Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia. Performed between the years 1818 and 1822… With an Appendix, containing various subjects relating to Hydrography and Natural History…. Phillip Parker KING.
Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia. Performed between the years 1818 and 1822… With an Appendix, containing various subjects relating to Hydrography and Natural History…

Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia…
Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia. Performed between the years 1818 and 1822… With an Appendix, containing various subjects relating to Hydrography and Natural History…

London: John Murray, 1827.

Two volumes, octavo, with a folding chart, 13 plates and a folding engraving; contemporary half calf, spines gilt with double labels.

First edition to be properly published: a very rare form of this important book was evidently issued before publication, with the publication date of 1826 on both title-pages. The book was actually published in 1827, with the title-pages reset to show that date.

First edition to be properly published: a very rare form of this important book was evidently issued before publication, with the publication date of 1826 on both title-pages. The book was actually published in 1827, with the title-pages reset to show that date.

The book describes the important Australian coastal voyages of the Mermaid and the Bathurst. From 1815 or so, British interest in the largely uncharted northern and north-western coast of Australia had increased, partly out of concern at the territorial ambitions of other nations, especially the Dutch and the French. King was sent from England in 1817, with Admiralty instructions to complete the survey of Australia and finish the charting begun by Flinders and Freycinet. By 1824-25 he had issued a series of eight large charts showing the northern coasts, to be followed with this complete printed journal of his expedition. The naturalist Allan Cunningham sailed with the expedition, and the narrative includes extensive comments on botanical and geological phenomena, together with nautical and hydrographic observations. The engraved views were taken from King's own sketches.

The work also includes significant natural history essays, including work by John Edward Gray, William Sharp Macleay and William Henry Fitton, three senior British scientists. An important section publishes the long essay by Allan Cunningham, 'A Few General Remarks on the Vegetation of certain coasts of Terra Australis…'. Cunningham had sailed with King, and so this section has the added interest of eyewitness reportage, as well as comparisons between the botany of east and west coasts. Cunningham's report is supplemented by notes from Robert Brown; and the whole section concludes with three natural history plates.

Admiral Phillip Parker King, Australian-born son of the third governor Philip Gidley King, became the Navy's leading hydrographer. His coastal voyages and Oxley's expeditions inland were the great expansionary undertakings of the Macquarie era. Despatched to complete Flinders's interrupted survey and firmly to establish Great Britain's claim to the north coast, King charted the greater part of the west, north and north-east coasts and also carried out important surveys in the area of the Barrier Reef. His hydrographical work is still the basis of many of the modern charts for the areas he surveyed.

Provenance: Edward Charles Stirling (1848-1919, anthropologist on the Horn expedition into Central Australia), with bookplates; John Warren Bakewell (1847-1923, South Australian lawyer), with bookplates; private collection (Sydney).

Davidson, 'A Book Collector's Notes', pp. 127-8; Ferguson, 1084; Wantrup, 84a.

Price (AUD): $9,850.00  other currencies Ref: #4504423

Condition Report