# 29580

STOW, J[efferson]. P[ickman]. (1830 - 1908)

The voyage of the Forlorn Hope 1865.

$2,200.00 AUD

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Melbourne : George Robertson & Co., 1894. Octavo, lettered wrappers (chipped and torn with loss to spine, repaired by an expert paper conservator), title page with silverfishing and loss, conserved with Japanese tissue, presentation inscription from the author’s daughter to Alfred Rowan dated at Adelaide, 1907 (some loss to the inscription), pp. [vi], 42, (2 – blank); frontispiece portrait of the author, inscribed in pen in a later hand ‘from the author’s daughter’, one full-page photogravure plate of the Forlorn Hope foundering in a storm by Scott Barry (Adelaide), one of the figures identified with a cross and inscribed ‘J. P. Stow’ underneath; old central crease, otherwise a good copy, clean throughout.

Rare second edition of the Voyage of the Forlorn Hope, one of the greatest maritime narratives in Australian history. Stow’s memoir describes his epic voyage in an open boat around the northwest coast of Australia from the fledgling settlement at Adam Bay at the mouth of the Adelaide River to Champion Bay, north of Geraldton.

Having travelled from Adelaide to Adam Bay as a private agent for land purchases during the South Australian Government survey in the Top End in 1864-65, Jefferson Stow and a number of other men essentially found themselves stranded at the new settlement following the departure of most of the surveying party in the Bengal, which sailed for Adelaide via Koepang in May 1865.

Together with surveyors Arthur R. Hamilton and William McMinn, Stow purchased a small two-masted vessel (similar to a whaleboat) which had been one of the boats from the barque Bengal, with the daring plan to sail round to the Camden Harbour settlement in Western Australia. They intended to hug the coast as much as possible, since they had no chronometer and could not determine longitude. At Camden Harbour they would be able to replenish provisions and might, with any luck, intercept a Fremantle-bound ship. They recruited a crew of four other men for the dangerous voyage: sailors John White and James Davis, and labourers Francis Edwards and Charles Hake. (Note: both Hamilton and Hake had pioneered photography in the Top End, probably being the first men to use a camera in the region, and their precious photographic equipment was carried on board). The men named their tiny boat The Forlorn Hope, and set out in her from Adam Bay on 6 May 1865.

The intrepid expedition managed to reach Camden Harbour on 29 May, just as their supplies ran out. The newly-established settlement there had proven to be a dismal failure, but the men were able to re-provison and to acquire a ship’s compass which would help them navigate south to Champion Bay and the relative safety of the settlement of Geraldton, where they made landfall on 8 July.

Hamilton and Hake remained at Geraldton to take photographs; the other five Forlorn Hope expeditioners continued on to Fremantle by the barge Sea Bird, arriving there on 20 July. In Perth their reports of the settlements at Adam Bay and Champion Bay and of their epic voyage created much interest. The party then journeyed overland by mailcart to King George Sound. Stow and at least two of his companions then departed from Albany for Adelaide on the Rangatira, which arrived at Port Adelaide on 11 August 1865.

Stow’s account was first printed in the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper between 21 August and 1 September 1865. (Stow joined the staff of that newspaper in the same year, and became its editor in 1876). It was first published separately on 21 September 1865. The 1894 edition is a longer and more detailed narrative, dedicated by Stow to his “dear comrades Arthur Hamilton and William McMinn”.

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