Dollypot, Greenhide and Spindrift:

a journal of bush history

Vol 3. No. 1.                                               (modified 8 January 2014)

The ontology of book burning.

Burnt, shredded, pulped, censored, suppressed, stolen and destroyed books, documents, artefacts and their protagonists in Western Australia.

By Peter J Bridge.

Here’s freedom to him who would speak,
Here’s freedom to him who would write;
For there’s none ever feared that the truth should be heard,
Save him whom the truth would indict!

ROBERT BURNS (1759–96)


Dedicated to Prof Leslie R Marchant, 1924 – 2004. A doughty fighter for the integrity of historical archives.


For some seventy plus years the National Socialists of Germany have been cursed by literary pseudo-intellectual circles for their burning of books in 1933. Superficially, this appears to be worthy of condemnation. However the devil is in the detail.

This burning was a political demonstration. It was not a systematic search and destroy mission as was that of the early Roman Catholic Church and the Arabs in their comprehensive destruction of all early Greco-Roman books, and the later Spanish and American extinction of native American proto-literature, or that of the murderous Bolsheviks with their campaign against all literature that threw doubt upon their ideas of remaking the mind of man.

As the war ended in Europe there commenced the greatest book burning the world has ever seen. In a search and destroy campaign millions of German books, documents, patents, and cultural artifacts were destroyed or stolen, mainly by the Americans and Soviets, though the British and French were second only due to their incompetence. And the German people were treated the same way with the greatest mass murders of modern times. And I am talking of after the ‘end’ of the war. At the very least, ten times as many German soldiers were murdered in West Germany after the war finished as died in the entire west European theatre of war. The Americans under Eisenhower were the most brutal conquerors the world has ever seen, surpassing the Mongols of past nightmares. The scum of Europe had a hard time emulating the Yankee horrors, but French, Polish, Czechs and other filth led by Yid criminals made even the American criminals vomit.

This is all recorded. You did not know? This is what happens to real history when the book burners are in control. Read real history and forget SBS and ABC propaganda.

And, White Man, this is what is in store for you.

At the same time the Americans were burning thousands of tons of books a year in the USA, most of which were innocuous, but were competition to their piratical copyright stealing publishers of the same origins as the most demented killers of Europe. One has little sympathy for American complaints of Asian copyright infringement when the history of copyright, or lack of it, in the USA is examined. And just to show that they are not biased or racist, there is the little matter of the extra seven million US dead during the enforced starvation of the Great Depression. When the reptoids are in control death and destruction automatically follow.

Now Google and the USA media are out to steal all copyrights. It is part of that ‘culture’. So watch out, there is more to come here. As Leard said in his adverts 30 years ago, “The worst is yet to come.”

In one of those ironic moments, while I am compiling this in May 2008, Zionists have publicly burnt hundreds of copies of the New Testament in a city near Tel Aviv. It is, however, a little less traumatic than burning people alive with phosphorous bombs. But they keep trying.

Those who burn books also burn people.


The following is an annotated list of items and incidents that have come to the writer’s notice, relating to the destruction of books, documents, and artefacts, mainly in Western Australia. It shows how a cumulative attrition takes place that leaves us all the poorer, and that in most cases the damage is done by the so-called record keepers and librarians. The result is cultural destruction, which, on a pro-rata basis, and because of the nature of the material destroyed, has an effect on Australian culture far worse than the much maligned book burning of pornography and communist propaganda did on real German culture. When this depletion, both designed and accidental, is combined with the intense propaganda spewing from New York and Hollywood, then those capable of watching see that the native Australian culture has been radically transformed into what is in effect a culture of technological zombies, mules bred to work, but not to think.

My thesis is that books and other published materials slip through the net that proscribes the destruction of government files and records that are covered by the State Records Act 2000, without proper investigation. Unfortunately the design of this Act still allows manipulation. When designed the Act was to give responsibility to Parliament, but as it was proclaimed the control went to the Minister of Arts, not noted for the synaptic flashes ever turning her light bulb on. Her immediate predecessors were similarly afflicted. The current imposter was described by a former government minister as, “of low wattage.” Unfortunately too many on all sides of Parliament appear to have a similar problem of seeing the light.

Modern ‘librarians’ are generally a class equivalent to bank tellers. They handle paper, they count books, they can sort the paper into different colours. But would you let a bank teller decide on your investments? Would you let a bank advise you? Why let untrained / mis-trained librarians choose books which can affect the future of an entire nation? What happens in reality is that decisions are made by librarians who have degenerated to the level of another type of paper handler, that is, paper recyclers. One aspect of this is that as these paper handlers have got more control, and are supported by library suppliers, who offer to do the choosing of the book stock for their customers! This gets worse. Local libraries are filled with novels of limited shelf life, “because that is what the public wants,”– how can mules decide? Murdoch wins again. These have a rapid turnover and are later dumped as almost unsaleable. Why should hard-won taxpayers funds be squandered on such rubbish? These are the literary equivalent of psycho-drugs, tobacco, alcohol, or porn movies. The government does not supply or subsidise these, unless of course the end user is a government minister or their acolytes. With books and writing it is ‘fiction’ (with all those telling vowel shifts again – and maybe a few consonants to spell it out correctly) that is promoted by the multinational publishers. These are pushing inconsequential novels to fill their coffers at the expense of the taxpayer and of the intellectual capital of the nation. Never mind the quality, feel the width. It appears that the Public Lending Rights system is another aspect of this which transfers millions to the multinational corporations each year for the use of books, mainly fiction, by libraries. Intimately integrated with this is the growth of ‘creative writing’ courses, all leading to systemic cultural corruption.

 State ‘arts’ departments promote ridiculous prizes with pre-determined outcomes – no free market here, the wrong person may win – and training groups are funded to produce a new crop of would-be authors each year, most of which are abandoned by the wayside. In WA, which the eastern based corporations ignore, (lux orientalis?), a state publisher has been funded to the tune of many millions of dollars over 25 plus years. Most of what has been produced is inconsequential, with a shelf life of less than a used Kleenex. However, some administrators have done well with trips to international book fairs. There do not appear to have ever been any relevant results, ie substantial purchases, from overseas book distributors and any writer who has developed a following has immediately moved to other publishers.

