Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.S. Fly
[FLY VOYAGE] JUKES, J. Beete
Price: 4,850.00 AUD
London: T. & W. Boone, 1847. Two volumes, octavo, 17 plates and two folding maps, illustrated; in attractive old pale tan half calf, double labels. First edition of this important account of the Fly's surveying voyage of coastal Australia. Jukes' account is particularly significant for his description of the Queensland coast, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Torres Strait, and includes an impressively detailed map of the north-east coast from Endeavour River north to New Guinea. Numerous encounters with native peoples, particularly in the Torres Strait are illustrated in the splendid plates (mostly by Harden S. Melville) and described in the text. The Fly, Captain Blackwood, sailed from Falmouth on 11 April 1842 with the cutter Bramble. Jukes sailed as naturalist to the expedition, and with his captain's consent wrote the official narrative. The survey of Torres Strait and of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the various New Guinea explorations, were all of great importance. The proper scientific understanding of the Barrier Reef could not begin until the completion of the survey, which Jukes charted for the first time in detail. Jukes' own close examination of the Reef was also significant, and his chapter on the subject 'is an invaluable record. His observations strongly supported Darwin's theory of the formation of coral reefs...' (Davidson). Indeed, Jukes' interest in coral formation is neatly summarised by the account's terrific opening line, 'I landed for the first time in my life on a coral island.' --- Ingleton notes: 'the Admiralty decided in 1841 to have the Great Barrier Reefs explored and to have the gaps surveyed in order that some means might be devised for marking the most eligible of these openings, in order that they could be recognised in due time and passed through in comparative safety... The expedition was noteworthy for being the first to be despatched to Australia on a purely surveying mission...' (Charting a Continent, pp. 61-66). Twelve of the plates are notably fine aquatints by Harden S. Melville, who published his own illustrated work on the voyage (Sketches in Australia and the Adjacent Islands, 1849). A very good copy.