R.[obert] Brough Smyth rose to prominence in the mid-19th century through geological circles, ensconcing himself in the role of Chairman of the Board For The Protection Of Aborigines in the 1860s. Although relying heavily upon the works of a number of anthropologists, this comprehensive two-volume publication was an important contribution to the study of Indigenous culture and remains both uncommon and eagerly sought today.
Our copy is in an unfortunate state with the first volume having been dropped, it would seem, into a container of oil, staining the top corner throughout the entire volume. The pages, whilst discoloured and stiff, remain easily separated and the text is clearly legible. Both volumes have come away from their boards as pictured although volume two is otherwise in very good condition.
The foldout maps at the end of both volumes are present (often they are not) and in very good condition despite the oil staining in volume one.
Ordinarily, one would relegate this set to the status of “reading copy”, but it is an important association copy having been presented, and both volumes signed, by Sir Redmond Barry and dated just four months before his death.
Sir Redmond, in addition to being largely responsible for the establishment of what would later become the State Library of Victoria and the University of Melbourne, was a Supreme Court Justice who presided over the trial of Ned Kelly (his own death followed Kelly’s hanging by just 12 days).
Thus we have priced this set to sell in the hope that a willing restorer may be found.