HOWITT, Alfred William (1830–1908). The Native Tribes of South-East Australia. London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1904.
8vo., (8 6/8 x 5 4/8 inches). Half-title. 9 fine folding lithographed maps, illustrated throughout from photographs, and with one in-text map (some light spotting). Original green cloth, gilt, uncut.
Provenance: with the library label of Marion C. Walker on the front paste-down.
First edition, and an attractive copy. Howitt is probably best known for leading the tragic 1861 expedition to relieve or rescue Burke, Wills, King, and Gray. However, in the 1860s Howitt is known to have "read widely and deeply on the evolution of man and society in the literature of Charles Darwin, Lubbock, Galton and Tylor, and probably knew something of Maine, McLennan and Bachofen. He turned this new-found thought towards the Aboriginals and about 1864 began, without definite aim, to record all he could learn of the Kurnai and other south-eastern tribes... with unflagging zeal [he wrote] two dozen papers and The Native Tribes of South-East Australia (1904); although a summation of his work it is probably not his best memorial. In his last years he still had formative ideas to offer on many topics, including the ritual significance of the newly-discovered bullroarer and the ethnological puzzle of the Tasmanian and Australian Aboriginals. His output was the more remarkable in view of protracted, and on his part courteous, controversy with anthropological critics, the counter-attraction of botanical and petrological research and the cares of high office" (W. E. H. Stanner, 'Howitt, Alfred William (1830–1908)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University).