South Australia in 1844-45. A Description of the Actual State of the Colony, of its Sources of Wealth, and of the Moral and Physical Condition of its Inhabitants. Also, a Comparison with other British Dependencies; and Full Information for developing its Latent Capabilities, particularly in Reference to Fruits and Plants grown in Warm Countries
Adelaide, Andrew Murray, Printer, Rundle Street (Sold by C. Platts, Bookseller, Hindley Street ...), 1845.
Octavo, xii (last blank), 106 pages plus a folding etching, but lacking the folding frontispiece map noted by Ferguson.
Original bright green wrappers with the full title page details repeated on the front cover (with the date of publication now added); wrappers a little marked, but expertly conserved (the front cover is now lined on the verso, stabilizing a long tear, and filling in some minor loss to the edges); title page a little marked; occasional chips and dog-ear creases to the uncut edges; trifling signs of age and use, but essentially a very agreeable copy.
The State Library of South Australia has a copy of this item with the map (and it's a beauty - a hand-coloured lithograph, 322 × 213 mm, produced in 'Goodwood nr Adelaide' in 1845). However, reading between the lines, a case may be made for stating that not all copies were issued with the map. Its absence here notwithstanding, this is by any account a very rare publication, and worthy of serious consideration on at least two counts. The folding plate is an etching (paper size approximately 220 × 280 mm) of 'Ridley's Reaping Machine. S. Australia', signed and dated in the plate 'NRF 1845'. The artist is Frederick Robert Nixon (circa 1817-1860), who arrived in Adelaide in May 1838 to take up a position as assistant surveyor. In 1845, he published 'Twelve Views in Adelaide and its Vicinity, South Australia. Drawn, etched, and printed by F.R. Nixon'; it was the earliest South Australian plate book. He was a self-taught artist who 'had to manufacture all his machinery for preparing and pressing his etchings ... [they] are superior as works of art, and accurately as well as pleasingly depict the scenes which they represent ('The South Australian', 21 February 1845). Nixon left Adelaide in May 1846, bound for Mauritius, where he died in 1860. Kerr's 'The Dictionary of Australian Artists' (1992) records that the Ridley etching was the only other one he is known to have produced. There is a lengthy chapter (10 pages) on the Aboriginal inhabitants, and the chapter on horticulture contains seven pages on vines and wine-making, with the information credited to M. Vaillant (see page 58). Ferguson 4014.