Contact Walla Walla Press
ABN: 68 003 881 132
PO Box 717
Petersham, NSW 2049
Phone/Fax: +61(2) 9560 6902
info at wallawallapress dot com
About Walla Walla Press
Walla Walla Press began in 1997 with a mission to publish scholarly and well-researched titles in sports history. Walla Walla Press addresses a niche market that focuses on quality sports books involving sports analysis and criticism. The major publishing houses are becoming increasingly cautious and often won't touch a title unless they can see big profits after publication. Walla Walla Press is happy to publish good books that may have a small market and print-runs as small as 500 copies.
Another objective is to provide an author-friendly press. Walla Walla Press aims to produce books that both look good and fulfil the author's expectations.
As a result, Walla Walla Press is publishing a number of worthwhile titles that otherwise would not see the light of day. The first book published by Walla Walla Press was Sporting Immigrants: Sport and Ethnicity in Australia which appeared in 1997 and in 2006 we established a special series to publish outstanding PhD theses.
Walla Walla Press also sells second hand sports books.
Although our primary focus remains sports history, in 2003 Walla Walla Press also established a general list, to supplement its sports history list, when it published Dead Parrot, a novel which explored the competitive sub-culture of bird-watching.
About ‘Walla Walla’
The Walla Walla Story: A colonial station, an immigrant town and a legendary horse…
When we adopted the name of Walla Walla Press in 1997, we had little idea of the saga that is the Walla Walla story. It has three seemingly unrelated ingredients.
The Walla Walla homestead, which was one of the early sheep stations of the Riverina along the Billabong Creek, north of Albury. Mary Larkham gained ownership of this property in 1838. The station probably derived its name from an Aboriginal word meaning
place of many waters. Others believe that the name Walla Walla meant the 'place of rocks' pointing to nearby Morgans Lookout, a towering granite outcrop. The history of this station has been documented in Peter Freeman, The Homestead: A Riverina Anthology (Oxford University Press).
Walla Walla (left), is a small town of about 600 people, just south of the Walla Walla homestead and 60 km north of Albury. It was established by 56 individuals from six families who made a trek in covered wagons from Ebenezer in the Barossa Valley in 1869. They came seeking new land for their community, which was of German descent and Lutheran by religion. Their history is documented in a book edited by Leon Wegener, The Trek from South Australia to New South Wales 1869 to 1994. The immigrants named the town after Ebenezer in South Australia. However, when a post office was established there in 1878 colonial officials refused to accept this name because an Ebenezer already existed (on the outskirts of Sydney) in the colony. The name of the nearby station provided an alternative and from that date Ebenezer became Walla Walla. The Zion Lutheran church at Walla Walla, originally constructed in 1889, attests to a continuing strong German influence.
A legendary pacer Walla Walla (1922-52, left), was owned and trained by Les Martin of Dalton, west of Goulburn. After he won the Goulburn Cup in 1929 Walla Walla won the Launceston Thousand and the Brisbane Derby in fine style before winning the Sydney Thousand in Australian record time in 1930. Walla Walla created an Australasian record for the mile at Harold Park in 1933 and then created a world record at Addington New Zealand in 1934 for a mile from a standing start. Walla Walla raced both hoppled and unhoppled – without straps.
Walla Walla, which ran in red and brown stripes, captured the public imagination. He often ran with a sizeable handicap – as far back as 288 yards – and his ability to win against these odds gave rise to the popular phrase ‘further back than Walla Walla’. To satisfy his admirers Les Martin took Walla Walla 'round the show circuit and he regularly won the prestigious mile event at the Sydney Show.
After he pulled up lame in 1936, Walla Walla sired over 140 individual winners. In later years he became an indulged family pet. A provision in the will of Les Martin, who died in 1948, ensured that Walla Walla would be honoured when he died. (See Greg Brown, One Hundred Years of Trotting 1877-1977, Whitcombe & Tombs, Leon Wegener, The Trek). As a result Walla Walla was buried near the finishing post at (what is now the former) Goulburn racecourse in 1952 (left).
Local historian Leon Wegener has unravelled the Walla Walla story. He interviewed the son of Les Martin, who explained why the name Walla Walla was chosen in 1922, and recounted the answer in The Trek. During the First World War the citizens of Walla were the targets of anti-German sentiment because while school classes at Walla Walla were conducted in English, church services were in German.
Early in 1918, several of the leading German-descended citizens of Walla Walla were arrested and taken to the Holsworthy Internment Camp near Sydney. Most of them were to remain there until the end of 1918 when they were ‘released on parole’.
Around 1920 an attempt was made by these men to have their names cleared. They went all the way to the Federal Parliament and attracted much media comment. Whilst the men did not receive any official pardon or apology, the injustices of their case received widespread attention.
Les Martin read the media commentary on the men from Walla Walla and it made an impression on him. So much so, that when it came to name his new foal in 1922, he chose Walla Walla, saying that he named it after the ‘town of Walla Walla which had earned media fame from the years of World War I’ (The Trek, p. 130).
So the three ingredients of the story are closely linked. A town, with an Aboriginal name and with close links with early settlement in the Riverina, which became a home for an immigrant community and later became famous through the outstanding achievements of a pacer.
It is also appropriate then that the first book of Walla Walla Press was the afore mentioned Sporting Immigrants which demonstrated that the contribution of immigrants to Australian sport has not been properly documented and acknowledged.