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Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia. Performed between the years 1818 and 1822... With an Appendix, containing various subjects relating to Hydrography and Natural History...
London: John Murray, 1826. Two volumes, octavo, with a folding chart, 13 plates and a folding engraving; with the colophon leaf and the leaf of errata at the end of vol. 2; in a most attractive contemporary binding of polished calf, gilt, spines ornately panelled in gilt with double black labels. First edition, first issue: the rare form of this important book with the publication date of 1826 on both title-pages. First published in April 1826, this first issue of this classic Australian voyage is "a notorious rarity" (Wantrup). Late in 1826 or early in 1827 the publisher, John Murray, had the original title-page dated 1826 excised and replaced with a cancel title-page dated 1827. Known to Ferguson in a single copy and to Davidson in less than a handful, more copies of this issue have been identified in recent years but the 1826 issue remains a desirable rarity.The book was properly published in 1827, with the title-pages reset to show that date. The book describes the important Australian coastal voyages of the Mermaid and the Bathurst. From 1815 or so, British interest in the largely uncharted northern and north-western coast of Australia had increased, partly out of concern at the territorial ambitions of other nations, especially the Dutch and the French. King was sent from England in 1817, with Admiralty instructions to complete the survey of Australia and finish the charting begun by Flinders and Freycinet. By 1824-25 he had issued a series of eight large charts showing the northern coasts, to be followed with this complete printed journal of his expedition. The naturalist Allan Cunningham sailed with the expedition, and the narrative includes extensive comments on botanical and geological phenomena, together with nautical and hydrographic observations. The engraved views were taken from King's own sketches.The work also includes significant natural history essays, including work by John Edward Gray, William Sharp Macleay and William Henry Fitton, three senior British scientists. An important section publishes the long essay by Allan Cunningham, 'A Few General Remarks on the Vegetation of certain coasts of Terra Australis...'. Cunningham had sailed with King, and so this section has the added interest of eyewitness reportage, as well as comparisons between the botany of east and west coasts. Cunningham's report is supplemented by notes from Robert Brown; and the whole section concludes with three natural history plates.Admiral Phillip Parker King, Australian-born son of the third governor Philip Gidley King, became the Navy's leading hydrographer. His coastal voyages and Oxley's expeditions inland were the great expansionary undertakings of the Macquarie era. Despatched to complete Flinders's interrupted survey and firmly to establish Great Britain's claim to the north coast, King charted the greater part of the west, north and north-east coasts and also carried out important surveys in the area of the Barrier Reef. His hydrographical work is still the basis of many of the modern charts for the areas he surveyed.This very attractive copy is in a most handsome contemporary polished calf binding, which has the bookseller's label of Henington, Fenchurch St., has the bookplate of Edward Charles Stirling (1848-1919, anthropologist on the Horn expedition into Central Australia). Provenance: Edward Charles Stirling, with bookplate; Geoffrey Cains, with bookplate; private collection (Sydney). A fine copy.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House]
Last Found On: 2017-06-14           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    

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