What was the inspiration behind your chapter in the Gardens of History and Imagination?

My growing fondness for, and fascination with, harbourside gardens inspired my chapter, ‘Riverine Gardens of Sydney Waterways’. These properties did not simply look out at the water; they deliberately incorporated their harbour views into their landscapes, and were themselves designed to be seen from the water.

Pavilion at Riverview, photo by Stuart Read
Pavilion at Riverview, photo by Stuart Read


Are you a keen gardener?

“Dig for victory” – and so, like many others in my family I did. Lawn was sacrificed to rows of runner beans, carrots and lettuces. Behind them all was the mess that ducks, and later hens, produced. We kept the roses for the hips and grew edible flowers like nasturtiums as well as mint, parsley and thyme. But it was all very unstable – no certainty that one would still be there to reap what one had sown as even civilians were directed hither and yon. What fascinated the child that I was, was how things grew. You took a boring-looking, blackish pip and put it in the ground. You watered it and waited and after a time the earth above it was broken by a greenish something and if you sheltered this from the birds and the squirrels it turned into a plant – and one lump grew into a bean plant and another into a carrot. I have never lost this sense of wonder even though I am amongst the world’s worst gardeners – give me a flourishing plant and it is likely to die in my hands. As I grew, I came to wonder where all these different seeds came from and how they were brought together, how long people had nurtured them and where they had found them.

Spring flowers outside the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, photo by Sybil Jack
Spring flowers outside the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, photo by Sybil Jack


Knowledge Unlatched logo

Knowledge Unlatched (KU) is an organisation helping libraries, publishers and authors to work together for a sustainable open future for specialist scholarly books. Their vision is a healthy market that includes free access for end users.

KU asks libraries to choose titles they would like to support, and to pledge funding to make these books Open Access. In the pilot round, over 200 libraries from around the world paid around $60 per title to 'unlatch' 28 books, which are now globally available.

KU uses the pledge funds to pay a title fee to the publishers of selected books, to cover fixed costs and offset any decrease in sales that result from OA.

The books are licensed under Creative Commons licences - either CC BY-NC (no commercial reuse without permission) or CC BY-NC-ND (no commercial reuse or derivatives without permission). For more information on CC licences, see Creative Commons.

The current round of funding has two components - front list ( not yet published) and back list (recent releases) titles.

Publishers are invited to suggest titles for these collections. A selection committee of partner libraries then vote for the titles they would like to see in the collection. A short list of titles is then created, which libraries can view and 'pledge' to support.

Sydney University Press is always looking for new ways to reach readers. So this year, we decided to submit a few titles. This allows us to gauge if libraries around the world share the same enthusiasm for our books as we do. If our titles are selected, we can also assess the impact this has on citations, readership and sales. Stay tuned!

To see previous KU unlatched titles, see here for Round 2:
KU Round 2 titles

Wisteria walk
Wisteria walk, photo by Gretchen Poiner

By Gretchen Poiner

Seemingly quite straightforward questions about gardens and garden-making give rise to complicated answers. Perhaps this is because garden-making is, in itself, a complex undertaking. Even the question ‘why does any one person seek to create a garden?’ is likely to elicit a number of responses. But SUP has asked those of us who contributed to Gardens of History and Imagination to write a few words about how we, as individuals, feel about gardens. Unsurprisingly mine circle about ‘Rosehill’, a garden that I, and my family, have made. I think that the property was named in optimism by the wife of an early selector; four rose bushes constituted the sum total of the garden she tended in her isolation. Gnarled and distorted they continue to bloom, reminding me of the significance they must have had for her.



The following is an edited version of a speech given by Peter Watts AM at the launch of Gardens of history and imagination: growing New South Wales, published by Sydney University Press, on 23 June 2016 at the Mitchell Library, Sydney.

Thank you for inviting me here tonight to launch this really wonderful book. It’s a book with multiple themes, multiple authors and multiple ideas – all of them fascinating and full of new information.

But first I have to give you the context for doing this launch tonight.

I had hung up my hat on doing openings and launches some years back. I had had just a few too many of them in my time! So why am I here?


The Sydney University Press team – (L to R) Hannah, Agata, Phil, Denise and Susan

It had been tentatively planned for almost 12 months, but last Friday the Sydney University Press team finally got to see another side of the publishing industry.


Abandoned books in Pripyat, Ukraine

Abandoned books in Pripyat, Ukraine. Photo by Magalie L'Abbé, 2011, via Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

By Phil Jones and Denise O'Dea

On Saturday, 23 April 2016, UNESCO celebrates books and literacy as part of the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day. UNESCO’s idea that books should be seen as global symbols of social progress is one that resonates with us here at Sydney University Press. As scholarly publishers we aim to publish books that engage, inspire and stimulate debate. Books and the written word have the capacity to change the lives of individuals, and to change society.

If creating a book can change the world, what can taking away a book do? In 1996, the year of the first World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO also compiled “Lost Memory”, a list of libraries and archives destroyed during the twentieth century. In a sombre counterpoint to the celebrations of World Book and Copyright Day, it documents libraries lost to war, vandalism, natural disaster and neglect. As Hans van der Hoeven notes in his introduction, “books, periodicals and manuscripts constitute the collective ‘Memory of the World’”; when we lose one, we forget a piece of our past. While celebrating World Book and Copyright Day, we took a moment to remember some of these “lost” books and libraries


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