I wrote a critique of the 2004 history, noting and explaining its hundreds of errors,
both major and minor. The 2007 history, astonishingly, had far more errors, many of them
errors of real substance, and my much longer critique is now held by some of the world's
principal libraries, including the British Library in London. I progressively rewrote
the 2004 history, at least doubling its story content, beginning with "She'll be right" and
eventually "She'll be right at last". Finally, based on primary sources from the turn of
the century I was able to write a supplement describing the very early days of motor
vehicles in New Zealand. Thanks to records held in New Zealand's Turnbull Library, I was
also able to tell the true story of Big Tree, the oil venture by A S Paterson, based on
Paterson's own documents. It was dramatically different from the story in Shell's
2004 story. This little 50-page supplement is packed with stories that have never before
These books are not books of mere passing interest. "She'll be right at last" and its
smaller supplement may well come to span the "age of oil". It is the use of oil that has
fuelled the extraordinary development of technology through the 20th century, providing
efficient and inexpensive transportation on a huge scale, including the huge development of
aviation. There is now (2011) a real possibility that peak oil is on our doorstep and that the
forces of supply and demand may bring that dynamic oil age to its knees, perhaps with political
factors even over-riding the purely economic factors. It is not a good backdrop to the
growing concerns about climate change. "She'll be right at last" ventures into all these
topics. It is a book for our time.
Along the way there was a book describing the unique tidal system that
surrounds New Zealand. It has proved to be of great interest to those involved in
the complex waters of Cook Strait, boaties, divers, fishermen, even swimmers. I have
yet to come across anyone (except one person from NIWA) with any knowledge whatsoever
of this strange system, even those who teach geography and related subjects in our
schools. It would be a fascinating addition to the curriculum, and with an added
relevance because of current interest in tidal power generation. Thus this too is a book
of current and ongoing interest.
In 2009 and 2010 I found myself researching New Zealanders in the Boer War
in South Africa, leading firstly to "Karori and the Boer War", and then to three
smaller books of "Soldiers' Tales", stories about dozens of men who fought in that
war, often at great cost to themselves. These books are a unique addition to Boer War
literature and also, because of new access to primary material, reveal much that is
incorrect in previous publications. These books are among many other recent works
that are revealing more of the personal stories of soldiers in early wars.
Further research into the Karori district has led to another book "People of
Karori and district", an attempt to identify and describe as many people as possible
who had a presence in Karori, Makara or Ohariu at any time in the 1800s.
All these books are dealt with in detail in separate sections of these web
pages, including details of purchase. It can be pointed out here that my books are
all sold on the basis of covering costs with minimal margins. They have been written
because of personal interest and certainly not as a source of income.
There are also two minor books, one on an index of East Anglian names (of interest
to family history researchers) and a history of the bowling club in Wellington, New
Zealand, to which I belong. In addition to these various books, I have made indexes
over the years to a substantial number of books of genealogical interest, many of
which I have on my bookshelves, and I note in this web page the names of most of those
books. They are not books that I can supply but I am very happy to receive any enquiries
from family history researchers who may be looking for information. Also, unpublished, I
have a draft of a third book in the Comedy of Errors series, and I would like at some time
to make some of this genealogical material available as a CD.
Finally, the writing of our extensive family history stories has suggested a new thought,
that in this age when so much research is being done on the internet, putting some of our "loose ends"
on this web site may perhaps result in a felicitous "hit" by another researcher and lead to a link
between that research and our own. The chances may be small but many people "win big" in lotteries with
vanishingly small probabilities. We welcome enquiries.
Please click one of the following links. Each will take you to the
full information on one or more of the various books. From those locations you can
then return to this home page.
Background to the Comedy of Errors books
Prices and purchasing for Comedy of Errors
Comedy (1998) - summary of contents
"Comedy Act 2" - summary of contents
"That's Shell . . . ?
She'll be right at last - a new history of Shell in New Zealand
The Rise and Fall of Cook Strait (NZ tidal patterns)
A Shellman's view of the 2007 centenary history of the
Royal Dutch Shell Group
Stormy Petrol - history of Marsden Point and the coastal
Boer War histories (and more research on Karori people)
Minor books, genealogical indexes, reference books, etc
How green is our valley - the illustrated story of the
return of two weka to the Karori sanctuary valley
These names are in our family tree. Are they in yours as
well? If so, could we be linked? They may well have descendants that we are unaware of.
A brief bibliography