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  • First Fleet Journal – An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales etc – David Collins – First Edition 1798

    First Fleet Journal – An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales etc – David Collins – First Edition 1798

    Full title … An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, with Remarks on the Dispositions, Customs, Manners etc of the Native Inhabitants of That Country, to which is Added some Particulars of New Zealand from the MSS of Lieutenant Governor King

    A first edition published by T. Cadell Jnr and W Davies, The Strand, London 1798.

    Quarto, bound in half calf over marbled boards. Gilt title on separate red leather title label, gilt decorations to compartments between five raised bands. 680 pages complete including list of plates at rear which someone has ticked off. Frontispiece chart, 18 copper engraved full page plates (magnificent), a further 4 engraved illustrations within the text and a large folding chart. Very little wear and a very good copy aside from some foxing on pages close to the engravings.

    This account is the last published of the First Fleet Journals. In its content and style it represents the earliest history of Australia as an English Colonial settlement … the others being more personal narratives. This is the first edition published 1798 as a single volume with the fine engravings taken from water colours by Edward Dayes who in turn took them from drawings by convict artist Thomas Watling. A second volume or was later published in 1802 with an update on the intervening period. This second volume is extremely scarce.

    David Collins was Secretary to First Governor Arthur Phillip. At an early age he had joined the Marines and had seen action in the American War of Independence. In 1786 he volunteered for the First Fleet as Deputy Judge Advocate in the Marines. After two years instructions were received that the Marines were to return to England. Collins decided to remain at some personal cost. On Phillip’s departure in 1792 he stayed and helped hold the fort until Hunter arrived in 1795. Collins left the next year and two years later this account was published. From his central role he was in the perfect position to chronicle the events at the Colony as they unfolded.

    Goings on at Norfolk Island are included and the engraving of the township Sydney on Norfolk Island is particularly well done.

    The frontispiece chart comprises the Three Harbours of Botany Bay, Port Jackson and Broken Bay and the cultivated grounds in and around the different settlements, with the Course of the Rivers Hawkesbury and Nepean, and the situation of the wild cattle to the westward.

    The fine full page views include … the Governor’s House at Rose Hill; by Water to Paramatta with a distant view of the Western Mountains; Eastern view of Sydney; Western View of Sydney Cove; Direct South View of Sydney; South East View of Sydney including the Church; North View of Sydney Cove; The Brick Field, or High Road to Parramatta; View of Sydney in Norfolk Island;

    There is also an unusual folding chart of New Zealand drawn by Too-gee.

    Of further interest is Collin’s sympathetic comments regarding the aboriginal people and his lengthy Appendix is a special work in itself … he covers their Government and Religion; Stature and Appearance; Habitations; Mode of Living; Courtship and Marriage; Customs and Manners; Superstitions; Diseases; Property; Dispositions; Funeral Ceremonies and Language. The nine full size engraved plates, detailing the initiation of young men and the custom of the removal of a front tooth, are extra special and represent the very first ethnographically accurate portrayal of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the Sydney region.

    Collins First Fleet Journal – First Edition 1798


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  • British Malaya – Frank Swettenham – 1907

    British Malaya – Frank Swettenham – 1907

    A first edition published by John Lane The Bodley Head, London in 1907. A very good copy.

    Full title … “British Malaya and Account of the Origin and Progress of British Influence in Malaya by Sir Frank Swettenham, KCMG, late Governor of the Straits Colony, High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States with a Specifically Compiled Map, Numerous Illustrations Reproduced from Photographs & a Frontispiece in Photogravure.

    Thick octavo, 354 pages after preliminaries. The charming frontispiece and a further 53 illustration. The large coloured folding map complete albeit repaired with old tape. Original deep yellow cloth covered binding with black decoration and gilt title to the spine. The covers have a waxed effect which gives them a superior feel. Internally some foxing on the thick period paper .. still a delightful copy of a rare and relevant book.

    Carries the special bookplate of Charterhouse School Masonic Lodge – Deo Dante Dedi – Aedes Carthusianae and the name written F.G. Hamnett who sadly perished along with so many ex Charthouse boys in the Great War. Also, the later bookplate of Glen Ralph and his Wilmar Library.

    The admirably qualified author begins with … The Outward Appearance of the British Possessions in the Straits of Malacca and its early History; Pinang and Minto’s expedition; Singapore and Sir Stamford Raffles; the Straits from 1825-1867 the claims of the Sultan and Temenggong in regard to Johore; the Straits from 1867-73 with Sir Harry Ord and Anarchy in the Malaya Straits; The Malays … Customs, Prejudices, Arts, language and Literature; the later Administrations 1874 Sir Andrew Clarke, 1875/6 Sir William Jervois …. 1895 -1906 the Federation and its Results …

    19th Century in Malaya and authoritative account with good period illustrations many from very early photographs


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  • Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland; from the dissolution of the last Parliament of Charles II till the Capture of the French and Spanish Fleets at Vigo – Three Volumes – Sir John Dalrymple -1790

    Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland; from the dissolution of the last Parliament of Charles II till the Capture of the French and Spanish Fleets at Vigo – Three Volumes – Sir John Dalrymple -1790

    A new edition 1790 updating his first offering about twenty year earlier that finished at the time of the sea battle of La Hogue. Published by Strahan & Cadell, Bell, Creech & Balfour, London and Edinburgh, 1790.

