This book contains fourteen chapters on the MAEANDER's visit to the Indonesian Archipelago, the Philippines, Malaysia and several descriptions of piracy in the South China Sea in 1848-1853. A large folding chart engraved by J & C Walker titled 'Chart of the Indian Archipelago shewing the track of HM Ship MAEANDER', is held in the backboard endpaper pocket. It depicts the Indonesian Archipelago, New Guinea and the Philippines. The account also includes illustrations by the respected artist Oswald Brierly who was present during part of the ship's voyage.
SignificanceCaptain Henry Keppel's narrative provides a detailed account of maritime travel in the South China Seas, Hong Kong, Macao and Singapore. The descriptions of the early settlements in Australia during the mid-19th century provide an insight into the emerging colonies.
HistoryHMS MAEANDER (also spelled MEANDER) was a British Royal Navy Seringapatum class 44-gun vessel launched on 5 May 1840 and wrecked at Ascension Island, in the South Atlantic Ocean in 1870. In 1859 it was stationed in Devonport, United Kingdom. Captain Keppel was appointed command in 1847 and he visited many ports in Australia, including Port Essington, Cape York, Sydney, Hobart and Norfolk Island.
In 1850 the respected artist Oswald Brierly came on board as a guest of Commander Henry Keppel. Brierly stayed with the vessel during its remaining voyage in the Pacific and sketched many ports including those in New Zealand and the Friendly and Society Islands.
Keppel published accounts of his two major expeditions, ‘Expedition to Borneo of HMS DIDO for the Suppression of Piracy' (with extracts from the journal of James Brooke) (1846), and 'A Visit to the Indian Archipelago in HMS MAEANDER' (1853). Keppel's recorded accounts of Australia featured descriptions of the Indigenous people of Northern Australia. These two books were later made into an autobiography about Keppel published in 1899 and called 'A Sailors Life under Four Sovereigns'.