Taxpayer support for the arts in Australia is one of the greatest rorts ever perpetrated on the public, and is only possible for two reasons, the buying, and braying, of the loudest emptiest voices, and the fact that most of the public in general is not concerned about such matters. A real culture does not need this money. A chameleon false-overlay culture does

In the great changes to education over the last few decades one sees the move to produce drones for the multinational corporations. Real thinkers are not allowed. Any of those are starved into submission. This is the old, old story of Empire. Where are all the free men? In a delightful (if it was not so serious) example of the biological truism, “Ontogeny begets phylogeny,” one now sees the state library public areas served by librarians with vacant stares, a true reflection of the administration which has culled the stocks and the herd and left only the docile re-shelvers whose main job is to count the customers so as to justify the libraries existence. Any scrubbers are shot on sight. Occasionally a real librarian from before the deluge scurries from the back stacks and is eagerly accosted by incensed researchers. As the service has got worse the true customers have left, and the library has become a doss-house for the local indigents and occasionally indiginees (who carouse in the garden outside the library, protected by the mantra with which ministers open every public meeting “this is the Noongars (has the Great Vowel Shift been at work here) land and we must thank them for the use of it, or some other equally inane rambling), cell phone and bag thieves, book cutters destroying tens of thousands of dollars of art books, and a free internet service which ensures that legitimate users must track through three floors to find a vacant terminal to check the catalogue. These freeloaders, engrossed in pornography and backgammon, are important to the administration because of the numbers they represent in justification of the claim that more people use the library. The problem is that locals can not get a seat for much of the year. On top of this are the overseas students, who treat the library as home from home. The biggest mah jong – social club in town. But they are ripped off by corporate mind-manipulating institutions, charging top fees for, in most cases, a poor course, and no infrastructure, such as libraries of their own. Why they come here is beyond me, as the standard is far below the advances in their own countries. Cf. Korea. But the “living is easy.” Wait till they have to “tote that bale,” and realization of the wasted education may sink in. Of course the switched-on ones manage to stay here and become public servants, having an Australian ‘education’. – To the tune of “Pop goes the weasel.”

Late reports reveal that University lecturers are forced by the utterly corrupt Senates to write the essays and do the exams of overeas students, and to raise marks of 15% to 25% to pass level. The Unis get $90,000 from the Federal government for all overseas students that they pass. This money comes from the Foreign Aid budget. This unemployable third world garbage, useless to their own nations is then given jobs by the Australian government, and we wonder why all is falling apart. Obummers strategy is repeated everywhere in the west. Introduce mendicants and they will always vote for the most irresponsible party who pays them the most. Read Gibbon lately?

I have received some bitter criticism from associates for raising these issues which “will appeal only to conspiracy theorists and to people who are agin the government,” and for the blunt way that I expressed my comments in my admittedly somewhat scatological first draft. Apart from my objections to destructive policies and the reasons stated throughout this essay, I consider the investigation of government actions and laying home the personal responsibility of our ‘masters and servants’ to be the highest acts of patriotism. It is obvious that conspiracies are the meat of life of politicians and all levels of government, as well as in the globalist agenda. Opening these to the sun should be the national sport of those with an IQ above that of the pigskin-punchers, sports voyeurs, brothel-tramps and such like. When f**k is the most common adjective on the ABC, I make no apologies for using less explicit terminology in describing my cultural antagonists. While these views may indeed be Jacobin, sometimes hard and sharp actions are needed in the national interest.

Among other points of criticism were, “What have you done?” and “it may prompt some people to wonder whether Hesperian Press is worthy of respect.” During my working life I have continually tried to protect the scientific and historic value of the fields in which I am interested, and of which I had knowledge. At a similar time to when the State Archivist was burning files, I was doing my best as a junior officer and curator of a nationally important collection, to fight off the savages who wanted to destroy the records, and the collections. Later the subject of the destruction of the files of the Government Chemical Laboratories from 1922 to the 1970s came under discussion. I went out on a limb to attack such folly in an interview with the Director. The Director asked the Archives for a report. A staffer was sent over, and, as the Director later related to me, she wrote that the only files worth preserving were the annual report files! These particular files were the material prepared for publication in the Mines Department Annual Report, and so of minimal value! At that, the director himself was so disgusted that the files remained untouched, and are still intact.

For those with constructive criticism, who wish to comment on both the listings, my reasoning, and my attitude, please feel free to smooth, or ruffle, my feathers, as I have done to the subject. Abuse will be consigned to cyberspace or possibly displayed as an example of the capabilities and mentality of my opponents. Names please – no anonymity. Come out from under your rocks, cockroaches.


Books censored and destroyed.


Rapunzel in Surburbia by Dorothy Hewitt, (1975), is now of little interest, both her and her bitter ex-husband lawyer and the court case sink back where they came from.


Yiwarra by Richard Gould, (1969), was the subject of some controversy as the book included a photo of a secret object which may have led to the death of a Warburton girl when the book was shown to tribal elders.

Interestingly, I met Richard last year. He was the forensic anthropologist at the World Trade Centre site. He mentioned that body parts were found on the other side of the East River!


Upsurge by J.M. Harcourt, (1934, reprinted 1986). Erotic book banned for the usual reasons.


The Mickelberg Stitch by Avon Lovell, (1985). The gold con on the Perth Mint led to the arrest and gaoling of the Mickelberg brothers. The book countered with evidence of police corruption, which after much $, time, and legal running was shown to be true. The author was financially and legally burnt at the stake. His antagonist met a suitably nasty end, unfortunately much delayed. Some believe the series of gold robberies was organized by people connected to intelligence operations. Were the hoists for personal gain or some antipodean equivalent of Oliver North’s operations in the USA? The smoke is still in the air. For an equivalent in Victoria, see the nasty history of the persecution of the writer-researcher, Raymond Hoser. Another brave man.


Not the West Australian was a little photocopied A5 flyer which in a journalistic guerilla campaign appeared at bus stops, in doctor’s surgeries, office desks and library tables. A real samizdat, that like those in the Soviet would have meant real punishment for the author, had he been found. The gutless, and probably incriminated media would not investigate the corruption that became known as WA Inc, as against the Arts Dept ‘literary’ rorts known as WA Ink. The editor and his helpers fearlessly walked with Daniel and led directly to the Royal Commission and the unravelling of the Government-Corporate racket that was a true expression of the Fascisti program. Billions were stolen from investors. Some of the players were sequestered in country estates, aka prison farms. Some died. Others fled the country. But most are back, like Freddy K. I never cease to wonder why some patriot with nothing left to lose has not literally driven a stake through the heart of several of the blood-sucking parasites who have since paraded their tainted wealth to the world.

The editor of Not the West Australian naturally was anonymous, but I believe he was a Church Minister. A brave man, fighting against the most powerful degenerates of his time in government and big business, following Christ in cleaning the temples of our culture of the Gadarene swine of thieves, usurers, and moneylenders.

I am proud that he considered me a friend. He died, aged 61, in 1993. There are no copies of his journal in the State Library!


Bush Justice by Ron Brown and Pat Studdy Clift, Hesperian Press, (1990), is Ron’s auto-biography as a Centralian policeman. Demands and threats were made by the Central Land Council that the book be removed from circulation. The threats were backed by a list of books which were said to have been knocked out by court actions. An examination of this by my literary lawyer, showed that the claim was without foundation. It seemed that apparently spineless publishers had caved in to the CLC demands. The mob received a fairly sharp reaction and instructions which they would have found difficult to follow.

Since that time activists in Alice Springs have carried out low level sabotage of the book, and another which they object to, in Alice Springs bookshops. And these golem think I am prejudiced when I refuse permission for the use of material in their books and films!

Some time later I was informed by WA Museum staff that special legislation was being prepared to “get” me. This was by “I can’t remember” Lawrence’s government, (aka Lawrence of Amnesia) and entailed modifying the Aboriginal Sites Act to ban the publication of pictures of aboriginal “sacred rites,” in addition to its ban on photos of aboriginal “sacred sites.” It was a photo of a sub-incision “whistle-cocking” ceremony, a form of ritual child abuse.


