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Australia Nature Page 3

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Australia Nature Page 3

Flowering of Gondwana, The: The 400 Million Year Story of Australia's Plants by Mary White. Published by Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-08592-7. Recommended retail price $70.

This is a huge book in every sense ... large format, filled with luscious photographs, paintings and diagrams.

"The Flowering of Gondwana tells the fascinating story of Australia's floral heritage, from its genesis through to the last stages of evolution, and the changes that have come with intrusions such as the arrival of the white man with crops of exotic plants. In this book, we can trace the evolution of land plants from the earliest times when all life was confined to the water and the land was barren to the emergence of the first land plants, about 400 million years ago. Ultimately this transformed the world into a green and vibrant place, finally crowned with flowers.

Illustrated with over 400 magnificent photographs of fossils and living plants plus maps, diagrams and artist's drawings, The Flowering of Gondwana is an invaluable and pioneering source of information. It represents a new approach to geoscience by combining several disciplines. For the first time scientists, specialists and the general reader can follow Australia's plant ancestry, and appreciate the individuality that has evolved from an inheritance in common with plants from other southern lands."

 The original Australian title The Greening of Gondwana made much more sense and you can tell from the turgid prose I copied from the dust jacket that someone who knew nothing at all about the subject wrote the blurb. Don't be fooled and don't be put off by a 1990 publication date. This is a superb book. Highly recommended. Hard cover, 256 pages. Published 1990.

Flying Foxes, Fruit and Blossom Bats of Australia by Leslie Hall and Greg Richards, illustrated by Louise Saunders. Published by Krieger Publishing Company. ISBN 1575241765. Recommended retail price $21.50.

This book is the first illustrated guide dedicated to Australia's 13 species of Megachiroptera ... the "mega" bats. These animals do not fit everyone's image of a bat: while they are nocturnal, they live in forests rather than caves, they navigate by sight rather than echolocation, and their long snouts and large ears and eyes give them a canine-like appearance (hence the description of 'flying foxes'). Perhaps because of their appearance, as well as their intelligence, flying foxes are regarded with much affection in Australia and are sometimes kept as family pets.

Among the wide range of issues Flying Foxes discusses are such contentious matters as the management of flying fox populations and the recent incidents of viral diseases jumping from flying foxes to humans. The book contains superb color photographs, including many by acclaimed wildlife photographer, Theo Allofs and line drawings by Louise Saunders. Soft cover, 135 pages. Published in 2000.

Gardening with Australian Rain. Published by Bloomings Books. ISBN 1876473398. Recommended retail price $29.95.

Gardens in Australia: Their Design and Carefacsimile edition of the author’s copy by Edna Walling. Published by Bloomings Books. ISBN 1876473150. Recommended retail price $36.95.

This book has a twofold purpose – to give pleasure, as a thing of beauty, while also providing practical help to those making new gardens or intending to reconstruct old ones.

Numerous books concerning gardening have been written from the point of view of the cultivation of plants, but few, as this one, on the subject of garden building.

The pictures and text are the work of one who has practiced the art of garden making in Australia for the past twenty years, embracing gardens of but 50 feet frontage to those of acres in country districts.

Inspiration and help will be derived from the examples of work and from the practical solutions given to problems met with every day in garden making.

Those who have not much to spend upon their gardens need not be discouraged by the pictures of gardens in this book showing no restriction on the use of their owners’ purses, because, in garden design, the main consideration is that it be a fit setting to the architecture of the house, and it is obvious that these large gardens surround residences of corresponding size.

Moreover, very often gardens planned for and constructed upon large estates are quite applicable to much smaller areas, as will be seen from pictures and planting plans given in this book.

Many examples are given of work that any owner can quite well carry out himself on a limited area, and with materials at modest cost.

Thus, this book is confidently recommended to all who are contemplating the making of a garden, whether it be a large or small one, or whether funds are limited or in plenty.

Much care has been taken that it shall worthily show those outside Australia how beautiful our gardens can be. Hard cover, 148 pages. Published in 1999.

Gordon Ford: The Natural Australian Garden by Gordon Ford with Gwen Ford. Published by Bloomings Books.  ISBN 1876473096.  Recommended retail price $41.95

For too long, Australians have been dominated by European gardening trends. Gordon Ford, like no other landscape designer before him, mastered the natural Australian style.

