!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9737BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9524BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9566The scent from Rugosa, Mme Lauriol de Barny 1868, is superb!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9672BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9673In Winter, Walter prunes over 200 roses from the third week of July to early August. He fertilizes them twice a year with Sudden Impact, just after pruning and at the end of February of early March for an Autumn flush.BlogCultivationReszd20%IMG_0346BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9720BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9437 The grass parrots used to nip the new rosebuds, but he has deterred them by an ingenious, safe and effective arrangement of fishing lines.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9725BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9706 The dry hot Summers of South Australia are ideal for roses, but necessitates lots of watering and vigilance against bush fire risk.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9779BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9445Other garden features include a bridge over the creek; an aviary and chookhouse; a fountain on the front lawn; topiaried trees and statues, providing focal points.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9635BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9561BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9444The Heritage Garden was the 2004 winner of the Most Outstanding Garden in the Clare Valley in the New Tourism category. We feel very privileged to have been able to stay there and enjoy the garden on our own for three full days!

Here is a photo of Hybrid Musk, Autumn Delight 1933, a rose which I have since planted in our Candelo garden.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9649For more photos and information, including an audio tape and television interview by Sophie Thomson on Gardening Australia (Series 28 Episode 6; from the  10:33 to 17:24 part of the 27:30 long program) with Walter Duncan, see the following links:

http://www.gardenclinic.com.au/how-to-grow-article/rose-by-rail?pid=44213

http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/gardening-australia/FA1605V006S00.

I will finish this segment with a photo of Large-Flowered Climber Blossomtime 1951.

BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9475If you are in the area, it is also worth exploring the local countryside with its rustic architecture and heritage villages, like Farrell Flat, Burra and Mintaro (photos below), BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9602BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9601 as well as a number of wineries like Skillogalee Winery, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch. (https://www.skillogalee.com.au/). It certainly was a wonderful end to our fabulous rose holiday in Clare!BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9770BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9774BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9744BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9747BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9765The next three posts will be covering some of our favourite history books in our library, starting with archaeology and anthropology, followed by the prehistory of Australia and finishing with some general history books.

Gracious Noisettes

Noisettes are one of my favourite types of rose, so I have dedicated a special post to them, all of their own! They originated at a similar time to the Portlands, Bourbons and Teas, in fact some of them are referred to as Tea-Noisettes, due to the crossing of Blush Noisette and Yellow Teas to produce the yellow forms of Noisette roses like my signature rose Desprez à Fleurs Jaunes.BlogNoisettesReszd50%Image (201)Noisettes originated in America, when John Champney, a rice grower from Charleston, South Carolina, crossed a China rose, Parson’s Pink, which he had been given by friend and neighbour, Philippe Noisette, with the Musk Rose, R. moschata, to produce the very first Noisette rose, Champney’s Pink Cluster 1802, which is still with us today (photo below). The Musk rose parent gave the Noisettes their broad shrubby habit and scented large clusters, while the China rose parent contributed the pink colouring, larger flowers and continuous flowering pattern.BlogNoisettesReszd20%IMG_9248Champney gave the resultant seedlings as a thank you gift to Philippe, who made further crosses, sending both seeds and plants to his brother Louis in Paris. Louis named the first seedling ‘Rosier de Philippe Noisette’, which was shortened to ‘Noisette’ or ‘Blush Noisette’, also still available commercially. Redouté painted Blush Noisette under the name of R. noisettiana in 1821.  Blush Noisette was later crossed with Park’s Yellow China to produce the yellow Noisettes. A cross between the early Noisettes (Musk X China) with Teas produced the Tea-Noisettes. The rose below is Desprez à Fleurs Jaunes at Werribee. BlogNoisettesReszd2014-10-19 13.44.44Noisettes are vigorous, free growing climbers, with clusters of flowers, which bloom later than the Bourbons, with many of them repeat or continuous flowering for the whole Summer. They provided a new range of colour, especially yellow, to the climbing and rambling roses of the day. The flowers have the true old rose form- a rosette formation with silky petals and good fragrance.

