the Forgotten Explorer
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Lake Eyre, the Eyre Peninsula, the Eyre Highway that traverses the Nullarbor between Adelaide to Perth and many other landmarks are named after explorer Edward John Eyre. So why do Australians know so little about this explorer today?
Edward John Eyre was one of the most intrepid explorers to tackle the unforgiving Australian outback - and one of the youngest. Lake Eyre, the Eyre Highway between Adelaide and Perth, and many other landmarks are named after him, yet so little is known of his time here. He also had an international career beyond his Australian experiences, including as Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand. Author Ivan Rudolph shows how this idealistic young Englishman - still in his teens when he arrived in New South Wales in 1833 - transformed himself into a rugged frontiersman, one of the first to overland cattle to Melbourne and Adelaide. But it's Eyre's attempt on the Nullarbor that was the peak of his Australian career. Determined to find an overland route to Perth, he left Adelaide with a small party on 18 June 1840. Ivan Rudolph relates their journey step by step - and it makes for gripping reading. Beset by the harsh terrain, scarcity of water, the danger from hostile Indigenous people and dissent - and worse - among Eyre's companions, could Eyre achieve his ambition and find a way across the Nullarbor? A fascinating portrait of a forgotten hero of Australian history.
PRAISE FOR EYRE:
'It brings the Australian colonies in the 1830s and 1840s to life ... a lively introduction to exploration history' Peter Garrett, AM
'A stunning biography' Adelaide Advertiser
'A grand story, grandly told' Herald Sun
Excellent book on Eyre
Many will know of Eyre from the multitude of landmarks named after him found around Australia, but few will really know about his contributions to opening up the Murray and his explorations of South Australia and across the Nullabor to Albany and beyond. His treatment of, and interest in the local Aborigines must rank as one of the best examples of early settler interaction between two vastly different cultures.
The author has turned out a superb edition on Eyre, his travels and explorations, and the characters he interacted with, many of whom we're founding fathers in the country and abroad.
An excellent read and highly recommended.