Australia has unique conditions and, in terms of our indigenous species, this ancient continent can boast high levels of floristic integrity quite unknown to Europeans.

Gordon Ford was early influenced by the English natural style landscape school of the eighteenth century. But his great skill has been to work with Australia’s natural elements and to develop gardens that not only honored the rugged beauty of the Australian landscape, but did so in a way that captured its apparent timelessness – his hardens look as if they have always been there.

Long revered as a landscaper, carrying on in the tradition of Ellis Stones and Edna Walling, Gordon Ford is now recognized as one of Australia’s leading contemporary ‘design visionaries’.

In shaping our visual world, Gordon focused on the essential balance between mass and void in his designs. This balance of the natural elements of rocks, water, trees and other plants achieves a timeless harmony, so that we feel totally satisfied but uncertain as to where Mother Nature starts and Gordon Ford finishes. Hard cover, 111 pages. Published in 1999.

Grasses of Temperate Australia: A Field Guide by C.A. Lamp, S.J. Forbes and J.W. Cade. Revised Edition. Published by Bloomings Books.  ISBN 0646411896.  Recommended retail price $46.95.

While Grasses of Temperate Australia is a comprehensive field guide to grasses it is also designed to introduce the amateur botanist to this interesting group of plants. The authors have selected over 100 grasses that impinge on our daily lives – species that we may use or, at least, see during our work or recreation.

The introductory chapters include a general discussion of the temperate region, the importance of grass, troublesome features of grasses, grasslands and grass morphology and an illustrated guide to identification. The main body of the text comprises a detailed guide to individual grasses and is followed by a comprehensive glossary, bibliography and index.

Line drawings by expert botanical illustrators Allan Barnett, Dennis Morris and Joan Sampson Tucker are used throughout the book

Charles Lamp graduated in Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne and was granted a PhD from the University of Tasmania in 19069. From 1969 to 1988 he was a Senior Lecturer in agronomy and general agriculture at La Trobe University.

Stephen Forbes graduated from Monash University in 1974 and studied horticulture at the University of Bath. He gained experience in plant identification on flora surveys in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Joe Cade graduated in Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne in 1951 and was a pasture specialist with the Victorian Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs until his retirement in 1990. His main professional interest was pasture plant introduction work and the evaluation of pasture species and cultivars. Soft cover, 310 pages. Published in 2001.

Grassland Plants of South-Eastern Australiaby Neil and Jane Marriott. Published by Bloomings Books. ISBN 1876473002. Recommended retail price $27.95.

Grasslands and grassy woodlands comprise the most depleted ecosystems in South Eastern Australia with only 1% of the original habitat remaining and even less protected in reserves.

Growing interest in these rare grassland communities stems from the knowledge that identification and protection of remnants are urgent priorities.

This comprehensive field guide will enable landowners, naturalist and others to identify plants commonly found in grasslands and grassy woodlands, for the whole of the south-east Australia, including Tasmania.

“This excellent book guides readers to a better understanding of the importance and composition of the endangered lowland and grassy woodlands of south-eastern Australia” – Roger Elliot. Soft cover, 183 pages. Published in 1998.

Great Barrier Reef by David Doubilet. ISBN 0-7922-6475-4. Published by National Geographic. recommended retail price $40.00.

David Doubilet is rightly acclaimed as one of the best underwater photographers on the planet. This work is a collection of Great Barrier reef photographs taken during many visits to this World Heritage site. Most of the photographs are superb but there are a few too many over-polarized shots of reefs from above ... almost as if David has suddenly discovered a polarizing filter. But this is a minor quibble amongst such a large selection. Hard cover. There are no page numbers and I am too lazy to count them. Published in 2002.

Hearts & Minds: Creative Australians and the Environment by Michael Pollak and Margaret MacNabb. Published by Hale and Iremonger. ISBN 0868066923. Recommended retail price $32.

Attitudes towards the environment have undergone a revolution over the last 30 years, and writing of various kinds has played a major role in forging our environmental consciousness.
Hearts & Minds examines comprehensively for the first time the dazzling variety of work by creative Australians in alerting us to environmental destruction and presenting solutions to prevent it.

Separate sections are devoted to fiction, non-fiction, illustrated books, films, plays, poetry, songs, magazines and children’s books. These studies are based on extensive research and on over 1,000 interviews with writers from all over Australia, providing lively and passionate comment on their work and their country.

