Mitchell, Thomas Livingstone

Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell (1792-1855)  became Surveyor-General in 1828 and was knighted in 1839. He undertook three major expeditions in northern NSW, along the Murray, Darling, Leichhardt and Murrumbidgee Rivers. He wrote lyrically of these adventures in his two volume work Three Expeditions in the Interior of Eastern Australia: With Descriptions of the Recently Explored Region of Australia Felix and of the Present Colony of New South Wales, which was published in London by T & W Boone Publishers in 1838. The volumes were reviewed in Australian newspapers, with the Hobart Town Courier (22 Feb 1839) describing Mitchell’s descriptive powers as “exceedingly good” and that he was “an agreeable, entertaining, and most instructive companion”. The Colonist (1 May 1839) reviewed his book in a special section titled ‘Literature and Science’ and praised him as “a scientific and amiable author”.

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Nattai tribal chief, Moyengully.



The book included beautiful lithographs of the country, its animals, birds and aboriginal people. Mitchell included a portrait of Nattai tribal chief, Moyengully, who he described as one of his earliest aboriginal friends.





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Speaking about himself in the third person, Mitchell wrote in the Preface to the First Edition: “With respect to the narrative of those expeditions, the sole merit which he claims is that of having faithfully described what he attentively observed; neither his pencil nor his pen has been allowed to pass the bounds of truth”.