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Pauline Curby and Virginia Macleod, Good Riddance: A History of Waste Management in Manly, Mosman, Pittwater and Warringah.

Pauline Curby and Virginia Macleod, Good Riddance. A history of waste management in Manly, Mosman, Pittwater and Warringah, Joint Services Committee of Warringah, Manly, Mosman and Pittwater Councils, 2003, 224 pages; ISBN 0 64642 791 1.

In vaudeville the cry often goes up 'And now for something completely different!' and this is certainly the case with this rather amazing book. Pauline Curby and Virginia Macleod have done a marvellous job of making interesting and in some cases exciting, what appears on the surface to be a rather boring and humdrum topic. Both Pauline and Virginia have obviously enjoyed researching this book and have got their hands dirty doing so, something that it would appear was very necessary. The only thing lacking is a scratch and smell card, allowing the reader to savour the smell of putrescible (I am reliably told, this is one of Pauline's favourite words!) garbage which I am sure most will be grateful for.

All the councils involved in bringing this book to fruition are to be congratulated on their foresight and on their support for two exceptional historians who have been allowed to explore the topic without interference or censorship, and who have used historical research to highlight the increasingly complex question of waste management for all communities, in this case those of the Northern Beaches and Mosman areas.

As the title Good Riddance indicates, this is often as much as most people think about in relation to rubbish and, regrettably, many areas of Sydney are still being polluted by thoughtless individuals who continue to discard their garbage without any regard to the visual pollution and the blight on the landscape their actions cause. Reduce, re-use and re-cycle are words which do not appear to have filtered through to their consciousness. Perhaps some will read this book and change their wicked ways!

Waste management has certainly come a long way in the Northern Beaches and Mosman areas since rubbish was either buried close to Manly beach or, horror of horrors, dumped in the sea to wash up on the beach at a later time. Sustainability and re-cycling have become the watchwords for good waste management and Kimbriki Tip has become an exemplar and benchmark in this area for other councils to emulate. I am sure Good Riddance will be purchased by local authorities all over Australia as a pointer to best practice in the area.

Good Riddance has been meticulously researched, has copious chapter notes, is well illustrated and is well captioned. It is well indexed and has an informative series of maps and facts and figures to satisfy even the most curious scavenger.

Overall, Curby and Macleod have made a difficult subject most engaging and they should be recognised for this, though I am not certain that their subject matter has a broad enough appeal to force the book onto the best seller lists. A prize or honourable mention in the 2004 Premier's History Awards for Local History would be a fair reward to the authors and to the supporting local councils for this book.

Alan Ventress

Vice President RAHS
COPYRIGHT 2004 Royal Australian Historical Society
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Ventress, Alan
Publication:Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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