A lively collection of extraordinary stories of adventure and discovery, The Explorers tells the epic saga of the conquest and settlement of Australia. Editor Tim Flannery selects sixty-seven accounts that convey the sense of wonder and discovery, along with the human dimensions of struggle and deprivation that occurred in the exploration of the last continent to be fully mapped by Europeans.
Beginning with the story of Dutch captain Willem Janz's 1606 expedition at Cape York -- the bloody outcome of which would sadly foreshadow future relations between colonists and Aboriginal peoples -- and running through Robyn Davidson's 1977 camelback ride through the desolate Outback deserts, The Explorers bristles with the enterprise that Flannery explains as "heroic, for nowhere else did explorers face such an obdurate country".
This is an anthology of excerpts from Australian Explorers journals ranging from early sixteenth century European Explorers to Australians in the early 20th century. Flannery's introduction for each provides an excellent, concise biography and set up to each explorer's excerpt. In many of the excerpts, an explorer faces death and disaster. The most intriguing initially was Charles Sturt writing of his attempt to find the mythical lake in the center of Australia. He brings a boat, experiences weather so hot it bursts a thermometer his party carries, they suffer from extreme scurvy, and Sturt's desire to be the first to reach the center of Australia. The second explorer I read in this collection was Ernest Giles. His except focuses on an expedition with his assistant Gibson, who goes for help and manages to get lost, and then Giles slowly makes his way back to base camp. Reading The Explorers fascinated me enough that I wanted to read more about specific explorers like Giles, but also about Australian explorers in general.
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