Book review:The Life of Peter Field

Peter Field by JBF.JPG

John Field (2015)

‘Boots, shoes and seeds: the Life of Peter Field’

self-published (available from 10 High St., Burnside, SA 5066)

256 pp. paperback

includes bibliography and index


John Field has written about the life of his great grandfather, Peter Field (1851-1936). The author has produced this book on quality paperstock and in colour with many illustrations. The first 160 pages are devoted to describing the life of Peter and his wife Sarah and their descendants. It is the story of a boy brought up in an English workhouse, migrating to Australia and settling in Toowoomba. There he established a very successful business in shoe manufacture. He had a number of stores in towns in southern Queensland. These 160 pages are freed from footnotes and endnotes and excessive detail which can ‘bog down’ a family history so easily. It flows well and gives one a wonderful view of business in an Australian town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. John Field has managed this by having an 80-page section in tabular form giving a Timeline and Sources. The minutae, the detail and the endnotes are found here for each chapter. This rather novel approach to biography has worked really well – it is a good reason for all family history writers to view this book. A great record of the history of Toowoomba and surrounding areas.

John won last year’s first prize of the Don Grant Award for historical biography with a family history emphasis (Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies) very deservedly. I should declare that John was a former work colleague of mine. I have known him for many years.

I am planning to release a number of other book reviews  in coming weeks: [His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet; Dropping Out by Dani de Valera; Margaret Flockton by Louise Wilson].

Martin Playne


An Historical Bibliography for the Port Phillip District (now Victoria, Australia)

Colllins Street, Melbourne with the Union Bank on the right in 1863 [Pictures Collection, State Library of Australia, image H 15456, lithograph hand-coloured by F. Cogne]

The Bibliography was presented by Martin Playne during a series of talks on the Port Phillip District in 1830- 1860 to a U3A group.

Here it is:


Annear, R. (1995) Bearbrass – Imagining early Melbourne (Reed Books Australia, Port Melbourne, Victoria)

Robyn Annear, Nothing But Gold: The Diggers of 1852, Text Publishing, Melbourne, 1999.

Anon. (1846/47) Original members at the Port Phillip Medical Association. Aust Medical J. (Sydney) 1846-7 i: 146.

Baillieu, Darren (1982) Australia Felix: a miscellany from The Geelong Advertiser 1840-1850. (The Craftsman Press: Hawthorn, Victoria)

Bennett, B. (2002) The Fish Markets of Melbourne (B. Bennett, Hawthorn, Melbourne)

Billis RV and Kenyon SA (1974) Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip. (2nd Edition. Stockland Press, Melbourne). (first edition was dated 1932)

Billis RV and Kenyon SA (1930) Pastures New: An account of the pastoral occupation of Pt Phillip. (Macmillan & Co., Melbourne)

Bird, Eric CF 1993 The Coast of Victoria: The shaping of scenery. MUP, Melbourne

Geoffrey Blainey, The Rush That Never Ended: A History of Australian Mining, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1969.

Boyce, J. (2011) 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia (Black Inc., Collingwood, Victoria)

Boys RD (1959) First years at Port Phillip 1834-42 (Melbourne) (originally published in 1935, published by Robertson & Mullens Ltd., Melbourne)

Bride, T.E. (1898) Letters from Victorian Pioneers (edited by C.E. Sayers in 1969) (Wm Heinemann Ltd). First published in this edition C. O’Neil, 1983. (Lloyd O’Neil Pty Ltd, South Yarra, Victoria)

Broome, R. (2005) Aboriginal Victorians – A History since 1800 (Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW)

Cannon, M. (1973) Life in the Country: Australia in the Victorian Age: 2 (Nelson)

Cannon, M. (editor) (1982) The Aborigines of Port Phillip 1835-1839 Historical Records of Victoria, Volume 2A (Vic Govt Printing Office, Melbourne)

Cannon, M. (editor) (1983) Aborigines and Protectors 1838-1839. Historical Records of Victoria, Volume 2B (Vic Govt Printing Office, Melbourne)

Cannon, M. (1991) Old Melbourne Town : before the gold rush (Loch Haven Books, Mainridge, Victoria) Cannon, M. (1997) Perilous voyages to the new land. Mornington, Victoria (Today’s Australia Publishing Company)

John Capper, The Immigrant’s Guide to Australia, George Phillip & Son, 1853.

Carter, H.B. (1964) His Majesty’s Spanish Flock. Sir Joseph Banks and the Merinos of George III of England (Angus & Robinson, Sydney)

Mrs Charles Clacy, A Lady’s Visit to the gold diggings of Australia, Lansdowne Press, 1963.

Clark, C.M.H. (1973) A History of Australia . Vol 111. The beginning of an Australian Civilization 1824-1851 (Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria)

Clark, I.D. (1998) editor. The Journals of George Augustus Robinson, Chief Protector, Port Phillip Aboriginal protectorate. (Clarendon, Heritage Matters: Ballarat ) (2nd Edition 2000)

Clark, I.D. (1998) editor. The Journals of George Augustus Robinson, Chief Protector, Port Phillip Aboriginal protectorate. (Clarendon, Heritage Matters: Ballarat ) (2nd Edition 2000)

Curr, E.M. (1965) Recollections of Squatting in Victoria, then called the Port Phillip District (1841 to 1851). 2nd edition., Melbourne University Press, Melbourne. (first published 1883)

Cusack, F. (1973) Bendigo: A History (Heinemann)

Dawson, James (1881) Australian Aborigines: the languages and customs of several tribes of Aborigines in the Western District of Victoria, Australia. (Facsimile Edition, Aust. Inst. Aboriginal Studies, Canberra, 1981, with introduction by Jan Critchett)

De Serville PHH (1980) Port Phillip Gentlemen and good society in Melbourne before the gold rushes. (Oxford Univ Press, Melbourne)

De Serville, P.P.H. (1991) Pounds and Pedigrees: The Upper Class in Victoria 1850-80 (Oxford University Press, Melbourne)

Dingle, T. (1984) The Victorians. Settling (Fairfax Syme & Weldon : Sydney).

Fels, M.H. (1988) Good Men and True: the Aboriginal Police of the Port Phillip District, 1837-1853 (Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria)

Fels, M.H. (2011) ‘I succeeded once’:The Aboriginal Protectorate on the Mornington Peninsula, 1839-1840.(ANU e-Press, Canberra, ACT)

Finn, E. (1888) Chronicles of Early Melbourne (also known as Garryowen’s Chronicles). Also see Wiedenhofer below.

James Flett, History of gold discovery in Victoria, 1970

Samuel T Gill, The Victorian goldfields 1852-3: an original album (edited by M Cannon), Currey O’Neill, Melbourne, 1982.

David Goodman, Gold Seeking: Victoria and California in the 1850s, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1994.

Graham, H.B. (1952) Happenings of the now long past: the centenary of the Medical Society of Victoria. Medical J. Aust. II: p213-228 (Aug 16, 1952)

Gregory, A. (1998) The Ever Open Door. A History of the Royal Melbourne Hospital 1848-1998 (Hyland House, South Melbourne)

Gross, Alan (1956) Charles Joseph La Trobe. Superintendent of the Port Phillip District 1839-1851; Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria 1851-1854. (Melbourne University Press, Melbourne).

Charles Napier Hemy, Days of My Youth (a diary edited by Peter McGann), Peleus Press, Mulgrave, Victoria, 2009

Hocking, G. (1994) Castlemaine from Camp to City 1835-1900. Five Mile Press, Knoxfield, Melbourne

Geoff Hocking, To the diggings!: a celebration of the 150th anniversary
of the discovery of gold in Australia, Lothian Books, 2000.

Hopton, AJ (1950) List of registered and unregistered medical practitioners at Port Phillip between 1835 and 1851. J. Roy Aust Historical Soc., 36: 376-379.

House of Commons, 1854 (1719) Parliamentary Papers. Correspondence relative to recent discovery of gold in Australia. Copy of a despatch from La Trobe to the Duke of Newcastle p. 81-82 (accessed )

Hughes, R. (1987) The Fatal Shore. A history of the transportation of convicts to Australia, 1787-1868 (Collins Harvill, London)

Jones, M (1989) Frankston- Resort to City. Allen & Unwin. (p.74 refers to place names in Frankston)

Joyce, Alfred (1942) A homestead history: being the reminiscences and letters of Alfred Joyce of Plaistow and Norwood, Port Phillip 1843-1864. (Melbourne University Press, Melbourne) Edited by G F James

Seweryn Korzelinski, (translated and edited by Stanley Robe) Life on the goldfields; Memoirs of a Polish migrant; 1850s in Victoria, Mentone Educational Centre, 1994.

Land Conservation Council (1996) Historic Places, special investigation, South-Western Victoria Descriptive Report. 179 pages+ maps (Chapter 3 -History and Heritage, pp25-78)

Land Conservation Council (1997) Historic Places, special investigation, South-Western Victoria Final Recommendations. 176 pages + maps

Lee, Dawn A. (2001) Daughter of Two Worlds (Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, East Melbourne) 82p

Lewis, Miles (1995) Melbourne: the City’s History and Development. 2nd Edition (City of Melbourne) 220pp

McCombie, T. (1858) The History of the Colony of Victoria: from its settlement to the death of Sir Charles Hotham (Sands & Kenny, Melbourne (also digitised as a Goggle book)

McCrae, H. (editor)(1966) Georgiana’s Journal . Georgiana McCrae. Melbourne 1841-1865. 2nd edition. (Angus & Robinson)

McGann, P. (2009) Days of My Youth. Charles Napier Hemy RA, ARA, RWS (Viglione Press and Peleus Press, Melbourne)

McNicoll, R. (1976) The Early Years of the Melbourne Club. (Hawthorn Press, Melbourne).

McNicoll, Ronald (1988) Number 36 Collins Street – Melbourne Club 1838-1988 (Allen & Unwin Haynes and Melbourne Club)

Mollison, A.F. (1980) An Overlanding Diary 1837 (Mast Gully Press, Melbourne) Edited by JO Randell.

Moorhead, LM (1971) Mornington in the wake of Flinders (Shire of Mornington) Mouritz, J.J. (1979) Port Phillip Almanac and Directory for 1847. Facsimile copy of original of 1847. (Library of Australian History, Sydney)

Neale, RP. 1984 Jolly Dogs Are We. The history of yachting in Victoria 1838-1894. Landscape Publications, Mont Albert.

Newnham, W.H. (1971) Victoria Illustrated 1857 & 1862. Engravings from the original editions by S.T. Gill and N. Chevalier. (Lansdowne Press, Sydney)

Newnham, W.H., Carroll, B., Bechervaise, J. and McKay, A. (1977) Historic Melbourne Sketchbook (Rigby, Melbourne) 251 pages.

O’Sullivan DM (1956) David John Thomas: a founder of Victorian medicine. Med J. Aust 1956 I: 1065-1072.

Pascoe, Bruce (2007) Convincing Ground (Aboriginal Studies Press: Canberra, ACT)

Peel, L.J. (1973) History of the Australian Pastoral Industries to 1960. Chapter 2 IN: The Pastoral Industries of Australia – practice and technology of sheep and cattle production (editors G. Alexander & O.B. Williams) (Sydney University Press, Sydney)

Pierce, P.W. (1853) Melbourne Commercial Directory, including Collingwood and Richmond and the almanac for the year 1853. (James Shanley, Melbourne)

Playne, M. J. (2013) Two Squatters: the lives of George Playne and Daniel Jennings. (Martin Playne Publishing, Melbourne)

Plowman, Peter 2010 Across the Pacific: liners from Australia and NZ to North America. Rosenberg Publishing, Dural, NSW.

Pohlman, R.W. Diary for years 1840-41, 1846-49, and 1850-55 SLV Manuscript MSB 194, and diaries and personal papers of Pohlman family 1839-1898 SLV Manuscript MSB 204 (also at RHSV).