While they have a reputation for tenderness during the cold Winters of Northern Europe, they will still perform well on a sheltered warm wall, but here in Australia, they thrive like the Tea roses. They require little pruning except for the removal of dead or undesired canes and deadheading to encourage more blooms in the Autumn. Here are some of my favourites:

Champney’s Pink Cluster  Champney, USA 1802

While I have never grown this particular rose, I am describing it here because it was the first Noisette. It grows to 4.5 metres high and 2.5 metres wide, is disease-free, has light green foliage and large, loosely formed clusters of small, blush-pink double flowers in Summer.

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Aimée Vibert  (also called Bouquet de la Mariée or Nivea)  Vibert, France, 1828

A cross between Champney’s Pink Cluster and the Evergreen Rose R. sempervirens, the latter passing on its plentiful long graceful, rich green foliage. It was named after Vibert’s daughter Aimée and was one of the first perpetual-flowered climbing roses. Climbing vigorously to a height of 4.5 metres, it bears small to medium open sprays of pink buds and small pure white double 5 cm rosette flowers with gold stamens and a musky fragrance. It repeat-flowers like its Noisette parent from early in the season right through into the Autumn. It has healthy dark green semi-evergreen leaves and almost thornless stems. My plant, grown from a cutting from our old garden, is still in a pot awaiting the construction of the chook shed, over which it will grow, so I have included a link: https://www.classicroses.co.uk/roses/aimee-vibert-climbing-rose.html.

Lamarque      Maréchal, France, 1830

A Tea-Noisette, bred from a cross between Blush Noisette and Park’s Yellow China, this rose reaches 3 metres in England, but much more in warmer climates. We are growing it up the front wall of our house and already, after being planted as a small bare-rooted specimen in June 2015, and then dug up and rotated 90 degrees, so it would grow correctly against the wall (instead of away!), it has reached 3.6 metres high.BlogNoisettesReszd2017-04-27 18.03.14BlogNoisettesReszd2016-11-04 19.39.04 It has large flat and quartered rosettes of pale lemon-cream with a superb fresh lemony fragrance.BlogNoisettesReszd2016-11-02 13.32.22BlogNoisettesReszd20%IMG_0413 Lamarque also has copious light green foliage and few thorns.BlogNoisettesReszd2016-11-02 16.49.24Madame Alfred Carrière Schwartz, France, 1879

Grown over our front entrance pergola, both in our old Armidale garden (along with Albertine) and our new garden here in Candelo, this rose is very much a favourite for its toughness, continuous flowering and small clusters of beautiful 10 cm large, globular, double, creamy-white blooms with a touch of pink and a strong Tea rose fragrance.BlogNoisettesReszd50%Image (241)BlogNoisettesReszd50%Image (246) It can be grown on a south-facing wall (coldest aspect in Australia) and still blooms reliably.BlogNoisettesReszd50%Image (245) It will grow up to 6 metres in height and has few thorns.BlogNoisettesReszd2016-11-17 08.43.01BlogNoisettesReszd2016-11-05 18.37.23Alister Stella Gray (also known as Golden Rambler)  AH Gray, but introduced by George Paul in 1894

I am growing this lovely rose over an arch opposite Reve d’Or next to the cumquat trees. Both are key components of my yellow garden!BlogNoisettesReszd2016-11-12 10.06.54 Alister Stella Gray bears small sprays of small scrolled yolk-yellow buds, which open out flat into double quartered gold flowers, which fade to a creamy-white with age. They have a Tea rose scent.BlogNoisettesReszd2014-10-25 09.34.13 It can be grown as a climber or a large arching shrub, with few thorns and dark green foliage, reaching 4.5 metres on a wall.BlogNoisettesReszd2014-10-25 09.34.18 Rêve d’Or (Golden Chain) Ducher France 1869

A seedling of Tea-Noisette, Madame Schultz, itself a seedling of Lamarque, I fell in love with this rose on our rose trip to Renmark, where I saw it in the garden of Alan and Fleur Carthew.

