London: Aylott and Jones, 8, Paternoster-Row, 1848. Third Edition. [Presented to George Ranken by Samuel Robinson]. Octavo, pp. xviii, 862, (2) Advertisements, half title, portrait frontispiece with tissue guard, Appendix. Half leather with five raised bands, gilt lettering on spine, all edges speckled, marbled endpapers. Presentation slip on lined paper pasted onto the front free endpaper, telegram pasted onto the front paste-down, signed note in George Ranken's hand on first blank. Item #802
George Ranken (1827 - 1895) was a surveyor, pastoralist, public servant and writer. He wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald on questions of land under the pseudonymn Capricornus, and 1883 was commissioned with Augustus Morris to enquire into the land laws of the colony. The report aroused controversy but provided the framework for The Land Act of 1884. He also wrote pamphlets and two novels. Windabyne was published in serial form by The Australian in 1878-79 and published in book form in London after his death. According to The Australian Dicitonary of Biography (online), "Ranken joined his brother in a surveying business at Young about 1888. He became a justice of the peace and a member of the local Land Board and was an active member of the Phoenix Literary and Debating Society. On 6 May 1895 he died at Nestle Brae, Young, leaving a wife and four sons. He was buried in the Presbyterian section of the Young cemetery."
Samuel Robinson was Police magistrate for Young for 18 years and presented this volume to Ranken as a symbol of his regard when he left. The presentation note reads "Presented George Ranken Esq. J.P. as a mark of my highest esteem and regard. S. Robinson. Young. 9.3.94". The note on the next page (the first balnk recto) reads, " Received from Samuel Robinson Esqr. Police Magistrate for eighteen years on the occasion of his leaving Young. 9th March, 1894. George Ranken." That the two men may have enjoyed an enduring friendship, or that Ranken may have known Robinson's family, is suggested by the telegram that has been pasted onto the front paste-down. It is from Robinson to Ranken, dated the 27th of June 1894, and simply reads, "My father died last night from an attack of heart."