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.

The battle that they fought and won was over great natural difficulties and obstacles, as fortunately there were no ferocious wild beasts in Australia, while the danger from the hostility of the aborigines (though a barbarous people) was with care and judgment, with a few exceptions, avoided.

Their triumph has resulted in peaceful progress and in permanent occupation and settlement of a vast continent.

Of all the Australian explorers the fate of Leichhardt - "the Franklin of Australia," as the author so justly terms him - is alone shrouded in mystery. "No man knoweth his sepulchre to this day." His party of six white men (including Leichhardt) and two black boys, with 12 horses, 13 mules, 50 bullocks, and 270 goats, have never been heard of since they left McPherson's station on the Cogoon on 3rd April, 1848; and although there have been several attempts to unravel the mystery, there is scarcely a possibility of any discovery in regard to their fate ever being made.

There can be no doubt that the fascination concerning the work of the early explorers of Australia will gather strength as it goes. Hitherto we have been too close to them rightly to appreciate what was done. This book therefore comes at an opportune time, and is a valuable record. The author has already done a great service to Australian explorations by his writings, and in the present instance has added to our obligation to him by condensing the records into a smaller compass, and by that means has brought it within convenient limits for use in schools and for general readers.

Of the explorers of Australia, eleven have been honoured by being placed on the Golden Roll (Gold Medallists) of the Royal Geographical Society of London; Edward John Eyre being the first to receive the honour in 1843, and Ernest Giles being the eleventh and last to receive it in 1880. In the order of Nature one generation passeth away and another generation cometh, and so it comes to pass that every one on the Golden Roll except myself has gone to the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns.

That the Australian people will always remember the deeds of those, who, in their day and generation, under arduous and difficult conditions devoted themselves to the exploration of the Continent goes without saying, and I, who in bygone years had the honour of assisting in the task, heartily wish that such fruit may be born of those deeds that Australia will continue to increase and flourish more and more abundantly, and thus fulfil her destiny as the great civilising and dominating power in the Southern Seas.


The Bungalow, Hay Street, Perth, Western Australia, January 7th, 1908.