Comment: Explorers

I'm very surprised to see that David Carnegie isn't mentioned as one of the famous early explorers - despite his incredible feat of travelling from Lake Darlot to Halls Creek and back, in virtually a straight line, through the Little Sandy Desert, the Gibson Desert and the Great Sandy Desert, in 1896-97. This trip took him and his companions, 13 months to complete.
His book relating his W.A. prospecting adventures and the Lake Darlot-Halls Creek expedition, is entitled "Spinifex and Sand", and is a free, on-line publication.
http://freeread.com.au/ebooks/e00042.html#p1c1
Cheers - Ron N.
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Reply By: Member - Geoff B (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 09:10

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 09:10
Hi Ron,
I agree. I have read Davids book and found it so interesting. In 2010 while doing the Gary Highway, we went to 'mulgan rockhole' and 'Mcphersons pillar' which he visited 114 years before. Except for a small plaque I dont think it would have changed very much at all in all those years. He had written in his diary that it was "surely the most god-forsaken place on the face of the earth". We think that it is so beautiful out there, but i suppose haveing comfy beds, 4WDs, fridges etc does help! lol
Sue B
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Reply By: ExplorOz - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 11:52

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 11:52
Thanks for that, I admit I made the article "visible" a little prematurely (I have been working on it for ages) but it was a public holiday here over the weekend and I just wanted it finished!! It's been a challenge to get the right balance of information vs article length but ok... I'll go back and revisit it - my gut told me there were some important people missed. I wasn't going to be promoted (in the newsletter) until it was finished anyway.

Michelle

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 12:18

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 12:18
No problems, Michelle. You did good work. It would be difficult to cover all those who contributed to exploration of the interior of Australia before the advent of the motor vehicle.
In fact, even in the first 40 years of the 20th century, there were still explorers of note, carrying out risky exploration on wheels.
However, one has to admire those who used animals, it must have been terrible trying to balance scarce water use between the humans and the animals.

Another explorer of lesser note was L.A. Wells, a South Australian. In conjunction with his story, is the little-mentioned part that the Afghan/Pakistani/Baluchistan cameelers played, in opening up the interior.
These blokes were incredibly tough blokes, and the role they played in exploration and development of the Outback deserves greater accolades than they get.

The Calvert Expedition (led by L.A. Wells) - http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=205#e834 (click on headings to advance the pages)

Did you know? (early exploration things you probably didn't know) -

http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=396

Australia's Muslim Cameleer heritage -

http://recollections.nma.gov.au/issues/vol_2_no2/notes_and_comments/australias_muslim_cameleer_heritage

Cheers - Ron.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 12:45

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 12:45
Thanks Ron, I really enjoyed the research for this one. I've always been intested in our early histroy and most of the stories I'm quite familiar with and have been pretty much right through all these regions/areas with their journeys in mind, or notes with me. To me, it really brings the whole journey together to consider the perils the early explorers went through to get there the hard way!

Not sure if we still sell the Calvert Expedition notes - we used to, and I've read it all actually.

But I must say, through all this, I was reminded just how bloody narrow-minded the English were in those early years! Those that were successful, were indeed pioneers. I have yet to do a piece on the 20th Century explorers and include Len Beadell of course. At one point I was going to include it within this one, but that's when I decided it would be too much/long.

Thanks for reading it and sharing your links and comments.
Michelle

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Reply By: Skippype - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 15:45

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 15:45
Ron
That's a really good read. Thanks for that link.
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Reply By: equinox - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 19:57

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 19:57
Hi Ron,

To tell you the truth I am not at all surprised that Hon. David Wynford Carnegie is not mentioned.

When one starts to sift through all the available information available be it internet, books or archives with a view perhaps to providing some sort of summary on the issue, the names of the explorers mentioned in this article are very often the most popular.

For obvious reasons exploration started from Sydney, and then as other settlements developed, they became the starting and finishing points of various expeditions.

Soon it was a duel between Victoria and South Australia as to who who crossed the middle first and then most of the usable continent was mapped. Yet not the interior of Western Australia.

So come along David Carnegie, who noticed when he got here in the 1890's that the interior of WA had yet to be mapped properly. He grabs four men and a black boy and goes off to have a look and reaches Halls Creek from Coolgardie only to realise he hasn't scratched his itch so he comes back again by a different route (briefly going into the Northern Territory of South Australia east of Lake MacDonald).

Well it's a little too late Mr. Carnegie; he obviously didn't realise that the bureaucrats and the professors sitting in there nice comfortable leather chairs overlooking Sydney Harbour had already written "The Exploration of Australia", and there was no room for anymore, especially those convict tarnished, barbarians west of longitude 129 and that of Perth and the Swan River Colony.

So that's my take on it Ron, can't really blame Michelle here.

If there is something I would like to change about this article, it would be the main image of that W.J. Wills and that other fool. I beg Michelle to change it to an image more worthy.

I must admit I haven't studied the Wills and Burke Expedition intensively, really only read two or three books on it however one things for sure, Burke was an idiot.

J.M.R. Cameron sums up my point of view perfectly in the first paragraph of the introduction of "The Finest Goldfields in the World" by Hesparian Press.

"Accounts of exploration typically concentrate on the expedition itself or on the expedition and its immediate aftermath. Accounts of Australian exploration seem particularly oriented this way, perhaps because our explorers have always been portrayed as heroes pitting their skills and their well against a hostile, unforgiving environment. Clearly, there is an underlying truth here because the notable Australian explorations do have a heroic quality,probably more pronounced the less competent the explorer was. The disastrous sorties by George Grey or Burke and Wills and the benign way they have been treated in the historical record readily spring to mind. They form part of our gallery of glorious if somewhat flawed heroes who occupy their pedestals at the expense of others like the Forrests or the Gregory Brothers or the countless unnamed shepherds, drovers, and prospectors whose assessments of the continent's resources were carried out with the minimum of fuss or difficult and whose achievements were ultimately of far greater significance."

Cheers
Alan

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In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"


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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 11:02

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 11:02
teehee.. well you'll like the update I did yesterday then Alan...not sure I"m 100% finished yet though. MM

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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 12:11

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 12:11
Well there you go!! Thanks for the update Michelle.

Sorry for the couple of historical and grammatical errors in my post - it was written in a "burst" of passion, and I forgot to proof read before I posted.

Cheers
Alan

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In whatever comes our way.
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