FLINDERS, Matthew (1774-1814)
A Voyage to Terra Australis, undertaken for the purpose of completing the discovery of that vast country, and prosecuted in the years 1801, 1802, and 1803, in His Majesty's Ship The Investigator and subsequently in the armed vessel Porpoise and Cumberland schooner
London: W. Bulmer and Co. for G. and W. Nicol, 1814. 2 volumes only (lacking atlas volume of plates), quarto. (11 1/2 x 9 inches). Half-titles, 9 engraved plates by J. Byrne, John Pye, W. Woolnoth, I. Scott, Edward Finden and S. Middiman after William Westall. (Plates and pages on either side toned).
Contemporary half russia over marbled paper-covered boards, the flat spines divided into six compartments by double gilt fillets, lettered in the second compartment, numbered in the fourth
A fine set of the first edition text of the first circumnavigation of Australia an enlightening and fascinating story of brilliant navigation and discovery. Wantrup rightly calls this work "the most outstanding book on the coastal navigation of Australia," and "the centrepiece of any collection of books dealing with Australian coastal discovery."
Flinders sailed from England on 18 July 1801, and during the next two years he surveyed the entire south coast of Australia from Cape Leeuwin to Bass Strait, the east coast, and the Gulf of Carpentaria. He returned to Port Jackson in 1803 having completed the first circumnavigation of Australia. On the return journey, Flinders was detained by the French in Mauritius for six and a half years and was not released until June 1810. He devoted the remainder of his life to the publication of this work, which was formally published one day before his death on 19 July 1814. It is a day-by-day record of the expedition and includes a lengthy introduction detailing earlier South Seas voyages and an appendix by Robert Brown, the botanist who accompanied the expedition. Flinders took great pains to insure the accuracy of the work and the charts contained in the atlas were used for navigation for over a century. The two volumes of text were originally published in both large-paper and normal issues: the present set is from the regular-sized issue.
Ferguson 576; Hill (2004) 614; Ingelton 6487; Nissen BBI 637; Stafleu & Cowan I,1806; Wantrup Australian Rare Books, pp.138-144.