Books & Publications
The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
We are what we read!

This exhibition takes an interesting look at a small selection of the old books and publications housed on the shelves at our museum.

Left:  The old woman, her 15 children and their shoe-house from Lottie Gorn’s book Favourite Nursery Rhymes. There was no shoe-house to be found in Carnamah, however, Mrs Annie Niven of Craigend Farm also had an impressively large family of 15 children.

          There was an old woman
                           who lived in a shoe,
          She had so many children,
                           she didn’t know what to do.
          She gave them some broth
                           without any bread,
          She whipped them all soundly
                           and put them to bed.

Broth, you say? Perhaps it was sheep’s head broth that the old women who lived in a shoe gave the children?

It’s really quite easy. All you need is one sheep’s head, three quarts of cold water, a carrot, onion, a quarter of a pound of pearl barley, a tablespoon of chopped parsley and of course some salt and pepper.

"Remove the brains from the head, and put them on one side, as if skinned and chopped and added to an omelette they will be a great improvement to it. Wash the head and tongue very carefully; remove the eyes, the small bones from the nostrils, and all hairy parts."

Right:  Anchor Cookery Book. The full recipe for sheep’s head broth can be found in the soups section! If broth is not really your thing, perhaps something lighter to read?
Anchor Cookery Book
What Katy Did Next by Susan Coolidge
What Katy Did Next is the inspiringly titled sequel to What Katy Did. We’re not going to ruin the fun by divulging everything that Katy did, or what she did next, but we will say that it included seasickness, tasteless muffins and a lot of English rain.

What Katy Did Next was written by American children’s author Sarah Chauncey Woolsey under the pen-name of Susan Coolidge.

It was first published in 1886 and was later translated into Finnish, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish and Portuguese. In those languages it was called Katyn myöhemmät toimet, Hva Katy gjorde siden, Что Кейти делала потом, Vad Katy gjorde sedan and O que Katy fez a seguir.
Mementos often become bookmarks and many remain in books long after reading has finished. This small card and five pence stamp from 1959 were found within the pages of What Katy Did Next. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s inflation calculator advises that the equivalent stamp in 2021 would be for four cents - so you'll now need 26 of them for a letter!

Anyway, that’s more than enough about Katy. How about some home shopping?

Bairds was a store in Perth that sold just about everything. For those located far away from shops their mail-order catalogues became unofficially known as the farmer’s bible. Many in Carnamah and surrounding districts would post their order to Perth and it would be sent up by train on the Midland Railway.
Momentos from inside books
Mail Order Catalogue of Biards Company Limited, Perth
Items within the hefty Bairds catalogue in 1939 included hardware, building supplies, tools, fencing, seeds, small agricultural machinery, sporting equipment, bikes, fishing equipment, pipes, cigarette lighters, razors, household furniture, fridges, ovens, fireplaces, hot water systems, blinds, curtains, clocks, crystal glassware, pots and pans, toys, clothes, perfume, stationery, tinned and fresh fruit, vegetables, groceries, confectionary, biscuits, cakes, sauces and even firearms – rifles, guns and revolvers!

At times Carnamah has a bit of a mosquito problem during summer. Bairds had the perfect solution to keep your child protected. Presenting: The Flyproof Mosquito Proof Safe Baby's Cot. It could have been all yours for 90 shillings, which with inflation is $341.99 in 2016.
Baby's Cot from Biard's Company Limited of Perth
Book Brooch of Paris
We’d now like to divert your attention to wearable books! This brooch is in fact a tiny book that contains photos of landmarks and sights in Paris, France. It's from the 1950s and was previously owned by Mrs Gert Allen of Mi Blu Aven Farm in Winchester, South Carnamah.


If fashion is your thing, you might be interested in the iconic book Successful Dressmaking by Ellen and Marietta Resek. After all, who doesn't like their dressmaking to be successful!?
Successful Dressmaking by

In years past it was much more common for people to make their own clothes or to pay a tailor or dressmaker to make clothes for them. The inside cover of Successful Dressmaking, shown on the right, gives us an idea of what success looks like.
Or would you care to write a letter instead?

The Western Australia Post Office Directory was published by H. Wise & Company from 1895 to 1949 and included the addresses of many people throughout WA – alphabetically for the state, by town and also by street address for Perth and Kalgoorlie.

The directories can be viewed online on the website of the State Library of Western Australia.

