London, Dulau, 1896.
Quarto, four volumes, [ii], xviii, 220 pages with illustrations and a map plus 11 pages of plates and a large folding map (650 × 615 mm); [ii], iv, 432 pages with illustrations plus 28 pages of plates (1 folding, 11 in colour) and a corrigenda slip at page 1; [vi], 204 pages with illustrations plus 9 pages of plates (2 folding); and [vi], 200 pages with illustrations plus 20 pages of plates (6 folding, 4 of them in colour).
Original cloth, all edges uncut; cloth slightly rubbed, bumped and flecked; small cancelled library stamp and a six-digit reference number in ink on each title page (but see below); some foxing (confined mainly to the endpapers and adjacent leaves); trifling chips to some uncut edges, and the very occasional fingermark to the odd page; overall an excellent set throughout.
The set was withdrawn from the Public Library of New South Wales; the cancelled stamps are signed by Ida Emily Leeson (1885-1964), the second Mitchell Librarian (from 1932 until [officially] 1946). A pencilled note in each volume indicates the set entered the library on 16 March 1909. It subsequently entered the collection of Professor Andrew Arthur Abbie (1905-1976), anatomist and anthropologist, whose bookplate is on each front pastedown, with the date 'c.1938' written below it. Professor Abbie's annotations in pencil are to be found on nine pages of the fourth volume ('Anthropology'); the most significant of these are the 60 words written in the margins of several pages discussing diseases (pages 127-129). Interesting though this provenance is, let us not forget the books! The purpose of this scientific expedition, sponsored by mining magnate and philanthropist William Austin Horn, and with Charles Winnecke as commander and surveyor, was to examine the MacDonnell Ranges on the not unreasonable premise that 'when the rest of the Continent was submerged the elevated portions of the McDonnell [sic] Range existed as an island, and that consequently older forms of life might be found in the more inaccessible parts'. This in fact proved not to be the case, but the expedition (of some fourteen weeks and 2000 camel miles undertaken between May and August 1894) was an outstanding success. 'It was not the intention ... to explore a new region ... But in the pursuit of natural history the expedition split into independent groups and explored undiscovered areas, thus filling in more of the blank spaces in this vast region' (Feeken, Feeken and Spate: 'The Discovery and Exploration of Australia', ). 'These volumes constitute one of the most substantial contributions in nineteenth-century Australian exploration [but perhaps more importantly, the expedition is] a landmark in anthropological history because it resulted in [Baldwin] Spencer meeting Frank Gillen' (Mulvaney).