Hearts & Minds looks at the work of writers as diverse as Peter Carey, Tim Flannery, Rosie Scott, Peter Corris, Dorothy Hewett, Peter Garrett, Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Brian Hannant.

Always stimulating to read, this is a landmark publication which makes a major contribution to our understanding of Australian culture, history and politics. Soft cover, 399 pages, published in 2000.

Herpetology in Australia: A diverse discipline, edited by Daniel Lunney and Danielle Ayers. ISBN 0959995188. Published by the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales.

Herpetology is the branch of science that deals with amphibians and reptiles. Australia has a diverse herpetofauna and a diverse group of people who are studying it. This volume captures this diversity. The decision to hold the Second World Congress of Herpetology in Adelaide over the 1993-1994 New Year period was an acknowledgement of international interest in Australian frogs and reptiles, and those who study them. This volume not only reflects this interest but also the conservation of Australia's native frogs and reptiles and their habitats. In doing so, it demonstrates that herpetology is making a contribution to conserving Australia's biodiversity from the Northern Territory to Tasmania, from the rainforests to the Simpson Desert. Soft cover, 414 pages. Published in 1993.

Indigenous Plants of the Sandbelt: A Gardening Guide for South-eastern Melbourne by Rob Scott, et al. Published by Bloomings Books. ISBN 095810090X. Recommended retail price $28.95.

The Indigenous Plants of the Sandbelt: A Gardening Guide for South-eastern Melbourne is a practical guide to using the local native plants of the area of Melbourne colloquially known as the “Sandbelt.” Indigenous plants are those that occurred in an area prior to European settlement. This guide is also a useful starting point for revegetation and landscape projects.

Local naturalists have accumulated a considerable wealth of knowledge and understanding about the flora and fauna of south-eastern Melbourne and welcomed the opportunity to create a useful reference. Soft cover, 152 pages. Published in 2002.

Kadimakara: Extinct Vertebrates of Australia edited by P.V. Rich and G.F. van Tets. Illustrated by F. Knight. Recommended retail price $45.

This extraordinary book covers a wide variety of extinct Australian vertebrates most of which are virtually unknown outside Australia. The first few chapters “set the scene” and then specialists discuss their own areas of expertise. It may come as a surprise to find that Australia once had its own freshwater dolphin and hosted some of the world’s biggest flightless birds. The title is an Aboriginal word for strange monsters and this is certainly what is presented. The book is superbly illustrated by Frank Knight who utilises recent knowledge to the full in his reconstructions. For an example of his art click on the link below. Quarto, hard cover, 284 pages.

Click here for a Frank Knight illustration of Palorchestes, the giant Australian tree-ripper (71.03K)

Kangaroos and Wallabies of Australia by Dave Watts. Published by New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1-86436-320-7. Recommended retail price $35. Our price $33.


Kangaroos and wallabies have long fascinated people ever since they were first brought to the attention of western science. Kangaroos and Wallabies of Australia provides superb photographic studies by Dave Watts. Smaller kin such as wallabies, pademelons, bettongs and wallaroos are also covered.

Authoritative introductory text provides an insight into the evolution of these unique creatures. Information on their habitats and how they have adapted to their harsh environment gives new insights to these interesting marsupials.

Five chapters, divided into species groupings, illustrate with superb photographs and extended captions the size, form and features of each species. Stunning images depict these marvelous animals in their natural habitat as Dave travels around the continent capturing the many and varied species on film. (The last sentence was taken from dust jacket blurb ... but believe me, this guy Dave Watts is a top notch wildlife photographer. I compare his images with famed Japanese photographer Mitsuaki Iwago who has also done a book on kangaroos and there is no comparison. Watts' images, in my opinion, are demonstrably better.) Hard cover, 122 pages, published 1998.  All photos below Copyright Dave Watts.

Kangaroo at sunset (49k)
Tasmanian bettongs (68k)
Red kangaroo at speed (41k)

Koala, the: Natural History, conservation and management by Roger Martin and Kathrine Handasyde. Published by Krieger Publishing Company. ISBN 1575241366. Recommended retail price $28.50.

