Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Special Collections Fossickings 53 - Beacons of Light 1

Wharton Reef lighthouse.
Photo courtesy of Liz Downes.
When you drive or walk along Palmer Street, have you ever wondered about the bright red tower that stands on the roundabout at the Plume Street intersection? Even if you were curious enough to stop for closer examination you might easily overlook the tiny plaque which throws light on its origins. But “throwing light” is the key to this structure for it was a once a lighthouse, or at least a light tower, that guided shipping past a dangerous reef in the far north.

The Wharton Reef lighthouse was established in 1915 at Princess Charlotte Bay. It was one of the first of Queensland’s automatic lighthouses and is now the only survivor of that type of structure built in the first two decades of the 20th century. It remained in operation for the next 75 years but it is not known why, in 1996, it eventually came under the custodianship of the Maritime Museum in Townsville, rather than Cairns. But it is not the only lighthouse in the Museum’s care.

The Bay Rock lighthouse (or at least its top half), which once stood on its eponymous rocky islet guiding shipping through the passage between Magnetic Island and the mainland, now stands proudly within the Museum’s precinct just a little further along Palmer Street.

Established in 1886, Bay Rock was the last and the smallest of the three local lighthouses. Like most lighthouses of this era its timber frame was clad in galvanized iron sheeting. In 1902 it became the centre of an unexplained mystery when its keeper, surname Gordon, vanished without trace. His widow and children remained on the island for some months, continuing to operate the light until a replacement keeper was found.

Bay Rock lighthouse.
Photo courtesy of Liz Downes.
Another tragedy struck nearly twenty years later. In March 1920 keeper John Lawson was returning to the island after a medical appointment in Townsville. He was with five companions when a wild storm sprang up and a freak wave capsized their small boat. Three of the men managed to swim to Bay Rock to raise the alarm and bring the lighthouse boat to rescue their mates but they found no trace of the missing men. The full story of this harrowing event, and the Lawson family’s desperate attempts to signal for help, is told in Trisha Fielding’s Queen City of the North. Lawson’s wife and children were brought back to the mainland and the lighthouse was de-manned, becoming fully automated in 1930. In 1992 the top section of the original lighthouse was relocated to the banks of Ross Creek and restored by the Maritime Museum.

Our next post will explore the history of two more of our local lighthouses at Cape Cleveland and Cape Bowling Green – and some dastardly deeds by the National Maritime Museum!

Story by Miniata.

Fielding, Trisha. Queen City of the North: A History of Townsville. Townsville: Trisha Anne Fielding, 2016.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 22

Do you know the difference between an autobiography and a memoir? It's a fine line, but generally speaking an autobiography is the story of a person's life, while a memoir is a story of a period or event in that life (but not the whole shebang).

Some people also argue that an autobiography is formal and boring while a memoir is more personal and interesting. That seems a bit harsh, but it's also kind of hard to refute...

Anyway, the Reading Challenge for this week is:

22. A memoir or journal.

Now, if there's an autobiography you've been dying to read, we won't split hairs. But we will insist that, if you decide to read a journal, that it's a proper "dear diary, today we sailed to a charming little island in the South Pacific, where we purchased some much needed fresh fruit and Billings was killed in a bar fight"-type journal and not an academic-peer-reviewed-type journal. That's just silly.

Also, Jane Eyre doesn't count. Yes, we know the subtitle is "An Autobiography", but it's not actually an autobiography. It's just a novel told from a first person perspective. Charlotte Brontë lied to you.

Have you missed out on hearing about the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up here.

Reading Challenge Week 21 - A Personal Growth Book

Now, Hannah Braimes (who created this reading challenge - we just stole it), probably thought people would find a book with a title like "Unleash Your Inner Life Coach: 10 Ways to Become a More Successful You" or "How to Declutter Your World with Meaningful Mantras" when she wrote this particular challenge on the list.

But a) we don't have as many of those books as a public library might have, b) we like to think outside the box, and c) we have our own needs to deal with. So some of the books we've chosen for our "personal growth" may be not quite what you might have in mind when you think about a "Personal Growth Book".

After all, personal growth is all about growing as a person, so there's a wide scope to play with.

Scott read Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke.

I first heard of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke when I was a teenager (back in the 90s) because there was an emo band named after him (Rainer Maria). I admit that I did not read his poetry nor listen to much of that band – but I knew they both existed. Skip to 2018 and a friend of mine recommended a book by Rilke: not of poetry but a book of letters.

