Newsletter Autumn 2020

Anon TitleGraphic AlignC-01Oxfam Books Adelaide Quarterly News / Autumn 2020

Second hand books are wild books, homeless books;

they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather,

and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of

the library lack.”

Virginia Woolf

Window01_HistoryFestival May2017


   WELCOME to the inaugural newsletter of the Oxfam Bookshop in Adelaide. It does seem a strange time to launch the newsletter – during a pandemic!  But we want to keep in touch with our customers, who enjoy our bookshop and share our love of books. Whether you are a loyal bookshop customer or an occasional visitor we hope you are keeping well and taking this opportunity to read lots of books – hopefully bought from us!

   While our bookshop is closed at the moment (Bookshop Covid-19 announcement), we will keep you up to date on developments and definitely let you know when we’ll be re-opening. Thank you for all the messages of support and interest in the wellbeing of our volunteers and the Bookshop.

   If you have been sent this newsletter by a friend, please take a moment to go to our Website or Facebook and Instagram pages and learn more about us.  We’d love you to  sign up for the newsletter and follow us on Facebook and of course, when we reopen, come into the shop and browse our broad collection of second hand books.. 

  We are also searching for a permanent name for this new newsletter – and so if you have any literary or bookish suggestions please send them our way. Submit your suggestions or let us know if you like our caretaker title ‘Anon…’. Anon is an archaic word you may recognise from Shakespeare, meaning to do quickly, straightaway; or soon, in a little while. It is also an abbreviation of: Anonymous – of unknown or unavowed authorship; or Anonym – a person who remains nameless, in common use in publishing, often with poetry, where the writer or origins were never recorded or have been lost.

E.B. (Editor)

What we are reading…

   I asked our volunteers what they’d been reading during this period of semi isolation. The replies I received reflected their wide and diverse interests.  Some sent me photos.  


   The latest (and last) Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell blockbuster was a favourite while other authors included Kate Atkinson, Stephen Hawking, James M Barry, Katherine McGee, Leo Tolstoy, Audrey Niffenegger, Richard Fidler, Gary Disher and Chris Hammer.  I think we are all taking the opportunity to catch up on some reading and perhaps test-run some new authors.




Our March Book Sale – Thank you! 

Just before we closed, we held our March $1 Super Sidewalk Book Sale (Saturday, March 14th). While numbers were down, we were very pleased to raise about $4.5k. A great achievement in the circumstances and a big thank you to those who came to pick up a bargain and/or to stock up.   

   As many of you know we are all volunteers and all proceeds from sales and the shop go to Oxfam Australia to support their programs. Our next $1 sidewalk sale is in the diary for October. We’ll have a special event page on Facebook to register for sale reminders and updates; and regular posts on our website and Instagram in the lead-up.   

Sale Day Photo Instagram 201910
$1 Super Sidewalk Book Sale – Hutt Street


To (book)mark the Bookshop’s reopening (whenever that will be), we’re looking forward to adding a new bookmark to our range! Can you tell we’re a little preoccupied with being back in the good place (and all its good books).

Bookmark illustration Text Good PlaceE 200120 SB-01
New bookmark design for the Bookshop


May Days

Display03 - Copy
Past History Festival Book Display

    One of our favourite times in the shop is May – our local history display during  South Australian History Month is always popular.  And so, in lieu of celebrating in the shop, we ask – Can you name the main emblems of South Australia?  

Our floral emblem?   

Our avian emblem?   

Our animal emblem?   

Our marine emblem?   

Our gemstone emblem?     

Find the answers at the bottom of the page…
Postcards in the window 2017 - Copy
Past History Festival Window Display – ‘Greetings from South Australia’, (Memories of South Australian Childhoods – contributed by Bookshop volunteers and customers)

Disputed territory!

   And here’s an interesting historical fact about one of South Australia’s state borders. If you look carefully at the map you will see a slight kink of the SA Border where SA, NSW and Vic state borders meet – the result of a decades long dispute between SA and Vic.  This information is from Geoscience Australia – more information can also be found on the State Library website (from an unpublished manuscript by Geoffrey H Manning titled A History of the Lower South East in the 19th Century)

  “The border between South Australia and Victoria has an interesting history. It was to have been surveyed along the 141st meridian of longitude. However, through a series of miscalculations the line was originally positioned 3.6 kilometres further to the west. Lines of longitude were difficult to calculate in the 1800’s because long distances travelled were measured off by chains which need to be gradually adjusted to compensate for the lines of longitude drawing closer together as one moves away from the equator. 

  In this case, the two methods used to record longitude gave differing results, so an average distance was chosen. To further complicate the issue, no adjustment was made to the chains to allow for the distance south of the Equator. As a consequence, the border runs north in a series of steps until it reaches the River Murray. The two surveyors, Wade and White, managed to survey 450 kilometres of the border between them. They were forced to stop a number of times due to lack of funding and equipment. In 1849, White ran out of water, and lost several bullocks and horses before reaching safety. The survey was finally completed in 1850.

1883 Map – SA / Vic / NSW Border (source:

  The error in calculating the line of longitude was suspected in 1868 and confirmed in 1883. The boundary was disputed by the South Australian and Victorian Governments and the matter was taken to the High Court of Australia in 1911. The issue was finally settled in 1914, when the Privy Council upheld the ruling in favour of Victoria. It is an interesting point to note that because of this decision, the western boundaries of Victoria and New South Wales do not meet. The New South Wales border is set at 141° east, leaving a section of boundary between Victoria and South Australia that is undefined along the River Murray, measuring 3.6 kilometres from east to west.”

Could this be the underlying cause of our long-running rivalry with Victoria?

Our General Fiction Aisle

While we wait for the bookshop to reopen….

What are the best, most beautiful or unusual bookshops you have visited in your travels?  Sometimes it is the one you stumble across in a backstreet while looking for something else, or through recommendations from others. What makes a great bookshop? The ones I remember are those where I find a book I have been searching ages for – that moment of pure joy when I recognize the author and title of that out-of-print book I ‘will find one day’.  Online buying and kindle have their own joys but for me, they cannot replace the wonderful feeling of finding ‘that book’.

   Discover more beautiful bookshops from around the world in this link: 


Cook and Book – Brussels
Book and Bed – Kyoto

When we can travel again I might well have a couple of them on my list.



Emblematic answers!

Sturt’s Desert Pea since 1961 – The plant, which is a member of the legume family, is named after Captain Charles Sturt who explored the Adelaide region in 1844.

The ‘Piping Shrike’ or more accurately the White Backed Magpie. The bird is said to represent resourcefulness and bravery. It is not a shrike.

The Hairy-Nosed or Plains Wombat since 1970. The marsupial’s scientific name Lasiorhinus krefftii means ‘hairy-nosed broad-fronted’.

The Leafy Seadragon since 2001. The Leafy Seadragon uses its unusual looks to camouflage itself to look like seaweed and seagrass.

The Opal since 1985. South Australia is home to three major opal fields: Coober Pedy, Mintabie and Andamooka.

How did you go?

Leafy Sea Dragon – Rapid Bay


Basic RGB

The Oxfam Second Hand Bookshop is 100% volunteer run, with all profits dedicated to supporting the work of Oxfam Australia fighting worldwide poverty, hunger and social injustice.

Every book bought makes a difference!

5-7 Hutt Street / Adelaide 5000 

(temporarily closed)

Tel: (08) 8122 5870 (currently unanswered)


OxfamBookshop Logo


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s