Brisbane/Sydney: Queensland Book Depot / Angus and Robertson, 1932. Second Edition. Octavo (22.2 x 14cm), xxvi, 324pp, 18 illustrations as called for (photographs, sketches, fold-out plan of Brisbane), original green cloth covers with lettering in gilt on the spine, unclipped tan paper dustjacket with lettering in red. Foot of spine pushed, corners sharp, first and last gatherings heavily foxed, with occasional mild to heavy foxing throughout. Dustjacket is worn along all the top and bottom edges with small chips and abrasions and rubbed along the folds. Good / good. Item #788
Tom Petrie (1831-1910) was born in Edinburgh and moved to Sydney with his parents the same year. In 1837 he moved to Brisbane with his parents where he was schooled by a convict clerk and allowed to associate freely with the local Aboriginal children. He learned the language of the traditional owners of the Brisbane area, Turrbul, and was considered a friend to the Aboriginals who included him in local activities, even taking him (aged 14) on the triennial walkabout to the feast at the Bunya Range.
Petrie’s reminiscences were collected by his daughter and first published in 1904. In the preface to the second edition, Nettie Palmer suggests that to live without knowing what came before is to live in a “poverty of spirit” and suggests the republication is necessary because too many Australians “are aware of nothing in their country before their own generation…as if…they desired to be new every minute, to know nothing but the present.” (p. xi). Early editions of Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences are noted for their photographic record of local Aboriginal identities. Later editions are published without the images.