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Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, undertaken by order of the British Government in the years 1817-18. with Maps and Views of the INterior, or Newly Discovered Country
John Murray, London 1820 - Quarto, with three folding charts, two folding tables, a folding engraved plate and five aquatints, two with original hand-colouring, in later half red-brown morocco, gilt, all edges gilt, by Morrell. First edition of John Oxley's narrative of his two major expeditions, the first detailed description of the Australian interior and the earliest book devoted to Australian inland exploration. This is a very attractive copy of the most handsome of all Australian exploration journals, a finely produced quarto volume whose appearance recalls the earlier quartos of the First Fleet chroniclers and was clearly designed to rank on the shelf with the books by his illustrious predecessors like Phillip, Hunter, Tench, Collins, White, Grant and Flinders. It "is undoubtedly the chief book-making achievement of the Macquarie period?" (People, Print and Paper).Following the discovery of the Lachlan River by Evans in 1815, Macquarie appointed Oxley to lead an expedition to determine the course of the river and investigate its potential. Evans was appointed as second-in-command and Allan Cunningham was appointed as botanist. Setting out from Bathurst in April 1817 Oxley named the Macquarie River, explored the Lachlan and travelled about twelve hundred miles. But his findings on this first expedition were of some disappointment and Oxley recorded in his journal 'I was forced to come to the conclusion, that the interior of this vast country is a marsh and uninhabitable?'.A second expedition, to determine the course of the Macquarie River, was mounted in 1818 again with Evans as second-in-command to Oxley. After being bogged down in marshy country, Oxley split the expedition into two parties: he persevered into the Macquarie Marshes, whilst Evans travelled to the north-east and discovered the Castlereagh River. After regrouping Oxley and Evans headed eastwards, discovering the Liverpool Plains, the Peel River, and the New England tableland, before reaching the coast, discovering the Hastings River and Port Macquarie. He recorded his relief: '?on gaining the summit? we beheld the ocean at our feet. Every difficulty vanished, and, in imagination, we were already home?'.Although their prime objective had not been met, the expedition had seen some exceedingly important discoveries including lush grazing pastures and a fine harbour. As a result, in 1819 Oxley sailed to Port Macquarie on board the Lady Nelson, together with King and Roe on the Mermaid, where Roe in particular was instrumental in charting the harbour and examining the head of the River Hastings. The appendices in the present volume include comments relating to this latter voyage, notably a letter from Oxley to Governor Macquarie dated 12 June 1819.The finely-drawn maps and aquatints include views drawn by Major James Taylor from sketches by Evans, and the striking portrait "A Native Chief of Bathurst", prepared after a drawing by John Lewin, and one of very few known Aboriginal subjects by Australia's first professional artist. In fine condition, in a good Morrell binding. [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2018-02-09           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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