Who were the great Australian explorers?
Most people immediately think of men like Burke and Wills, Giles, Sturt, Grey, Stuart, Leichhardt, Kennedy and Eyre: and it is true that, besides their achievements, all of these suffered great hardships, and some perished, making them more memorable historically.
However, in Western Australia, during the first century of settlement, there were other explorers, largely unknown, who traversed equally dangerous and desolate regions, but they were resolute and skilled bushmen who did not perish, become lost, or have to be rescued. They returned without fuss or acclaim, to write reports and get ready for their next journeys. There were, of course, a few colourful characters associated with this saga, and we look closely at them too.
Western Australians, and to a certain extent, Australians generally, owe much of their present prosperity to WA’s energy and mineral resource sectors. The groundbreaking work done by these “forgotten explorers” (and the small band of outstanding laboratory scientists who supported them) laid the basis of our present knowledge.
This book is the first to give brief histories of all the main geologists who worked in this early period, and mentions many others who had connections, albeit to a lesser extent, with the vital work of investigating the geology, landforms, soils and resources of Australia’s largest State.