History Archive > An Historical Account of the Colony of New South Wales (1821)

An historical account of the colony of New South Wales and its dependent settlements : in illustration of twelve views / engraved by W. Preston from drawings taken on the spot by Captain Wallis. To which is subjoined An accurate map of Port Macquarie and the newly discovered River Hastings / by J. Oxley.

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Date: 1821

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MLA 8

Wallis, James. An Historical Account of the Colony of New South Wales. London : Printed for R. Ackermann by J. Moyes. 1821.

APA

Wallis, James (1821) An Historical Account of the Colony of New South Wales. London : Printed for R. Ackermann by J. Moyes.

Chicago

Wallis, James, An Historical Account of the Colony of New South Wales. London : Printed for R. Ackermann by J. Moyes. 1821.

Description

Australia's first topographical view book, one of the most important of all Australia's early illustrated books and the first widely-published celebration of progress in the colony under Macquarie's rule. Major James Wallis had arrived in New South Wales in 1814, and at the time, Newcastle enjoyed a fearsome reputation for as a place for secondary punishment and was described by a contemporary officer as 'the Hell of New South Wales'.

This famous series of views engraved by Wallis is the first to appear in book form; they show in great detail scenes in Sydney, Newcastle, and the Hawkesbury River, as well as an Aboriginal corroboree, kangaroos and black swans. They follow on the work of Absalom West who issued his views as separate engravings a few years previously.

Wallis and West are further connected by the fact that the convict-engraver Walter Preston worked for both of them. For many years the attribution of Wallis as the artist was a matter of historical conjecture (the implication being that he had appropriated the work of Preston and Lycett). However, the recent revelation of original watercolor material by Wallis establishes him as the artist.

Not that this fact diminishes the achievement of the convict engravers: Preston was tasked with working upon the only copper sheets available, manufactured for sheathing the hulls of ships, a difficult material softer than standard engraving copper. No other material for plates being available in the colony at the time.

Ultimately, both Preston and Lycett were pardoned by Macquarie on Wallis' recommendation, in no small part because of their work on this book. When Wallis departed Australia in 1819 he took the plates with him to London where this book was published by Ackermann, complete with an introductory history of the colony and a map of Port Macquarie by the surveyor John Oxley.

Folio, with six double-page engraved views, and six single-page views, a map of Port Macquarie and part of the Hastings River (by John Oxley)

42 pages, [19] leaves of plates : illustrations, map ; 51 cm. (fol.)

References:

Australian Rare Books pp.285-289. Ferguson, J.A. Bibliography of Australia, 842.

Publication Information

Publisher: London : Printed for R. Ackermann by J. Moyes

Language(s):

English

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ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-07-23

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