Metamorphosis of a Race – Kuini and Kulari Tribes of Kalumburu Mission by Seraphim Sanz de Galdeano OSB, MBE, OAM, CSM. And Dolores Djinmora. Hesperian Press, (2006). This was the culmination of a life’s work by Father Sanz. He died aged 95 in 2008. The book in part details the destruction of a paradise in the Kimberley, and is definitely NOT PC. On publication the Australian newspaper staff were enthusiastic and planned a good exposure and review. A senior Government Minister (Catholic) was over the top about the book and extra review copies were requested. Then the fix went in. A passing mention was made in an obscure column.

In the deep North the Bishop of the Kimberley reduced Father Sanz to tears on telling him the book was banned from sale at the Mission. On hearing this I was similarly affected, but my emotion was rage. Copies of the book and Father Sanz’s autobiography, Memoirs of a Spanish Missionary Monk, Hesperian Press (2006) were sent for review in the Perth Catholic Record, but despite repeated requests for an explanation as to why there was no review and no return of my copies, the cupboard was bare. But the last laugh will be on the book banners, for reasons which may not become evident for a while…


The following three books were also the subject of threats. The reaction to the first was the cause of much trouble that followed. The second was a case of force majure, and the third an example of ignorant politicians and bureaucrats.


Nomads of the Australian Desert by Charles P. Mountford, Rigby, (1976). As always Mountford’s work was of the highest quality, 628 pages and profusely illustrated. No one – black, white, or brindle, will ever have the knowledge to write such a book again.

This was the first book targeted in the campaign against the publishing of aboriginal ethnographic material. The company withdrew the book, but appears to have sold or given the stock to an anthropological society who sold it at high prices to selected members for some years afterwards. Prices are now in excess of $600. My own copy, got some years later for $5, had been held in that renowned centre of aboriginal culture and education – the Fremantle Prison library!


The Horn Scientific Expedition to Central Australia, Part IV, Anthropology, (1896, reprinted 1994). This magnificent and rare suite of four large volumes was reprinted by Corkwood Press with financial support from the Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory. Subscribers paid hundreds of dollars in advance. Most copies were to be delivered at a conference in Alice Springs. However, before the conference the publisher was presented with a scalpel, and a demand that the plates, both colour and black and white, be removed from the anthropology volume. These were then burnt under supervision. Some plates showed churingas, sub-incision ceremonies, and of course pictures of long defunct natives. The book would not have appeared in ‘popular’ bookshops, but was subscribed to by scientists and researchers who had interests in the area and had paid large amounts for the book and to come to the conference. It must have come as an unpleasant surprise for those who were accustomed to inflicting these types of restrictions on others, to be hoisted themselves. Poetic justice. My copy had been mailed direct and is intact. I might get around to placing the censored plates on this website.


In the Beginning by Trevor K Jacob. Published by the Ministry of Education, Western Australia, (1991). This is a magnificent book, published in both case and soft cover editions. Copies are quite rare, and the cased copies even more so. The book is 384 pages, 23 cm x 31 cm, in full colour on good paper with good illustrations and reasonable text by prominent anthropologists from the WA Museum etc and with a prestigious editorial board. I believe that the State and Commonwealth grants, together with the usual taxpayer funded hangers-on, brought the expenditure to in excess of a million dollars at present day values, and maybe ditto at yesterdays. It was distributed free of charge to all WA schools and enthusiastically embraced by the teachers. Then came the you know what in the woodpile. It was abruptly removed from all schools. The police confiscated copies from a book distributor who had been slung copies on the side, and all were returned to the dungeons of Silver City, the Education Department cellars, where they rotted for over a decade. The “problem,” we were informed, was two photos, from Victoria, of normal implements, which were considered by tribal Aborigines in the WA bush to look like “secret” items. That they could not read the photo titles was irrelevant. There were many complaints, but to no avail. The book had been damned. I tried several times to get some sense and action but the walls of Silver City are sheer. Both Liberal and Labor Ministers followed the same party line. I discussed the idea of making an offer for the lot and blocking out the problem illustrations a la Singapore ink etc. Ditto internally in the Department. But nothing happened. All the bureaucracies wanted was time to dig their hole and hide away from their stupidity and inability to solve a simple problem. In 2005 a phone call to the Department led to an answer months later. The paperwork had disappeared – and so had the books! They were pulped in 2004. Copies have been bringing $600 plus in the rare book market.


The conjunction with the following title is apposite.


Dicks and Dickheads I have Known by Dr Leo Laden, 1991. One of the funniest and at the same time, disturbing, books ever published in WA. The author was the public pox doctor in the Health Department in Perth. He had observed the irrational behaviour of homosexual deviants and realized that the threat of AIDS was not about to change their antics. Such would cause damage to themselves or to innocent parties, as in blood transfusions. The PC, ie communist, reaction of the Health Department was to mumble about threatening the author and the publisher. The appropriate action, with a raised finger, gloved of course, was enough to quiet them. Now reprinted, 2009.



Judges, lawyers and poor little us by D.A.S. Russell and The True Story by Z.S. Jemielita. Both nd, 1990s. Dr Jemielita was an Alsatian doctor in the SW of WA. He was a good doctor and surgeon, but like many who are busy, Dr. J. had no time for posturing and incompetence among staff and associates. His wife was also a doctor. There were court cases with staff at the local hospital and he and his wife were accused of fiddling medicare rebates of a few hundred dollars and he was disbarred. The town was divided. His doctor wife suicided. He was imprisoned. One of his competitors who accused him was himself caught for a huge medicare defalcation. His house was looted of valuable antiquities and other items while he was in prison. On his release he wrote the two books which detailed the iniquity of the police, the medical board, and others. Of course they were underground publications as his tormentors knew the best time to hit a man. Such publications are not uncommon when many try to tell their story of how they were caught in our local gulags of mind and body. Dr Jemielita died in 1999 and this report is probably his only memorial, apart from hidden archives and the newspaper morgues. Only one of his books is in the State Library.



Then there books which should have been burnt as a manuscript instead of after publication.


Stolen Soul by Bernard Holstein. Judy Shorrock and UWA Press, 2004. This book purports to be the memoirs of a ‘holocaust survivor.’ Post publication, an outcry by the author’s family indicated he had been brought up in Victoria, and, of course, never in Europe in WWII. A non-participant in a non-event. Immediate recall by the Uni Press followed and excuses were given that it was a ‘vanity’ publication. Several questions arise:– who got all the $ from the author? Didn’t the Uni Press editors read the manuscript? Considering the exceptionally poor reliability record of books written by those claiming to be ‘survivors,’ were the editors not a little suspicious of his claims? How come they have such a poor knowledge of contemporary history and literary crimes and call themselves editors? Were they pressured to take this on?

The whole affair brought contempt on what was once a respected institution.



Remembering a century of book burning at the State Library of Western Australia.


The Victoria Public Library commenced in 1889. A veil (of smoke?) is drawn over the activities of the State Library of Western Australia for the next 50 or so years, but it is obvious by the 1950s that books removed from the stock list were immediately destroyed. Forty years of prowling through second-hand bookshops etc did not show a single remaindered ex-State library book until the book sales started in the late 1980s. The reason partially becomes apparent when it is seen that booksellers were represented on the Library Board. A warped sense of economic self preservation – ‘we can’t have secondhand books available, the proles won’t buy and read our new stock’ becomes apparent.