Presland, G. (editor) (1977) Journal of George Augustus Robinson. January – March 1840. Records of the Victorian Archaeological Survey, No 5., July 1977.

Presland, G. (1985) Aboriginal Melbourne – The lost land of the Kulin people (McPhee Gribble, Ringwood, Victoria) Presland, G. (1985) The Land of the Kulin. Discovering the lost landscape and the first people of Port Phillip (McPhee Gribble – Penguin, Ringwood, Victoria)

Presland, G. (2008) The Place for a Village: how nature has shaped the city of Melbourne (Museum Victoria Publishing, Melbourne)

Priestley, S. (1984) The Victorians. Making their mark. (Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates, McMahon’s Point, Sydney) Public Record Office, Victoria (1985) Historical Records of Victoria. Vol. 4. Communications, Trade & Transport (editors: M. Cannon & I. Macfarlane )

Randell, JO (1976) Kimbolton. (Queensberry Hill Press: Melbourne)

Randell, JO (1977) The Pastoral Pattersons. The history of Myles Patterson and his descendants 1822 to 1976. Limited edition. (Queensberry Hill Press: Melbourne)

Randell, JO (1979) Pastoral Settlement in Northern Victoria . Volume 1. The Coliban District (Queensberry Hill Press: Melbourne)

Randell, JO (1982) Pastoral Settlement in Northern Victoria . Volume 2. The Campaspe District (Chandos, Burwood, Vic)

Randell, JO (1985) Mc Ivor: A History of the Shire and the Township of Heathcote. (McIvor Shire Office, Heathcote)

Rogers, H (1966) The early history of the Mornington Peninsula including Frankston and Westernport. (Hallcraft Publishing CoPty Ltd, Melbourne)

Ruhen, Olaf 1976 Port of Melbourne 1833-1976. Cassells Aust Ltd, Nth Melbourne

Geoffrey Searle, The Golden Age: a history of the Colony of Victoria, 1851-61, Melbourne, 1968.

Geoffrey Serle, To the Diggings!: a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold in Australia, Lothian Books, 2000.

Shaw, AGL (1996) A History of the Port Phillip District – Victoria before Separation (The Miegunyah Press: Melbourne)

Sparrow, Jeff & Sparrow, Jill (2001) Radical Melbourne – A Secret History (The Vulgar Press, Melbourne)

Sparrow, J. and J. (2004) Radical Mebourne 2 – the enemy within (The Vulgar Press, North Carlton, Victoria)

Spreadborough R and Anderson, H. (1983) Victorian Squatters (Melbourne, Red Rooster Press)

Stephens, M. (2014) The Journal of William Thomas, Assistant Protector of the Aborigines of Port Phillip & Guardian of the Aborigines of Victoria 1839-1867 (in 4 volumes). (Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages: Melbourne)

Sullivan, Martin (1985) Men and Women of Port Phillip. Hale & Ironmonger, Sydney.

Sutherland, A. (1888) Victoria and its Metropolis, Past and Present, Vol1: Early History and Culture. Today’s Heritage, Melbourne, 3001. [originally published by McCarron, Bird & Co., Melbourne] 594 pp.

Thiele, F. (2009) Superintendent La Trobe and the amenability of Aboriginal people to British law 1839-1846. Provenance: The Journal of the Public Record Office Victoria, September 2009 (online)

Weidenhofer, M. (1967) GarryOwen’s Melbourne. edited by Weidenhofer (Nelson) (also see Finn, E. above)

Were, Clive W. (1988) A Portrait of J.B.Were and his family. (Publisher: Clive W. Were, Sandringham)

Were JB & Sons (1964) A voyage from Plymouth to Melbourne in 1839. The shipboard and early Melbourne. Diary of JB Were. 1st edit 1964; reprinted 1990 The Craftsman Press, Burwood, Melbourne

Were, J.B. & Son (1954) The House of Were 1839-1954. (Publisher: private – not for sale publication) 520 pages.

Wright, Clare (2013) The forgotten rebels of Eureka (Text Publishing, Melbourne)

Wettenhall, Gib and the Gunditjmara People (2010) The People of Budj Bim (emPress Publishing: Heywood, Victoria) 71 pages


Anon. 2007. Bayside Architectural Trail. Bayside City Council, Sandringham.

Bate, Weston 1962 A History of Brighton. 1st edition Melbourne University Press.

Cribbin, J. 1995. Moorabbin: a pictorial history 1862-1994. City of Kingston, Moorabbin.

Disney, G. & Tarrant, V. 1988. Bayside Reflections: History & Heritage of Sandringham, Hamo\pton, Black Rock & Beaumaris. Sandringham City Council.

Doyle, M. & Sandringham & District Historical Society (2012) The Street Where You Live: street names and their origins, Beaumaris, Black Rock, Hampton, Hampton East, Sandringham, and parts of Cheltenham and Highett. Sandringham & District Historical Society.

Glass, M. E. (2009) Sandringham by the work of all: a history of a bayside municipality. Sandringham & District Historical Society.

Johnson, R. 2013. Norwood, it changed the face of Melbourne. The Publishing Company & Co., Portarlington, Vic 3223.

Mace, L.N. (1994) Brighton Recollections 1920s-30s. Pax Printers & Publishers, Dandenong.

Patterson, G. 2013 Coastal Guide to Nature and History: Port Phillip Bay. Coastal Guide Books, Briar Hill, Vic 3088.

Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) Parish Plan of Moorabbin, M3163, VPRS 16171/P1 (accessed online 10 June 2015) [drawn 1881, additions to 1925, shows names of those who first purchased land from the Crown, also see SLV Maps Catalogue for MMBW and other maps of Moorabbin- Brighton]

Sheehy, T. 1965. A Short History of Moorabbin (A Shire Preceded Three Cities – Moorabbin, Sandringham, Mordialloc). Standard Newspapers, Cheltenham. 48pp










































von Guerard 1854 SLV H15746.jpg

Setting up the layout for a book

Books of course can be all shapes and sizes, and about a huge range of subjects and emotions, so the example I give below on how to set up a book in detail really only applies to the specific book. In this case, my recently published book, Two Squatters, which is essentially an historical biography.