Letters to a Young Poet (830 RIL 2B LET) is a unique book. The letters from Rilke are addressed to a young military cadet (Franz Xaver Kappus) who discovered that Rilke had studied at the same military academy he was going through. The cadet wrote poetry himself and began a correspondence with Rilke to find out if his poems were any good and to see if he should pursue a literary or military life. The ten letters were written over about six years at the beginning of the 1900s (European mail did not travel fast - there was no send button to click).

Rilke’s letters express ideas that you might find in a self-help book. He advises the young poet to search himself for the reasons he wishes to write, to be motivated by the process and the joy of writing rather than looking to outside opinion. Rilke suggests avoiding literary criticism, he recommends time alone, suggests books to read, and advises on love, sex, and personal growth. Interestingly, Rilke was only in his mid-twenties himself when the correspondence began.

Poets born in the 19th century are not your typical self-help authors (Henry David Thoreau might be another) but then this is not really a self-help book. The slightly older poet offers some nice, simple advice for the young cadet, a lot of which still holds a century later. It’s not a long book (it would have fit into Week 17) but it’s a very pleasant book to read.

Sharon Bryan read High-powered Plyometrics, by James Radcliffe and Robert C. Farentinos.

Okay, I know this isn't exactly what anyone was thinking when we said "personal growth book", but this book changed my life. I'm not exaggerating; I went from "What the dickens is plyometrics?" to "My word! This plyometrics stuff is jolly good, and shall take a prominent role in my fitness training from this day forth!" within the time it took me to read this book. I first read the first edition a few years back, but the second edition hasn't changed much.

It's immanently practical. There are some chapters that talk about the physiological point of plyometrics and what you need to know before jumping off a box (all written in a way that is technical without being gibberish), and then it goes into sections outlining specific plyometric exercises and drills for the upper body, core and lower body.

This is followed by a section with suitable drills for athletes engaged in particular sports, making it the coach's friend. What is particularly good about this section is that it has both American and Australian sports, such as Baseball and Cricket, "American football" and "Aussie football". It's a rare find in a book like this.

I've used many of the drills from this book as part of my exercise routine over the years, and I like to think they're helping me with the "stronger, higher, faster, better" stuff that everyone aims for when they try to exercise. My biggest issue is the fact that I fall out of the habit of exercising. There is a section in the book for developing a year-round programme, but I think I'll need a different kind of "personal growth" book to help me shake my laziness.

Samantha Baxter read The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, by Mark Manson.

I must admit, I chose this book because the title made be giggle (I’m a teenager at heart). Also it was similar to a saying an ex of mine had when I stressed about things that don’t matter.

According to the blurb “For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. ‘F**k positivity,’ Mark Manson says. ‘Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.’”

So while this is a self-help book, it contains many lessons I have learnt one way or another through various and sundry life experiences and self-reflection.

But sometimes it is good to have the message drummed home, you don’t have to be perfect, just be you, you only have so much energy devote it to things that matter etc.

The tag line reads “A counterintuitive approach to living a good life”, and while entertaining the book doesn’t really say anything other philosophies (Buddhism springs to mind) don’t already say - Manson just says it with more profanity.

Like many self-help books it can get a little preachy, but mostly it is an entertaining way to help re-train your brain, and remind yourself that nobody’s perfect.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Library Exam Opening Hours Semester 1 2018: Extended Hours

With exams just around the corner, the library in Townsville and Cairns are opening for late night study for your convenience. Extended 'super' hours start on Monday 28 May and conclude on Thursday 14 June.

Monday - Friday: 7:30am - 12:00am
Saturday - Sunday: 10:00am - 10:00pm

Don't forget you can study around the clock at the 24/7 InfoCommons.

Monday - Thursday: 7:30am - 12:00am (Services 8:00am - 8:00pm)
Friday: 7:30am - 12:00am (Services 8:00am - 5:00pm)
Saturday - Sunday: 10:00am - 12:00am (Services 10:00am - 5:00pm)

The JCU Library staff wishes you all the best for your study and exams.

Reconciliation Week 2018: Don’t Keep History A Mystery
May 27th (1967 Referendum) to June 3rd (Mabo Day) bookend Reconciliation Week in Australia.

These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year's theme is Don't Keep History a Mystery: Learn, Share, Grow. This week explore history hidden just beneath the surface, ready and waiting to be uncovered. This National Reconciliation Week learn more about the Australian story.

At JCU libraries you can view the Eddie Koiki Mabo Art Exhibition that commemorates JCU's Reconciliation Statement and the naming of the Townsville Library after Mr Mabo. Both libraries have a wide range of titles about Australian history and culture related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, from the terrible, to the transcendent. Here is another list to peruse on our blog.

