THE FINAL, FINAL AND ONLY COMPLETE VERSION

Burke & Wills: PROGRESS REPORTS AND FINAL REPORT OF THE EXPLORATION COMMITTEE of the Royal Society of Victoria, 1863. Royal Society, Melbourne, 20th August, 1863 [but 1873, see below]. F'cap folio, First and only Complete Edition; pp. [ii](letter of transmission from John Macadam, verso blank), [ii](title, verso blank), [ii](second title, with list of officers & members of the Committee, verso blank), 8(First Report of the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society of Victoria (then the Philosophical Institute of Victoria). [text follows]), 4(Second Report ....), 2(Third Report ....), 6(Fourth Report ...., last blank), 4(Special Report of the Exploration Fund Committee for 1859, last blank), 4(Fifth Progress Report of the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society of Victoria for 1860, last blank), 8(Sixth Progress Report ... for 1861, last blank), 6(Seventh and Final Report ... for 1863, last blank), 6(Appendix I, last blank), 8(Appendix II); 16(Supplementary Final Report, last 3 blank); original quarter dark blue-green wave-embossed cloth, light blue-green printed papered boards, cut flush; but for some very minor soiling of the papered boards, a fine copy; extremely rare. Melbourne; Royal Society of Victoria; 1872 [1873].
***Ferguson 15185 (Mitchell Library copy only, with no mention of binding and miscollated); see also Renard, Fox Collection 2183 (first issue 1863); McLaren 5530 et seq. (but all his entries are unsatisfactory); and Wantrup: Catalogue of the Davidson Collection (Part 3) 475 (a variant copy in special binding with the final leaves on white paper, see below). All pages are printed on blue paper, and the printer's colophon "MASON AND FIRTH, PRINTERS, MELBOURNE." appears only at the foot of the last page of Appendix II. The signatures (first 5 leaves unsigned, B1-4, C1-4, D1-4, E1-4, F1-2, G1-4, H1-4, last 8 leaves unsigned) and unity of appearance would seem to leave little doubt that the whole, excepting the final 16 leaves, was printed by Mason and Firth. Ferguson mentions a Supplementary Final Report of eight pages printed on white paper. In this copy however, these pages are printed on blue laid paper, closely matching the blue wove paper of the earlier reports, the last blank, with the date Melbourne, 19th November, 1872 completing the report by William F. Stawell at the foot of Page 7. This is followed by a further 8 pages numbered 9-11 plus 2 unnumbered and 3 blank; these contain a List of Subscribers to the Exploration Fund, 3 pp., plus Balance Sheet and Summary of Expenditure, dated at end [Page 13] Melbourne, 7th July, 1873, and with the printer's colophon at foot: STILLWELL AND KNIGHT, PRINTERS, COLLINS STREET EAST. The cover title reads identically to the title quoted above except for the date, which is 1872, but clearly this is a later, and final (final, final!) issue. This is an original binding, completely undisturbed, with the endpapers of blue laid paper similar to that used for the 16-page Supplementary Final Report, but with the chain lines running horizontally. Apart from the Supplementary Final Report the collation of this copy agrees exactly with Ferguson (but for the interleaves, these obviously added, perhaps only to some issues). The front board carries a complete duplication of the (first) title as transcribed above (that which Ferguson calls the "short title"), but for the date 1872. On Page 7 of the Supplementary Final Report it is stated that about 200 copies of the seven previous reports are [still] available and it is resolved to publish this "final Supplementary Report" bound up in one volume with these previous reports for distribution to public institutions in the colony and elsewhere. This must place an upper limit on the number of complete copies produced. Some copies are recorded with the final supplement printed on white paper, and several with varying lesser numbers of leaves to it. The configuration of this copy must however be the complete and final version, the care taken to match the paper and the unity of appearance and presence of the integral final blank surely signifying the intended finale to the whole sorry saga. It is noted at the foot of Page 7 that the last act of the Committee "has been to hand over to the Public Library and the Royal Society all their papers and documents, carefully secured in a suitable box." #16383

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