    Three volumes, octavo, a beautiful set in contemporary mottled calf, banded spine with red morocco title label and green morocco volume number lozenge. Almost edible.

    A vert attractive set of an important work with original owner name Alexander Fraser Tyler, a distinguished Scottish Advocate at the head of the title.

    Sir John Dalrymple (1726-1810) was the 4th Baron of Cousland and Scottish Advocate, Judge and Chemist. He studied at Edinburgh and Cambridge and was a friend of David Hume and Adam Smith. In writing this large work he had access numerous original manuscript documents.

    Of Australian interest the volumes contain … “An Account of an Intended Expedition in the South Seas by Private Persons in the Late War” which relates to Sir John Dalrymple’s attempts to persuade merchants of Glasgow to organise a privateering expedition against Spain in the Pacific. There are numerous references to New Holland and the discoveries of James Cook.

    Because of these early Australian references these volumes are included in Ferguson’s bibliography of all books Australian at number 78.

    Important 18th Century memoir in fine style with Australian interest and important provenance.

    About the first owner Alexander Tytler

    Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouslee (1747-1813) was a Scottish advocate, judge, writer who serve as Professor of Universal History, Greek and Roman Antiquities at Edinburgh University. In 1790, around the time he purchased these volumes, he became Judge Advocate of Scotland and in 1802 he became a Lord of Session in the Scottish Courts. He was a friend of Robert Burns and famously persuaded Burns to remove several lines from “Tam o’Shanter”’ which had insulted the legal profession.


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  • Secret Despatches From Arabia – T.E. Lawrence

    Secret Despatches From Arabia – T.E. Lawrence

    A special production published with the permission of the Foreign Office, by The Golden Cockerel Press, London in 1939.

    Limited edition of 1,000 copies, Quarto, 174 pages printed on Arnold’s mould-made paper. Bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in quarter black morocco over cream cloth covered boards. Spine with raised bands lettered in gilt. Top edge gilt. Frontispiece of Lawrence in Arab dress. Slightest foxing as usual.

    A collection of Lawrence’s articles for the British Arab Bureau’s publication, the Arab Bulletin (1916-1918) containing most of Lawrence’s detailed reports of his activities in the field.

    In 1916 a select group of officials from England’s War, Foreign and Indian Offices set up an Araba Bureau in order to work out how best Britain’s future policy towards the Arabs could be coordinated. One of the Bureau’s first activities was to initiate a secret bulletin dealing with any political events in Turkey or elsewhere that affected the Arab movement. The idea originated with Lawrence and helped from the first issue. Later he sent the Arab Bureau many detailed reports of his field activities. Most of his reports are included in “Secret Despatches” … in addition there is “Syrian Cross Currents” which did not make its way into the bulletins and is taken from a manuscript on Arab Bureau paper.

    “The whole valley was full of shouting and rifle shots, and the roaring of camels”

    Sought after “Secret Despatches” … fundamental Lawrence of Arabia, finely bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.


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  • Nest of Traitors – The Petrov Affair – Nicholas Whitlam and John Stubbs – First Edition 1974.

    Nest of Traitors – The Petrov Affair – Nicholas Whitlam and John Stubbs – First Edition 1974.

    Published by the great Jacaranda Press, Brisbane and printed by long established Watson Ferguson & Co. Octavo, 259 pages and in very good near fine condition.

    Twenty years after the Petrov Affair the story is revisited with new information including Burton’s secret submission to the Royal Commission

    Final word on Petrov?


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  • The Great Pyramid Witness and Near Eastern Nations in the Light of Christ’s Second Coming – Rev Lamb (Sydney) 1928

    The Great Pyramid Witness and Near Eastern Nations in the Light of Christ’s Second Coming – Rev Lamb (Sydney) 1928

    A rather special soft covered second edition of Rev lamb’s book on the second coming and the link to the Great Pyramid of Giza. Self-published in Sydney in 1928.

    Lamb a rather eccentric Reverend with a keen eye for Marketing. His list of five titles could be got at the discounted price of 7/6 if the money was sent directly. His first edition was sold out and given that the second coming would have severe personal consequences it was essential that this book was purchased if you missed the first printing!

    His forward is direct “This book, over which I have earnestly prayed for many days, is now finished. Its message, as in everything else I have previously written, is to convince all who read it that the coming of God’s Son to this world is now right at hand. The intention all through its pages is to make its every reader feel that their chief business now should be that they “May be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” … I shall now pray every day that its mission may in this way be fully realised”

    Lamb, not too keen on this modern theory of Evolution, correctly points out how clever the early Egyptian were any Greek civilisation having been founded on Egyptian intelligent. The destruction of the great library at Alexandria still stands as the worst act of vandalism against culture. The books kept the fires in the bakeries and hot baths etc. going for many months. His references to the Pyramids and the Great pyramid of Giza are a very special account. He recounts the scale, accuracy and quality of construction which is always bewildering to read, how was it really done? And the alignment with the stars. Early views of Sir John Herschel and then, Voyager favourite Piazzi Smyth who calculated the date of construction as 2,170 BC given the backward calculation of the position of Draconis, the Pole Star, being directly aligned with the extraordinary passage at midnight that year. This vent will happen 25,817 years later when the stars will be similarly aligned.

    The book contains more than this of course and his view of the likely consequences of the rise in fascism throughout the world … well we all know what happened.


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