If you’re on the Cairns campus, be sure to look at the National Reconciliation Week display on the ground floor of the library. The display includes a bark painting by Walter Jack (deceased) and a shadow box by Roy McIvor,both artists from the Hopevale community. A great interview of Roy McIvor from the ABC is a great listen. Thank you to Deann Grant for donating these to the display, which also showcases selected items from our large range of print, online and audiovisual resources exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and the path to reconciliation.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Gale Literary Sources

Gale Literary Sources brings together Gale's premier literary databases for researchers, faculty, and students alike in an integrated research experience. To search, discover, and analyse this rich literary content, simply find Gale Literary Sources on the A-Z Databases page (under G). The Gale Literary Sources database allows cross searching across all included titles. Alternatively, to individually search one of the titles simply click the What's Inside tab or follow the links below.

Included in Gale Literary Sources are the following titles:

Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online
A collection of more than 16,000 biographical and critical essays on the lives, works, and careers of the world's most influential literary figures from all eras and genres, including many Australian writers.

Literature Criticism Online
Literature Criticism Online includes centuries of scholarly and popular literary commentary from broadsheets, pamphlets, encyclopedias, books and periodicals. Periodicals include Children's Literature Review (0362-4145), Poetry Criticism (1052-4851), Shakespearean Criticism (0883-9123), Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism (0276-8178), and many more.

Literature Resource Center 
A comprehensive online literary site, Literature Resource Center addresses all facets of literary study in one highly searchable interface. It includes biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism and reviews on nearly 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods and from around the world.

LitFinder provides access to literary works from authors throughout history and includes more than 135,000 full-text poems and 800,000+ poetry citations, as well as short stories, speeches, full-text essays, and plays. The database also includes secondary materials including over 18,000 contextual work explanations of poems and novels, and over 2,750 biographies, as well as photographs and illustrations.

Something About the Author Online
Something About the Author Online provides first-time comprehensive online access to all volumes ever printed in the long-standing Something About the Author series, which examines the lives and works of authors and illustrators for children and young adults and is the preeminent source on authors and literature for young people.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Library and Information Week 21-27 May

JCU Libraries are celebrating Library and Information Week from 21-27 May, 2018. Library and Information Week aims to raise the profile of libraries and information service professionals in Australia and showcase the many and varied resources and services that libraries provide to the community. The event has been organised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) to promote the value of reading and literacy, the importance of Australia's book industry and the role of libraries.

The theme for this year is Find yourself in a library. On Wednesday, 23 May from 10am-11am, the JCU libraries in Townsville and Cairns will host a simultaneous celebration for Library and Information Week.  We invite you to:
  • Come in and see our display,  
  • Add a post to one of our social media sites – Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #LIW2018 - telling us why you found yourself in the library today,
  • Then enjoy a Freddo frog on us.
  • Have your say about the refurbishment of the Cairns library ground floor using our survey.
The library staff find themselves in the library every day… because we love it! Ask us why!

52 Book Challenge - Week 21

Personal growth. It's a very personal thing, isn't it? One person might read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and suddenly change they way they approach life, the universe and everything. Others may be unmoved by such things, but reach an epiphany after reading Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose*.

This week's Reading Challenge is:

21. A personal growth book.

So, how would you, personally, like to grow? Would you like to know the psychological factors for success? Would you like to improve your study skills? Would you like to be able to communicate more effectively? Or write more academicy sounding papers and stuff? How about dipping into career development? Or would you just like to learn how to make corn dollies?

Have you missed out on hearing about the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up here.

*I'm not sure what the moral of the story is for this book, but I'm pretty sure it can be co-opted for a lesson on learning how to say "no".

Reading Challenge Week 20 - A Book Translated From Another Language

A translator of a book has an interesting job. They have to convey not only the story of the original book in another language, but also the spirit of it. Ideally, a translated work will be as close as possible to the original, without letting a direct literal translation of the language get in the way of conveying the sense and feeling of the author's work. It's a difficult balance to achieve, and good translators are worth their weight in gold.

This week's reading challenge was to read a translated book. Did you read one? How did you find the translation?

Brenda Carter read The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.

I don’t envy Robin Buss, the person who translated The Count of Monte Cristo (840 DUM(P) 2C COU/PEN) from the French by Alexandre Dumas. At 1276 pages, it’s not a quick read but it certainly is an exciting and compelling one. And you can’t tell that the story has been translated, which must mean that Buss has done an excellent job! 

The central theme is revenge. We meet Edmond Dantes on the day of his wedding to the beautiful Mercedes. Although a popular and accomplished seaman, Dantes has enemies who conspire to have him imprisoned in the island fortress of the Chateau d'I on trumped-up charges.  While in prison, he meets a man who tells him about some treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. 

By the time Dantes escapes, he has crafted an intricate plan of revenge on all his enemies and the reader is well and truly on his side. But will Mercedes still be waiting and willing to reunite with her former lover?

