In presenting to the public this history of those makers of Australasia whose work consisted in the exploration of the surface of the continent of Australia, I have much pleasure in drawing the reader's attention to the portraits which illustrate the text. It is, I venture to say, the most complete collection of portraits of the explorers that has yet been published in one volume. Some of them of course must needs be conventional; but many of them, such as the portrait of Oxley when a young man, and of A.C. Gregory, have never been given publicity before; and in many cases I have selected early portraits, whenever I had the opportunity, in preference to the oft published portrait of the same subject when advanced in years.
There are many who assisted me in the collection of these portraits. To Mr. F. Bladen, of the Public Library, Sydney; Mr. Malcolm Fraser, of Perth, Western Australia; Mr. Thomas Gill, of Adelaide; Sir John Forrest; The Reverend J. Milne Curran; Mr. Archibald Meston; and many others my best thanks are due. In fact, in such a work as this, one cannot hope for success unless he seek the assistance of those who remembered the explorers in life, or have heard their friends and relatives talk familiarly of them. Let me particularly hope that from these pages our youth, who should be interested in the exploration of their native land, will form an adequate idea of the character of the men who helped to make Australia, and of some of the adverse conditions against which they struggled so nobly.