The koala vies with the kangaroo as the definitive faunal symbol of Australia, and is seen by many as one of the world's most charismatic animals. But while the koala can be readily identified by millions of people from all over the world, many aspects of its biology have long remained a mystery.

During the last ten years ground breaking research has greatly extended our understanding of the basic biology and natural history of the koala. The authors, Dr Roger Martin and Dr Kathrine Handasyde, have been amongst those at the forefront of the research.

Scientists now have better insight into how koalas survive on such a low energy and potentially toxic diet as Eucalyptus leaves. Other recent studies of wild populations have revealed a great deal more about the social behavior of koalas, while our knowledge of koala reproductive biology, endocrinology, energetics and growth of free-living koalas has also been enhanced. All these findings have been woven into the narrative of The Koala.

Conservation and management are key issues for many koala populations and the results of long-term population studies now provide us with a better understanding of the dynamics of koala populations. Headway has also been made in our understanding of koala diseases, particularly Chlamydia. The Koala concludes with an analysis of the most difficult management issues: the conservation of sparsely distributed and small populations and the problems stemming from overabundance. Soft cover, 132 pages. This edition (second) published in 1999.

Kingfishers and Kookaburras of Australia: Jewels of the Australian Bush by David Hollands. Published by New Holland Publishers. ISBN 187633432-0. Recommended retail price $29.95.

Some folk don't realize that kookaburras are kingfishers, hence the somewhat redundant title of this book. All ten Australian kingfishers are covered here in loving detail by David Hollands, who has spent a major portion of his life studying and photographing Australian birds. Birds of the Night, also by David Hollands is listed a few books above this one.

The biology of each species is described in detail, always from meticulous personal observation. It took eight years to track down and photograph every species but it was a very worthy mission. Some of David's photographs are stunning. Highly recommended if you are a bird buff or have an interest in Australia. Hard cover, 132 pages, published in 1999.

Click here for photo of a yellow-billed kingfisher by David Hollands (68.66K)

Live in the Tall Eucalypt Forests by David Lindenmayer and Esther Beaton. Published by New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1876334525. Recommended retail price $24.95.

Life in the Tall Eucalypt Forests pulls back the curtain on one of Australia's most magnificent tall eucalypt forest, that of Victoria's Central Highlands. The beautiful photographs of the animals and plants that live there are accompanied by captions that tell the story of how this community works together. Intricate webs of dependency have evolved among the inhabitants and these are held together in a delicate balance. The pictures and words link these living things in a way that helps us understand how an entire dynamic ecosystem is able to maintain its health and how human activities like logging can threaten that health.

David Lindenmayer is a forest ecologist, a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Resource & Environmental Studies at the Australian National University and an Associate Professor at the ANU's Department of Geography. He advises agencies and institutions on wildlife conservation issues and forest management. In 1998 he was awarded the Eureka Science Prize and in 1999 he received a Whitley Award for the co-authored book, Conservation Biology for the Australian Environment. Much of David's scientific work has come out of his living forest laboratory in the Central Highlands of Victoria.

Esther Beaton is a nature photojournalist. For 6 years she worked as photographer for the ACT Parks and Conservation Service, recording the flora and fauna of south-eastern Australia. She then went on to co-found the well-known natural history photo library, Auscape. In 1996 she won the Australian Geographic Award for Excellence for photography. Now a freelance photographer, she produces wildlife and environmental photo-stories for overseas and local publications. More information is available on her website Soft cover, 128 pages. Published in 2000.

Moths of Australia by I. F. B. Common. Recommended retail price $80.


Moths of Australia is the first comprehensive book to cover the enormous diversity of Australian moths, summarizing our knowledge of them and presenting much original work by one of the world's foremost lepidopterists. More than 1000 of the 10,000 named Australian species are represented in color or half-tone photographs. Up-to-date nomenclature adds to the wealth of information on distribution, larval food plants, and the fascinating behavior of these often-colorful insects.

The emphasis is on living insects and the means they employ to cope with environmental pressures. Dr Common provides authoritative descriptions and figures of egg, larval, pupal and adult structure, and discussions of the biology, life history, population control, economic significance, evolution and geographical distribution. In addition, Moths of Australia features a modern classification of the world fauna, with detailed information on those families occurring in Australia, a section on collecting and studying the moths, and a list of food plants and larval hosts.

