STURT, Charles. The Central Australian Expedition 1844-1846. The Journals of Charles Sturt. Edited by Richard C. Davis. London: the University Press, Cambridge for the Hakluyt Society, 2002.
8vo (246 x 173mm). Original blue cloth, upper board with the Society's device in gilt, spine lettered in gilt, dustwrapper; pp. lxxi, [1 (blank)], 366, [2 (blank)]; colour-printed portrait frontispiece after John Crossland, 4 full-page illustrations, one in colour, one full-page map with route printed in red; dustwrapper very slightly creased at edges, otherwise a fine copy.
First edition. Third series, no. 10. The expedition led by Sturt (1795-1869), which was instituted to discover the centre of the Australian continent and establish the existence of a mountain range and an inland sea, left Adelaide with fifteen men, six drays, a boat, and 200 sheep on 10 August 1844: 'In eight days the party reached Moorundie and then followed the Murray River to its junction with the Darling, and up the Darling to the vicinity of Lake Cawndilla, where they camped for two months making several scouting expeditions into and beyond the Barrier Range. In December the party was short of water and some of the men showed signs of scurvy but they moved further north into the Grey Range. There they made a camp on permanent water fortunately found at Depot Glen on Preservation Creek. By that time summer heat had dried up all other water within reach and from 27 January 1845 to 16 July they were literally trapped in inhospitable country; men and equipment suffered terribly from the heat and Sturt's second-in-command, James Poole, died of scurvy. In July they were released by heavy rain. Sturt moved his party in a north-westerly direction to Fort Grey, whence he made a series of reconnoitring expeditions culminating in a 450-mile (724 km) journey towards the centre of the continent. Repulsed by the sand dunes of the Simpson desert he at last reluctantly abandoned the idea of an inland sea. Sturt and his party returned exhausted to Fort Grey and after another trip to the Cooper's Creek area from 9 October to 17 November they found the waterhole was rapidly drying. Return to the River Murray became imperative but nevertheless Sturt proposed that the main party should go home, while he and John McDouall Stuart made a do-or-die trip towards the centre. The surgeon, J.H. Browne, resisted so strongly that these heroics were dropped and the whole party went off together. At this point Sturt then succumbed to a serious attack of scurvy and Browne took command through the most difficult part of the journey. By using Aboriginal foods Sturt had almost recovered when the expedition reached Moorundie on 15 January. He arrived at Adelaide on 19 January 1846 ahead of his party, which followed a few days later' (ADB online, s.n.). In the course of the expedition, Sturt charted the Murray River for the first time, and he was subsequently awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Gold Medal for his achievements. This work reprints Sturt's journals, prefaced by a biography of Sturt, the historical context of the journals, and notes on editorial practice, and supplemented by four appendices.