Journal of an Overland Expedition in Australia, from Moreton Bay to Port Essington…

Journal of an Overland Expedition in Australia…
Journal of an Overland Expedition in Australia, from Moreton Bay to Port Essington…

London: T. & W. Boone, 1847.

Octavo, seven plates including frontispiece, further vignettes, with three maps mounted on linen in uniform folding case; fine in original publisher's cloth, lovingly preserved in a handsome gilt blue morocco solander case.

Leichhardt complete with maps and in original condition

An excellent copy of the first edition of this great monument in the history of Australian exploration, here complete with the portfolio of maps in its original cloth binding. Leichhardt's Journal of an Overland Expedition documents one of the most unlikely and courageous ventures ever undertaken in the history of the continent. When Leichhardt arrived in Sydney in February 1842 he was considered learned but eccentric: he possessed no bush craft skills, had poor eyesight and was unable to shoot. Yet he proved a quick learner and launched successful forays as far north as Moreton Bay. For some years settlers had eagerly talked of finding a route from southern Queensland to the Northern Territory, so linking their abundant grazing districts with Asian markets. When a Government funded expedition stalled, Leichhardt headed his own venture funded by pastoralists and business-men impressed by the seemingly indefatigable German.

An excellent copy of the first edition of this great monument in the history of Australian exploration, here complete with the portfolio of maps in its original cloth binding. Leichhardt's Journal of an Overland Expedition documents one of the most unlikely and courageous ventures ever undertaken in the history of the continent. When Leichhardt arrived in Sydney in February 1842 he was considered learned but eccentric: he possessed no bush craft skills, had poor eyesight and was unable to shoot. Yet he proved a quick learner and launched successful forays as far north as Moreton Bay. For some years settlers had eagerly talked of finding a route from southern Queensland to the Northern Territory, so linking their abundant grazing districts with Asian markets. When a Government funded expedition stalled, Leichhardt headed his own venture funded by pastoralists and business-men impressed by the seemingly indefatigable German.

What followed was one of the longest journeys of Australian inland exploration - a trek of stupefying distance, difficulty and endurance spanning 4800 kilometres. The party was racked by interpersonal conflict, inexperience and continual hostility from local Aboriginal tribes (in late June 1845 one member was killed and two others seriously injured during a raid near the Gulf of Carpentaria). After fourteen months they finally reached Port Essington in the Northern Territory in a state of perilous exhaustion.

When Leichhardt and his men returned to Sydney they had been given up as lost. Celebrations lasted for months; he was hailed 'the prince of explorers' and received a sizeable sum raised by public subscription. His scientific and geographic work was greatly admired during his lifetime, but his reputation as an expeditionary leader has been criticised since. Leichhardt's mercurial temperament and mysterious death during a later expedition have become part of the mythology of European Australia.

Abbey 'Travel in Aquatint and Lithography 1770-1860', 579; Australian Rare Books, 138a and 139; Ferguson, 4571.

Price (AUD): $16,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #4106014