Moths of Australia will be an essential reference, both in Australia and elsewhere, in undergraduate and post-graduate university courses. It is a valuable source of information for workers in museums, in agricultural, horticultural, forestry, ecological, conservation and other biological institutions and for anyone interested in natural history or concerned with our environment. Unfortunately, this book will not make your coffee for you. Hard cover, 535 pages. Published 1990 reprinted 1993.

Native Orchids of Southern Australia, a Field Guide to the by David & Barbara Jones. Published by Bloomings Books. ISBN 187647324X. Recommended retail price $29.95 .

Australia’s flora boasts more than 1200 species of orchid – fascinating and varied plants – the majority of which are not found anywhere else in the world. In this guide, David and Barbara Jones describe 268 species to help the dedicated orchid enthusiast and the casual bushwalker to identify many of the commoner, and some of the special, orchids in the field.

A straightforward description is given for each orchid, detailing its overall distribution, flowering period and habitat together with a full-color photograph.

David Jones, botanist and horticultural author, has written many books on the Australian flora.

Barbara Jones, a practicing craftsperson specializing in embroidery, has a keen interest in Australian plants, especially orchids. Soft cover, 278 pages. Published in 2000.

Native Plants of Melbourne and adjoining areas by David & Barbara Jones. Published by Bloomings Books. ISBN 1876473134. Recommended retail price $27.95.

As Melbourne’s urban sprawl continues so the pressure on the remaining patches of bushland increases and the very regional survival of many indigenous plant species becomes threatened.

This authoritative guide will enable interested people to identify the native plants which may survive in their neighborhood. It identifies 252 species, mostly common, but also some which are rare. For each species the plant is described, the suburban range and overall distribution given, habitat and related species are discussed and their requirements for cultivation outlined.

David Jones, botanist and horticultural author, has written numerous books on Australian plants.

Barbara Jones takes a keen interest in Australian plants as a practicing craftsperson specializing in embroidery. Soft cover, 262 pages. Published in 1999.

Nest Boxes for Wildlife: a practical guide  by Alan and Stacey Franks. Published by Bloomings Books. ISBN 1876473207. Recommended retail price $20.95.

Anyone with basic carpentry skills can build a nest box, and be rewarded by the pleasure of watching the activities of the wildlife that takes up residence, as well as knowing they are contributing to their conservation. And when there’s no more room in the garden, a next box makes an unusual and thoughtful gift for a nature-loving friend … a source of pleasure for nursing home residents or hospital patients… a trigger for an ongoing school conservation project, especially if the box is made by the woodworking class. All the questions raised will be answered in this book.

Stacey and Alan Franks have spent years researching the needs and habits of hollow-dependent fauna. The practical advice they give is based on personal observation and experience, as well as information they have gathered from other wildlife experts. Soft cover, 72 pages Published in 2003.

Pythons of Australia: A Natural History by Geordie Torr, illustrations by Eleanor Torr. Published by Krieger Publishing Company. ISBN 1575241498. Recommended retail price $24.50.

For thousands of years snakes have inspired both fear and fascination, and no serpent has proved more intriguing than the python. Long neglected by researchers, these remarkable reptiles have attracted increasing attention over the past few decades, and a clear picture of their ecology is now emerging. Pythons of Australia: A Natural History is the first attempt to gather together everything we know about the biology of Australia's pythons into a single, accessible and easy-to-read volume.

Illustrated with spectacular color photographs and some wonderfully detailed line drawings, Pythons of Australia covers anatomy and physiology, behavior, reproduction, ecology and conservation. It provides detailed accounts and descriptions of all the species, from the tiny pygmy python, the world's smallest, to the scrub python which can reach up to five meters in length. Pythons are becoming increasingly popular as pets, and the book also contains a valuable overview of their captive care and breeding. Soft cover, 103 pages. Published in 2000.

Reptiles and Amphibians of South Australia, The by Edgar Waite. Published by Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. ISBN 0-916984-30-3. Recommended retail price $15.

This is a reprint of a book first published in January 1929, posthumously. One as to ask how many people have had posthumous works republished 64 years later? Edgar R. Waite was a superb biologist. Despite this book, fishes were his first love.

While the book is reprinted exactly as it was, there is an excellent introduction by Australian herpetologists Michael Tyler and Mark Hutchinson. They provide a highly useful list of current scientific names for the species that Waite describes.

