Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Tasmanian Sisters

An exploratory look at The Sunday at Home recently turned up a story with an interesting title – to a Tasmanian anyway – in the volume for 1899-1900 (Vol. 47).

The Sunday at Home, subtitled in some years "a family magazine for Sabbath reading", was produced by The Religious Tract Society in London from 1854 until 1912. The Launceston Mechanics' Institute collection includes a substantial run of the magazine although it is far from complete.

The story in question, 'The Tasmanian Sisters' by E.B. Moore, appeared in serial form over two issues with the assertion that it was "Founded on Fact."

Nothing has been discovered about E. B. Moore, although the Religious Tract Society had previously published a novel Lucia: A Spanish Tale of Today in 1896 under the same name. There is no reason to assume E. B. Moore was a Tasmanian, and the detail in the story does nothing to settle the question.

Chapter One opens thus;
The evening shadows were settling down over Mount Wellington in Tasmania. The distant city was already bathed in the rosy after-glow.
It was near one of the many lakes which abound amongst the mountains round Hobart that our short tale begins.
and the story, over four chapters, is set in Tasmania, on Gibraltar, and on board the Minerva.

This Sunday at Home version of the story is not recorded on TROVE, but a later version is, published in The Empire Annual for Girls of 1911 where it is described as "a story of loving service and changed lives". 
The final section of the story is omitted in this version, as is the illustration.

For those who wish to read the story (or part of it), the Annual has been made available on Project Gutenberg and in other places.

This illustration by Sydney Cowell was used for the second instalment of 'The Tasmanian Sisters' in The Sunday at Home.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

A Charles Darwin Miscellany... a travelling exhibition from the book collection of the Launceston Mechanics' Institute.

Where: Launceston LINC
When: until the end of April

The profound influence of Charles Darwin on all areas of nineteenth century thinking was the springboard for this exhibition.

It is a mark of the quality of the service provided to the Launceston community that its Mechanics' Institute acquired such a range of Darwin's works in early editions, and that its collection reflected contemporary thought and reactions to the twin theories of evolution and natural selection.

The select group of items in the exhibition all relate to Darwin with examples from his own writings, the works of his supporters and opponents, and from those who were influenced by his theories, including many noted authors.
The Institute collection offers a unique insight to the intellectual life of Launceston in the colonial era and to the openness of a small and isolated city to the ideas that were profoundly reshaping the world.

A Punch cartoon from 1861
All facets of the collection are represented in this selection - nonfiction, novels and periodicals - a tiny part of the 22,000 volumes which have survived from this remarkable library owned and operated by the people of Launceston for over one hundred years from its inception in 1842.

This travelling exhibition is proudly presented by the Friends of the Launceston Mechanics' Institute with the support of Arts Tasmania's Lynne Stacpoole Caring for Your Collection Grant Program.

This project was assisted through Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts.