Rare Books

Sensational Tales: Australian Popular Publishing 1850s-1990s

The New South Wales Bookstall Company

The New South Wales Bookstall Company had its origins in a chain of railway bookstalls established by Henry Lloyd in 1879. On Lloyd's death in 1897, the company was taken over by Alfred Cecil Rowlandson (1865-1922). Rowlandson turned the Bookstall from a small distributor into one of the most successful publishers in Australian history, producing some 200 titles by Australasian authors and selling some five million copies.

The New South Wales Bookstall Company helped make writing a viable occupation for a generation of Australians, a number of whom - including Norman Lindsay, Vance Palmer and 'Steele Rudd' - achieved lasting reputations.

Many Bookstall publications were illustrated and their typically lively covers popularised the work of many Australian artists, most notably the Lindsay family. The Bookstall's publishing program declined after Rowlandson's death in 1922, issuing less than 70 titles between 1924 and 1946.

By the end of the Second World War, the New South Wales Bookstall Company had reverted to being a retail distributor of books and magazines.

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