Volume 1 covers suborders Archostemata to Adephaga.
From the foreword:
"This, the third publication in the South Australian Museums Special Educational Series, adopts the same principle followed in the second one (on ants, by P.J.M. Greenslade) in that the insects in question are not covered at the species level, but at the level of the genus (the next highest category) The reason for this is the same as before, namely that there are simply too many species of beetles in the State (over 3000 actually named and at least the same number not yet named or discovered).
However, whereas there are only some 60 ant genera in South Australia, there are over 1000 beetle genera, and obviously not all of these can be covered in a single manual of this size They will be treated in lots of about 100 at a time, in 10 or 11 Bulletins
The emphasis in this series of Bulletins is on pictures, to make the users task as easy as possible but because of the small size of most beetles a microscope is essential in order to get the most out of the manual. Still the larger beetles can often be identified simply by comparing the specimen with the photographs, and this is as good a way as any for the complete beginner to be introduced to beetle diversity.
The natural history of the major groups is briefly discussed under each family, and references are given to enable the serious student to obtain more information on the habits and taxonomy of the beetles of Australia as a whole.
Beetles are an obvious and major part of our insect fauna, but are not well known by the general public; nor is there an easy-to-use key for the enthusiastic naturalist or professional. Dr Matthews' series of guides is designed to meet this need through the medium of his visual keys – a method which worked so well in the United States Army for personnel untrained in taxonomy to use in identifying arthropod disease vectors. However, no insect taxonomy is overly simple nor foolproof and the present methods may well be improved upon in later Bulletins in this series. The Museum would therefore like to have comments and suggestions from users which may increase the usefulness of future guides."