PHILLIP, Arthur (1738-1814)
The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay
with an account of the establishment of the Colonies of Port Jackson & Norfolk Island; compiled from authentic papers, which have been obtained from the several departments, to which are added, the journals of Lieuts. Shortland, Watts, Ball, & Capt. Marshall; with an account of their new discoveries. London : John Stockdale, 1789. Quarto, full calf, rebacked with new spine, corners renewed, marbled endpapers, frontispiece portrait; engraved title (in the second state, without the name of the artist Henry Webber); pp 6, [errata; blank], viii, [8 – list of subscribers, a couple of tears with paper repairs], [3 – list of plates; blank], x, 298, lxxiv, 54 engraved plates & charts, tissue guards, tears to the folds of two charts (one with old paper repair), bound with the advertisements (often lacking); sparse foxing, occasional toning as usual, a good copy.
Published in London the year following the successful arrival of the First Fleet in New Holland, Stockdale’s work is the most detailed early account of the arduous voyage and is considered the foundation book of Australian settlement. Compiled, with an editor’s literary flourish, from Phillip’s official reports, as well as the journals of other officers in the First Fleet, this account describes the voyage from England and the first months at Port Jackson, a period extending from March 1787 to September 1788. It captures the administrative and functional challenges facing the fledgling colony, which were rendered all the more difficult by its remoteness and its spectacularly alien natural environment. The work describes the initial exploration of the Sydney region, its indigenous inhabitants, natural history and landscape. It includes the plan of Sydney Cove made by Dawes and Hunter, which is the earliest plan of the settlement of Sydney. It also includes the first published account of La Perouse’s expedition – it was due to Phillip that the documentation of the latter half of the expedition was saved.
The appendix contains a list of the convicts transported with the First Fleet, and is a major source for Australian genealogy. The list of subscribers attests to the anticipation surrounding the publication of this work: Thomas Pennant, John Latham, Joseph Banks, Alexander Dalrymple and George Staunton to name but a few.
The account is illustrated with several dozen plates, mostly after drawings and specimens sent back to London by Surgeon General John White. The work was published in two states, one with the plates uncoloured, and another in deluxe format, “the rare coloured issue of this classic, only a very few copies were produced in this form” (Hill).
“Phillip’s writing was like the man himself: honest, direct and unaffected … It offers a full record of events both on land and on sea in the first months of the settlement, detailing the early expeditions of Philllip and the other officers into the interior around Botany Bay and Port Jackson … The importance of Stockdale’s Phillip must not be underestimated … [it is] a key work and essential to any serious collection of Australian books.” (Wantrup)
Ferguson 47; Wantrup 5; Hill 1347; Nissen, ZBI, 3158; Kroepelien 1249