Wakefield Press is an independent book publishing company based in Adelaide, South Australia.

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History Trust of South Australia –    Wakefield Press History Initiative   

Telling South Australia's Tales   
then & now   

Wakefield Press has been sharing stories of South Australia's colourful history for many decades. Our books are an increasingly important and enduring record of this small state, and this is something we want to continue. The difficult fact of history publishing is that it is rarely viable without financial support.

Thanks to our new partnership with the History Trust of South Australia, you can now make a tax-deductible donation towards approved Wakefield Press history projects, to be part of history and help us continue to tell South Australia’s tales. Donors will have the option to be acknowledged by name in the book for their contribution or to remain anonymous.

See below for a selection of the current projects eligible for donations, including upcoming releases and reprints.

Donations of any amount can be made via the History Trust of South Australia website.

Donations over two dollars are tax-deductible and all donations (minus a three per cent transaction fee) will be remitted to Wakefield Press for the approved project. Have a specific project you want to make a reality, or an interest in seeing a reprint of one of our titles? Get in touch with us for more information.

Your tax-deductible donation can go towards:

Miss Marryat’s Circle

A story from South Australia

By Cheryl Williss

In 1915, the second year of the Great War, Miss Mabel Marryat - granddaughter of South Australia's first colonial chaplain Charles Beaumont Howard - joined the newly formed League of Loyal Women. Mabel became active in the League's emergency corps, 'a band of women who are prepared to give their service in any need that may arise'. It wasn't long before Mabel was appointed Honorary Supervisor of the Red Cross Depot at the Keswick Military Hospital: No. 7 AGH. Soon after the war, the hospital was taken over by the Repatriation Department and renamed RGH Keswick. Here Mabel stayed for 30 years.

This book explores three generations of Mabel's family. Their journey threads the narrative, giving voice to the women of South Australia's first 100 years of European settlement and opportunity to reflect on the changing position of women in South Australian society. But the spotlight shines on Mabel. Her long and devoted community service - particularly to her 'Diggers' - was extraordinary.

Mabel was one of many. This story is for the women of South Australia past, present and future - women just like Mabel - who, quietly, do the extraordinary.

Traces of Mary Lee

By Denise George

This first biography tells the story of women’s rights and social justice campaigner Mary Lee (1821-1909); a contrary Irish widow who fought to alter the personal and political landscape of Australian women.

You can also help to get these classics back in print:

Beyond Belief

Theosophy in Australia 1879-1939

By Jill Roe

Revised edition

Absorbing and fascinating, abounding with characters larger than life, this book traces the history of theosophy in Australia from the 1870s through its heyday in the 1920s (when it became increasingly preoccupied with the coming World Teacher) to its relatively sharp decline into obscurity in the late 1930s.

Jill Roe (1940-2017) is one of Australia's finest historians, and Beyond Belief is considered among her best work. First published in 1986 in a small print-run, Beyond Belief is a hidden gem of Australian history that we are proud to be bringing to a broader audience. Professor Marian Quartly has kindly agreed to edit this revised edition.

The Wakefield Companion to South Australian History

Edited by Wilfrid Prest, Kerrie Round and Carol Fort

Revised edition

This flagship book was published in 2001 for the bicentenary of South Australia. As well as a comprehensive A to Z of South Australian history, the Companion includes a chronology and lists of prominent individuals – the result of work by over 200 contributors.

'The Wakefield Companion to South Australian History is likely to become the standard reference on the state's history, and an indispensable aid to students, journalists, local historians and South Australian patriots.' – Graeme Davison, Monash University

Ochre and Rust

Artefacts and encounters on Australian frontiers

By Philip Jones

Paperback edition

Curator and historian Philip Jones takes nine Aboriginal and colonial artefacts from their museum shelves, and positions them at the centre of these gripping, poignant tales set in the heart of Australia’s frontier zone.

Winner of the 2008 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction

Shortlisted for the 2007 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards

'This is a beautiful book. ... Wakefield Press' overall design, high quality paper, appealing lay-out, plus the numerous, well-reproduced and integrated illustrations and attractive cover, make for an experience that is aesthetic as well as intellectual.' – Ann McGrath, Aboriginal History

Silent Witnesses

Adelaide's statues and monuments

By Simon Cameron

New edition, revised and updated

Statues and monuments fill streets and museums all over the world. Every monument tells a tale, not only of its subject, but of the society that erects it. Adelaide's founders cherished the uniqueness of the city's parks and boulevards and filled them with noble statues. Many of these masterpieces still stand tall and hold an important legacy from the past. In Silent Witnesses, Simon Cameron tells the stories behind 36 of Adelaide's best-loved statues and monuments - tales of humanity, heroism, philanthropy and tragedy.

Images of the Interior

Seven Central Australian photographers

By Philip Jones

Revised edition

During the half-century from the 1890s to the 1940s, the theme of the 'bush' emerged as a formative element in a new Australian identity. Assumptions about the Central Australian frontier and its people - black and white - then hardened into stereotypes that still affect our perceptions of this country.

The photographs in this book, from the rich collections of the South Australian Museum, take us behind those stereotypes, to the reality of the frontier itself. The photographers were seven remarkable men whose vocations took them into the heart of Central Australia, long before tourism and colour photography transformed our view of the outback.

The photographers are: Francis J. Gillen, Captain Samuel Albert White, George Aiston, Ernest Eugene Kramer, Cecil John Hackett, William Delano Walker, and Rex Battarbee.

The Heritage of Namatjira

The watercolourists of Central Australia

Edited by Jane Hardy, J.V.S. Megaw and M. Ruth Megaw

The Heritage of Namatjira is the first comprehensive survey of the massive output of watercolours by the Aranda (Arrernte) artists of Central Australia. Having as its genesis the first attempts in 1934 of Albert Namatjira to follow the example of European painters, notably the Victorian-born Rex Battarbee, the tradition of watercolour painting is still being maintained by the descendants of Albert and his contemporaries.

Twelve contributors - anthropologists, historians, art critics and collectors - review the history and stylistic development of the Hermannsburg watercolourists since the Finke River Mission's establishment in 1877, against a background of upheaval in Western Aranda culture. They chronicle the changing critical attitudes to the watercolours and their fluctuating fortunes in the art market, and assess the present role of the paintings within contemporary Aboriginal society.

With its wealth of illustrations (many previously unpublished), biographical and bibliographical information, The Heritage of Namatjira, which has been prepared with the full cooperation of the Aboriginal artists and communities concerned, will remain as a lasting tribute to more than a century of Western Aranda art and tradition.

Barossa Journeys

Into a valley of tradition

Noris Ioannou

Barossa Journeys: Into a valley of tradition creates a sensory experience where the flavours of wine and food intermingle with the celebrations of festivals and music. Favourite places and enchanting, out-of-the-way sites are revealed.

Explore places as evocative as the long-lost village of Hoffnungsthal, and the strange cave home of the eccentric explorer Menge. Wander through historic cemeteries and puzzle over inscriptions written in Gothic text; view traditional Fachwerk cottages and Lutheran churches.

Listen to the tales of the Barossa: of the migration of Prussian refugees, the entrepreneurship of British and German winery pioneers, and the planting of Yalumba's vineyards on moonlit evenings. Follow the secret treks of the potter.

The Barossa's old customs and symbols are also explained the black Lutheran wedding dress; the tin-kettling rite; the featherstripping evenings; the pagan meanings of harvest celebrations; and the Wends and their folklore and witchcraft beliefs.