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It’s a very generous rose and has flowered continuously at the base of our front steps, where it will grace an entrance arch, once we have built it!BlogNoisettesReszd2016-11-10 09.10.26 The fragrant blooms are shapely double buff-yellow with pink shadings, fading with age.BlogNoisettesReszd20%IMG_0183 It has strong growth and dark green foliage.BlogNoisettesReszd2016-11-08 15.21.14Desprez à Fleurs Jaunes (Jaune Desprez)  Desprez France 1835

Another cross between Blush Noisette and Park’s Yellow (like Lamarque) and one of my favourite Tea-Noisettes, which I grew next to the front trellis entrance on the verandah of our old home in Armidale and whose blooms are featured in my header display to this blog. It is a very vigorous and hardy rose, which will reach 6 metres on a warm wall, and is never without a flower. BlogNoisettesReszd50%Image (239) Its medium-sized warm yellow-peach double blooms open flat and quartered with a strong fruity fragrance, many silky petals and a button eye. The colours are more intense in Autumn with the cooler weather.BlogNoisettesReszd50%Image (202)Crépuscule  Dubreuil France 1904

A beautiful rose with rich apricot-gold loose blooms, whose colour varies from apricot to butterscotch and buff with the soil and the season (colours being more intense in cooler weather), fading to a soft yellow with age.BlogNoisettesReszd50%Image (217) Its prolific continuous display, bronze coloured young foliage, few thorns and strong sweet musky fragrance make it a favourite with many people.BlogNoisettesReszd50%Image (249) We grew it on the front verandah railing (below) and the vegetable trellis (above) in our old garden.BlogNoisettesReszd50%Image (182) Walter Duncan grows it on the back of his guest cottage at Heritage Garden (photo below) and it forms an impressive display in full bloom over 100 metres of fencing at the Flemington Racecourse.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9521 It will reach 2.5 metres tall and prefers warmer Mediterranean  type climates.BlogNoisettesReszd20%IMG_9244Céline Forestier Trouillard France 1842

I first saw this lovely rose growing on the rough sandstone wall of Walter Duncan’s Heritage Garden cottage during our 2014 Spring rose holiday.BlogDuncanReszd20%IMG_9518It grows to a height of 2.5 to 3 metres and has fully double, 6 to 8 cm large, rounded, silky, pale blooms of a pale yellow-buff  with touches of pink, opening quartered with a button eye and having a moderate Tea rose fragrance.BlogNoisettesReszd20%IMG_9520 They are borne singly or in small clusters. It has profuse light green foliage and darkish stems.

Here are some more Noisettes- would I had room to grow them all! However, you can get to appreciate them on a visit to the Victoria State Rose Garden at Werribee Park.

Bouquet d’Or Ducher France 1872

A seedling of Gloire de Dijon (itself a cross between a Tea rose and the Bourbon rose, Souvenir de la Malmaison, from which it inherited its tendency to ball in wet weather) and one of the Dijon Teas, it has large, full-petalled, double, quartered or muddled  coppery-salmon blooms, which are yellow at the centre and have a slight scent. Hardy and vigorous, it grows to a height of 3 metres.BlogNoisettesReszd2014-10-19 13.43.37Cloth of Gold (Chromatella) Coquereau France 1843

A seedling of Lamarque and slightly tender in colder climates like its parent. Reaching 3.5 metres high, it has double soft sulphur-yellow fragrant blooms, which deepen towards the centre and copious light green foliage.BlogNoisettesReszd2014-10-19 13.43.09Maréchal Niel  Pradel France 1864

A seedling of Cloth of Gold, it was highly prized in the late 19th century for its large pointed buds of  deep yellow, a colour rarely seen until Pernet-Ducher introduced the genes of R. foetida into the Hybrid Teas at the turn of the 20th century. It was however very cold-sensitive, so was grown predominantly in glasshouses, where it could reach 4.5 metres. It has dark coppery-green foliage and the blooms are very fragrant. The photo below taken at Werribee mainly shows older blooms, though there are a few younger golden flowers towards the right of the bush.BlogNoisettesReszd2014-10-19 13.26.31Next week, my post is devoted to Walter Duncan and his wonderful rose garden, the Heritage Garden, at Clare, which we were fortunate enough to have visited in 2014.