It is also the most detailed of those early accounts of English settlement of the Australian continent.
An exceptional example offered by Australian Book Auctions (19.8% buyer’s premium) in a May 29 sale of the Michael Aitkin collection more than doubled the high estimate to sell at a record Aus$26,000 (£15,115).
Based almost entirely on the papers of Phillip’s successor as governor, John Hunter, and supplemented by official records and dispatches, the second volume is not as common as the first. It is, however, of great importance both for its chronicle of later events and for the narratives of many voyages and expeditions of discovery.
One such is “an account of a voyage performed by Captain Flinders and Mr Bass; by which the existence of a Strait separating Van Diemen’s Land from the continent of New Holland was ascertained”.
Bound into the first volume of this copy, evidently at the time of binding, is a folding manuscript map of the Australian continent with many features on the coast named. The auctioneers, based in Armadale, Melbourne, noted a suggestion that Matthew Flinders may have contributed to the map.