You can find Buss's translation in print, or try David Coward's translation as an ebook in the JCU library collections. The original French version, Le comte de Monte-Cristo, is also in our collection.

Sharon Bryan read The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink.

Schlink's The Reader (830 SCHL 2C VOR) was admirably translated by the late Carol Brown Janeway, who captured the spirit of the original in a translation that was articulate and intelligent, but still highly readable. The Reader - or, in the original German, Der Vorleser (830 SCHL 1C VOR) - is a story written in late 20th century Germany and set in mid 20th century West Germany - and it is very much a story of it's time. Both times.

The novel was written at a time when German society was finally coming to grips with their past, and stepping out from old shadows. They were better able to say "Our grandparents were involved in some pretty terrible things, but that's not who we are." That was when this book was written, and it looks back at the earlier period with a frankness that might not have been possible earlier.

It is set in a time when West German society was trying to avoid being "those people who did terrible things in the war" and make a brighter, better present for themselves by doing their best to avoid thinking about their past. The next generation (the children of the people who had been caught up in the events of World War II) didn't really know what their parent's generation had been doing a couple of decades earlier. But then they started to learn, and they were completely shocked.

What would you do if you found out someone you loved and respected had been a prison guard in a detention camp where horrible things happened? What would you do if you learnt they had played a role in those horrible things?

Michael (the narrator of the novel) is a teenage boy who is seduced by Hanna, an older woman. She wants him to read to her, and he's happy to have the attention. The affair is short lived, but leaves a lasting impression on the boy. He later learns that she was involved in something he can't accept, when his law class attends the trial of a war criminal - only to find the war criminal in question is Hanna (one heck of a reunion). At some point, he realises she can't be guilty of all the crimes she is accused of, and he knows why. But she is guilty of at least some of the crimes. So where does that leave him?

Monday, 21 May 2018

10 Year Anniversary of the Naming of the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library

In 2008, the library on the Townsville campus was named in honour of Eddie Koiki Mabo. This was to emphasise the proud connection JCU has with Mr Mabo, who played an important role in reshaping the legal landscape of Australia.

Mr Mabo was the lead plaintiff in the court cases that led to the Native Title Act, which changed the legal status of Indigenous Australian's rights to their ancestral lands. He undertook part of his research for his case in the library which is now named after him.

May 21st, 2018 marks the tenth anniversary of the naming of the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library, and we hope you will take the opportunity to learn more about the man whose name we are proud to bear. Local historian, Trisha Fielding (who works in our Special Collections), has written a recent blog post that is a great place to start: Mabo and the Native Title Act.

During the past ten years, in honour of our connection with Eddie Koiki Mabo and the Indigenous Australian groups throughout North Queensland and surrounds, we have been privileged to be able to host a regular art exhibition in Mr Mabo's name, showcasing the work of various artists from the region.

This year's exhibition, "10 Years" revisits the work of the artists who have been a part of the exhibition over the past decade. The works will be on display in the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library from the 18th of May to the 15th of June, 2018. Please come in and view the works anytime during our opening hours.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 20

Here in Australia, we don't "redo" a lot of movies from other countries. Dubbing is for people who can be bothered paying for voice actors. We just run it in the original language and use subtitles. It's part of what makes this country great.

With books, however, you're less likely to find "subtitles" (or, as we call them in the book world, "parallel text"). Usually, you just get a straight up translation.

Which leads us to this week's reading challenge:

20. A book translated from another language

Now, of course there are a number of ways you can search for translated books (for example you could use the Language limit in One Search), but we're going to recommend the most fun one.

You see, our collection is structured by the Dewey Decimal system, and literature from particular languages is grouped together. So, for example, all of the books (novels, poems, plays, short stories, etc) that were originally published in German is in the 830s. You could head up to shelves and see if anything takes your fancy.

Take a look at this list of categories in the 800s to see where the different languages are living.

Now, we do have books in the original languages in those sections as well, so if it just so happens that you read German, French, Italian, Japanese or what have you, then you'll find something to read in those languages.

Oh, and if you do read German, French, Italian or Japanese, you may be interested to know that we have translations of Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in multiple languages, so you could get a bit clever with this challenge if you wanted to.

Have you missed out on hearing about the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up here.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Reading Challenge Week 19 - A Book with a One-Word Title

This week's challenge in the 52 Book Reading Challenge was to read a book with a one-word title. When you're only using one word in the title, that word has to do a lot. It has to declare the book's intentions, give you an idea about what you'll find inside the book and grab the reader's attention.

