Alfred Dudley; or, The Australian Settlers. CHILDRENS LITERATURE, Mrs G. R. PORTER.

Alfred Dudley; or, The Australian Settlers.

London: Harvey & Darton, 1830.

Duodecimo, with an engraved frontispiece and three plates;, in the original quarter red roan with marbled boards,

First edition: considered the first novel of Australia. This is an exemplary copy of the very scarce first edition, bound with the advertisements in the publisher's roan-backed marbled boards of the first issue.

First edition: considered the first novel of Australia. This is an exemplary copy of the very scarce first edition, bound with the advertisements in the publisher's roan-backed marbled boards of the first issue.

In the novel, the genteel Dudleys are forced to emigrate, whereupon they purchase several hundred acres on the Hunters River, where they grow crops and tend their "pet Merinos" which they had brought from France. Much of the action centres on their interaction with some of the local tribesmen and women, and the eponymous Alfred becomes particularly close to a small boy called "Mickie", adopting him as a sort of voluntary personal valet and assistant. At one point Mickie acquires an officer's cast-off uniform, the whole ensemble geared for comic effect (as the accompanying plate makes clear). There is illness, and adversity, and a lively description of the dangers of a kangaroo hunt, but on the whole the European settlers are enchanted with New South Wales.

"This tale for juveniles is founded on the circumstances of a gentleman, with his highly-educated son, settling in Australia, and there for a long period cheerfully submitting to all the hardships and privations attendant on such a situation. The author's knowledge of Australian natural history and ethnology is chiefly drawn from The Present State of Australia, by Robert Dawson, late Chief Agent to the Australian Agricultural Company." (Ferguson).

At one stage tentatively attributed to William Howitt, in his addenda Ferguson made a firmer attribution to Sarah Porter, on the basis of a trade list of Charles Knight. Ferguson also lists a frontispiece and two plates, for a total of three, rather than the four present here.

Muir, 6077; People, Print & Paper', 196.

Price (AUD): $6,750.00  other currencies     Ref: #3308859

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