The Fair Maid of Perth, and how the Gibson Desert was Named.

Monday, Dec 29, 2008 at 01:00


The "Fair Maid of Perth", the horse that accompanied explorer Alfred Gibson to his death is not named after Western Australia's capital Perth, as is sometimes thought, but the town in Scotland.

It originally comes from a novel set in the 14th Century by Sir Walter Scott, titled St. Valentine's Day; or, The Fair Maid of Perth. It was set in Perth and other parts of Scotland. It was first published on 15 May 1828. Link about it Here.

"La jolie fille de Perth" or the "Fair Maid of Perth" is an opera based on the Scott novel and is written by Georges Bizet who died in 1875. It was first performed in Manchester in 1912 and I admit I did listen to it a few times in 2008 (when I was traveling the desert).

Explorer Ernest Giles says of the horse, "Her proper name was the Fair Maid of Perth; but somehow, from her lively, troublesome, and wanton vagaries, they called her the Sow-Cow." Of the fatal leg of the expedition he writes, "for as he was mounted on so excellent an animal as the Fair Maid, on account of whose excellence I had chosen her to ride, it seemed quite evident that this noble creature had carried him only too well, and had been literally ridden to death, having carried her rider too far from water ever to return."

This horse however, so inspired me with its stamina, reliability and toughness, that I decided in 2007 to Christen the Ute after her which I did in June 2008.

This video was taken whilst driving along the Hunt Oil Road in Western Australia on Wednesday 2 July 2008.

The orchestra of the piece here:

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.

<<- CSR

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