(using Two Squatters as an example)

A5 (148 x 210mm) Justified Text
Each section starts on odd (RHS) page

PARTS (RHS) – you may not need to divide into PARTS
PART Italic caps 48pt Times new Roman (TNR)
TITLE Italic caps 36pt TNR
YEARs Italic caps 24pt TNR
CHAPTER NUMBER – caps 14pt Garamond
Chapter Title – title case, bold 16pt Garamond
Abstract – lower case 9pt Garamond
Text – lower case, justified, 11pt Garamond
Main Headings (within chapter) – bold 14pt Garamond, with one line spacing below
Minor Headings (within chapter) bold italic 12pt Garamond, indented 10mm
Indentation first line of each paragraph – 5mm
Line spacing for Abstract – Exactly 11pt
Line spacing for Text – Exactly 13pt
Spacing from top of first page of each chapter
– 3 down CHAPTER
– 2 down TITLE
– 2 down ABSTRACT
– 1 down TEXT
Margins Header 10mm, Footer 10mm, Inside 8mm, Outside 15mm,
Top 20mm, Bottom 20mm, Gutter 13mm
Set up book for Mirror margins – left (even) and right pages (odd)

Special Fonts
Special text symbols
❁❅❒▼❙❈❆❇ -try Zapf Dingbats
♒♐♑⧫⍓⍓&♒⬧♌-try Wingding Font

SECTIONS set up Section Breaks on LHS or even pages between chapters
For each Section, set up Headers as follows:
Even pages = TWO SQUATTERS (caps 10pt Garamond, left justified)
Odd pages = eg., CHAPTER 5- THE VOYAGE TO MELBOURNE (caps 10pt Garamond, left justified)
Important Note: Be aware that you must ‘unlink’ sections, if you want to make HEADERS different for each section. Procedure: go to TOOLBOX/ FORMATTING PALETTE/HEADER & FOOTER (this only appears when Header is highlighted), then delete LINK TO PREVIOUS

BOXES TITLE capital bold 12pt Garamond
-BACKGROUND – set at 2 shades of grey
-TEXT – lower case 11pt Garamond
-REFERENCES – 10pt Garamond

ENDNOTES Chapter heading 14pt Garamond centre justify
– Notes – 10pt, left justify
PROBLEM – Microsoft Word thinks Endnotes is automatically at end of document, once you move all endnotes from ends of each chapter and place them together towards the end of the book. MS Word informs you that you cannot place a Section Break after the last Endnote. So it is not possible to place an Index at the end.
SOLUTION – make a separate file for your INDEX, with appropriate page numbers and Headers. Save both this file and your main book file as pdfs, and then merge both files with Adobe Acrobat or similar (the printer will do this for you probably).
There is another solution to this problem, which avoids making two pdf files and merging them. It has been described recently by Bill Barlow, but is quite complex to do.

PAGE NUMBERING – lower case roman numerals for front pages, then conventional arabic numerals for the body of the text – font size 9pt

OUTSIDE COVER -Title – Lucida Calligraphy 26pt
– Sub title – Lucida Calligraphy 14 pt
– Author Name – Times new Roman 18pt

ANOTHER TIP – With Microsoft Word, you may get a format -jumping problem if you are not set up properly. Solution is to go to TOOLS/AUTOFORMAT/unclick box.

Italics: use for names of ships, Australia Felix, house and property names
Inverted Commas: – single inverted commas – use for short text quotations, but not for long quotations (where you indent text 10mm on LHS, reduce font to 10pt)
Double inverted commas: – use sparingly and only for quotes within quotes.
Underlining: use only for Latin or other foreign language text
Thats all for this week. I hope someone finds it useful when setting up a book. Main thing is to have some cards near your workspace which describe all the above and which you can refer to easily when writing.

Marketing, promoting, distributing and selling your book



  • Start early, plan a marketing strategy well before your print run
  • Prepare postcards, business cards, bookmarks, leaflets, and posters
  • Website set up website using a ‘do it yourself’ business e.g., Bounce Interactive™, or WordPress™ are low cost ways to get started. In your website, use colour pages, include pictures, relevant to your book. Linkages: cross link within your website and also provide linkages to other useful sites. Make your site have useful pages to encourage people to visit your site. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): obtain information from your website provider on how to set up SEO, which is basically to provide relevant keywords for search engines such as Goggle™ to find easily. Understand how Goggle™ revises its search algorithms. Getting your site to the top page found by an internet search may take a few months. You will find that there are literally thousands of businesses from all over the world who want to improve your SEO at a price – so expect a few emails. Regularly update your site – its surprising how quickly parts become dated. Link to Twitter™, Facebook™, and your blog site. Take out likely domain names and link them. Owning several domain names is not all that expensive.They should cover your name and the name of your book. This will help ensure that your site is found easily.
  • Blog site (widen your exposure by doing this separately from main website), use WordPress™ or similar – these are free; link each new blog you publish so that it gets notified on both Twitter™ and Facebook™; try to do a new 500 word blog every month
  • Twitter™ account
  • Facebook™ account, also set up open Facebook™ page
  • Prepare talks on your book and related matters to give to historical and genealogical societies, U3As, Rotary, Probus, CAE Groups and book clubs. Most clubs and societies are always on the lookout for new speakers and new topics. Most will expect you to present with a slide presentation (e.g., Powerpoint™, Keynote™). Most will encourage you to offer your book for sale at the talk. I have found this is a really good way to sell multiple copies of your book. An added bonus is that some organisations will offer a payment or gift voucher to a speaker.
  • Book Reviews – ask newspapers, radio stations (Local Community Radio, ABC Radio Stations), societies, bloggers
  • Awards and Competitions – enter all eligible, but be realistic. The major awards call for multiple copies of your book and have quite high entry fees – you may want to avoid these unless you feel you have a real winner.
  • Donations – donate books to key selected institutions and societies (ask them to do book reviews too)
  • Family Reunions – if you are lucky enough to have many relatives nearby, this can be a real way to sell books
  • Book Launch – find a prominent speaker, attach it to a local literary series/ festival. These are often organised by local libraries. Libraries can be really helpful in not only providing a ‘bookish’ atmosphere but also giving your launch widespread publicity.
  • Press Releases – ‘Leader’ newspaper, The Age newspaper, Seniors newspapers, CAE News, ABC RN and 774, local radio, SBS. Include photos of your book cover and yourself in your press releases.


