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Australia : its history and present condition

FIRST EDITION containing an account both of the bush and of the colonies, with their respective inhabitants.

Author: Rev William Pridden

Publisher: James Burns

Publisher's Location: London

Publication Date: 1843


Observations and opinions on Australian Aboriginals and early life in Sydney.

First edition. Original publisher's blue cloth blind stamped. Gilt title on spine, slightly sunned. Small format: [ 6.5 ins. x 4 ins. ] Volume 26 of the Englishman's library, (complete unto itself).

Folding map of Australia as frontispiece, folding map very slightly foxed, with slightly frayed margin [not affecting the printed area].

"The aim of the writer has been, while furnishing a description of some of the most flourishing and interesting settlements, belonging to the British Crown, to the same time, exhibit two extremes of savage and civilised life" (paraphrased from the preface)

This aim is shown throughout and the "Comparative Advantages of Europeans over Savages" is discussed. Many descriptions of Aboriginal habits are examined. Treatment and behavior of convicts too are referenced. Here was the Crown's early glimpse of life in the bush, opinionated as it was and a thinly veiled disertation on the effects of Terra Nullius.


Category: History; Australia; 19th century; ISBN: No ISBN. Inventory No: 50007.

Some reasoned, the spread of an advanced, Christian civilization over the face of the earth was an end that might justify some otherwise distasteful means.

William Pridden was an Essex minister who was no supporter of terra nullius. (territory that nobody owns so that the first nation to discover it is entitled to take it over) “In most instances in which a country is taken possession of, and its original inhabitants are removed, enslaved, or exterminated,” he noted “the party thus violently seizing upon the rights of others is considered the superior and more civilized nation of the two.”

Title-page, Preface [iii]-viii, Contents [ix]-xiii, Illustrations [xiv],
Main text [1]-363, 2 page list of other titles in this series [ The Englishman s Library ],
12-page publisher's catalogue [dated October 1843];

10 vignette wood engravings to text.

All pages tight to the spine.

With the bookplate of Nancye Kent Perry laid in on front end-paper. Nancye Perry, an entomologist, worked at a number of institutes including the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Commonwealth Department of Health Plant Quarantine Division. Prior to her Australian posts, Perry worked in the UK with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research's Forest Products Research Laboratory. In 1957 she married and was forced to resign from her Health Department post as at the time married women were not allowed to work for the Australian Government. Perry then moved her attention to painting and the arts.

and the bookplate of Tristan Buesst glued in on inside front cover. Although Geoff Serle had the decisive role in the successful creation of the Friends of the La Trobe Library, he was aided by a dedicated group of collectors and historians anxious to promote and to support the Australiana wing of the State Library of Victoria. Foremost among them was Tristan Noel Marchand Buesst (1894-1982), who served as President of the provisional committee in 1966. Buesst was head of an organization that achieved a great deal in helping to build up the Library's collections and to make them the focus of serious scholarly endeavour.

and the bookplate of Hanaford, Bookseller, Exeter on the bottom right of the inside cover.

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