Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, undertaken by order of the British Government in the years 1817-18… with Maps and Views of the Interior, or Newly Discovered Country, 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… with Maps and Views of the Interior, or Newly Discovered Country,
Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, undertaken by order of the British Government in the years 1817-18… with Maps and Views of the Interior, or Newly Discovered Country,

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… with Maps and Views of the Interior, or Newly Discovered Country,

London: John Murray, 1820.

Quarto, with separate section-titlepage for Part II, with three folding maps, two folding diagrams and six plates (two coloured, one folding); old half roan binding with cloth sides.

Earliest and most handsome of the inland exploration accounts

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). This was the bibliographer John Alexander Ferguson's copy of this important book (perhaps a duplicate, since his books are mostly in the National Library), and has his charming Lionel Lindsay bookplate.

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). This was the bibliographer John Alexander Ferguson's copy of this important book (perhaps a duplicate, since his books are mostly in the National Library), and has his charming Lionel Lindsay bookplate.

Oxley's first expedition was largely disappointing, but his second expedition saw some important discoveries including lush grazing pastures, the Liverpool Plains, the Peel River, and the New England tableland, before reaching the coast, discovering the Hastings River and the fine natural harbour of Port Macquarie. Subsequently, in 1819, Oxley also sailed to Port Macquarie on board the Lady Nelson; the voyage is covered in the appendices here, notably Oxley's letter to Governor Macquarie of 12 June 1819.

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.

Oxley's disappointing first expedition along the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers had him summarising in his journal that 'I was forced to come to the conclusion, that the interior of this vast country is a marsh and uninhabitable…'. His second expedition, to determine the course of the Macquarie River, split into two parties with Oxley persevering into the Macquarie Marshes, while his second-in-command Evans travelled to the north-east and discovered the Castlereagh River. Together they then discovered the Liverpool Plains, the Peel River, and the New England tableland, before reaching the coast, discovering the Hastings River and Port Macquarie. 'On gaining the summit… we beheld the ocean at our feet. Every difficulty vanished, and, in imagination, we were already home…'.

Provenance: John Alexander Ferguson (bookplate); private collection, Sydney.

Ferguson, 796; Wantrup, 107.

Condition Report: Occasional light spotting or offsetting from the charts, but a good copy.

Price (AUD): $8,750.00

US$6,254.91   Other currencies

Ref: #4504531

Condition Report