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Adelaide illustrated poetry books (1897 to 1909)

The Adelaide Poetry Books were prescribed by the South Australian Education Department to be taught in South Australian State schools. 

The books were designed to expose young students to the medium of poetry, but also served as means to improve speech, develop writing skills, enhance the memory, and “bring good thoughts to your mind”. 

One edition was described in South Australian newspapers as not only conveniently available at a reasonable price, but also “full of delightful little pieces of a character to charm the youthful mind”. 


The Adelaide Poetry Books were widely acknowledged as being equal to alternative books imported to Australia.

As later editions were published, The Adelaide Poetry Books began to feature much more than collections of poems. The books were enhanced with glossaries, illustrations, historical background to events and characters featured in the poems, and charts to enable teachers to provide music to accompany selected poems.

Adelaide illustrated poetry books (1897 to 1909)