Whales' Bones of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands is a record of the whale bone monuments in Australia, including Norfolk Island, New Zealand, including Chatham Island and Stewart Island, and on the Pacific islands – Fiji, Hawaii, Solomon Islands and Tonga. It is the sixth in a series about the practical and decorative uses to which the huge skulls, jawbones, shoulder blades, vertebrae and ribs of the blue, sei, fin, right, minke and sperm whales have been put around the world, from early times to the present day.
Previous volumes have shown how these great bones, some of which are the largest of any creature that has ever lived, have been used in all sorts of interesting. unusual and imaginative ways. Jawbone arches are perhaps the best known examples, but bones have also been utilised to create elaborate triumphal arches, as gateposts, fencing, catlle-rubbing posts, scrubbing boards, front door steps, bridge balustrades, gravestones, tethering posts for animals, foundations for buildings, umbrella stands, chandeliers, railway line sleepers, and inn signs; also as seats, stools and benches. They have been displayed inside and out side town halls, castles, houses and churches, in inns, parks, gardens and zoos. Some of these monuments are to be found far from the sea. There are also many bones and skeletons in museums.
Information has come from antiquarian and historical accounts, from the journals of learned societies; from engravings, paintings, drawings and photographs; from newspapers, letters, diaries, directories, books and poems; from the recollections, memories and records of many people; and from the author's own personal observation. His knowledge of some bones is entirely due to friends and colleagues who have kindly told him about them. He has visited most of the places mentioned in Australia and New Zealand. All the bibliographical sources quoted have been personally inspected by the author.
This book is arranged as in effect three books within one, with each of the three sections self-contained. All the locations in Australia are listed alphabetically, not by State. Locations in New Zealand are listed alphabetically with no distinction between North and South Islands. Hawaii, though it is an American state, is included in the Pacific Islands section, where, geographically at least, it belongs. Also in that section are Fiji, the Solomon Islands is and Tonga.