As Tyler and Hutchinson say in their introduction:

"... this book was the first and is still the only complete treatment of the herpetofauna of any Australian state. It was a significant and extremely ambitious publication of international quality that was produced for a limited, local readership. It is a valuable reference book, even today."

Soft cover, 270 pages, first published 1929, reprinted 1993.

Sea Snakes by Harold Heatwole. Published by Krieger Publishing Company. ISBN 1575241161. Recommended retail price $29.50.

Mention Hal Heatwole's name to any herpetologist and they will instantly recognize him as the "sea snake man". Actually Hal Heatwole is a man of many interests and talents and sea snakes happens to be just one of his areas of expertise.

The sea is a habitat alien to most reptiles, and the adaptation of sea snakes to a marine existence is a fascinating chapter in biology. Sea Snakes describes the varieties and distribution of sea snakes, how they go about their daily lives underwater, what they eat and what eats them, and how they reproduce and grow. It also discusses how sea snakes cope with excess salt and scarcity of fresh water, and how they adjust to diving at depth and enduring long periods without breathing. The nature of their venom and how it functions in subduing large, active prey is also explained. Soft cover, 148 pages. This edition published in 1999.

Sharks and Rays of Australia by P. R. Last and J. D. Stevens. Retail price $75. NOW OUT OF PRINT ... SORRY.

Over 180 species of sharks, 100 rays and 13 ghost sharks live in Australian waters. Each species is described and illustrated in this, the first, major revision of Australian sharks and rays in 50 years. The lavish illustrations include 300 superb color paintings that closely capture the living colors of each animal, and are the best ever made of sharks and rays.

The keys are illustrated and easy to use. The formal descriptions include field characters, distinctive features, color, size, distribution, synonymy and references with comments on biology and interest to fisheries where relevant. Over 300 two-color maps are included as a guide to distribution.

An essential reference for professional and recreational fishermen, divers, naturalists, students, fish biologists and anyone interested in sharks and rays. Since many of the species described are also found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, this book will be of great interest worldwide. Hard cover, 597 pages. Published 1994.

Click on thumbnail below for painting of rays from Sharks and Rays of Australia (50K)

Sharks & Rays of Australia, Green Guide by Kelvin Aitken. Published by New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1864363185. Recommended retail price $12.95.

The Australian Green Guides have been created for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages. The most commonly asked questions are answered with particular emphasis on fascinating behavioral insights into both common and unusual creatures. The pages are alive with entertaining and informative text accompanied by exciting action photography. Contains:

· Behavioral insights
· Action photography
· Your questions answered:

Why do some sharks attack?
What sharks do people eat?
Are sharks intelligent?
Do sharks sleep?
Do stingrays really sting?
How hard can sharks bite?

Answers to all these and many more commonly asked questions about sharks and rays can be found inside this useful guide.

Kelvin Aitken has been captivated by marine life from an early age. He now used his training as a commercial photographer to record the fascinating animals beneath the sea. Traveling to all the world's major oceans, he specializes in photographing his favorite animals, sharks, as well as other large marine creatures such as whales and dolphins.

Kelvin's images have won him many professional national and international awards, including Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year in Australia and the prestigious BBC Wildlife awards in London. He currently resides in Melbourne. Soft cover, 96 pages. Published in 1998.

Snakes & Other Reptiles of Australia: Green Guide by Gerry Swan. Published by New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1864363428. Recommended retail price $12.95.

The Australian Green Guides have been created for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages. The most commonly asked questions are answered with particular emphasis on fascinating behavioural insights into both common and unusual creatures. The pages are alive with entertaining and informative text accompanied by exciting action photography. This volume contains superb photographs of reptiles, heaps of information, advice on photography and a quick run down on laws concering captive reptiles. Soft cover, 98 pages. Published in 1998, reprinted in 2000.

Tasmanian Birds, Field Guide to by Dave Watts. Published by New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1864364807. Recommended retail price $26.95.

While Tasmania is the smallest of Australia's states, it boasts a coastline of over 5000 kilometers and over 350 offshore islands. Within its landmass habitats range from woodlands, forests and mountain ranges to coastal heathlands and estuaries. These diverse environments are home to more than 200 species of birdlife, some resident, some regular or irregular visitors, as well as 12 species found nowhere else on earth.

