|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
Please note: The books are listed for interest only, and not offered for sale.
|See also specific ships listed on
Classic dive books home page.
For current books in print on shipwrecks link to:
Jack was one of Australia's finest men - a gentleman, a teacher, an author and a mentor to myself and several others who took an interest in Australia's maritime history through shipwrecks, instilling a respect rather a looting mentality. He wrote over 100 books and booklets, all with an aim of educating the public. His market was the holidaymaker, seeking some good reading material on the local maritime history as it related to shipwrecks and maritime incidents. Many of these booklets sold for less than a dollar back in the seventies. The very early editions are now collectors items - but the difficulty for us collectors is that many - most - do not have a date. Jack is no longer with us, so it is difficult to date some of his earlier works. I must do some work on this, so whatever is presented here is just a proverbial drop in the ocean.
OF THE ADMELLA
Ian Mudie. Published by Rigby Limited, Sydney etc, in 1966. It is one of the first books specifically on an Australian shipwreck. Hardcover, dustjacket, 184 pages, mono photographs, index, sources.
The iron, single-screw steamship pf 392 tons was wrecks on Carpenter's reef north-west of Cape Northumberland, South Australia, on 6 August 1859, with the loss of ninety-two lives. Most tragic was that many clung to the vessel and a slim hope of life for many days before the sea claimed another victim. A superb book recording an important era in Australia's mritime history. [ps].
The Wreck of George the Third.
The Blubber head Press, Hobart . 2006.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 294pp, 8vo, colour frontipiece, black and white plates.
Jack Loney and Peter Stone
Publishd by Neptune Press, Belmont, Victoria, 1980. Available in both hardback and softcover. A4 size, 117 pages, colour and mono photographs, index, further reading, Historic Shipwreck Law.
Concerns the shipwrecks lost off sixteen islands around the mainland Australian coast, including Lord How Island and Norfolk Island, but not Tasmania. General information on the islands followed by description of the wrecks. Includes diving information.
EXPORT PORCELAIN FROM THE WRECK OF THE SYDNEY COVE (1797)
Mark Staniforth & Mike Nash.
Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology. Fremantle. 1998. A.I.M.A. Special Publication No. 12. VIII, 46 pp with 3 maps, 39 b/w figures, and 16 colour plates. Pictorial soft cover.
OF THE BARQUE DAY DAWN; THE EXCAVATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF THE WRECK
OF AN EX-AMERICAN WHALER IN COCKBURN SOUND BY THE MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGICAL
ASSOCIATION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA 1976-1977.
Western Australian Museum, Perth, WA, 1980.
Softcover, mono illustrations, b/w plates, 58pp, size: 230x180mm. ISBN 0724482237. Includes acknowledgements, foreword, appendices, references, further reading.
Visible Wrecks and Wreckage in Australin Waters.
Peter Stone and Jack Loney.
Neptune Press Pty Ltd, Newtown, Victoria. 1983.
A useful booklet of 68 pages with many mono photographs giving details of wrecks and hulks, wreckage and anchors, along the mainland Australian coast, and the islands. Index, and ship summary.
FRASER ON THE FATAL SHORE
Published by Simon & Schuster, NY, 1971. (First American printing).
Hardcover, dustjacket, 8va, 189 pages, text illustrated. Includes chart of the coast of NSW from Port Jackson to the Cumberland Isles, & map of events.
"In the year 1835, the pregnant Mrs. Fraser left her three children in the safe hands of her minister and set sail with her ailing husband, the captain of the Stirling Castle, on an ill-fated voyage from London to Sydney, Australia. The boat foundered and sank on the Great Barrier Reef off New South Wales and what follows is a dire tale indeed."
This is a true narrative of the shipwreck, capture by aborigines, sufferings & miraculous escape of Eliza Fraser in Australia in 1835
Australian edition also.
COAST RUN. A History of The North Coast Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.
Michael P. Richards.
Printed and published by K.J.Wass & Co., Epping, NSW. 1967.
Softcover, 96 pages, mono photographs, no index but a summary list of vessels. Covers the small freighters plying the north coast of New South Wales and the many river systems.
Reprinted 1980, second edition.
Reprinted, 1996 in an expanded edition; publisher Turton & Armstrong, Wahroonga, NSW. Renamed: NORTH COAST RUN - Men and Ships of the N.S.W. North Coast.
Softcover, landscape format, 174 pages. Still no index, but includes a suggested reading list.
National Press, Melbourne, 1969. Hardcover, dustjacket; 115 pp.
Novelisation of shipwreck of the Cheviot at Portsea in 1887.
MINUTE OF TIME
The Melbourne-Voyager Collision
Vice Admiral Harold Hickling.
