South Australia. Its History, Resources, and Productions
London, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1876.
Octavo (225 x 154 mm), xvi, 432 pages plus 66 engraved plates, a folding table and 2 folding maps in an endpocket (South Australia, 795 x 545 mm and Australia, 320 x 400 mm).
Original dark green cloth lettered in black on the front cover and in gilt on the spine; first (blank) and last pages discoloured by the acidic endpapers; a fine copy WITH THE DUSTWRAPPER sunned on the spine, a little torn and chipped, and lacking the bottom 40 mm from the spine, but now stabilized between Mylar and a sheet of acid-free paper.
The book itself is common, but it is an undervalued work: the plates, wood engravings from photographs, are a major pictorial record of the history of the colony, and there are two supplementary chapters on the Northern Territory and Central Australia. 'In the chapter on the Northern Territory, I have incorporated some useful papers written by residents there, and prepared for publication by Mr J.G. Knight'. The chapter on Central Australia is even more important: 'Since the foregoing was in type, the following interesting and well-written account of Central Australia, along the line of telegraph, has appeared in the 'Register'. The writer, Mr J.A. Giles, is well acquainted with the whole of the country which he describes. It is the best and most trust-worthy account of Central Australia which has yet been published'. The entire chapter is devoted to the article, which refers on occasion (and thus eliminates any misattribution) to Alfred Giles, the explorer with strong telegraph line credentials. The dustwrapper is something else again. In over forty years of book dealing in South Australia, we have seen untold quantities of this book, in a variety of bindings, from decorated full cloth to quarter cloth and plain papered boards. We have not seen, nor heard of, a dustwrapper - and a sophisticated example it is too. The front panel repeats all of the important details from the title page - short title, editor, the full publishing details, and mentions illustrations - all within a decorative border. The spine has much the same information (although the piece missing from the foot of the spine appears to have contained merely 'Sampson Low & Co.'. The rear panel contains an extensive list of new works by the publishers, including new editions of two books on Australia ('The Queen of the Colonies' and 'Sketches of Australian Life and Scenery'). Ferguson 10233 (not recording the maps or the dustwrapper, and noting only green or brown bindings similar to this one).