  • Register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) its free (you need this in your book, but you do not need to register for GST as a hobbyist).
  • Pricing – more difficult than you think (allow for GST, commissions to bookstore; commission to distributor (if any); consignment conditions, postage)
  • Basis of pricing – try to cover the costs of out of pocket expenditures (printing, cover setup and design, overall setup fees, purchase of images, ISBNs and barcodes at the very least.
  • Selection of booksellers – specialist (Museum, Historical Society (RHSV), Mechanics Institutes) and local bookshops. It is hard to make money selling to the big outlets, but useful for getting high sales volumes. Your local suburban independent bookshops will usually take self-published books on consignment as they like to support local authors
  • Libraries – send details to all relevant libraries
  • Colleagues, family and friends – work out good family rate
  • Own Website – have your order form as a pdf file, sell by cheque /cash/ PayPal? (GST-free if you are under a certain volume – ask the tax office or an accountant)
    Printers Website Bookstore (e.g., BookPOD™) – small commission, but has credit card facilities
  • Postage and packing – this can be a real killer. Simplify by having three rates only e.g., Victoria $10, Interstate $13.40; UK (by sea) $22. Weight of book is critical. Try to keep below 500g packed weight. The above prices are for up to 1kg in 2013, My book was 640 g so I was stuck with the 1kg postal rates as above
  • **************************
    Print this on the rear side of your Book Release Sheet



(BOOK TITLE) is available to bookshops under consignment, but conditions apply and these are stated below.
Wholesale prices (EXAMPLE): $22.00 cash on delivery; $25.00 on consignment
A maximum of 6 copies at one store will be supplied on consignment at any one time.
Payment in full is due at three / twelve months [delete one] after supply date, or the return of unsold books in saleable condition. The Publisher retains ownership until books are sold, and they remain as Publisher’s property until paid for.
A purchase order must be supplied in order to receive books on consignment. (OPTIONAL)
The Publisher is not obliged to supply books on consignment.
Contact: YOUR NAME HERE to order books on consignment (tel: YOURS; email: YOURS or by post at the address overleaf.

I agree to the above conditions. (BOOKSHOP)

……………………………………………. signed

…………………………………………… date


Keep a copy for yourself as well as the bookseller.
In my next blog I will give an example of the details of setting up a typical A5 book on an historical subject. Until then, good wishes Martin

Selling Your Book

P1030230.jpgMarketing, Promotion, Distributing and Selling your Book – PART 1

Having gone through perhaps years of research, writing and re-writing, and finally setting your book in a format suitable for printing and release, you probably will have under estimated the amount of time and effort needed to let people know that the book is available. I certainly did.

Quality Control
The first thing you have to do when you excitedly receive cartons of your book from the printer is to check that all copies have been printed correctly. Occasionally, a printer may bind a book in reverse or upside down. You need to check and eliminate those possibilities. You definitely should let your printer know of a problem.

Legalities and Obligations
When you publish a book in Australia you are required by law to deposit a copy of your book with the National Library of Australia (NLA) and a copy with your State Library (in my case the State Library of Victoria). You also need to apply for ‘Cataloguing in Publication’ with the NLA and to obtain an ISBN unique identifier for your book (available from Thorpe – Bowker ). This registration enables your book to be included in the Trove listings of books in Australia and to be found by booksellers. All this apparent bureaucracy is very necessary if you want to sell your book to the public, and provides free publicity of your book. Its also wise to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) as you are the publisher. The ABN is required if you sell through bookshops.

International Book Listings and Catalogues
In addition to the Trove listing, it is advisable also to register your book with Books in Print. This listing is widely used internationally to search for a book by librarians and booksellers. Another listing worth pursuing is Nielsen Bookdata.

Date of Release
After the proofing process is completed with the printer to ensure any errors created in the printing process are eliminated, then you already to release your book. A word of caution: the year of publication is important. Entries for awards and prizes define the dates a book may be eligible for entry for a prize. Booksellers often don’t want to carry a book over two years old. Generally, releasing a book after September is not a good idea. Bookshops are already ordering from book distributors’ lists. they may reject your independent book for this reason – they are already fully-stocked for the Christmas market. Its probably best to release your book between April and July. Impatient as you might be to see your book released, do consider holding your stock for a few months before release if necessary.

Release Sheet / Book Description Sheets (with photo of front cover see my example)
You will need a succinct description of your book with a photo of your front cover to promote your book and to supply to booksellers.

Here is an example:

A new book on the social history of the Port Phillip District between 1839 and 1854, depicted by following in detail the lives of two early pioneers -Dr George Playne and Daniel Jennings. The book throws new light on medicine in the 1840s, and on the endeavours to improve squatters’ conditions and to form a new colony. This book is a culmination often years’ research in Australia and England. The book illustrates the historical value of examining, in detail, lives of individuals during those boisterous years of early settlement and the gold rush between 1839 and 1854, using genealogical research techniques. These two men took up occupancy of the large Campaspe Plains Station in central Victoria. One was a rich, but eccentric land agent, Daniel Jennings; the other, a serious, well-qualified surgeon from a poor Gloucestershire family, Dr George Playne. After five years, they went their separate ways. Jennings remained a squatter and land investor, while Playne moved to Melbourne to practise medicine. He became part of the colonial establishment, helping to establish a medical association, a hospital and to achieve the formation of the colony of Victoria. Their lives from birth to death and that of their families have been explored in depth. The book is lavishly illustrated with 85 maps, plans and images.