A lot of books with one-word titles end up with subtitles trying to pick up some of the slack (particularly on the cover). We chose to forgive these books, just because we can, as long as they only had one-word titles on the title page.

Brenda Carter read Colour by Edith Anderson Feisner.

Colour by Edith Anderson Feisner (701.85 FEI) is not a book I would normally pick up, however it made a splash on the shelving trolley and it’s always good to read something outside your comfort zone.

The book’s subtitle is How to use colour in art and design. It provides an in-depth treatment of colour theory but the chapters that interested me most explored the influence of colour – in symbolism, language and emotion, and health care, as well as sections on how colour has been used throughout history in fashion, and in the environmental, studio and commercial arts.

With colourful illustrations on every page and useful appendices of colour charts, summary tables and a comprehensive glossary, Colour is an illuminating read for the art student and recreational reader alike.

Scott Dale read Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov.

Nabokov wrote Pnin (found on the shelves at 891.7 NAB 2C PNI) in sections, publishing the final book in 1957. Pnin was written while Nabokov’s most famous novel Lolita (also a contender for this week’s challenge) was finished but remained unpublished. But this is no Lolita - Timofey Pavlovich Pnin and Lolita’s narrator Humbert Humbert are markedly different characters.

I am always impressed by Nabokov’s precise use of language. That he wrote so many great works in English, rather than his native Russian, makes it more remarkable.

But to the book at hand. Professor Pnin teaches Russian in a U.S. College. He is “ideally bald, sun-tanned, and clean-shaven” with a big upper body and little legs. Pnin has not improved his English from the basic level he quickly achieved and for most of the book, he boards in various imperfect rooms around town. The story spends a lot of time in the academic world of the college but also takes us back to Pnin’s journey to the U.S. and to a country gathering of Russian emigrants which felt to me a bit like a Robert Altman film.

Pnin is both funny and sad. Many of the comedic moments come from the clown-ish Pnin but as I learned more of his past, I was sometimes unsure whether to laugh or cry at this comically tragic figure. 

Sharon Bryan read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

Quite a number of the books we've reviewed over the past few weeks could fit into more than one category in the 52 book challenge, so sometimes the challenge is to chose which week to review that particular book.

Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis (955.054 SAT) fits into so many categories, it's almost ridiculous. It's a non-fiction book (week 5), a book by a female author (week 7), a book that became a film (week 9), a book with a name in the title (week 12), a book you can finish in a day (week 17), a previously banned book (week 18), a book with a one word title (week 19), a book translated from another language (week 20), a memoir or journal (week 22), A book by someone from another country (week 23), an award winning book (week 25), a book with a place in the title (week 28), a scary book (week 31 - although the events in the book are scary, not the book itself), a funny book (week 32), a book with an appealing cover (week 42), a graphic novel (week 45 - although technically it's a graphic autobiography), a book from another country (week 48) and - for me - a book set in a country I've never been to (week 51).

Now, just going through that list makes Persepolis sound like an interesting book - and it is. Marjane Satrapi, who studied visual communication and illustration, uses striking black-and-white illustrations to tell the story of the political upheaval in Iran during the period from 1979-1983 through the eyes of her childhood self. There's a 'knowingness' to the book that comes from a memoir written with the aid of hindsight, but at the same time the book always rings true as the story of a 10 year old girl who is experiencing events that are so much bigger than she could ever imagine (and yet, become part of the fabric of her imagination). Iran in the late 20th century is going through an immense upheaval - and it's fascinating to watch this upheaval through the eyes of a young girl.

Friday, 11 May 2018

#MeToo - A Hypothetical Journey

The #MeToo campaign has promoted a global call for an end to workplace, community and in-home sexual harassment and violenceIt followed soon after the public revelations of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein in 2017 and has targeted many other high profile figures from a range of industries and professions.

As part of 2018 Law Week and in collaboration with the JCU College of Business, Law and Governance, JCU College of Arts, Society and Education and The Cairns Institute, local Cairns Magistrate Sandra Pearson and Special Counsel of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and JCU Alumnus Noami de Costa will compare #MeToo - A Hypothertical Journey, a 'Geoffrey Robertson style' discussion with an eminent panel of Cairns cross-sectoral representatives to explore the issues the #MeToo campaign has raised. The event will focus on how to encourage behaviour that promotes good relationships and improves gender parity.

When: 15 May 2018, 5:30pm
Where: Room D3.054, Building D3 - The Cairns Institute, Cairns Campus

The library holds a large range of online resources to help you keep up to date with the #MeToo initiative. If you or anyone you know has been affected by sexual harassment or violence, there is support available on campus. Check out the Health and Wellbeing webpage for more information.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Atlas of Living Australia

The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) is Australia’s national biodiversity database. Founded on the principle of data sharing – collect it once, share it, use it many times – the ALA provides free, online access to millions of occurrence records to form the most comprehensive and accessible data set on Australia’s biodiversity ever produced.

