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Australia

Library and Information Science

Musselman Library Staff Publications

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'A Blood-Stained Corpse In The Butler's Pantry’: The Queensland Bush Book Club, Robin Wagner Jan 2011

'A Blood-Stained Corpse In The Butler's Pantry’: The Queensland Bush Book Club, Robin Wagner

Musselman Library Staff Publications

Lending libraries were not the norm in 1934 when the Carnegie Corporation of New York sent American librarian, Ralph Munn, to conduct a study of the condition of Australian libraries. In his initial survey Munn learned of the Queensland Bush Book Club, an organization of well-to-do, philanthropic women from Brisbane who had established a book lending service for settlers in the Outback. They hoped to ease the drudgery and lighten the burden faced by isolated women and their families in the rural areas. The antidote was a regular parcel of “proper” reading matter which included books, newspapers and magazines. They ...


'A Little Bit Of Love For Me And A Murder For My Old Man': The Queensland Bush Book Club, Robin Wagner Jan 2010

'A Little Bit Of Love For Me And A Murder For My Old Man': The Queensland Bush Book Club, Robin Wagner

Musselman Library Staff Publications

This paper addresses rural book distribution in an era before free public libraries came to Australia. Well-to-do, city women established clubs, which solicited donations of “proper reading matter” and raised funds for the purchase of books for their “deprived sisters” in the Outback. They took advantage of a well-developed rail system to deliver book parcels to rural families. In New South Wales and Queensland they were known as Bush Book Clubs.

Testimonials found in the Clubs’ annual reports provide a snapshot of the hard scrabble frontier life and the gratitude with which these parcels were received. This paper looks at ...