A Handbook for Colonists in Tropical Australia. By George Windsor Earl… Formerly Commissioner of Crown Lands at Port Essington…

A Handbook for Colonists in Tropical Australia…
A Handbook for Colonists in Tropical Australia. By George Windsor Earl… Formerly Commissioner of Crown Lands at Port Essington…

Singapore: printed for the editor, at Pinang, by Matthew Gregory Sr. 1862.

Octavo, four plates (three folding) an excellent copy, the original blue printed wrappers bound in, early French owner's note to front wrapper, later quarter calf.

By a Northern Territory first fleeter, published in Singapore

The north coast of Australia: a proposal for settlement in remote northern Australia, written by a pioneer of the region and veteran of the Port Essington settlement of 1838 under Sir James Bremer, and published in Singapore.

The north coast of Australia: a proposal for settlement in remote northern Australia, written by a pioneer of the region and veteran of the Port Essington settlement of 1838 under Sir James Bremer, and published in Singapore.

This detailed account covers the entire north coast of Australia from Victoria River in the west to Carpentaria and the northeast coast as far down as the Fitzroy River (near present-day Rockhampton). George Windsor Earl (?1813-1865) was an important figure in the repeated attempts to settle the north coasts of Australia. As early as 1830 he is reported to have visited the new Swan River colony as a settler, but he had long-harboured plans for establishing a settlement on the north coast of Australia. By 1835, having returned to London, he had recruited the support of the Asiatic Society and the Royal Geographical Society in just such a venture, with the result that the Alligator and the Britomart were dispatched to Port Essington under the command of Sir James Bremer as part of the North Australia Expedition of 1838. Earl joined the expedition as "linguist" and Commissioner of Crown Lands for Port Essington, and over the ensuing decade spent a great deal of time in Port Essington and also Sydney. Due to poor health he retired to Singapore and died attempting the return voyage to England in 1865.

Earl issued this work, as he noted in his introduction, at a time when 'the stock stations of the Queensland colonists having extended northward nearly to the parallel of the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria, while a movement has taken place which looks like a general advance along the whole line of southern colonies into the Tropical Region.' The charts included in this edition were engraved by T. Black in Calcutta, and are of particular interest for Earl's interesting theories and notes on prevailing winds and currents: work which would duly be recognised by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

Ferguson knew only two copies (his own collection and the Mitchell Library) and recognised the real rarity of this exotic Singapore imprint: 'A very rare work owing to its being printed and issued in the Straits Settlement. The introduction is dated from Province Wellesley, January 8, 1863.'

Ferguson, 9344.

Price (AUD): $9,850.00  other currencies     Ref: #4002659

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