The ALA species pages display text descriptions, images, location information, taxonomic details and links to academic literature for every species in the database. Users can record their own sightings to add to the existing data - for example, the cheeky little guy on the left was found in Caversham Wildlife Park, Western Australia on 2015-11-09, and has been recorded as a human observation of a Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri). Learn more about how to record a sighting or submit a data set to the ALA on the How to Use the ALA page.

By bringing together species information alongside location information, the ALA enables you to explore the biodiversity in a specific area or region. See the screenshot below depicting the diverse species that can be found within a 1km radius of the JCU Townsville Campus.
The ALA supports research, environmental monitoring, conservation planning, education, and citizen science, with tools available to help users capture, share, and analyse biodiversity information. The How to Use the ALA page also sets out how to download data in a number of different formats, including occurrence records (like our Major Mitchell above), pre-generated downloads, species and higher taxa data, pre-compiled species lists, and original data sets.

If you're interested in engagement, find out how you can contribute to a citizen science project in your area, or explore one of the many citizen science projects supported by the ALA.

52 Book Challenge - Week 19

Did you know that, in referencing styles like AMA, you never abbreviate the title of a journal if it is only one word long? Journals with one-word titles often have the most fun titles - Brain, Pain, Blood, Dementia... They sound like they would look great on your coffee table, don't they?

When you only have one word in your title, you need something that will have some impact. Which leads us to this week's Reading Challenge:

19. A book with a one-word title.

So, unfortunately, this is one of those weeks where you just can't read a Harry Potter book for the challenge. The good news is, there are some brilliant books out there with one-word titles. Frankenstein, Dracula, Emma (one of these things is not like the others)...

The trouble is, it's hard to search for a book based on the number of words in the title, so if you're thinking of taking up this week's challenge, and you can't think of a book that fits the criteria, you should take this opportunity to ask your friends for ideas and recommendations. It's more fun that way, anyway.

Have you missed out on hearing about the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up here.

Reading Challenge Week 18 - A previously banned book

This week's Reading Challenge was to find a previously banned book to read. Many books have been banned for many reasons and by many groups over the course of history - and it's always controversial.

Whether the book is kept out of a school library because some parents complained about it to the Board (as happens to many books that contain strong language, characters from minority groups or books depicting different religions), or it's kept out of bookshops in a particular country because the government believes it will cite dissent, there will always be some people who say "Yes! And rightly so!", while others will be willing to march the streets in protest.

Now, we've actually already reviewed quite a number of books that have been banned in the past, but let's add a couple more to the list:

Samantha Baxter read On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin.

My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Arts with a major in archaeology, one of my key interests was human evolution. To that end I chose to read Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species for my banned book.

This work was incredibly controversial when it was first published. While the idea that organisms changed over time and that new species were created from old was not new, Darwin’s (and Wallace, who came up with the theory at the same time) description of the method by which it occurred, Natural Selection, was one of the more plausible and well argued. Twenty years separated the idea of natural selection occurring to Darwin and the publication of his first work on it in 1859.

The book was banned from the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, where Darwin had been a student. The Origin of Species was banned in Yugoslavia in 1935 and in Greece in 1937. Scientists of the time could not find a way to reconcile their religious and ideological beliefs with Darwin’s theories and thus rejected them. However the theory of natural selection has stood the test of time, becoming one of the key concepts in theories of evolution.

The book, though dated, is quite readable if you have an interest in evolution and it greatly details how Darwin came to his conclusions from observing domestic selection and selection in nature during his voyage on the HMS Beagle.

We have a number of editions of The Origin of Species in the library - as well as some online versions.

I am reading an edition that includes both this title and Darwin’s subsequent work, The Descent of Man.

Sharon Bryan read Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.

I first read this book during a period of time I like to call "The Post-Apocalyptic Christmas". I spent my Christmas holidays reading books about dystopian futures. Brave New World, Farenheit 451 I Am Legend...

I have to say it was not the most cheerful Christmas activity I could have come up with. I should also point out that we are all doomed. One of the things that amazed me the most about the books I was reading was that they were classic dystopian tales - everyone who has ever read them knows that this isn't where we want to end up - and yet so many things that had been mentioned in the books had actually come to pass.

Somehow, somewhere along the lines, people read these books and said "That sounds like a great idea! Let's do that!"

