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Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-west and Western Australia, during the years 1837, 38, and 39
London: Boone, 1841. Two volumes, octavo, with 22 plates (six handcoloured), and two large folding maps (linen-backed in endpocket), text illustrations; a fine copy well bound without the advertisements; later half green morocco, spine richly gilt. London, T. & W. Boone, 1841. First edition: includes scientific appendices on birds by John Gould, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by John Edward Gray, and insects by Adam White; some plates illustrate the Aboriginal rock paintings found on the first expedition are also present. One of the most striking of all works of inland exploration, with the suite of stunning images of Wandjina paintings from the north-western Kimberley region. This is a finely bound copy of the first edition of this famous exploration account, which includes scientific appendices on birds by John Gould; mammals, reptiles, amphibians by John Edward Gray; and insects by Adam White.This was Sir George Grey's first expedition, which began in December 1837 after he and his party of eight arrived on the Beagle at Hanover Bay on the north-west coast. The expedition was supposed to proceed south following the coast to the Swan River settlement. However problems beset the expedition from the outset, and for five months the party meandered inland at a very slow pace. Meetings with local Aborigines proved hostile, and Grey was badly wounded by a spear. Eventually, due to diminished provisions and exhaustion, the party returned to Hanover Bay and were rescued by the Beagle. Despite falling well short of their goal, the expedition yielded significant results: Grey discovered the Glenelg River, the Macdonald Range, the Stephen Range, the Gairdner River and Mount Lyell. Grey also achieved the distinction of becoming the first white man to see a Wandjina painting when he discovered the ones reproduced here in a rock shelter on the Glenelg River in the rugged Kimberley: 'looking over some bushes, at the sandstone rocks which were above us, I suddenly saw from one of them a most extraordinary large figure peering down upon me. Upon examination, this proved to be a drawing at the entrance to cave, which, on entering, I found to contain, besides, many remarkable paintings'. Realising the significance of the discovery, he went to considerable lengths to sketch, measure and describe the figures, which are reproduced here.Grey's second expedition left Perth in 1839 with the intention of exploring the North-West Cape. Again his goals were not realised: he was thwarted, first by the loss of one of his three whale-boats and most of his provisions, then by the wrecking of the remaining boats and supplies. A 300-mile trek back to Perth ensued, during which Grey and all but one of his men survived on whatever food they could scavenge from the land. Although Grey suffered appalling hardships and neither venture went according to plan, the results were valuable. "His expeditions were the first to examine the previously ignored north-west interior of the continent and he discovered much useful territory. The inland explorations of Grey and Lushington (his deputy), complemented by the associated coastal explorations of Wickham and Stokes in the 'Beagle', were a major advance in the discovery of the Australian continent" (Wantrup, 206). Bagnall, 2336; Australian Rare Books, 131.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2015-08-10           Check availability:      Biblio    

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