The Core Stack of the State Library. This was the accumulated mostly lending stock of the Public Library system and most items were not represented in the State Library collections. When the library was considering disposing of these the controversy reached the press in 2004. While the majority of the public library stock appears to be novels without substance or soul, on which huge sums are expended yearly as a hidden subsidy to multinational publishers, the core stack was almost all non-fiction.

Interest in the fate of these books was expressed to library staff, but the thoughts of those on high had not drifted down to the mortals. Eventually in the summer of 2004 a huge two day sale was held in very hot weather at Claremont. It was full of gems. Some buyers were said to have picked out books worth thousands of dollars. At “$3 a book, everything to go,” I was not unhappy with what I got. However, with over a 100,000 books to go many were never unpacked from their crates.

It came out several months later that the unsold stock secretly went direct to the pulpers.

Letters of complaint to the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition were completely ignored. This was a criminal act. Book dealers and myself would have been only too happy to have taken the stock and sorted/sold/given away at leisure, and paid the library a percentage, rather than have the books destroyed.

I point out that I am not against the de-accessioning of books from libraries, but do object if this is done for political purposes, or if interested and competent people are not overseeing the procedure.

Sequences of journals that were available in the 1950s have been completely destroyed. The indexes that listed these have also been destroyed, so as to cover the tracks of the guilty.

Now, in April 2009 I find that duplicate copies of important Australian books are being dumped to make space for an internet centre on the ground floor. I see that the toilets are also being remodeled – to accommodate the expanding needs of the pornographers, paedophiles and drug sellers that have already infested the library?

Now that Bloody Sunday, and every other day of the week has its memories of massacres of the experienced staff at the library, the replacement robots are being moved in from the public libraries where the prevailing mentality, if that is not an oxymoron, is limited to “giving the public what it wants.” This is the rationale of the new elites who are actively engaged in the dumbing down and destruction of our society. This problem has been actively canvassed by many writers from the alternative press on the internet, and is an international problem created by the neocon mentality. One day the ‘dumb’ animals will rebel and the presstitutes, and their bureaucratic equivalents and puppeteers will be … sorry, forget that one, the price and shortage of gas means even the pizza ovens are cold, but still plenty of light poles.


Over the last decade many items in the State Library have been dumped without careful consideration of their interest and value. Some items:-


The Argus newspaper in bound volumes was destroyed by the WA State Library. This is again criminal activity. Anyone who has tried to use the microfilm of this paper or of the SMH will be aware of the disaster of destroying the originals. There would have been no shortage of purchasers in Victoria for these bound volumes. The destruction is reported with loving detail in the Friends of the Battye Newsletter. With friends like that…..


 The Wide World Magazine ran from 1898 to 1966. Thousands of true stories of adventure were written by people worldwide in a monthly magazine. It contains many items by Westralian writers unrecorded in the Battye or National Library. There is only one public set, in NSW. The WA State Library had a set but destroyed it sometime in the late 1960s-1970s.


Old Afghan-Punjabi newspapers from the 1890s. These were from the time of great anti-Afghan agitation in WA and probably related to the correspondence of local camel men with the papers in Lahore etc. With the increase in interest in such, the destruction of possibly irreplaceable records is unforgivable. That this happened in 2006-7 in a supposedly enlightened administration makes it worse.


Library of Congress. The State Library of WA was selected as the recipient for extensive collections of USA government research documents on microfiche. The tens of thousands of fiche were given the flick into the bin. I am sure a better fate could have been found for these. Supposedly the documents are on the internet, but I find that a dubious repository, especially when economic cutbacks cause cutting of electronic services; when the Chinese get tired of interference and laser the satellites; when a solar flare fries all the electronic systems. etc. I checked some of the discarded microfiche and just could not get those same items to come up in a search on the internet.


As one can readily observe from the State Library sales now that the majority of items for sale are useless dross. The point is that taxpayers $ were spent on this rubbish in the first place. It is a scandal of the amount wasted. Did they just give the book buying budget to a sleazy USA book wholesaler (as in the New York nudge, nudge, I can get it for you wholesale) and let them choose? Some of the sick religico-political rubbish seems to indicate that happened. Much no-one wants now even for free.

This is being repeated now (2012) with large expenditure on ebooks. High priced junk which the library does not even own.

The only problem with dealing with the guilty parties is that for the preferred method – defenestration – the library is not high enough for a decent light and sound show. Perhaps in the winter we could do an auto da fe. Don’t burn good books, burn bad librarians. Such public displays of retribution were a tradition in the adjacent Museum old prison grounds and justice as they say, must be seen to be done.


Other institutional arsonists.


The Eastern Goldfields Historical Society case shows that destruction of libraries or their contents is not a government prerogative. In their library were bound volumes of the Sun, a brilliant goldfields paper from the late 1890s to the late 1920s. The treasurer, seeing the microfilm in the local library, decided to dump the hard copy, without asking the committee of the incorporated body. Only one set now exists and that is decidedly worn and damaged, and is kept in the Battye Library. The microfilm is poor and pages are missing from the filming. A caustic email from the editor led to a greater appreciation of their responsibilities and the value of their holdings, as well as a few rufflings and ranklings. Tough Luck.


The University of WA Library is reported to have dumped rubbish skips of bound volumes of old newspapers and bound journals. Staff rescued some. Large runs of bound volumes of the early Bulletin were found at the Claremont tip by Prof L Marchant.

One of Western Australia’s best map collections is at the Reid Library. I gave them a grant in the early 1980s to build up a collection of Indonesian maps. The curator is dedicated to mapping research and making the information available to all, and has published on maritime boundaries and law of the sea. Full details are not available but pressure was positioned to get the map collection heavily culled. The curator arrived at his office one day to find that some cretinous scum had dumped a large amount of the collection to a skip bin.

Similar devastation of maps has taken place in the State Library of WA in 2011-2012.


The Aboriginal Affairs Library at 197 St Georges Terrace was the best library on the subject of Aborigines in WA. In circa 2002 swift and final action completely destroyed this library. Some regular libraries were given materials but a substantial amount appears to have been dumped or stolen, their books having appeared in a Perth secondhand bookshop.

Such a decision at a time of increasing activity in native title etc was a retrograde act.


The Supreme Court cellars contained immense quantities of old newspapers. When an ad was placed under some aspect of the old legal system a copy of the full paper had to be lodged in the court files. This was the last great source of such papers, many of which are missing in the files of the Battye Library. Now in 2008 there is a national campaign to fill the gaps, but too late! Who made the decision to destroy these? The date I believe was circa 2000. Information wanted.


The Perth Technical College had a fit of reorganization in the 1960s and dumped a full truckload of old but magnificent leather bound Australian and New Zealand geological publications. These eventually found their way to me. Some are still treasured items in my library. Others found a niche in the School of Mines, State Library, and National Library collections.


That the book burning disease is Australia-wide is shown by the destruction of a NSW parliamentary library. Some wacko cleaned out a mass of rare 19th century publications on which the dealers had a field day. Similar cleanouts took place with records in the Legislative Council in WA in the 1980s.


In the South Australian Mines Department about a decade ago the lower level staff reorganised storage in a warehouse. No 1 Pooh Bah tripped over a book and exclaimed to the effect ‘get rid of this s**t.’ In those days the King’s word was law…. and it was done. Twenty tons of books were said to have hit the tip!


