From the arrival of a square piano at Sydney Cove in 1788 to the resurrection of derelict heirloom pianos in the streets of twenty-first century Melbourne, A Coveted Possession tells the curious story of Australia's intimate and intrepid relationship with the piano. It's an insightful, beautifully illustrated multi-stranded cultural history that reveals the material, social and political worlds in which the ivories were tinkled, the shifting aspirations embodied by this instrument and the way it came to fulfil powerful social, educational and spiritual needs. Before electricity brought us the gramophone, the radio and eventually the TV, the piano was central to family and community life in colonial Australia. It brought Australians of different ages and backgrounds together, offering solace on remote stations, comfort at the fronts of war, and joyous entertainment at weddings and parties, on ships and trains, in hospitals and prisons. With its iron frame, candelabra, carvings, polished surfaces and ivory keys, an upright piano in the nineteenth century home was a machine, an instrument and a valued member of the household that conveyed potent social meanings: prestige, education, class, leisure, national identity and inter-generational relationships.