Item #5000405 L'Australie Nouvelle… Preface de L. Simonin. Edmond MARIN LA MESLEE.
L'Australie Nouvelle… Preface de L. Simonin.

L'Australie Nouvelle.
L'Australie Nouvelle… Preface de L. Simonin.

Paris: E. Plon et Cie, 1883.

Octavo, six plates (two double-page) and folding map of Australia; original printed grey wrappers.

"French eyes fix upon a whole range of phenomena..."

First edition of this lively topographical study of Australia, dedicated to P.F. Adams, the Surveyor General of New South Wales, and thanking his staff for their help in producing a work intended to reveal to the general French public the value of trade and interaction with Australia. The work includes several wonderful photographic illustrations, including an impressive folding panoramic view of Sydney (140 x 860 mm: the plate not noted by Ferguson).

First edition of this lively topographical study of Australia, dedicated to P.F. Adams, the Surveyor General of New South Wales, and thanking his staff for their help in producing a work intended to reveal to the general French public the value of trade and interaction with Australia. The work includes several wonderful photographic illustrations, including an impressive folding panoramic view of Sydney (140 x 860 mm: the plate not noted by Ferguson).

Marin la Meslée arrived in Melbourne on the Alphington in 1876 where he became private secretary to the French consul-general, the Comte de Castelnau. He spent several years travelling and investigating New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, chiefly with the view of understanding their trading prospects. He became a member of the Royal Society of New South Wales, and was particularly interested in the advances in engineering and mining, and has interesting notes on, for example, the Zig-Zag Railway, copper mining in Cobar and coal mining in Lithgow.

The book was published during a brief return visit to Paris, but Marin la Meslée, who had married the Australian woman Clara Louise Cooper, returned to live in Sydney. He and Clara died tragically when the Ripple capsized off South Head in 1893.

Russel Ward, who published a translation of this book in 1973, described it as "among the best accounts of Australian society written by visitors in the second half of the last century". As he remarks, the author's "French eyes fix upon a whole range of phenomena which were barely noticed, or simply taken for granted, by native-born observers or British visitors". Writing about Australian society with considerable perceptiveness a decade before the nationalistic 1890s, Marin La Meslée is an important source for the history of the period and the growth of Australian nationalism.

Condition Report: The wrappered binding somewhat loose but otherwise good.

Price (AUD): $485.00

US$312.66   Other currencies

Ref: #5000405

Condition Report