So, Brave New World (820 HUX 1C BRA/VIN), which was first published in 1932, is set in a future where people don't have babies anymore, because they're icky. Instead, children are produced in test-tubes, grown in labs and fostered out to people who like kids. It's a very weird and sterile environment where consumerism is so important even your clothes are designed to fail. They rot after a certain period of time, so you have to replace them. Say, have you ever noticed that clothes these days don't last as long as they did in the past...?

Oh, and did I mention that everyone keeps themselves medicated using a drug called soma (not completely dissimilar to Prozac), and they distract themselves with parties and social events, so they're all "happy" all the time, and no one minds that they're basically rats on a consumerism treadmill?

There are still "native reserves", where people can live "traditional lives" which involve giving birth and wearing clothes for several months running. The story of the book, such as it is, involves young man who was accidentally conceived and raised on a reserve, who comes to the modern society his father lives in, and discovers that it's all quite horrible and depressing, really.

It has been banned in Ireland (language and irreligious themes) and India (sexual content), and challenged in many schools.

Brenda Carter read Green Eggs and Ham (810 SEU) by Dr. Seuss.

In the dark? Here, in the dark? Could you, would you, in the dark?
It even sounds shady – Green Eggs and Ham (810 SEU) by Dr. Seuss was kept in the dark in China from 1965 and the ban wasn’t lifted until 1991. Apparently it embodied the early Marxist ideals of the working class in their constant struggle to effect social change. 

Although some of Seuss’s  stories have overtly political or environmental themes (The Lorax, Yertle the Turtle), the author did not consider this to be one of them.  The term and message of Green Eggs and Ham have since been adopted and interpreted by writers in almost every discipline, from Creativity and the Arts, to Cells and Gene Therapy, Law, and Mathematical and Computer Modelling to name just a few. Try a quick search in OneSearch!

Through skillful use of repetition, Seuss tells his tale with a vocabulary of less than 50 words.  I’m not sure which of the two characters is most annoying – the persistently cheerful  Sam-I-am or his belligerent acquaintance. Nevertheless, this is one of my favourite read-alouds and is a perennial favourite for all ages.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Special Collections Fossickings 52: Rescue and Survival (Pied Imperial Pigeon Story, Part 2)

Have you perused the previous part of the pied imperial pigeon posts?

Margaret Thorsborne and John Winter counting pigeons from the beach,
with kind permission of Bryony Barnett
In one of those strange coincidences that history throws up, it was almost exactly 100 years after Governor Bowen had enjoyed his “excellent sport” - shooting pigeons on an island east of Hinchinbrook - that a Gold Coast couple on holiday took their small boat over to the very same island that had attracted the Governor. Here, for the first time they witnessed the homecoming flight of the birds that had been feeding all day in the coastal forest before returning to their nesting colony. The island was North Brook, which shimmers in the waters of the Coral Sea just 30 kilometres off the Cardwell coast and the holiday-makers were Arthur and Margaret Thorsborne, whose lives were to become intimately involved with the pigeon story.
A copy of the DVD can
be found in our collections

The 2015 documentary The Coming of the White Birds (held in the North Queensland and Main collections) tells the story of the North Brook colony and of how the shooting was stopped and the tallies of birds “bagged” in a shoot were replaced by a very different kind of counting.

Two years after their first visit in 1965, the Thorsbornes arrived at the island to find evidence of a far more devastating shoot than anything inflicted by Governor Bowen. With feathers stretching across the water to the shores of Hinchinbrook’s Ramsey Bay it was estimated that over a thousand birds had been slaughtered in one day. Even more dramatically, as they approached the island in December 1968 they were greeted with the sound of gunfire. With considerable composure, they disarmed the three shooters as they emerged onto the beach, later handing the guns over to police.

Rangers counting birds from sea.
Photo courtesy of Liz Downes.
From this point the large-scale shooting quickly declined and a far more worthwhile tradition was set in train. The chief fauna officer of the day, Charlie Roff, had encouraged the Thorsbornes to make regular counts of the birds. Thanks to their efforts, now supported by numerous volunteers, indigenous and marine park rangers, the annual population monitoring of the North Brook colony has become one of the world’s longest wildlife surveys and is now in its 53rd year. From a pitiful total of less than 2000 birds at the height of the shooting, the population had stabilized between thirty and forty thousand birds by the turn of the century.

Many items in the NQ Collection map the history of these birds. In 1870 E.B. Kennedy observed “it is great fun shooting them … they fall with a good thud” (Four Years in Queensland). The police sub-inspector Robert Johnstone’s detailed observations from the 1870s were re-published thirty years later in Spinifex and Wattle. Then came the observations in many of Banfield’s books in the first 20 years of the century until the Thorsbornes themselves devoted a whole chapter to the pigeon story in their book Hinchinbrook Island: The Land Time Forgot (1989).

