The Comic History of Victoria, after the Style of Gilbert A. a'Beckett (a Very Long Way). Written by Mr W.B. Gill, and delivered by him, with Immense Applause, at the Suburban Penny Readings [cover title]
Melbourne, Charlwood and Son, Booksellers, Stationers, and Printers, [July 1867].
Duodecimo (167 x 108 mm), 4 pages plus the original blue title-wrappers (with advertising on all three other sides of the covers).
Wrappers lightly creased, with the front panel a little soiled; a very good copy lightly saddle-stitched into later flush-cut quarter cloth and marble-papered card covers (done by an earnest if not very capable amateur).
Bound in before the pamphlet is a four-page manuscript key to personalities and events alluded to in the screed; this is written, signed and presumably compiled by Edward Edgar Pescott (1872-1954), horticulturalist, naturalist, author, bibliographer, book-collector of some consequence (and he's probably the indifferent binder too). When Pescott paid two guineas for the item in 1946 it probably was tantamount to unique (as the vendor and Pescott have written no less than four times here and there), but Trove has put the lie to that idea. It has also established beyond doubt the date of publication - Saturday 20 July 1867 - according to the advertisements in the 'Argus' on that and the previous day. Ferguson 9927 (noting a curious variant, with the four text pages numbered 3-6, as per the digitized Petherick copy available online; in our copy they are numbered 1-4). Gill's magnum opus is still pretty funny, contemporary political correctness aside; for that reason, we'll skip quoting from the first page and a half. By this stage in the timeline, responsible government has been achieved, but the Battle of Eureka has yet to be fought (thus, between January 1851 and December 1854). Here, the author 'will pass over a lapse of years, during which nothing of any importance occurred - except the introduction of meat or fruit pies, all hot, and the unlimited consumption of two ales - and come to the period when Charles I., surnamed Hotham, ascended the throne'.