Dr Martin Playne has had a career as a research scientist in CSIRO. He graduated from the University of Queensland in agricultural science, majoring in biochemistry. He gained a PhD from the University of
Edinburgh. He has some 119 scientific publications. Ten years of detailed historical and genealogical research has led to this volume. Two Squatters is the
author’s first book on social history.

Two Squatters – The lives of George Playne and Daniel Jennings

ISBN: 978-0-9923341 -0-9

RRP: $35.85

Trim: 210mm x 148mm

Weight of book: 640 grams

Category: Non-Fiction : Australian Social History /Historical Biography

Quantity ordered: ___________

Email: Phone: +61 (0)3 9598 9818


In my next blog I will continue to discuss ideas for marketing and promotion, and on selling your book. Until next time.

More detail on Self-Publishing a Book

This blog covers:

Different ways of publishing
The parts of a book
Self-publishing: tips and tricks
I will also give a detailed guide of setting up for the layout of a book in a coming blog.
I will start by using some examples of the different types of books and journals that you might consider using for your work.

– limited run small books for family only (using SNAP™ or Officeworks™ or the like)
– booklets (16 to 48 page size) e.g., about the size of a journal or magazine
– books (paperbacks, hardbacks), perhaps 250 to 400 pages.
– e-books – a good way to economically achieve international availability using Apple iTunes, Amazon Kindle and KoboBooks, however marketing e-books has its own difficulties
– websites and blogsites – most family tree programs will automatically produce family history reports as well as family tree charts. All these are easily placed on the web.
– articles in magazines and journals (2000 – 7000 words usually). Examples in Australia are: Queensland History Journal, History Australia, Victorian History Journal, and the genealogical magazine, Ancestor
– photo essays/ captioned photobooks
– Powerpoint™ and audiovisual presentations and videos
– social media, such as Facebook™, can be used as an interactive way of publishing

Today, however, I will limit my discussion to producing a non-fiction book. But we do need remember that some authors have no desire and feel no need to spend the money needed to produce a book – that is not their purpose in writing.

front cover
back cover
title page (full title & short running title)
legal page (back of title page, NLA Cataloguing in Publication entry, copyright statement, ABN, publisher details, year of publication, printer details)
contents page
list of illustrations and maps and family charts
list of appendices
preface (and foreword?)
acknowledgments (record the details as you get each piece of help)
endnotes (could, alternatively, have these at end of each chapter); consider use of footnotes as well
index/s (general index, place index, people index, or just one general index)


Most non-fiction books serve quite niche markets. Although most of us would love a commercial publisher to accept our ‘masterpiece’ for publication, the reality is that only established authors and writers of textbooks will achieve this. This reality is especially so in the family history/ social history genre. Simple mathematics will soon show that a book with a potential market of around a 1000 copies is of no interest to a commercial publisher who would have to face all the costs of assessment, editing, proof-reading, and indexing as well as production and distribution costs. So lets consider whats involved in self-publishing. With modern home computers, user-friendly software and digitisation of the printing process, self-publishing is not all that daunting. The big advantage is that it gives you complete control of your product, its appearance and quality, and the financing of it. You take control of the artistry of the book. In fact you take total control, and YOU decide when you need to call in help and from whom.

So what are some of the decisions you will need to make?
Choosing the cover (the image, the fonts, matt v gloss)
Choosing size of book (A5, B5, C5, A4 etc)
Choosing the thickness of the book (and thus its weight)
Choosing the paper type and weight and quality
Choosing a font to suit the content as well as being easy to read, and commonly used by printers (e.g., Garamond, Times New Roman)
Copying similar books by professional publishers; looking at examples by other family historians
Placement of illustrations and maps
Use of colour
Use of ‘white space’
Margins and gutters
Headers and footers
Page numbering
Endnotes v Footnotes, or both?
Sections (each chapter a new section)
These choices will determine the ‘look’ of your book, its artistry, its readability, and its relationship with the reader. They are important decisions.

In my next blog, I will discuss marketing and promotion, selling your book, and distributing your book.

The Ins and Outs of Self-Publishing

I am going to present here material that I developed on techniques of self-publishing for a number of talks that I have presented on this topic in the last year or so.

These days, more authors are facing the daunting task of self-publishing. Although time-consuming, preparing a book in a format and appearance that equals that of professional publishers is not all that difficult from your own computer using a common program like Microsoft Word™. Nor do you need special word processing skills. Some key points are:

Weight of the book. Keeping the book below 500g will save postage costs. This means restricting an A5 sized paperback to less than about 320 pages. This is important for overseas sales.

Front cover. The appearance and design of the cover is very important for sales. If the customer does not pick up the book, they won’t buy it.

Maps, plans and images. Use these generously. They help to make your history story understood, and they make your book attractive. The cost of colour plates dispersed throughout your story is no longer prohibitive. Maps are easy to draw, and names easy to add using free software, such as Goggle Picasa™. Most family history programs have easy systems to draw ancestry charts. Digitised images of old prints, drawings and paintings held in many archives and libraries are readily available at low cost or free, and are out of copyright.

Fonts. Choose a font that suits your story. In my recent book, Two Squatters, I used Garamond 11pt for my text, but for the cover, I used Lucida Calligraphy because it seemed to match the cover image better. You should not mix fonts too much. However, I found Times New Roman was better than Garamond for chapter headings and headers and footers.

Endings. Work hard on writing a good concluding chapter. Everyone knows that the opening paragraph in the opening chapter is important, but equally a satisfying conclusion is important. This is hard to control when one is writing non-fiction. Avoid making it too much of a summary or repetition.  It is not a place to deposit information you have not used elsewhere in the book, but forgot to include.

