SCOTT, George Firth
[SCIENCE FICTION; WESTERN AUSTRALIA] The last Lemurian : a Westralian romance (colonial edition)
London : James Bowden, 1898. First edition, colonial edition. Original pictorial boards with art nouveau design (corners bumped, edges rubbed, pen library marking to spine), first few leaves with wet stamp of ‘The Beehive – fancy goods repository, Gisborne [New Zealand]’, frontispiece and black and white plates by Stanley Ward, pp. 339,  publisher’s advertisements, scattered foxing and a few marks. The colonial edition of the first edition, in variant binding.
The German scientist Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834-1919) had first posited the idea of a lost land bridge between Africa and India which he believed could explain the widespread distribution of lemurs on two continents, and in 1864 the British zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater coined the term ‘Lemuria‘ to describe this hypothetical continent. The identification of Australia with Lemuria surfaced in several novels which appeared in the 1890s, creating a veritable Lemurian sub-genre of fantasy fiction. These works, in which the mythical land was also referred to as Zoo-Zoo Land and Malua, included James Francis Hogan’s The Lost Explorer (1890) and John David Hennessey’s An Australian Bush Track (1896). In George Firth Scott’s novel, The Last Lemurian, Lemuria is located in the Western Australian desert, where the protagonist, John Halwood, discovers a tribe of ancient pygmies ruled over by Tor Ymmothe, the yellow queen. A sleeping princess – whom Halwood has seen in a past vision – is guarded by Tor Ymmothe and waits dormantly for the arrival of her true lover.