Below is the entry for Winchester in 1937-38, which lists mostly farmers and a few railway workers. The two lines at the top reveal that Winchester was 172 miles north of Perth by rail, was a district that could be contacted by telephone and had a population of 178.
Western Australia Post Office Directory 1937-38
The populations of other nearby places in 1937-38 were:  Arrino 214, Bunjil 50, Coorow and Waddy Forest 292, Carnamah 1497, Gunyidi 75, Latham 250, Mingenew 811, Perenjori 1412, Three Springs 879 and Yandanooka 216.

Quill and Ink

Another great historic directory was the Royal Automobile Club (R.A.C.) Year Book & Road Guide which listed the owner of every registered car and truck across WA. You can now search these in our Early WA Motor Vehicle Registrations index.
Winchester, Western Australia
The Family Physician

If you were a seafaring pirate suffering from scurvy, it's a shame you didn't have a copy of The Family Physician Home Remedies book by Caxton Publishing. As shown on the left, it  listed lemons as a useful remedy for a number of ailments, including scurvy!

Scurvy is a chronic deficiency in Vitamin C and usually occurs if you don't eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Aside from those out at sea it also afflicted a number of people on exploration, surveying and cattle moving expeditions in remote parts of Australia during the 19th century.
Books have and continue to be used as gifts and awards. This copy of The Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne was awarded to Bill Turner in recognition of his progress at the Carnamah State School in 1921.

Presented to William Turner of Carnamah

Annie G. Byrnes, Head Teacher of Carnamah State School

The Coral Island was first published in 1857 and follows the adventures of three boys marooned on an island. It was inspired by Daniel Defoe's book Robinson Crusoe, which was influenced by the real-life marooning of Alexander Selkirk. Marchagee farmer Pete Thomson, a descendant of Selkirk's brother, served as president of the Carnamah District Road Board and the Shire of Coorow!
The Choral Island by R. M. Ballantyne
The Countryman newspaper
Above:  The Countryman newspaper - something for the man on the land! The paper began as The Western Mail in 1885 but was renamed The Countryman in 1955.

Right:  A striking issue of The Australian Women's Weekly from 1961. We’ve shared a summary of its feature story below.

The things MEN wish WOMEN wouldn't do...

"Men and women have never understood each other and never really will. We seem to be engaged in the only campaign in history that has never been won by either side, and about the one thing to be said for it is: it is a delightful war."
The Australian Women's Weekly magazine
Australian Women's Weekley - What Men Wish Women Wouldnt Do
Men wish that women wouldn't try to find out so much, keep asking for emotional reassurance, constantly try to make them over or try to be like them.

Finally, there is something men wish women would do… "They wish women would be happy."

Women wish that men wouldn’t be so maddeningly reasonable or get tired of saying "I love you". As a matter of fact, women wish men wish men wouldn't find it so hard to speak.

Women wish that men would not stop being heroes or be so inconsistent about what they want in a woman.
Australian Women's Weekly - What Women Wish Men Wouldn't Do
Your comment or story

Please help enrich our collective history by sharing your own comment or story about books. Click here for the comment form or send us an email to

Jill Tilly

There is a fantastic and ever growing collection of books, donated by local residents, both past and present, in the Carnamah Museum. If you have a Friday afternoon free in Carnamah you could spend the whole time looking through our books and magazines!
Besides those mentioned above there are other groups of books. Some are specifically for scouts and guides, some for farmers, for bakers, for mechanics, and for Church goers. There are books on Australian history and travel. Our collection of books on the two World Wars is growing.

For help with raising the family there are books on cookery, sewing, mothercraft, medicine and first aid. The old first aid books are fascinating - they list some treatments that are definitely no longer recommended! We have some sheet music. There are old popular novels by various authors The Museum has a couple of sets of bulky encyclopaedias that had to be updated when the family could afford it. This is no longer necessary as everyone has access to up to date information on the internet..

Our largest collection is of Children’s books. For the very young we rescued some Little Golden Books from the Carnamah Red Cross Shop before it closed. The old school textbooks may strike the students of today are excessively dull. We have some Children’s Annuals. There is a set of Biggles books donated by the Camac family. Most of the Enid Blyton books were mine. They are still popular though not without detractors. I think one book was banned in Queensland because Noddy drove his taxi through a red light!
My favourites in the collection are books on Royalty. I grew up before idols were made of pop stars, singers and top sportsmen. Our outside interest was centred on the Royal Family. We saved photos, magazines, cards and newspaper items and bought books about the Royal Family including their visits to Australia.

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