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Andy Macqueen, Frederick Robert D'Arcy: colonial surveyor, explorer and artist circa 1809-1875.

Andy Macqueen, Frederick Robert D'Arcy: colonial surveyor, explorer and artist circa 1809-1875, author, Sydney, 2010, 272 pages; ISBN 978 064653 359 9.

This biography of colonial surveyor Frederick D'Arcy is brought alive on the first page by the dismissive comment of Major Mitchell: 'A wild and inconsiderate youth, not without talent but he is so troublesome and noisy in the drawing room that I can only employ him as a clerk.' The young man went on to be the first European to explore the Colo area in the 1830s, and married colonial heiress Sophia Garling. Their descendant Andy Macqueen had a career as a water resources engineer and has also been an enthusiastic bushwalker and conservationist since the 1960s. His book reveals the challenges faced by surveyors such as D'Arcy, who had to contend not only with the bush, climate, and bushrangers but also with assistants and superiors who often had conflicting priorities. This handsome self-published volume has lavish illustrations including three of D'Arcy's own artworks and 15 other paintings and drawings, and 25 maps (13 by D'Arcy). Appendices contain many of D'Arcy's letters and the research sources are itemised in footnotes. The endpaper contains a family tree of D'Arcy's direct and collateral descendants.

Anne-Maree Whitaker

Book Review Editor

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Author:Whitaker, Anne-Maree
Publication:Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2010
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