A.H. & A.W.Reed, Sydney, Wellington. 1965.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 234 pages, mono prints, list of offers and men lost, no index.
Covers the tragic collison between the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourn and the destroyer HMAS Voyager off Jervis Bay, 10 Febriary 1964.
OF THE PACIFIC
Being the Maritime History of Australasia
Published about 1934 by F.J.Thwaites (Pty) Ltd, Sydney.
In two volumes, hardcover, 412 pages and 478 pages. (I don't beleive there was a dustjacket). Excellent index of ships,places, persons and subjects. The index of ships covers about 1500 vessels over two volumes. Due no doubt to the contraints on space (and time), each vessel rates only a few paragraphs at the most. Yet the information provided is tremendous and forms a 'primary' resource for many historians, although when used it is clearly secondary research. [ps].
Title page shown. Cover is plain green cloth, no lettering on face, titled on spine.
Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. New York, 1963.
Library of Congress 64-18291.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 162 pages, a few mono prints, bibliography, index.
From the fly:
Based on authentic documents, this rousing account of a great sea saga blends the glamour of the exotic tropics with violent action and suspense. In 1791, H.M.S. Pandora was sent to the Pacific to find- the notorious H.M.S. Bounty, and to bring its crew back to justice in England. Though the Pandora never found the Bounty, she eventually rounded up those of the mutineers who had remained in Tahiti. These men had to face Pandora's brutal captain on the perilous voyage home, and some of them were inexcusably lost when the ship struck a reef and sank. Tortured by sun, hunger" and thirst, the survivors navigated an astonishing passage to safety, but to some, safety meant trial and probable death; This extraordinary narrative is peopled with colorful characters: George Stewart, the Bounty midshipman whose marriage to a beautiful Tahitian girl was immortalized by Byron; Mary Bryant, the woman convict from Botany Bay; and the amiable inhabitants of the South Sea island paradise, to whom the coming of the ships' crews brought sor- row and degradation. With its background of perilous reefs, uncharted tropical seas, and churning emotions, this book infuses history with the power and fascination of high adventure. [ps]
IN THE HALF-DECK: AN ACCOUNT OF THE WRECK OF THE BARQUE JOHN MURRAY.
John F. Moodie Heddle.
Longmans Green & Company Melbourne, 1949.Paperback 8vo - over 7" - 9" tall; 184pp, map.
- Discoveries from our Earliest Shipwrecks 1622-1797.
International Cultural Corporation of Australia Ltd. Sydney. 1988. Foreword by R.J.L. Hawke, Prime Minister of Australia.
Pictorial soft cover; 51 pp with 4 location maps,12 b/w & 60 colour illustrations.
Invitation to the official opening of this exhibition, by Vice Admiral M. W. Hudson, Chief of Naval Staff, loosely inserted.
The great seafaring saga out of which Australia emerged as a nation. Written in conjunction with the exhibition Shipwreck.
AT MADMAN'S CORNER
Mike Lefroy. Photographs by Patrick Baker.
Omnibus Books (part of the Scholastic Group). Norwood, South Australia. 1999
Softcover, perfect bound, A4 size, 44 pages, full colour throughout, glossary, index.
It is supposed to be a children's book but any adult would enjoy it no doubt. The wreck in question is that of the American trader Rapid, found by a family when spearfishing off the north-west Westernal Australia coast. It was not so much the unidentified wreck (at the time) that was found, but thousands of silver coins on the seabed. The following is from the back cover blurb:
This is a true story, a story of treasure lost at sea and of maritime archaeologists looking for secrets from the past. A mystery wreck is discovered by spearfishermen at Madman's Corner, a remote area on the coast of Western Australia. There is treasure, and promise of a reward. But for the archaeologists there is much more. Their patient detective work at last reveals the surprising story of the ship and its captain, and a desperate episode in Australia's maritime history. Mike Lefroy has written a number of books for children, including Captain Cook's Endeavour and The Trees That Went to Sea, both illustrated by Rick Martin. Mike is head of the Education section of the Western Australian Maritime Museum. [ps]
ALONG THE SOUTHERN COAST
No date, no publisher. Probably early seventies, self published.
Softcover, 96 pages, mono photos throughout, hand drawn charts.
Geoff Naylor lived in Geelong and was one of the earliest, and keenest, of wreck divers, exploring many wrecks at Port Phillip Heads and along the western Victorian coastline. This small book gives a potted history of the major wrecks, and the circumstances of the dive. Contains material of some minor historical interest; the book itself is not scarce.
AND MORE SHIPWRECKS.
Margaret E. MacKenzie
First edition (left) published in 1954 as ‘Shipwrecks': paperback, loose dust-jacket type cover on thin board. Now rare.
