Browsing through the interesting library of a reverend gentleman who has collected books for many decades and is often encountered rummaging about in boxes at garage sales , a slim volume inside a plastic sleeve attracted attention .
On extraction , at first glance , it seemed to be a worn World War 1 book , Lights & Shadows In Wartime – An Australian Tale , by S. N . Hogg , the cover illustration showing soldiers aboard a troop transport waving goodbye at Sydney.
On opening , it was found to be the covers only , with a battered , insected copy of “ This , My Son ” , its covers missing , by Joan Kinmont , published in Hobart 1943 , with an illustration of a boy watching an aeroplane. Originally started as a play in verse , it is a collection of poems opening with a lament for peace and then follows the life of a first born son eventually killed serving in the RAAF.
It proved incredibly popular during the grim war period , ran to several reprints and sold 100,000 copies . Republished in England in l945 , it contained a preface by Prime Minister John Curtin . Another book of her poems , Two Little Girls , first published in 1945 , also popular, was illustrated with her own photographs.
Kinmont , born in South Australia , one of four daughters of a doctor , attended Adelaide’s renowned Wilderness School , and was encouraged by her father in her interest in theatre and writing.
A one act play of hers won first prize in an Adelaide Repertory Theatre competition. In 1937, a schoolteacher , she married a distant cousin, moved to Melbourne and then Tasmania . A widow, she died from cancer , aged 77.
In the case of Lights and Shadows In Wartime , the author , Samuel Nisbet Hogg , born in India in 1849 , a bank manager and vegetarian , who contributed to colonial fiction , proceeds from the sale of the book went to the relief of Australian soldiers who had “suffered the tragic loss of sight” treated at the Sydney Industrial Blind Institute . It contained a letter written on a Braille typewriter by Private W. S. Noland , a soldier who had felt hopeless due to his blindness , but after two weeks’ tuition at the Insitute a new world had opened up for him.
The illustrated novel told how a bank employee ,Tom, marries Maud, another bank staffer. The tune, Come into the Garden , Maud , gets a run as does The Sun newspaper, in which old Cyclops once worked. After the sinking of the Lusitania by the Germans , Tom joins up , goes into camp at Liverpool , near Sydney, and is placed in the famous Light Horse Brigade.
Banks loomed large in author Hogg’s published works . One was Lights and Shadows in Banking . Others were A Banking Tale , Why Some Bank Managers Should Retire Early, Some of the Guidelines for Successful Branch Bank Management .
Other books dealt with a trip to the Solomon Islands , Balmain Past and Present and Romance and Reality , the “ sad tale of Fleurette, a young vegetarian lady of sensitive disposition , whose life is made miserable by living in a society that has no consideration for the plight of animals”.