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James R. Tyrrell James R. Tyrrell i(A4009 works by)
Born: Established: 1875 Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 1961
Gender: Male
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James Tyrrell grew up in Balmain, where his father 'kept a refreshment business which included a wine bar and was also our home'. In his memoirs Old Books, Old Friends, Old Sydney (1952), Tyrrell describes his boyhood (pp. 3-23) and the influences and events that eventually led him to become a bookseller. In 1888 he joined the bookselling firm of Angus & Robertson where he made a successful career and established important contacts with authors, publishers and collectors. Tyrrell opened his first own shop in 1905, then another one in Adelaide in 1910, and finally established his famous second-hand bookshop in Sydney, where he met and became friends with many well-known Australian and foreign writers, editors, publishers and bookmen of the time. In his memoirs (which he dedicated to Henry Lawson) he gives a vivid picture of cultural life in Sydney and of his encounters and connections with his numerous acquaintances. Lawson, Roderic Quinn and Kenneth Slessor all wrote poems about Tyrrell's Bookshop, thus acknowledging the significance of this meeting place for book lovers and writers.

Apart from various reminiscences and memoirs, Tyrrell also published a compilation of Australian Aboriginal placenames, Australian Aboriginal Place-names and Their Meanings (1933).

Most Referenced Works


  • Some of Tyrrell's personal papers, along with records of his bookselling firm, and his father's business, are held by the Mitchell Library. See ML MSS 4465.
Last amended 23 May 2008 11:45:07
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