Published by The National Press Pty Ltd, Melbourne. Eighty-five pages, a few mono prints.
From the fly: Mrs. Margaret E. MacKenzie was blind for the last 12 years of her life. As she grew old the past became very dear to her and she deeply regretted not having written of the shipwrecks she knew so well while she still had her sight.
Wilh the return to Peterborough of her daughter Jean they decided to commence work on the book, Mrs. MacKenzie relating the stories and Jean writing them down. This began as a duty but before iong Miss MacKenzie became deeply interested and absorbed in her task. After the first edition of "Shipwrecks" was published in 1954, Miss MacKenzie continued to collect information about wrecks to the west of Peterborough, (or although her mother knew something of ihem she was not familiar with the details. The result is this enlarged edition of "Shipwrecks". This is now the account of 18 wrecks along the Victorian coast from Cape Otway to Port Fairy between the years 1836 and 1914. It has been the aim of the authoress lo keep the work factual and to avoid fictitious details which have tended to embroider some past accounts of the disasters. [ps-all]
SHIPWRECKS IN THE RANDWICK MUNICIPALITY
Trevor L. Brignell.
Randwick & District Historical Society, Sydney. 1987. No. 3 in the Historical Monograph series.
Pictorial soft cover (wreck of the "Hereward" on front, location maps on back); 36 pages with 15 b/w illustrations; 21 x 15 cm.
Wrecks of the "Hereward" in 1898, "Tekapo" in 1899, "Malabar" in 1925 plus others. [ps]
FROM THE SEA. The Life and Adventures of Diver J.E. Johnstone
First published Australia 1949.Australasian Publishing Company, Sydney.
Hardcover, dust jacket, 240 pages, mopno photographs throughout.
Johnstone is the most famous of the Australian hard-hat divers, due in part to his recovery of gold from the Niagara (see Gold From the Sea, by James Taylor), and his many Australian salvage efforts, many documented by Taylor. Obviously inspired by Johnstone's work on the Niagara, Taylor has written a biography of Johnstone's salvage from the wrecks of Bass Strait to the ‘3 Jap wrecks' off Buin. A very interesting book with content of historical value, although the book is relatively easy to obtain.
LES DEPOUILLES DE LA MER.
My French is non existent but I presume this is Spoils From The Sea. I had no idea it was published in French and disappointed that I missed out on buying it. It begs the question as to whether Taylor's Gold From The Sea was also translated into French. It would have ben a more interesting book to an internatioanl market.
Wrecked Western Australia 1852: the history of its loss, archaeological excavation, artefact catalogue and interpretation.
Myra Stanbury (editor).
Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, Fremantle. 2003. A.I.M.A. Special Publication No. 13. Special Publication Australian National Centre of Excellence for Maritime Archaeology No. 6. XVI, 233 PP with 24 tables and 109 b/w figures (maps and plans, drawings and photos). Pictorial soft cover.
IMMIGRANT SHIP NEW ZEALANDER LOST AT PORTLAND BAY 1853.
David A. Carroll, Deborah J. McPherson, Tony Tipping
M.A.A.V. Melbourne. 1987.
Softcover, illustrations, bibliography, index; 92pp. 295 x 220mm. A fascinating insight into the sinking of an emmigrant ship. Departing Liverpool in 1853 with 465 passengers one third of which were fare paying passengers. Whilst at Portland Harbour, Victoria, the ship burned to the waterline. Seven died. Includes a full list of all passengers.
LOSS OF THE TREVESSA.
1700 M ILES IN OPEN BOATS. THE STORY OF THE LOSS OF THE SS TREVESSA IN THE INDIAN OCEAN, AND THE VOYAGE OF HER BOATS TO SAFETY.
Cecil Foster (the Master of the Trevessa).
First published 1924, Martin Hopkinson & Co, London. Hardcover, dust jacket, 176 pages, map, mono photographs. Review copy is th second edition, 1926, indicated as the 'Cheap edition'.
On 3 June 1923, S.S. Trevessa sank in the middle of the southern Indian Ocean, having left Fremantle for Britain and Europe. Two boats were launched leaving the crew of forty-four hoping for assistance, but eventually set a course for Rodriguez Island. One boat mde it after 26 days. The other boat however experienced a tragic passage. Water ran short and despite repeated warnings, four Indian members of the crew drank sea water and died. The second engineer fell overboard during rough weather, and another crewman died two hours before land was sighted. This boat missed Rodriguez Island and sighted Mauritius on 28 June. The survivors were so exhausted by this time they had to be carried ashore, and the chief cook died soon after arrival. [ps]
"PERUVIAN" AND JAMES MORRILL
Maritime Museum of Townsville.1989.
Pictorial soft cover: 22 pp with 1 map and six b/w illustrations..
