WA Plant Names and Their Meanings – A Glossary (Third Edition) by F.A. Sharr & Alex George


Sharr’s popular Western Australian Plant Names and Their Meanings, explaining the scientific names of all native and naturalised plants in the State, has been out of print for some years. This third edition brings it up-to-date with the names of some 2000 plants that have been added to the State’s flora since the previous edition of 1996. A new section includes the names of subspecies and varieties.

A feature is the inclusion of the genus for each specific name, or more when the same name has been used more than once. In total the book explains some 1623 generic names, 5718 specific and 896 infraspecific epithets.

Having studied Latin to tertiary level, and having studied the flora for 60 years, Alex George is well-placed to prepare this new edition.

Published by Four Gables Press, 2019

Format: 400 pages, 130 mm x 220 mm, soft bound (black and white interior)

ISBN 978-0-9580341-8-0

Price: $40.00 plus postage


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Sole Survivor: A Life on Borrowed Time by Brian S. Walley


The advent of World War II changed our lives, for better or worse, for ever. Like most of his generation Brian joined up. He trained as an RAF Whitley bomber pilot but, succumbing to the might of the Axis powers, was shot down into the North Sea during a raid on Berlin in November 1941. He was rescued by the Germans and spent the next three and a half years as a prisoner of war. Now a 94-year-old pensioner living in Australia, this is his life story from early childhood in the United Kingdom, his war experiences, dairy farming in Wales, mining and prospecting in Australia and as a family man with far-flung kith and kin.


Published by Four Gables Press, 2016

Format: 204 pages, A6, soft bound (full colour interior)

ISBN 978-0-9580341-6-6

Price: $35.00 plus postage






Swanning Around Perth: An exploration of the Black Swan in our city by Alex George and Charmaine Cave

A pictorial history of Western Australia's bird emblem. Second Edition.


From the time 17th Century Dutch seamen became the first Europeans to see Black Swans on the river they called the ‘Swane Rivier’, the bird has been synonymous with the area now known as Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Adopted soon after settlement in 1829 as an emblem for the Colony (later State), it has now appeared in many forms in coats of arms, crests, sporting and business logos, sculptures and other forms of artistic expression.


The full colour book illustrates and explains more than 160 examples of the Black Swan in art, architecture, government, education, sport, the military and the performing arts. It also features Past Swans, such as labels of the Swan Brewery and badges of the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia, and some Expatriate Swans, such as Empress Josephine’s Black Swans at Malmaison and Winston Churchill’s at Chartwell, Kent.



Published by Four Gables Press, 2016

Format: 112 pages, 15 cm x 21 cm soft bound (full colour interior)

ISBN 978-0-9580341-5-9

Price: $20.00 plus postage


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Kardinya Rising: The Story of a Modern Suburb of Perth, Western Australia by Chris Soutar, Alex George, David Baker, Helga Jennings, Ian Knight, Alan Muir, Karen Peradon-Alaga and Jenny Shaw


Kardinya Rising tells the story of a district growing from bushland to a suburb of a large, thriving city.  It draws together many threads on the first settlers in the 19th century, gradual development through the early 20th century, then rapid expansion since the 1960s.  It is copiously illustrated with historic and modern photographs and maps.


Published by Four Gables Press, 2016 (Reprinted 2019)

Format: 106 pages, A5, soft bound (full colour interior)

ISBN 978-0-9580341-2-8

Price: $20.00 plus postage


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Australian Botanist’s Companion by Alex George

A gold mine for those working or interested in Australian natural history, with information on standard texts and sources, current and historical data, place names, people, expedition ships, and much more.


Australian Botanist’s Companion is a reference book on the history and sources of information especially relevant to the systematics of plants in Australia (including its offshore territories).  Although aimed at the botanist it will be useful for all biologists, having pulled together data also from many zoological, geological and related sources.  It gives the main published and electronic references for such topics as plant classification, plant names, uses of Australian plants (e.g. toxic plants), weeds and traditional usage. It also gives the main references for associated subjects such as geology, soils, vegetation and climate.  It has bibliographies of the most important botanical references including major journals.  There is a brief history of each Australian botanical institution (herbaria and major botanic gardens).  There are lists of International Botanical Congresses since 1864, Australian Botanical Liaison Officers at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Australian national and State floral and faunal emblems, and those who have received honours of various kinds or been commemorated in memorials, in recognition of botanical work.  Another section gives advice on place names and the foundation of the Australian States and Territories. Contact details are given for relevant government departments, clubs and societies and Australian universities. Advice is given on writing and publishing.

The largest section lists the names of all people who collected plant specimens in Australia and its territories between 1699 and 1900, with information on where and when they collected, and where their specimens are now lodged.  Many of these also collected other biological and geological specimens.  Where the information could be found, brief biographical details are given for each collector. The list contains some 2600 names and will be useful to anyone interested in early settlers and explorers.

Finally, there is a list, with concise details, of all ships that carried scientific expeditions or natural history collectors and passed through Australian waters, from Dampier’s Roebuck of 1699 to the present.


Published by Four Gables Press, 2009

Format: 671 pages, B5, case bound (black and white interior)

ISBN 978-0-958-03411-1

Price  $70.00 (plus postage)


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The Long Dry:  Bush Colours of Summer and Autumn in South-western Australia by Alex George

A wildflower book with a difference.


Instead of flowers, this book concentrates on the foliage, in particular what it does in a very dry summer.  In many plants the leaves or stems turn shades of yellow, red or brown but do not die; when the first winter rain falls they regreen and resume their normal functions.  For this process Alex George coined the term diallagy; having the ability to change from one colour to another and then back again. This is Western Australia’s version of autumn colours. Apart from a few species that change during a normal summer, most of this colour is seen only in a very dry season such as occurred in 2000-01 and has never been recorded so widely before.  The book illustrates 60 of these plants, showing them in both their ‘coloured’ and regreened states. There are also photographs of vegetation showing general autumn colour, and of other drought survival strategies.  Paradoxically, some plants flower during this season, and a selection of these is shown. The book is illustrated with 180 colour plates.



Published by Four Gables Press, 2002

Format: 92 pages, A5, soft bound (full colour interior)

ISBN 0-958-0341-0-9

Price:  $15.00 plus postage