Recently, October 2012, the Geological Society of Australia reported large quantities of palaeontological publications being destroyed in Queensland. Most geologists develop large personal libraries for their work and interest. They know how hard it is to acquire such publications and object strongly to such brigandage on their turf.


Files and records destroyed.


At the Lands and Surveys rare exploration charts attracted attention from a staff member who loved the old charts too well. Incensed by the useless bureaucracy and the lack of care for items he considered national treasures, the officer thought private collectors would like them more. This was correct but others saw the situation differently. Some maps were not recovered and he was sentenced to a solid prison term. They take care of their plans now.

Another case has come to light where an imported bureaucrat apparently considered that the colonials were undeserving of such documents. The missing items were traced to a London dealer, but the Stirling era documents were long gone.

When the police came for the map protector a retired very senior surveyor got the runs. Within days a large and valuable cache arrived back to the Lands Dept. “I was cleaning up my files and found these and thought they should be kept” Ha Ha! Another rotten superannuation plum.


Duty and duty stamps conflicted where a low level officer was assigned the job of selecting old files for destruction. Some files contained swathes of duty stamps of high face value, and were also of archival interest, but the officer was a stamp collector. On deregistering the files, especially those with lots of pretty stickers, they were “binned.” Come 5 pm the bin went into his car boot, so as to speak.

At a later date a criminal stamp collecting politician exchanged other bits of coloured paper, more fitting to the officer’s preferred colour scheme, for the duty stamps and all were happy except the puritans who had realized the scam too late. The pollie and his assets were interned and sequestered, the duty stamps apparently finally ending up back in the archives, but with no archival value, and not yet appearing in their catalogue.

The low officer was not prosecuted, they say, due to the stupidity of his seniors, whose excuse was that he was just doing his job, or some similar lame offering. Historians still rue the day that such an incompetent was allowed to decide the disposition of some of the most important public records in WA.

As an aside, I campaigned for years to have the public parks named after this criminal politician and his equally criminal Liberal Party counterpart, stripped of their names. The ratbags at the City of Stirling resisted but eventually I and others succeeded. Burke and O’Connor were the snakes in paradise and again I am amazed that they have not suffered the fitting fate of poisonous filth.


Filing down Files. A child of Procrustes was alive and well in the Lands Department office in the old Treasury building in the 1960s. The original Procrustes was known as ‘the stretcher’, also lopping the limbs from travellers to fit his beds, but this manifestation had a distinctly more limited view of its role in life. It was in a female form, and mutilating paper, not human bodies, was the object of its desire.

 An old surveyor told me of the strange creature whose desk was surrounded with large piles of files. One day he walked past her desk to see a litter of paper strips and the largest pair of scissors he had ever seen. She was ‘trimming’ the files! Letters, reports, maps, all went under the blade of unknowing, ignorant destruction, but the files fitted their pigeon-hole bed. Oh, for a new Theseus to cut these creatures down to size, before they start their destruction.


The Government Printer. Another reincarnation of Procrustes worked in the old Government Printer where the State Library had its old serials bound. Years of early irreplaceable newspapers have been trimmed and the bottom two lines of all the pages are missing. Just how did the guillotine operators get past the midwife?


Shredded by a Corporation. The disease is catching. Recently (late 2006-8) a budget allocation was granted for Telecom to destroy 900 shelf-metres of old PMG records housed at the National Archives in Victoria Park, WA. Despite the fact that these were public records and quite a few researchers were using them, the whole lot of early 20th Century records were shredded. The NA are only the curators and the files are owned by the current Telecom, or are they? These were created when the PMG was a taxpayer funded department. Heads should roll over this!


It was not until the writer, researching some poor soul, wanted to check the Coroner’s files that it was found that the Coroner only kept them for a decade. The legal implications of this are far-reaching. I believe that stupidity was shortly resolved and their system brought into the fold.


The Sunset Old Men’s Home was the last home before the grave of many pioneers. Not all garnered the gold. From published interviews and reminiscences in old newspapers of the 20s and 30s it is known they were a very interesting group. Someone decided that the files were to follow the old men, and they did, to the incinerator.


A very important sequence of files on leprosy patients in a Kimberley hospital [Derby?] had long been protected by one of the staff. However on going on holidays the room was broken into by some criminal scum and the lot, with photos and all ended at the dump. A well known researcher on the subject managed to recover some of these. It only takes one to turn ones back and the slime strikes.


Army files. In my research on the Guerilla Warfare Group the long complaint of the old soldiers was that Canberra told them that they “did not exist”. We all blamed Canberra, which in itself is not a bad assumption as one is pretty sure to be right 95% of the time. There are no existing nominal rolls of many WWII units and so it is exceptionally difficult to construct the background of the men and the unit activities.

In this case I was informed by an ex-Army Engineer that he spent a great deal of time under orders in an Army store near Midland incinerating all these files 


Mines and maps. The 1960s and onwards rush into new technologies has led to some great disasters. In the Mines Department their extensive chart collection showing leases was microfilmed. Such surveyed leases are in ink, but un-surveyed areas are pencilled in. The latter showed very poorly on the microfiche, but that was the end of the matter as the originals had hit the tip. This was and is a disaster for prospectors and mining historians.

Similar problems have occurred in the old State Electricity Commission and the Lands and Surveys, now Landgate.

The collection of data over a period of some 70 years was marred by the loss of the Mining Lease registers from the changeover period of the early 1890s. This has, and is, causing many problems in tracing mining development in the early days. Problems have also arisen in tracing the alienation of land in the current native title wars.


The Public Works Department in Dumas House microfilmed their architectural plans in the late 1960s, many of which went back to the 1880s. After the filming the Battye Library was invited to take what they wanted. Several well-known senior staffers visited, and to the accompaniment of titterings such as “Ouw, this is a naice one” some plans were collected. The rest were put outside for the incinerator. An eager and concerned draftswoman was staggered that they were being burnt, and collected a batch, some of which were signed by Jewell and Poole. Over the next decade there was an exhibition in the old Art Gallery of colonial architecture where the microfilm was blown up and colour washed especially for the display. This must have cost a lot. Another exhibition followed later. If the plans had been archived correctly then the originals would still be available at minimal cost. Subsequently I made a donation of the rescued plans to the Battye and was told, “You can’t give us these, they are ours. You stole them.” This from one of the blue-rinse brigade who had oh so carefully selected a few plans from the PWD years before.


The Geological Survey reorganized their map library in the 1960s. Thousands of duplicates were removed and were in multiple piles near on a metre high for dumping. Some geologists were choosing a few that interested them. Some maps from the UK went back to the mid 1800s. I picked out a pile some 10cm thick but the stroppy library assistant jacked up and refused to let me take them. I went to the Government Geologist, a notoriously irascible dictator, who had a grudge against me, as he viewed my independence in the nearby Laboratory as a personal insult, especially so when there was nothing he could do about it. I was booted out. I did request that at least could the maps go to the University of WA library. They went to the tip. [These were not the maps from local GSWA publications] His predecessor, a rough and tough geologist of the bush school, had some years before dumped the entire library collection of foreign, non-English language journals. However these were rescued from the tip and formed an important part of the geology library at the University of WA.


