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Ernest Favenc


The exploration of the centre of the continent was long retarded by the difficult nature of the country - by its aridity, its few continuously-watered rivers, and the supposed horse-shoe shape of Lake Torrens, which thrust its vast shallow morass across the path of the daring explorers making north.

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.

[Map (Diagram). Supposed Extent and Formation of Lake Torrens in 1846.]


The published Journals of all the Explorers of Australia. 
Reports of Explorations published in Parliamentary Papers. 
History of New South Wales, from the Records. (Barton and Bladen.) 
Account of New South Wales, by Captain Watkin Tench. 
Manuscript Diaries of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth. 

In introducing this book, I should like to commend it to its readers as giving an account of the explorers of Australia in a simple and concise form not hitherto available.

It introduces them to us, tells the tale of their long-tried patience and stubborn endurance, how they lived and did their work, and gives a short but graphic outline of the work they accomplished in opening out and preparing Australia as another home for our race on this side of the world.

We have now to deal with an exploring expedition of greater notoriety than that of any similar enterprise in the annals of Australia, though its results in the way of actual exploration in the true meaning of the term were quite insignificant. The expedition could not reasonably hope to reveal any new geographical conditions; for the nature of the country to be traversed was fairly well-known: there was no such expanse of unknown territory along the suggested course of travel as to justify the anticipation of any discovery of magnitude.


John McKinlay was born at Sandbank, on the Clyde, in 1819. He first came to the colony of New South Wales in 1836, and joined his uncle, a prosperous grazier, under whose guidance he soon became a good bushman with an ardent love of bush life. He took up several runs near the South Australian border, and thenceforth became associated with that province.

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