Footnotes and Endnotes. Extensive footnotes can disrupt the flow of the text, make the appearance of the page messy, and can be a constant distraction. Placing these as endnotes at the end of the chapter avoids this, but means that the reader may have difficulty finding the last page of a chapter to look up an endnote. Many non-fiction authors group the endnotes together after the last chapter. If you do this, re-start the numbering of endnotes for each chapter by using section breaks. This avoids you ending up with huge reference numbers in the text.

Promotion and Marketing. Ideally, plan this before you go to print. Set up your own website. This can be done using a DIY website provider. Set up a blog site such as that offered by WordPress™. Plan to write new blogs regularly – 500 words every month. Link these to social networks such as Twitter™and Facebook™. Hold a book launch, but make publicity easier by linking it to a literary festival. Pricing your book is difficult. Your recommended retail price needs to be high enough for you to cover your out-of-pocket costs of printing, images, ISBN and barcodes, and up to 40 percent commission by many large booksellers. Selling privately, selling online, and selling through specialty outlets, such as the RHSV, are important if you are to recover your costs.

Legalities. Include your legal page on the reverse side of your title page. This should include your publishing name and ABN, publication date, a copyright statement, and the cataloguing information from the National Library. You obtain this from the Library beforehand and reproduce it. This also ensures that your book appears in the Trove search system. Register your book with Books in Print™. This makes sure that your book is listed internationally. Large bookshops and libraries will then be aware of it.

Next time I will continue with some more detail on aspects of self-publishing. Specialist non-fiction works will nearly always have small markets, and are relatively unattractive to commercial publishers, so self-publishing will become the norm for many authors in this genre. Fortunately, modern home computers and good word-processing software allow the self-publisher to achieve standards of publication equal to those of mainstream publishers.


A Book Review – ‘Lost Relations’ by Graeme Davison

Reviewing a book by an established author is a great way for aspiring writers to learn new techniques and new and better methods of presentation. The book I am reviewing today does just that. I mentioned in my last blog that I had been reading three books over the holiday period. Today, I will discuss one which I think is of great interest to family history writers. It is called ‘Lost Relations: fortunes of my family in Australia’s golden age’ by Professor Graeme Davison, a renowned historian. So for a family history , it is rather unique – written by a professional historian.

Graeme, rather by default I understand, was given this task by members of his family as ‘he was the professional’ . The book is about his mother’s family – the Hewett family. It starts in farmland in Hampshire, England and goes steadily and in quite a leisurely manner through the social history of that region in the early 1800s. One learns of the advent of railways and the disruption of farmland that this causes, as well as the vastly improved access to cities and markets. One learns of the effect of economic change on the viability of farming tenanted land. This leads us to understand why the Hewett family chose to leave Hook Farm and migrate to Australia.

Rather amazingly and really bravely this widowed mother takes her eight children across the seas to the other side of the world. In Victoria, they move to Castlemaine in the gold-rush times (1851-1860). It is the story of this family settling in tents in the goldfields of central Victoria – building homes and mills, and rapidly realising those that survived on the goldfields were not the miners but those that supplied them with food and goods. One gains a wonderful view of those days on the goldfields and in particular the settlements of Wesley Hill and Forest Creek. Graeme very cleverly interweaves details of his family history into this broader social history. He goes on to describe the lives of several emerging branches of the family in different locations in rural Victoria. Towards the end of the story, they are found settling in Williamstown, Melbourne. Appropriately, the book was launched in the Williamstown Town Hall at a family gathering, near to the dwellings their ancestor’s occupied.

One very interesting theme through the book is the role that the Methodist Church played in the life, the ethics, the behaviour and the success of this family. In some ways, this book is a history of the church in Australia.

In his conclusion, he begins ‘Family history may be the oldest kind of history’. He goes on to discuss the current popularity of family history and reasons with himself why this might be so. This is a ‘must read’ for any family historian. It gives us a new non-boring way of writing our family histories. I thoroughly enjoyed it, learnt from it, and gained new ideas on how to better present family history.

Release of an e-book version of the book “Two Squatters: the lives of George Playne and Daniel Jennings”

Announcing the release on Apple iTunes, Amazon Kindle and Kobo Books of “Two Squatters” as an e-book. Please go to one of these websites to purchase as an e-book. I still have a few copies of the printed version available. Please see my website ( for more details.

I have been pleased about how the print version has sold, and am now investigating how to publicise an e-book internationally, and to find out if a self-publisher can penetrate the large European and American markets with an e-book. All very much a learning curve for me. Two Squatters has quite a large amount of information on the English origins of both the main characters in my story, and their families. So there is a good potential for sales in the UK particularly. I will keep followers of this blog informed on how sales are going, and which promotion techniques have worked best.

Meantime, I must get back on track in writing my second non-fiction book. It hasn’t got a title yet, but its about the great will forger Joshua Fletcher and his co-conspirators and their families and their lives. He committed these offences in the 1840s in England. His second wife was Sarah Playne Washbourn, an ancestor of mine, which is the reason I am writing this book. I expect to have it ready for release in 2017. The story has a large English and a large Australian content. We roam from the undrained fenlands of Lincolnshire to Dickens’ London in the 1840s, to the small village of Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire. In Australia, we explore Norfolk Island, Hobart, Mudgee in New South Wales, the gold mining town of Hill End to Ipswich in Queensland. Behind this family story is the celebrated criminal case, subsequent pardons and appeals.

In my family history studies, I decided some time back to pick out those ancestors who had different or interesting lives, or who made a major achievement in industry, in discovery, in art, or in war. Then to decide if I would write a whole book or perhaps just a short article on each of them.

Meantime, I have been fortunate to have copies of some recently published books, which I will discuss in my next blog. They are Graeme Davison’s “Lost Relations: fortunes of my family in Australia’s golden age”, Fred From’s “Terry” , and John Field’s “Boots, Shoes and Seeds: the life of Peter Field”. Graeme’s book is particularly interesting as he is a well known professional historian. I think all family historians will be interested to see how the professionals handle family history. But more on these three books in my next blog soon.