The Government Chemical Laboratories, was where I worked for 16 years until 1978. I kept a close watch on the early mineral identification files from circa 1900 to 1922. These Geological Survey of WA files had been cancelled and transferred to the holdings of the Laboratories. Even after I left I kept in touch as where they were right up to about 2004, when I was told they had been shifted to the store at Welshpool. Then one day I checked again and it was Sgt Schultze all over again. – “I know no-th-ing!”


The Police Occurrence Books and files represent the most important record of day to day life in most of the state. They are national treasures.

Unfortunately the white ants, weather, unthinking police, and stupid ‘archivists’ have taken their toll. When Peak Hill was abandoned the papers of the station literally blew away in the wind. Ian Blair of Onslow, an old Sergeant was serious. He collected, before he retired, six tea chests of these from the Pilbara and trucked them to the Battye. There is now no record of these. The following may explain why.


Extracted from Peter Conole’s Protect and Serve (2002) pages xv-xvii.


Extensive primary source material may be found in the holdings of the Battye Library, the Public Record Office and – particularly for more recent years – the Records Branch of the Western Australia Police Service. Unfortunately there are also huge gaps in historical records and research on some themes, personalities and geographic areas must of necessity depend on intensive detective work among assorted government records, newspapers, local histories and other secondary works rather than the best primary sources produced by the police. The Police Gazettes and the magazine of the Police Union are available, as are a large number of Chief Office Files, CIB files and Occurrence Books, but a number of disasters have resulted in the loss of data of both local and national interest that may be fairly regarded as both staggering and irreparable.

There are various reasons for this and they need to be explained because the damage done to both police and Western Australian historical research is severe. From the Nineteenth Century until quite recently, possibly the best primary sources for the social history of urban suburbs and rural towns and districts were the Occurrence Books kept by officers at individual police stations. Their value as historical documents has recently been amply demonstrated in the pioneering work of K J Moran, whose study of the development of the Perth to Kalgoorlie corridor from 1829‑1901 largely depended on police records of events. The vast majority of Occurrence Books kept at metropolitan and southern police stations have been destroyed.

The process began in about 1930, when a Circular Order was issued to be sparing in the use of stationary. Many Occurrence Books were recycled from about that time, often being torn up and used for other administrative purposes or as pasting boards for ‘mug shots’ of assorted felons. The damage done was still limited and the lethal blow came on 12 August 1955 in response to a request from Acting Police Commissioner James O’Brien to the State Archivist M. Lukis for advice on what to do with the mountain of books that were still in various police holdings. The reply was as follows:


“With reference to the request in your letter of 27th July 1955 (Ref. 2577/52) regarding the proposed destruction of Central Police Station Occurrence Books dating from 1900 to recent years, I enclose a certificate stating that it is not desired to retain these records in the Archives, and we have no objection to their destruction.

The Occurrence Books of more recent years at other Police Stations would also not be required for retention in the Archives. I would be grateful however, if when notifying police officers in charge of stations regarding your decision, you would emphasise to them the historical value of any early records they may happen to hold, such as Occurrence Books, Letterbooks, Journals or Report Books. Any of these records dating about 1900 or earlier we should like to have for the Archives.

 At stations on the edge of settlement, e.g. in the far north, or to the eastward at places such as Laverton, the journals and reports of special expeditions etc. of an even later date would be of some interest. Charge Books earlier than 1890 would be of value, as they so often contain charges laid under the old Master & Servant Acts, and these are of importance for research workers. Would you be good enough to specify such records in your circulars, and request that they may be sent in for preservation in the Archives on the same condition as the other records which we hold here from your Department...”


Thus the doings of the police and the citizens in Perth, Fremantle and all but a few selected areas (namely the northwest and the desert fringe) were deemed to be of little consequence. The results may be seen in the current State Record Office holdings – only a tiny proportion of Occurrence Books from the south of Western Australia have survived. The decision taken explains many tales of woe the writer has heard from serving and retired officers: records burned en masse, or dumped down wells or mine shafts, or left to rot in various dark corners because police officers at some stations could not bear the thought of consigning documents to the bonfire.

The same selective approach has applied to valuable police Chief Office Files, as can be seen from the following note appended to AN 5/2 Acc 430 at the State Record Office:


“In September 1960 all extant records of the Police Department for the years 1887‑1919, as well as a number of selected files for 1920‑1949, were transferred from the Police Department file room to the archives. After culling, 49 feet of files with appropriate indexes and registers were retained.”


It is not clear who did the selecting or culling, but the impact in regard to historical research was devastating. A good many files for the years from 1887 until the early 1920’s were archived, very few thenceforward. For example, over eleven pages were required to list the files from 1896; exactly four files survive from the year 1946 and it would be preposterous to assume they were the only ones worth preserving for that year.

Cavalier treatment was also applied to the Personal Files of police officers, which are a mine of information about career details and sundry matters of historical significance. A letter of 10 May 1960 from the Public Service Commissioner of the day sealed the fate of most of them:


“It is noted in your memo 60/1444 of the 2nd instant that 250 cubic feet of shelving space is required for personal files, which I understand are those of police personnel who have left the force.

Whilst it is realised that certain information on personal files must be retained for a period, would it be possible for many of these files to be destroyed in lieu of transferring them to the proposed Records Repository.

For your information, personal files of permanent public servants are retained for a period of two years after their 65th birthday. Record of Service sheets for these officers are retained as a permanent record. Files of departmental heads and other prominent civil servants are required for Archival purposes.”


Gone forever are the career histories of officers like Gordon Marshall, who rescued two lost German aviators in the Kimberley during a world famous expedition, and of Robert Larsen, the recipient of the King’s Police Medal for a spectacular deed of bravery in 1926, and of hundreds of other junior officers. The records of those who reached commissioned rank were supposed to be preserved, yet even in their case, the files of many officers who had exemplary careers have been destroyed, such as the great detective H.W. Mann, Ethel Scott (the first female commissioned officer) and the World War II hero Stanley Anderson. In passing it is worth noting that such files are administrative documents, not repositories of gossip or dim, dark secrets; their key value is information therein on patterns of office holding and succession to various sectional or regional positions.

The loss of material was truly calamitous for the period from about 1930 through to the 1960’s. Reasons or excuses can be supplied in abundance, lack of space and money and the personal interests of archivists being the most obvious, but the cost to present and future historians and the community at large is beyond estimation. The process of destruction seems to have been curtailed after a history buff – Brian Bull – became Commissioner of Police.

End extract.


The attitude that a peoples history did not exist and that the only history was that of the squattocracy and its parasitic bureaucracy is something that has died hard and created havoc on its way out.


‘Moo Cow’ Mitchell, who reigned as State Premier 1919-1924 and 1930-1933, observed the convict files stored in the Police Station in Roe Street and arrogantly stated that no one wanted to know of that and to burn them all. Recorded in Richard Timperley’s Heroes Galore (1996)


At the Royal WA Historical Society much the same mentality prevailed in 1934 when the letters of convict William Sykes, were discussed and a strong feeling to burn them was ‘forcefully expressed.’ The poor showings of their collections may indicate that this view won in other cases. See These Few Lines by Graham Seal and Unwilling Emigrants by Alexandra Hasluck.


The point of all this is that these are only the tip of the iceberg, and while an individual may destroy the family papers and be cursed evermore, most of the destruction is, and has been done by those whose job or role is to protect and preserve our documentary heritage.


Laverton Shire holdings of State Government department local files. In the late 1980s to mid-1990s I had heard that there were substantial files under the stage of the local hall. I contacted Thomas the Shire President. He denied such existed. Later, one of my authors rescued a few pages from a local who had picked them up from the local dump. They were of great interest and dealing with mining lease and hotel leases in the 1890s.


Bunbury Historical Society. In 2004 Neville Green, Mark Chambers, and myself travelled to Bunbury for an auction of the effects of a deceased resident. We were staggered by the material we saw, documents, photos, books, artefacts, etc which had belonged to the Bunbury Historical Society. I have documents from the material I purchased to show this. How could this have happened? Answer – the old sod had absorbed the Society assets into his private collection and the beneficiaries were apparently not about to look at the material too closely as the auction was well advertised and attended.


The National Trust. In 2007 an auction of materials, excess to the interests of the National Trust, was held in Burswood. Thousands of donated items, from what, without context, was junk, to beautiful objects realizing thousands of dollars, were knocked down, or, should one say, off? Years of poor acquisition and recording policies led to this. One wonders at the sacrifice made by a donor of a colonial keepsake that then realized 4 or 5 thousand dollars.


The WA Museum is a case in itself enough to fill a book of scandal. A few highlights. The Fellows collection of Melanesian artefacts was gifted in the 1920s-30s on the understanding they would be displayed. This did not happen. In the 1960s the collection was found in the cellars, infested with white ants. The publicity uncovered a further collection in the Fellows family home. The family finding their true value attempted to have the collection sold at auction overseas. In pure bastardry, for which the WAM became infamous, the export was blocked, as not being in the national interest.


In the WAM public servants tried to revamp the filing system by setting the calendar back to 0 plus 7. All files older than 7 years were to be cremated.

Strangely, one of the curators objected and despite intransigent stupidity he eventually won.

It is not known what warped interpretation of the Records act led to such an attempt that was in direct contravention of the Act and policies of the Government.

This is a common problem in Departments without a tradition of careful record keeping or where the Burkean parachutists landed and created havoc.


Allan Robinson was a keen diver and shipwreck hunter, much vilified by the press, the WAM, and the Police. His book In Australia treasure is not for the finder (1980) details some of the incidents. He was a tough man. He had to be to take the police bashings, abuse from vested interests in the newspapers, and tricks of the WAM. At one stage before the Shipwrecks Act of 1976 was legislated he gave 3000 ballast bricks from the 17th century Gilt Dragon wreck to the WAM. They took them to the tip at Lake Monger and dumped them! The next year, post act, he was prosecuted for having a single brick in his possession. Perhaps the fact that some Museum staff members were heavily involved in the wreck looting themselves may answer a few questions. Later several divers who registered their collections with the WAM as per legislation, had their houses burgled and their collections stolen, within 24 hours of their return to the owner!


There have been so many ‘rats’ gnawing away at the collections that it is surprising anything is left. As a strong supporter of public museums etc and having donated thousands of items in a variety of fields, I take such chicanery as a personal insult and react in the same way as I would with a street thug or bankster – extermination! There is nothing that these institutions would fear more than a stocktake.


Lake Monger has many secrets. In the 1950s-60s large quantities of colonial firearms from the police armoury in Roe Street were consigned to the waters, but not before a dealer/collector in the WAM had made his choice.


The court historians like to think that they have the sole right to “interpret” the archives. But we all know what that means. The attacks against independent revisionist historians that uncover the crimes of the past and the present are never ending with murders, bankruptcies, street thug attacks, and continual harassment.

If you are not aware of what is happening internationally, you should be.

In WA my old professor received serious death threats that necessitated him checking his car for nasty attachments every morning. This was due to his position on Taiwan v Mainland China. His criminal adversaries rose to high positions in party ranks and plum postings.

The attacks on another professor, Paddy O’Brien, have been both well publicised and ridiculed in the mainstream media.

A recently removed academic thug in WA led the vicious attacks on Prof Blainey. Some time later he, the thug, with tears in his eyes, whined to me that ‘they’ were out to get him removed from the Uni of WA. He had given a talk to the Royal WA Historical Society in which he called all the pioneers murderers. At that time the Society had some ‘cajones’, as that crude and vicious old hag Hilary Clinton (aka Hitlery Clitoris), I believe, expressed it. They had a solid campaign against him. One must fight the thugs with every weapon.

Meanwhile those of the left have had a field day producing doubtful tomes on subject matter that is unedifying. Perhaps their punishment is concurrent with their labours, in producing such rubbish.

Unfortunately their work has repercussions in the real world. It is often difficult to answer the claims for various reasons, that few have the time to spend on such esoterica, that the left is well funded by taxpayer dollars, the publicly funded university presses publish their scribbles and that few are allowed access to the hidden files to examine their specious claims.

The works of Keith Windschuttle very rightly pricked their balloon and citizens are now more cynical of all such codswallop.

Another aspect of bookburning, of which ASIO, the British establishment, and others, are experts, is the culling of files and then proceeding to blatantly lie in court that such and such did not happen. Several researchers in WA have felt the hot breath of the former and the case of the historian Nikolai Tolstoy in London is very relevant.

Perhaps related is the re-writing of the crimes of jailed vicious murderers and paedophiles to the point that claims are made against the state for ‘damages.’

In our bucolic Swan River Colony the story outlined in my Savagery on the Swan River Settlement – The aboriginal murder cycle and the 1839 killing of Sarah Cook Hesperian Press, 2010, is relevant.

While there is no doubt that many old files on aboriginals have been destroyed, and, as can be seen, many others on the wider population. few want to examine the facts that destruction of files and documents by ‘aboriginals’ themselves are part of the problem. There are almost forgotten questions about a fire in the files of Aboriginal Affairs a few years ago….

Then there were the copies of the Daisy Bates articles held in the Battye which were stripped by the indigines as their attitude ‘if it is about us it is ours’ held sway. Old Mrs Y. was notorious for her removal of documents for the above reason, and that it thwarted the opposition in the quest for land rights power and the dirty dollar.

To complete my returning of Daisy Bates’ works to their original form, after bowdlerisation by Ernestine Hill, and over extreme PC objections from the party commissars of the National Library, I had to make several trips to the libraries in Melbourne and Sydney to find fresh copies of items stolen from the Battye.


The Sampson Papers. Rod Dickson, maritime historian, was offered the papers of the Sampson family after they had been refused by the Battye Library. The only condition was that family papers were to be reserved for the family. Held in a Fremantle loft, the pigeons had expressed similar opinions on the value of the papers. But Rod was not bird-brained and set to work to sort out the magnificent collection of colonial era documents, magazines and papers. Some 70 plus tea chests were a formidable task.

However once the treasure trove became known he was ‘invited’ to a summary trial presided over by a proto-feminist triumvirate of historians and librarians. They demanded that he hand the papers over. There were some red faces when it was shown that the Battye had already refused the collection. Rod bowed to the Macbethian trio. His interest was that the collection be preserved.

