A while ago a friend asked me to provide a list of reading of the some of the explorers that came through the region I now call home. A small amount of research which involved me walking to my bookshelf provided a concise list. And a little more research showed these titles are out of copyright and available on the web for free!
Project Gutenberg is the place to go with the books available in a variety of formats (except there are no audio books listed for the following titles). This site has over 33,000 titles to download.
It is worthwhile to take a look at an Australian version which lists only Australian titles. It has a list of some of the Australian Explorers and their journals which are available online. It also links to a brief biography of the explorer.
Below are three of the books on my book shelf. The biographies are from Project Gutenberg Australia. To download the book click on the book title and a range of formats will be offered to you
David Wynford Carnegie – Spinifex and Sand
Carnegie was the fourth son of the Earl of Suffolk, England. After education as an engineer, David Carnegie worked on tea plantations in Ceylon, but joined the rush to Coolgardie when gold was discovered in Western Australia in 1892. Over a period of five years he prospected, and led several important exploring expeditions into some of Australia’s most arid areas. After leaving Australia, Canegie was appointed Assistant Resident in Nigeria where, at the age of twenty-nine, he died as a result of a wound inflicted by a poison arrow. At the time he was involved in attempting to stop a native uprising.
Ernest Giles – Australia Twice Traversed
Born in England in 1835, and educated in London, where he received a classical and literary education, Giles emigrated when he was 15 years old and joined his family in Adelaide. They had come to Australia the previous year. He spent some time working on cattle and sheep stations along the upper Darling River during which time he became a competent bushman.
Between 1872 and 1876 he led 5 expeditions into Australia’s unknown western interior, the last 2 on camels. He was driven by a desire to be the first to penetrate the area and set out without official support. He was never given material reward for his exploration work, but was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society.
During his travels he discovered Mount Olga, named the Gibson Desert and crossed the continent from east to west and later went back again by a different route. Despite initial setbacks and seemingly impenetrable wilderness, Giles never weakened in his purpose or his love of exploration. At one point in his travels, he sent his companion, Gibson, on to fetch help, riding their last horse, then struggled along on foot. Gibson was never heard of again. Giles ate the last of his horse meat and rapidly became weaker. Hunger drove him to eat, whilst still alive, a small dying wallaby, whose mother had evidently thrown it from her pouch. He was so hungry he wished he had its mother and father to “serve in the same way.”
In 1897 he died after contracting pneumonia whilst working as a clerk in the Coolgardie gold fields. Giles styled himself as “the last of the Australian explorers.”
John McDouall Stuart – Explorations in Australia
John McDouall Stuart already had an established reputation as an explorer when, in 1859, the South Australian Government offered £2,000 reward for the first man to cross Australia from south to north.
Setting out from Adelaide in 1860, he eventually reached the centre of Australia-the first man to do so. The hill named Central Mount Stuart commemorates this achievement.
On both this and a later attempt, he was forced to turn back, and it was not until 1862, with his third expedition, that he met with success, reaching the north coast near Darwin on 24th July.
Returning to Adelaide, Stuart was able to report that good pasture land was to be had to the north, and as a result of this expedition, South Australia accepted temporary control of Northern Territory. The Overland Telegraph, completed in 1872, follows very closely the route taken by Stuart.
Have a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon.