Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, undertaken by order of the British Government in the Years 1817-18. John OXLEY.
Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, undertaken by order of the British Government in the Years 1817-18.
Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, undertaken by order of the British Government in the Years 1817-18.
Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, undertaken by order of the British Government in the Years 1817-18.

Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales...
Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, undertaken by order of the British Government in the Years 1817-18.

London: John Murray, 1820.

Quarto, with three folding maps or charts, two folding tables, a folding engraved plate (repaired) and five aquatints, two with original hand-colouring; an attractive copy in recent full calf, spine gilt-decorated.

The first major book of inland exploration, and the first on New England

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).

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 had appointed Oxley to lead an expedition to determine the course of the river and investigate its potential. Evans was his second-in-command and Allan Cunningham was appointed as botanist. They set out from Bathurst in April 1817; Oxley named the Macquarie River, explored the Lachlan and travelled about twelve hundred miles. A second expedition, to determine the course of the Macquarie River, was mounted in 1818 with Evans again as second-in-command to Oxley. Although most of their findings were disappointing to Oxley (who recorded in his journal that 'I was forced to come to the conclusion, that the interior of this vast country is a marsh and uninhabitable…'), nonetheless they did make important discoveries including the lush grazing pastures of the Liverpool Plains and the fine natural harbour that they found after following the Hastings River to the sea and named Port Macquarie.

The rich grazing lands were quickly taken up by pastoralists, but Oxley had failed in his primary object of tracing the Macquarie and Lachlan Rivers, and had also developed his mistaken theory of an inland sea which would bedevil future explorers.

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.

Ferguson, 796; Greenway, 7402; Australian Rare Books, 107.

Price (AUD): $8,500.00  other currencies Ref: #4503981

Condition Report