Time rolls on. Some years later a Fremantle Maritime Museum researcher expressed interest in the papers after a talk with Rod. He warned that it would take a lot of work to check them out. But to his surprise she was back a couple of days later. Not a problem, she said, there were only a few shelves of them! Rod’s feelings can be readily imagined. Gone were all the English trade catalogues and other material which was not directly connected with the colony. Much of what went would have been of inestimable value to a historian. The tea chests had been a time capsule of nineteenth century colonial trade.

 That also explained an unusual, but familiar, map that he had seen in a Perth dealers shop….


As can be seen it is only through the concerns of interested individuals that much has been preserved. The old problem of who watches the watchers or keeps the keepers is always with us. Those organisations that are charged with responsibility all too often are incompetent and when they do act it is against those who have tried to preserve items. The SRO is getting a bad reputation for careless attacks on amateur historians/collectors instead of using a gentle approach. We all know what happens when you pee against the wind. The State Records Act has some very negative provisions, against which there is no appeal. There is much more argument on this to be developed at a later date. Organisations that are set up to preserve our history and culture are all too often white-anted from the inside and become useless shells.


Finally, the rush to copy documents using microfilm and electronic methods is premature, especially when the originals are then destroyed. Paper outlasts microfilm, and all the electronic copies will disappear within a generation. Obviously for day-to-day use these methods are very applicable, but they are not reliable for long term archival use. Maybe there was some sense in the title of Fukuyama’s book, if not in the content.

We have seen the disastrous results of digitisation of records using illiterate children on cheap make-work programs. Material is missed. Creative interpretation of spelling means the records are consigned to digital outer space. One only has to use the Births, Deaths and Marriages microfiche and digital records to realise that a disaster has happened. Lost. And with the SRO AEON system, for instance, ‘Pilmer’ and ‘Bangemall’ are spelt in up to 6 different ways. If you do not punch in the spelling as it is you do not get an answer. There is no choice but to systematically read 600 pages of entries. The mis-educated child labour cannot read handwritten manuscripts, and a guess is taken. And no one wants to correct the mistakes in either place.


Planned obsolescence of books, or how to make a larger profit by selling them junk. Lesson 1 in cannibal capitalism.


Most people who buy non-fiction books expect them to last. But most do not know that the majority of books sold have built-in planned disintegration, sometimes on only one read. For years Penguin books were notorious for falling apart very quickly. I say were, because I am unaware if they still do so because I refuse to buy them. Also a certain taxpayer funded publisher in Perth produces such books, many of which fall apart during the first read!

I recently purchased The Last Explorer, [There are now three Australian books of this title on my shelves] published by a multinational, and printed in South Australia. It also fell apart on the first read. Last year a case bound book from ‘Macbooks’ in the UK, dust jacketed and with colour plates did the same. I never buy from B & N for the reason that they produce that sort of junk.

The reason is a printing con known as “perfect binding,” which in realspeak means imperfect! This entails the printed pages being cut and then glued together and set into the covers, soft or hard. Most of the work is shoddy and the glue usually poor and skimped on. After 50 years of use the process is still a complete disaster.

 The only decent way to bind a good book is by section sewing. This entails the folded gathers of 16 or 32 pages being sewn together with a cotton thread. This will last as long as the paper. The idea and practice has been around as long as books have been books and not scrolls.

The aggravating thing about perfect binding is that the cost saving is pretty small, and if a small publisher like me can afford to section sew then everyone can.

Authors who allow their publishers/printers to give them perfect bound junk will not see their books around for long. Rarely will they make it to secondhand shops and to libraries. If they do get to a library large sums are spent to have them rebound. There will be no lending rights and there will be no collectors. Perfect bound books are only marginally acceptable when very small print runs are done, and then with pressure so that the binder takes good care of the job. Alternatively it can be used in binding some thinner A4 books where there is a wider central gutter and so not the same pressure on the binding when opened.


 April 2009.


This site will be updated as new reports are received. As a catalogue of war crimes against our culture it will be submitted for action at the appropriate time.  

NB. It was not until several weeks after the placing of this item on the website that I checked to see if Google had trawled the reference. With some surprise I found that the concept used in the title had already been applied by several writers. Now I can't be bothered changing it. It may reinforce critical thinking in this field. pjb



Reference: See The Great Purge of Our Libraries by Michael Wilding (Quadrant July-August 2011 pp16-18)

The York Books

In 1984 I was engaged by the National Trust of Australia (WA) to produce a booklet on the old courthouse and police station at York, a site that was being restored by the National Trust at that time. My work also required me to undertake onsite historical and architectural surveys, and during that time I became acquainted with the PWD tradesmen who were renovating and restoring both the old and new courthouse buildings.

            On one of these occasions (10 April 1984) the PWD foreman advised me that a quantity of court ledgers and record books had just been found under the staircase of the new (1895) courthouse. As this material had to be removed for renovation purposes, and as I was the only ‘history person’ on site that day, albeit on contract, I was asked to take charge of the record books. The foreman, recognising the material had historical significance, was reluctant to go through official channels, as he feared the books might be destroyed – as had happened on a previous occasion.


Earlier that year, in lifting damaged floorboards from the old (1850s) courthouse, workmen uncovered a large stash of court record books and ledgers, dating from the 1850s, which had unknowingly been sealed away in the narrow space beneath the floorboards. Many of the books had been damaged by damp and mould, some totally destroyed, but most were still legible and in reasonable condition.

            Realising the significance of their find, the workmen advised the National Trust, who, in turn, advised the State Library. According to the workmen, the ‘Head Librarians’, the top people from the State Library (two or three ladies), came up by car to examine the books. They took a small sample, just enough to fill three or four ordinary cardboard boxes, ‘not enough to fill the boot’ – then ordered the remainder of the books to be piled up in a large heap in the yard to be destroyed by fire. As the material was damp, the books had to be soaked with diesel before they went up in flames. Leaving instructions to ensure that nothing must remain, the librarians returned to Perth.

             The workmen were shocked by what had happened; they believed the librarians had only made a cursory examination of the records and concluded there was nothing of historical significance. They only took a random sample from the books that were in good condition as evidence of the type of records that had been found.

            Consequently, when a few more books were uncovered a short time later, the workmen did not notify the authorities and stored the books in the No.1 cell of the old gaol where they could be dried out for examination another time.


I agreed to take responsibility for the books and ledgers found under the staircase of the new courthouse, which dated from 1876 – 1933. The workmen said these were the same sort of books that were discovered under the floor of the old courthouse, which were subsequently destroyed. They included minute books, letter books, case records of petty crime and misdemeanours, immunisation records, various licensing records, fines, alimony, forfeits and bailiff records.  On 17 April 1984 I contacted the Crown Law Department to report the find and to see what might be done to preserve the material. I was advised that I may retain the material sufficient to examine it for its historical significance, to record anything that may be of historical interest, and when I had finished with the material, to destroy any original material deemed to be sensitive. I did not feel knowledgeable enough to make such an assessment and have kept all the materials in storage ever since in the hope of returning them to York through the Historical Society or relevant institution.

Ross Shardlow

25 November 2013 

GOTO: 160 year-old Documents Intentionally Destroyed in Franklin County, N.C.

           Government Seizes and Destroys 160-Year-Old Historical Documents