Twentieth Century Impressions of Western Australia

P.W.H. Thiel & Co., Perth, WA. 1901

ISBN 08905 269 9, (2000 reprint of 1901 edition), Hard Cover, 305mm x 245mm (A4+), 808pp, illustrated, 410grams

$250.00 + POST (The print run is 500 copies, available only from Hesperian Press)

This magnificent book is one of the most sought after reference works on nineteenth century Western Australia. It is an extremely rare book, and up until now it has been available only in a few selected libraries in a microfilm format.  Fair copies, if they can be found, sell for around $3,000.

Apart from its wealth of information, this book is lavishly illustrated with contemporary and historic photographs of people, places, buildings and industries. Of particular interest are the panoramas of the streets of Perth and Fremantle taken from high vantage points, and major industrial sites.

The book has over 800 pages with one index for the text and another for the photographic illustrations, listing these by building type, locality, topic, and person.  Photographs of humble dwellings as well as major public edifices are included, while panoramic views of industrial sites are balanced by specific examples of mechanical tools and equipment which would interest the engineer. The information contained in these photographs alone makes this volume an extraordinary resource for those with a specialist interest.  It is also a record of much that has been lost  during the twentieth century, providing vital clues to the development of places, and the buildings and residential dwellings erected in the metropolis and country towns.  For architects working in the heritage field, there are valuable clues about the evolving form of a homestead or a street scape; while the comprehensive index to the illustrations allows for comparative analysis of a building type such as a hotel or church, or to survey the wealth of buildings which were erected during the years of the gold boom.

The book contains four major sections which cover:

1.   The early history and development of Western Australia, voyages and navigation; settlement and exploration; natural history; responsible government and federation; local government bodies; justice; finance; public works; the military (with an excellent photographic coverage of the South African War contingents); ecclesiastical; sport; newspapers and publishers; Aborigines; zoological and botanical studies.

2.   The Mining Industry of Western Australia - its Progress and Development.  This is a comprehensive coverage of the gold, coal, tin, lead and copper industries with profiles of prominent people.

3.   Agricultural, pastoral and timber industries, fisheries and pearling.

4.   Commerce and Trade and Manufactures. This section covers the metropolis of Perth and Fremantle, country and goldfields towns, farms and stations.

In the centenary of Federation, it is particularly significant that the original volume, which was compiled as a summation of a century of achievement up to Federation, is now being republished in facsimile form.

Twentieth Century Impressions can be viewed on microfilm at the Battye Library (in the State Reference Library, Cultural Centre, Perth). Microfilm reference: Monographs 994.1 TWE  (B11942125)

The volume is bound in red novalite with gilt artwork and reproduced to the original dimensions 305mm x 245mm (A4+) on a quality 90gsm paper.