Field Guide to Tasmanian Birds provides a comprehensive listing of all major bird species found in Tasmania, accompanied by full-color photographs of each bird in its natural habitat for identification purposes.

Conveniently arranged into seven sections of family groupings, each section is color-coded for ready reference. Species entries include common and scientific names; identification information; notes on habits, voice, breeding and distribution; locater maps and tips on where best to see each bird. A species checklist is also included for field trips.

Informative text, distribution maps and full-color photographs make Field Guide to Tasmanian Birds an essential guide for anyone interested in Tasmania's avifauna.

Before becoming a full-time photographer, Dave Watts worked as a forest officer in the United Kingdom and as a conservation officer with the Tasmanian Conservation Trust. One of Australia's leading award-winning wildlife photographers, Dave's work has been published in Australia and internationally in such magazines as Nature Australia, National Geographic and BBC Wildlife. His other books include Kangaroos and Wallabies of Australia; The Best of Australian Birds and Tasmanian Mammals: A Field Guide. Soft cover, 192 pages. Published in 1999.

Under Southern Seas: The Ecology of Australia's Rocky Reefs. Edited by Neil Andrew. Published by Krieger Publishing Company. ISBN 1575241412. Recommended retail price $49.50.

This book is quite superb: from its excellent design and wonderful content right through to its amazing price.

If you think running this website is fun you're right. But have you any idea how much this costs me? I often find "must have" books and there goes the profit for the month. But you are reading this site because you love books, so you understand.

According to the dust jacket blurb: "leading marine biologists look at our current understanding of the ecology of subtidal reefs and their fisheries. Accessible yet authoritative this comprehensive volume includes chapters on sharks, rock lobsters, abalone and fishes, as well as many of the less familiar inhabitants of rocky reefs. More than 200 outstanding colour photographs and illustrations accompany the text."

More precisely there are chapters on oceanography and biogeography, various Australian States, kelp forests, abalone, octopuses and relatives, jellyfish, rock lobsters, sea urchins, sessile animals, reef sharks and rays, snapper and yellowtail kingfish, territorial damselfishes, morwongs, wrasses, blue groper, leatherjackets, herbivorous fish, planktivorous fish, seals and sealions. I unequivocally recommend this work, it is a superb mixture of hard science, great design and wonderful photographs. Hard cover, 238 pages. Published in 2000.

Click on thumbnail for picture of a leafy seadragon from Under Southern Seas (55.58K)


Wildflowers Transforming the Landscape, Australia's by Denise Greig. Published by New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1864363762. Recommended retail price $24.95.

Australia's Wildflowers - Transforming the Landscape is a tribute to this country's magnificent flora heritage. From lush, tropical rainforests to alpine regions, temperate forests and harsh, dry deserts, the Australian environment is home to a vast array of startlingly beautiful and unique wildflowers.

Wattles, everlasting daisies, pea flowers, banksias and eucalypts are all represented in this book, as are some of the more unusual floral varieties found throughout the country.

Around 80 per cent of Australia's 20,000 species of flowering plants are endemic - they occur nowhere else in the world. This extraordinary display of plant life evokes an image of untamed magnificence for which Australia is justifiably world famous.

The images in Australia's Wildflowers - Transforming the Landscape are a brief introduction to many of the well-known, and some of the more obscure, wildflowers to be found here. Hard cover, 128 pages. Published in 1998.

Wildflowers of Sydney and adjoining areas by Alan Fairley. Published by Bloomings Books. ISBN 187647338X. Recommended retail price $34.95.

The Sydney district is one of the great wildflower regions of the world with over 1500 species occurring within an hour’s drive of the city center. This field guide contains 268 of the more common species, or those with striking attributes. Each page is devoted to a single plant – there is a full-color photograph and a straightforward description, overall distribution, flowering period, habitat, particular notes and information on its specific location.

Wildflowers of Sydney aims to encourage an appreciation of the floral beauty and variety of this area, and to foster the conservation and wise management of plant communities so they will be here for future generations to enjoy.

This guide engagingly and authoritatively introduces the wealth of wildflowers that are easily accessible to everyone living in or visiting the city of Sydney. Soft cover, 278 pages. Published in 2001.

Wildflowers of Victoria by Margaret G. Corrick and Bruce A. Fuhrer. Published by Bloomings Books. ISBN 1876473142. Recommended retail price $54.95.

