Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales,
Undertaken by Order of the British Government in the Years 1817-18
by Oxley, John
London: John Murray, 1820. First Edition. Quarto – 27.8cm., [xv], (1 – Errata), 408pp. including Appendix, Index. with three folding engraved and publisherâ€™s linen backed maps or charts, two folding tables, a folding engraved plate and five aquatints, two with original hand-colouring; a most attractive copy bound in modern gilt ruled polished 3/4 calf and linen boards, spine with full gilt-decoration and marbled end leaves, top page edges gilt. Some light intermittent foxing as usual, otherwise a Fine and most desirable copy. Scarce.
A very important Australian book, being the only inland exploration work published in quarto, and reputedly only 500 copies produced. John Oxley held a significant place in the early history of the Colony contributing to the exploration of the New England districts of New South Wales, as well as the discovery of the Brisbane River. Oxleyâ€™s first journey was made beyond the Blue Mountains, up and around the Lachlan River. Vast swamps compelled him to return when less than two daysâ€™ journey from the Murrumbidgee River. In his second journey, made the following year, Oxley led a party down the Marquarie River. He found the land very swampy, the party took a detour and discovered the Castlereagh River. The party then struck N.E. and East across the Warrumbungle Ranges and the Liverpool Plains, crossed the Dividing Range and reached the coast at Port Macquarie. The finely-drawn maps and aquatints include views drawn by Major James Taylor from sketches by Evans, second in command and the deputy surveyor, 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.
WITH: Loosely inserted are 2 original hand-written letters fully signed â€śJ. Oxleyâ€ť to his wife Emma, written at Sydney Town to Kirkham, Oxleyâ€™s farm at the Cowpastures, dated 26 February (1824). The second letter is not dated but of a similar period. The letters are interesting and refer to W. Marsden and Mr. Cordeaux (Governor Macquarieâ€™s land commissioner). Oxley had married Emma Norton in 1821 at St. Phillipâ€™s Church, but died in 1828 aged only 42.