On this day, 24th November 1859, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species… was published for the first time.
“On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” put forth Darwin’s theory of evolutionary selection, which expounded that survival or extinction of populations of organisms is determined by the process of natural selection, achieved through that population’s ability to adapt to its environment.
The State Library of New South Wales holds a rare first edition of this publication, pictured above.
Charles Darwin visited Australia in 1836 and spent 2 months touring and collecting specimens. Read more
The State Library of New South Wales Charles Darwin Down Under 1836 exhibition guide from 2009
Australia provided some important insights for Darwin in the development of his theory of natural selection and would continue to do so as he corresponded with a number of scientists and collectors in the colony. ‘I feel a great interest about Australia, and read every book I can get hold of’, he wrote in 1853 to Syms Covington, his servant on Beagle, who later emigrated to Australia.