A potted history of the settlement of Port Phillip by whitemen (and women)

In my previous blog, I said I would provide some more information on a course on the history of the Port Phillip District in the 1840s which I presented last term to a U3A group. Below is a copy of a handout that I gave the group. I hope that blog readers will find it a useful summary of those times. In coming blogs, more on the population growth, bounty immigrants, crown land and so on.

A limited history of recorded human settlement of Victoria before 1856

Aboriginal people settled in Victoria (around 40,000 years ago or before)

Voyages of discovery of the coasts of Victoria by the French (Nicolas Baudin – 1802; Emmanuel Hamelin – 1802; Dumont d’Urville- 1826), and the British (James Cook – 1770 in Endeavour; George Bass – 1798 in Tom Thumb, and with Matthew Flinders in 1799; James Grant – 1798 in Lady Nelson planted crops on Churchill Island in Westernport Bay; John Murray – 1801 in Lady Nelson discovered Port Phillip Bay; Matthew Flinders – 1802 in Investigator; Charles Robbins in HMS Buffalo in 1803 examined Port Phillip Bay in detail.

A settlement was attempted near Sorrento in Port Phillip Bay in 1803 by a British expedition led by David Collins in two ships (HMS Calcutta, and The Ocean with 35 settlers’ families, 50 marines, 299 convicts) to forestall the French from settling in the area, after seven months the party abandoned the site and moved to settle at Hobart.

Sealers and whalers made casual temporary settlements from 1802 to 1824.

In 1824, Hamilton Hume, William Hovell and Henry Angel travelled overland from Sydney to Port Phillip Bay, on a trip of discovery.

In December 1826, a military post was established at Corinella, on the eastern coast of Westernport Bay, and on Phillip Island, near Rhyll. The settlement was abandoned in 1828.

In November 1834, Edward Henty and family formed a pastoral settlement at Portland in western Victoria without government sanction.

In June 1835, John Batman and party arrived from Tasmania and established a depot at Indented Head on the Bellarine Peninsula. He later moved to the site of Melbourne.

In July 1835, a party formed by John Pascoe Fawkner made a settlement at the present site of Melbourne on the Yarra River, under the command of Captain Lancey.

In 1836, Major Mitchell and party discovered a favourable route for over-landing flocks of sheep from New South Wales, and named much of western and northern Victoria as ‘Australia Felix’.

In subsequent years, waves of settlers arrived from Tasmania, and over-land from New South Wales, all seeking new grazing lands, and most without government authorisation.

Captain William Lonsdale was sent by Governor Bourke in 1836 as Police Magistrate with soldiers and policemen to the unofficial settlement on the Yarra River.

In March 1837, Governor Bourke visited the site and directed that a town be laid out named Melbourne by his surveyor, Robert Hoddle, and to organize the first land sales (1 June). Country in drought.

20 June 1837 – Queen Victoria commenced her long reign.

13 January 1839 – Serious bushfires – Black Friday. Floods later in the year.

1839 – Melbourne Mechanics’ Institute was formed.

2 October 1839 – Charles Joseph La Trobe arrived from Sydney to be Superintendent of the Port Phillip District, and to head the administration of the District.

15 November 1839 – The William Metcalfe arrived – the first privately organised ship of bounty migrants. George Playne and Daniel Jennings were cabin passengers as was JB Were; land prices were increasingly rapidly.

December 1839 – Flooding occurred in Melbourne.

22 October 1841 – Incorporation of the Town of Melbourne. Melbourne divided into four wards. Population of the Port Phillip District was over 20,000, with about 5,000 in Melbourne.

1842 – Recession took hold and many insolvencies occurred. The land ‘bubble’ burst.

12 August 1842 – Melbourne was officially gazetted as a ‘town’, and local elections held.

1 March 1843 – The Great Comet appeared in the southern skies.

 1843 – Recession continued. The boiling down of sheep for tallow commenced, thus setting a base price for sheep.

2 April 1844 – Regulations issued to tighten squatting licence regulations limiting area and stock carrying capacity.

1 June 1844 – Squatters protested in Melbourne.

3 October 1844 – Floods occurred in Victoria.

28 November 1844 – Public meeting held to demand separation from New South Wales. A representative was appointed to take a petition to England.

August 1845 – More flooding occurred in Victoria.

4 August 1845 – The immigrant ship Cataraqui is wrecked on King Island in Bass Strait with the loss of 400 people – only nine survived.

1846 – Royal Botanic Gardens founded by Chas La Trobe.

14 July 1846 – Martial law proclaimed for one night in Melbourne following rioting between Orangeman and Roman Catholics.

1846 – First bridge (a wooden one) over the Yarra River was completed.

1847 – Port Phillip District recovered from the recession and land sales recommence.

August 1847 – The first use of anaesthetic in Victoria by Dr Thomas for an operative procedure, Dr George Playne administered the anaesthetic.

5 February 1848 – Melbourne proclaimed a ‘City’.

15 March 1848 – The first Melbourne Hospital was opened.

1849 – Gas lighting is introduced by William Overton.

1849 – More floods and then a snowstorm in Melbourne.

11 November 1850 – News of the approval by the Queen to form a new colony of Victoria reached Melbourne, and the citizens party for a week.

15 November 1850 – the new stone Princes Bridge opened – more celebrations.

6 February 1851 – Extensive and major bushfires across Victoria – Black Thursday.

1 July 1851 – the Colony of Victoria established. Charles La Trobe became the first Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria.

20 July 1851 – Gold officially discovered.

1854 – Telegraph link to Williamstown established, and a railway from Melbourne to Port Melbourne built.

6 May 1854 – Charles La Trobe retired as Lt-Governor and left for England on the Golden Age to Panama.

July 1854 – foundation of the University of Melbourne.

31 July 1854 –formation of the Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science.

 12 August 1854 – formation of the Philosophical Society of Victoria.

 1859 – the societies amalgamated into the Royal Society of Victoria.

3 December 1854 – the Eureka stockade rebellion took place on the goldfields.

1856 – the Public Library (or State Library) opened in Swanston Stre