‘Last of the Shark Men’ Tommy Priestley

'Last of the Shark Men' Tommy Priestley
‘Last of the Shark Men’ Tommy Priestley


OLD books about Port Stephens are much sought after and command high prices.

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Indeed,original copies of Arthur Murdoch’s classic tale ‘Sheer Grit’ were selling on the open market for some $200.
This prompted a second and third imprint to satisfy demand.

Another rare book,’February Dark’ (1959) is a novel by Anne von Bertouch. Anne was better known as an art gallery owner and the backdrop for her story was set around the Myall Lakes area. “February Dark’ referred to the annual prawn run in the river.

A little known hardback and one which is very hard to come by is “Fangs of the Sea’ (1939) by Norman Ellison.

It tells the tale of a commercial shark fishing venture based at Pindimar.

The sharks were hunted for their skins which commanded high prices as ‘shagreen,’ a top quality leather. At a later time the shark livers were rendered down into oil and the fins were sold to the Chinese to make soup.

Tanilba’s late Tommy Priestley worked as a child unloading the sharks at the wharf. The business shut down when they ‘ran out of sharks!’

You can still obtain these books through antique book collectors online or possibly through the library service. They make great reading.

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