Today, as the colony slowly recovers from the devastation of cyclone Yasi in 2011, the greatest threat comes from continued loss of habitat whether from human activity or natural disaster. With the birds’ story now also documented on film, The Coming of the White Birds reminds us of the need to remain watchful for their future.

Story by Miniata

Two pied imperial pigeons. Photo courtesy of Yvonne Cunningham.

The coming of the white birds 598.65099436 COM
Thorsborne, A & M. Hinchinbrook Island: the land time forgot 994.36 THO
Kennedy, Edward B. Four years in Queensland 994.303 KEN
Johnstone, Robert A. Spinifex and wattle 919.43042 JOH

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 18

And now for a reading challenge that challenges not just your reading ability, but also "The Man":

18. A previously banned book

Who banned it? Why? Was it banned by a school principal because it encouraged witchcraft (Harry Potter)? Was it banned by the Nazis because it painted Germans in a poor light (All Quiet on the Western Front)? Was it banned by national censors because the anthropomorphic animals freaked them out (Alice in Wonderland)?

Need help finding books that have been banned or "challenged" for this particular adventure? Wikipedia has a few lists, as does London Libraries and Goodreads. You can also find a rather large list through Austlii.

And you will be shocked - positively shocked - to know that we have several previously banned books in our collection. Why, we've even reviewed a few of them already...

Have you missed out on hearing about the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up here.

Reading Challenge Week 17 - A book you can finish in a day

Well, after bolting down a book that was over 500 pages long, it was time to have a light meal with a book that could be finished in a day.

Of course, that didn't mean you had to finish it in a day. No one would mind if you took your time and savoured it. Some people took the opportunity to read several books in one day. That's the great thing about reading for pleasure (or because someone challenged you to read certain types of books) - you can play with it.

So, what were some of the books we read this week?

Scott Dale read Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach.

Richard Bach, the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull (found at 810 BAC), served as a pilot in his younger days and has been involved in the world of flight for much of his life. The man loves to fly, something evident in his writing.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a gull who likes to fly. I remembered that much about the story from when I was at school and a few friends were reading this book. I also remembered that the book was very short and would be perfect for this week’s Reading Challenge.

Jonathan spends his time practicing flying while other gulls are screeching and fighting for food. He finds a deeper meaning in flying and wants to share it with the other gulls but is eventually banished from the flock for his flying ways. From there Jonathan practices further, always learning and aiming for “perfect flight”.

This book came out of the 70s and feels like an early self-help book. It is a story of self-realisation, a spiritual story of discovering what is possible and not giving in to the limits of the world. The writing is simple and the story is short. Many people will enjoy this book in some way and for those that don’t, it’s over before you know it.

Sharon Bryan read The Eleventh Hour : A Curious Mystery, by Graeme Base.

If you grew up in Australia in the 1980s or beyond, there is an excellent chance that two books by Greame Base have a special place in your heart: Animalia, and The Eleventh Hour (both can be found in Curriculum at 820.94 BAS). Heck, even if you came to these books as an adult, there's an excellent chance you loved them at first sight.

These two books are beloved by generations of Australians, and they really should be recommended reading by anyone who is new to the country and wants to experience something culturally significant to "us" - something that has probably been part of the childhood of every second kid who grew up here over the past few decades.

Is that an unnecessarily weighty description of an illustrated children's book that tells the story of an elephant's birthday party in which someone steals the lunch while everyone is playing games? Maybe. But it's such a great book. You can read it just for the story and the pictures, if you wish, but every page has puzzles within puzzles - and there are extra bonus puzzles to go back and find after you think you've worked out the central mystery.

I reread this book roughly every three or four years, and I'm constantly impressed by the level of thought and attention to detail that Base has used in each illustration. Not only is is a book you can read in a day, but you can easily spend the whole day pouring over it - or come back to it over several days. It's a good book.

Nathan Miller read Asterix Legionnaire, by Goscinny and Uderzo.

After children’s picture books, one of my my earliest memories of library books is coming across the Asterix comic series. Now I know that this is supposed to be books you have read in a day, so let’s update these titles as "graphic novels" (so you can revisit them in week 45 of the challenge).

Now I would have easily read any Asterix story multiple times in one day. They are works to me of true artistic endeavour that weave multiple strands into enjoyable popular work for both children and adults. These are a product of French culture from the 1950s and 1960s onwards that have been translated into dozens of languages. Crammed with puns, modern pop culture references, historical (although not always accurate) information, witty drawings and driving adventure, they enthralled me as a child and still do.

In our collection we have a few titles in the original French (find them in the Curriculum collections at 440 GOS) and I doubt I could read these in a day - but I enjoyed looking through them this week.