This book provides a comprehensive coverage of Victoria’s superb native wildflowers with 840 color photographs, mainly by Bruce Fuhrer, the outstanding botanical photographer. Some of the State’s rarest plants are included as well as many species which are widespread.

The introduction gives a brief overview of the natural regions of the State with reference to National Parks and bushland areas known for their diversity and richness of flowering plants.

The bulk of the book contains superb color photographs of the flowering plants, the majority taken close up to display the details of individual flowers and leaves. There are brief plant descriptions, with notes on habitat and distribution, including occurrences in other States and overseas.

The text is simply written with a minimum of botanical terms that are covered by an excellent glossary.

Not since the publication in 1968 of Flowers and Plants of Victoria of which Bruce Fuhrer was a joint author, has such a wide selection of the State’s flora appeared in color in the one volume. Only 50 of the plants illustrated in the book are confined to Victoria and the remainder are found in similar habitats in other States, making the book a useful reference work, particularly in adjoining areas of south-eastern Australia.

Margaret Corrick has enjoyed a long association with the National Herbarium of Victoria, where she was first employed as a Botanical Assistant and later as a Technical Officer curating the Herbarium’s Australian collection. She is a contributing author to the book Flora of Victoria, Vol. 3. In 1995 she was made an Honorary Associate of the Royal Botanic Gardens and National Herbarium of Victoria.

Bruce Fuhrer is a highly regarded botanical photographer and author. In 1989 he was awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion. In 1991 he received an honorary M. Sc. from Monash University in Melbourne, where he worked for nearly 25 years in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. On his retirement in 1996 he was appointed an Honorary Research Associate at Monash. He is the author of A Field Companion to Australian Fungi and co-author and illustrator of several other botanical publications.

In 1996, the two authors collaborated in the successful publication of Wildflowers of Southern Western Australia.

“It is an excellent publication which will be of value for people who are just beginning to explore Victoria’s floral heritage, through to those who are already familiar with many of these plants, but who also know that there is always more for all of us to learn, experience and enjoy.” -- Roger Elliot. Hard cover, 246 pages.

William Dampier in New Holland: Australia’s First Natural Historian by Alex S. George. Published by Bloomings Books. ISBN 1876473126. Recommended retail price $37.95.

A pirate who collected plant specimens as his booty? The enigma that was William Dampier has puzzled historians for centuries.

Dampier was certainly a pirate, though he preferred the term ‘profiteer’. Yet his voyages were heralded by natural historians for the superb collections of specimens and documentation they yielded, fuelling the seventeenth century European imagination eager for news of ‘other worlds’.

Explorer, adventurer, travel writer, botanist, hydrographer, natural historian – Dampier was all of these. Over 80 years before James Cook arrived on the east coast of Australia, Dampier landed on West Australian shores – the first English explorer to set foot on Australian soil. In 1688, and again in 1699, his voyages resulted in an extraordinary collection of specimens, drawings and journal accounts of plants, marine and land animals, shells and insects, taken back to England for extensive scientific scrutiny.

Well researched and beautifully illustrated, William Dampier in New Holland documents Dampier’s two voyages of discovery to Australia, featuring photographs of his original specimens – some of which have survived to this day – as well as providing an accurate botanical and historical record commemorating Dampier’s contribution to Australia’s natural history. Hard cover, 171 pages.  Published in 1999.

Click on links below for these books.

Australian Birds Jigsaw Book by Shirley Barber

Birdwatching in Australia and New Zealand by Ken Simpson and Zoe Wilson

Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific by John Veron

Great Barrier Reef, The: Australia's tropical paradise by Alison Cotes.

Monitors: The Biology of Varanid Lizards by Dennis King and Brian Green, illustrated by Frank Knight, Keith Newgrain and Jo Eberhard

Possums of the World: A Monograph of the Phalangeroidea by Timothy Flannery and illustrated by Peter Schouten

Tropical Food Gardens: a guide to growing fruit, herbs and vegetables in tropical and sub-tropical climates by Leonie Norrington

Vision of Edna Walling, The by Trisha Dixon and Jennie Churchill

Whale Watching in Australian & New Zealand Waters by Peter Gill & Cecilia Burke, Color illustrations by Pieter Folkens

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