The Library in the Loo single work   short story  
Issue Details: First known date: 1990 1990
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  • Hyslop writes of a donation of books from the Carnegie Library shipped to Borroloola, where they were stored in a shed next to the lock-up. Two patrons of this library, Hyslop notes, were W. E. Harney and Roger Jose. Hyslop describes Jose as being 'known througout the Northern Territory as a scholar, philosopher, ardent Bible reader, bushman, bush historian, humourist - one who experienced very few needs: a modern Diogenes who lived his chosen life beside the river with his wife, Biddy' (66).

    See also the lengthy commentary on this library in Nicholas Jose's Black Sheep: Journey to Borroloola (107-120). Jose traces references to the Borroloola library in the works of Australian writers, from Douglas Lockwood's Up the Track to Les Murray's 'The Australian Republic'. Jose also notes that the widely circulated belief that the Borroloola collection of books originated as a direct donation from the Carnegie Library is unsubstantiated. He points to the research of Vernon O'Brien, and that of Jean Dartnell, who found that, although the library held many volumes bearing bookplates inscribed with 'Carnegie Library Service', this was due to an arrangement between the Carnegie Institute and Australia's national library to assist with books for remote areas, and not a result of a direct donation to Borroloola.

    Jose comments that 'Roger Jose was the last custodian of the Borroloola library' (145) and that when the police station was closed at the end of World War II most of the surviving books were sent to Darwin, where they disappeared 'in the confusion of those days' (115).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y Inter Alia : Library Images and Australian Writing Isla Macphail (editor), Lisa Masiello (illustrator), Perth : Curtin University of Technology. Library , 1990 Z253025 1990 anthology poetry short story prose The editor, in her Foreword, remarks that although the advertisement soliciting contributions for this volume 'did not stipulate that the stereotype of libraries and librarians was to be contested, it is interesting to note that many of the writers - particularly those who have worked in libraries - do, in fact, project a very different image of libraries and library personnel' (vii). Perth : Curtin University of Technology. Library , 1990 pg. 65-66
Last amended 27 Aug 2009
  • Australian Outback, Central Australia,
  • Borroloola, McArthur River area, Gulf - Barkly Tablelands area, Central Northern Territory, Northern Territory,
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