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Part 3: All the rest

The titles here are all the extras not included in the standard fly-leaf list.

  • The Mining and Prospecting series - four titles. The information included is still relevant and sought-after today. These books were listed separately at the bottom of the flyleaf.
  • Pamphlets and Collections. The two pamphlets were "political" books, never included in the general list. The collections are Gems from Idriess, an early compilation of extracts published for schools, and the more recent Greatest Stories compilation.
  • The six Australian Guerilla series titles were written as text books for the Australian Army during the Second World War. Again, these contain some information still relevant today.
  • In 1938, a collection of published Idriess works was re-issued under the title of The National Edition. This comprised 12 volumes in a uniform set. This is not counted here as a separate title.
    Prospecting for Gold From the dish to the hydraulic plant 1931

A classic text of prospecting, with information relevant and sought-after today. The first three books in this group were commissioned by the Australian government as a means of promoting the opening up of the "outback" during the depression years - by giving the hopelessly unemployed some hope in their battle against adversity. The techniques covered include prospecting for alluvial gold, tracking reefs, and how to make a little cash by going over the old diggings left from the gold rushes of eighty years earlier.

A copy of one of Idriess's sluice box designs from this book is on the web at a site called "Minin' Gold." It has "an interesting riffle design I have never seen before."

    Cyaniding for Gold Cyaniding for Gold 1939

Very rare in its original form. A specialist book on gold prospecting techniques.

    Fortunes in Minerals Including Uranium: simple tests and how to make them 1941  
    Opals and Sapphires How to work, mine, class, cut, polish and sell them 1967  
    Must Australia Fight? 1939

Some editions titled How Must Australia Fight. This was a political strategy, along with Onward Australia - basically World War II propaganda. "Ours is a grand continent destined to make world history for the British race if we can hold it...We are living on the threshold of a 'brave new world', the coming world washed by the Pacific and Indian oceans."

    Onward Australia Developing a continent 1945

A later book on a related theme to Must Australia Fight?. This title related more to post-war development, and Australia taking its role in the region and the world.

    Gems from Ion Idriess 1949

A collection of extracts, published for schools.

    Ion Idriess's Greatest Stories 1986

A recent, two-volume set of six of the most popular titles. Volume I: Flynn of the Inland, The Cattle King and Lasseter's Last Ride; Volume II: The Desert Column, Lightning Ridge and The Silver City. Includes historical notes from Beverley Eley's research.

  Shoot to Kill Australian Guerilla - Shoot to Kill 1942

The Australian Guerilla series was written as a set of specialist military handbooks for the Australian Army for the Second World War. These books draw not only on Idriess's First World War experience, but also on his bushcraft gained over many years, his childhood in the bush and his later travels. They are now extremely hard to find in their original versions. The content is still relevant, and includes much information not covered by more recent similar works.

Shoot to Kill gives practical details on accurate shooting.

  Sniping Australian Guerilla - Sniping With an episode from the authors' experiences during the war 1942

Covers tactics for concealment and stalking, and how to identify an enemy's position by drawing fire. Idriess had experience as a "spotter" for Billy Sing, a famous sniper at Gallipoli during the First World War. Idriess describes the world of the sniper as being like "a cat watching a wall with many mouse holes. Behind the holes worked the cautious mice, with ever-watchful felines waiting for just one mistake."

The history of Trooper William Edward (Billy) Sing, DCM, Croix de Guerre, 1886 - 1943, known as "The Assassin of Gallipoli" is on the Web at the Australian Light Horse Association site.

  Guerilla Tactics Australian Guerilla - Guerilla Tactics 1943

Making bombs, booby-traps and mines - all the sort of stuff the Internet gets a bad name for today.

  Trapping the Jap Australian Guerilla - Trapping the Jap 1943

Another title that is a little politically incorrect! This was more acceptable during the days of war-time propaganda. Following on from Guerilla Tactics, this book was particularly aimed at the expected Japanese military invasion of Australia.

  Lurking Death Australian Guerilla - Lurking Death True stories of snipers in Gallipoli, Sinai and Palestine 1943

Anecdotes and short stories of First World War experiences.

  The Scout Australian Guerilla - The Scout 1943

The following comments can be found on some USA-based military enthusiast Web sites:

Ion L. Idriess's Australian Guerilla manual presents a rare and privileged insight into one of the most vital functions of small-unit combat intelligence - scouting! Despite great technical achievements throughout the years in modern military science, the small-unit commander must still rely heavily on the eyes, ears and stealth of his scouts. Certain obscure techniques, often overlooked in most U.S. Army and Marine scouting texts, are fully detailed in The Scout!

  National Edition spines

The Yellow Joss frontispiece

The National Edition - 1938-1941

This was a set of all of Idriess's works up to 1938. They were published as a uniform set of 12 hardback volumes. Both John Tipper at Collecting Books and Magazines and Ross Burnet of Ozbook (Burnet's Books) confirm that they are unnumbered. John has also kindly passed on the graphics here.

The first issue, according to Ross, was "in 1938/39, in green cloth and in half-morocco". The set was re-issued in 1941 in green cloth, and Ross has also seen a 1941 volume in cream cloth. Eley's biography only seems to refer to the 1941 issue. The set also features a gold kangaroo emblem on the front. All 12 had printed endpapers, black and white illustrations, pictures and maps.

I was originally asked about this set by Chris Stevenson of Adelaide, back on 2 Aug 2000, who was looking for a valuation. Chris had all 12 volumes in green cloth, autographed in 1939. The value of this set can vary. As individual titles, these books could be worth a total of around $A300. A quick look at abebooks on the day of writing shows two full 1941 sets, one for $A400 (very good condition, unsigned), the other for $A595 (very good condition, 11 volumes signed).

Below is a copy of an advertisement for the National Edition, from the Australia National Journal, of December 1939.

  Ad for National Edition

Click on graphic for larger view

The series usually seems to be listed in the order of A&R publication, as follows:
  • Lasseter's Last Ride
  • Flynn of the Inland
  • The Desert Column
  • Men of the Jungle
  • Gold-Dust and Ashes
  • Drums of Mer
  • The Yellow Joss
  • Man Tracks
  • The Cattle King
  • Forty Fathoms Deep
  • Over the Range
  • Madman's Island
  Updated: 17 Nov 2004 To Top    

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