Story of the Peruvian shipwreck in 1846, and the experience of survivor James Morrill who lived with the Cape Cleveland Aborigines for 17 years.
WRECK OF THE DICKY.
Charles Harold Mann.
Shire of Landsborough Historical Society Museum, Queensland, 1985.
Softcover, 8vo, 72pp., pictorial wrappers, maps, b&w ills., appendixes, index.
WRECK OF THE 'ELIZABETH'.
Studies in Historical Archaelogy, Sydney, 1973. Stiff illustrated wrapper 8vo; pp. x, 53; numerous b/w illustrations, appendix, bibliography.
LIES BURIED HERE
The Stories of Wrecks off West Australia's Coast.
Frank H. Goldsmith.
C.H.Pitman Bookbinder and Publisher. Perth, Western Australia. 1946.
Hardcover, dustjacket, one mono image, one chart, 222 pages. Includes appendix of Register of Wrecks; and bibliography.
Half the book (116 pages) is devoted to a play based on the loss of the Dutch Esat Indiaman Batavia in 1628. I have no idea if it was ever performed. Called 'Batavia Ahoy!, it is a four-act play 'based on the incidents surroudning the wreck of the Batavia and the rescue of the castaways. The first seven chapters are devoted mainly t the Dutch wrecks, and 'First Australian Shipreck' (the Tryal on tye Monte Bello Islands). Some of the wrecks off Rottnest Island are covered, includinf the Duke of York. It is one of the earliest books on Ausralian shipwrecks.
Collectors info: The book itself is not rare however it is almost impossible to find one with a good dustjacket. The content is somewhat out of date as would be expected; there have been many books since its publication in 1946 that covers the wreck and massacre associated with the Batavia; and the extensive work on this and other Dutch wrecks is well covered in more recent publication. But, with a jacket (in itself well designed), it is worth of being in a collection.
- DIVE TO THE PAST
Max Gleeson and Mae Elliott.
Turton and Armstrong Publishers, Wahroonga, NSW. 1987. ISBN 0 908031 31 9.
Hardcover, justjacket, 80 pages, mono and colour prints, ship layout, passenger information.
S.S.YONGALA - TOWNSVILLE'S TITANIC
Self published, Caringbah, NSW, 2000. ISBN 0 646 37781 7.
Hardcover, laminated boards, 120 pages, mono and colour prints, ship layout, pssenger information.
From the fly of the 2000 edition.
In 1987, with Mae Elliott, I wrote "S.S.Yongala - Dive To The Past". The book dispelled for the first time, several of the myths associated with the ship. In 1981 a plaque had been placed on the hull of the wreck in memory of the 120 lives lost. Our research discovered one tiny life had not been included in that number. Ailsa Mary Murray who, because she was only eights weeks old and too young to be allocated.a berth, was never counted as a passenger. In the years since that first dive I have made over sixty dives to the Yongala. On several occasions we spent five days anchored above the wreck in perfect weather. I had the privilege to explore every corridor, hold and compartment and saw the remains of many of her passengers and crew. Perhaps the most sobering sight was an entire pelvic bone fused to the floor. On another unforgettable occasion we dived in the afternoon exploring the first class cabins. Our path where bulkheads once stood was lit by the eclipsed glow of sunlight from each encrusted porthole, every one the centre of a cabin and a tomb for those who occupied it. As an ardent wreck diver my travels have taken me to some of the most renowned and beautiful shipwrecks in the north and south Pacific. While some haye surpassed the Yongala in beauty, no wreck matches the diversity of marine life that can be seen on any single dive. Very few, if any, diveable shipwrecks can match her tragic history . [ps]
Second edition is still in print. Available from Oceans Enterprises.
First published by Angus and Robertson, Australia, 1977.
ISBN (hard) 0 207 13065 5; (soft) 0 207 13547 9.
Cover is of softcover edition 1978. [ps]
Softcover, stiff boards, 190 pages, index, mono prints.
The western entrance to Bass Strait was notorious for bringing to a premature end many ships, passengers and crew after crossing the Indian and Southern Oceans on their way from England to Port Phillip. An attempt at threading the narrow pass between King Island and Cape Otway was fraught with danger, requiring astute seamanship and a hell of a lot of luck. The western coastline of Victoria (Australia) is dotted with tragedy. The author explains why this is so, and covers in detail the wreck of the Loch Ard, Schomberg, Marco Polo and Lightning, all of which have been subsequently located and dived.This is the 1988 second edition of the book initially published in 1977. An excellent book. [ps]
Publishers and Distributors
303 Commercial Road, Yarram, Vic 3971, Australia
Phone (03) 5182 5108 International 61 3 5182 5108
homepage, link on graphic.