Australian Scholarly Editions Centre Projects (ASEC)

History of the Book

History of the Book in Australia


History of the book - or 'print culture' - is a rapidly emerging interdisciplinary area of study. A working group to co-ordinate the writing of a History of the Book in Australia in three parts was formed in 1993, chaired by Wallace Kirsop (Monash), and the Centre's Director, Paul Eggert was a member of the group.

At the Centre's 4Rs editing conference at the Humanities Research Centre, ANU in April 1994 a session on the History of the Book in Australia was included and the committee met afterwards; and later in 1994 another well-attended seminar was held at the State Library in Victoria in conjunction with a BSANZ conference. The project held its own conferences in Sydney (1996), Melbourne (1997) and Sydney (1998). The publication of a 3-volume collaborative history of printing culture in Australia was projected, with UQP as the publisher, supported by a Large ARC grant.

The Australian Scholarly Editions Centre's role was to give active organisational support to this general initiative and to co-sponsor the annual HOBA Conferences.

Volume 2 covering the period 1891-1945 appeared in 2001 (ISBN 0 7022 3234 3). Volume 3 covering 1846-2005 appeared in 2006 (ISBN 0 7022 3559 8). Both are available from UQP at Volume 1 is forthcoming.

In January-February 2003 the Centre co-organised the BOOKS AND EMPIRE conference. Click here for the program. A selection of papers appeared in the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand Bulletin (vol 28, numbers 1-2, 2004), available in digital form from Australian Public Affairs Full Text (APA-FT), a subscription database widely available in institutional and other major libraries.

Abstracts and full-text of many of the papers given at the HOBA Conferences are available here. These are working papers, not refereed publications.