Spinifex and Sand: a Narrative of Five Years' Pioneering and Exploration in Western Australia. David Wynford CARNEGIE.
Spinifex and Sand: a Narrative of Five Years' Pioneering and Exploration in Western Australia.
Spinifex and Sand: a Narrative of Five Years' Pioneering and Exploration in Western Australia.
Spinifex and Sand: a Narrative of Five Years' Pioneering and Exploration in Western Australia.

Spinifex and Sand: a Narrative of Five Years' Pioneering and Exploration in Western Australia.

London: C. Arthur Pearson, 1898.

Octavo, with illustrations and folding maps (two in a rear endpocket); endpapers a little spotted and two maps with short tears (expertly repaired); a very good clean copy in the original pictorial cloth with a signed card from the author.

Fine presentation copy with a prescient note

First edition of one of the most enthralling works of Australian inland exploration: a fine presentation copy, accompanied by a prophetic note by Carnegie: "I do not suppose I shall see W.A. again…".

First edition of one of the most enthralling works of Australian inland exploration: a fine presentation copy, accompanied by a prophetic note by Carnegie: "I do not suppose I shall see W.A. again…".

In 1892 Carnegie joined the gold rush to Coolgardie, Western Australia, where he spent eighteen months prospecting and working in mines. In 1894 and 1895 he was commissioned to conduct prospecting expeditions, which although yielding little gold, honed his bushcraft and exploration skills. Carnegie's sights were set on crossing Western Australia from south to north, and he aimed to establish the nature of the country and any gold-bearing deposits between the southern goldfields and the Kimberleys in the north, and between the east-west routes taken by Warburton in 1872-3 and Forrest in 1874.

Setting off from Coolgardie in 1896, Carnegie and his party crossed the Gibson Desert and the Great Sandy Desert. It was here for a month that the party traversed a regular succession of spinifex-covered sand ridges, 15-18 metres high. The results of the expedition were disappointing, but Carnegie's achievement in crossing some 4800 kilometres of the most inhospitable land imaginable in thirteen months, with minimum losses, was significant. In 1897 he was awarded the Gill Memorial medal by the Royal Geographical Society in London for his exceptional achievement. The following year he published this account of the expedition.

This copy has a signed presentation card from the author dated "10 Feb 1899" (not long after publication) which reads: "Dear Mr Smith, I am sending you today a parcel containing a copy of my book on W.A. viz 'Spinifex and Sand'. I hope this will find both Mrs Smith & yourself in very good health. I do not suppose I shall see W.A. again". Tragically, his prediction proved correct; Carnegie was killed the following year, aged just 29, whilst serving in northern Nigeria where he was shot with a poisoned arrow during a minor skirmish.

Wantrup, 196a.

Price (AUD): $2,750.00  other currencies Ref: #4505124