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  ― ii ―


Rolf Boldrewood

IN these “Tales of the Austral Tropics” will be found the strange romances which write themselves, often in letters of blood, amid the half-unknown, mysterious regions of tropical Australia. That they are not less true than terrible, I take it upon myself to affirm. That such is far from being the case with the larger proportion of literary manufacture professing to describe Australian life and character, I most distinctly assert. “Those who know seldom write, and those who write don't know,” remarks the veteran colonist with accentuated emphasis. But this author's name is a household word among bushmen and bookmen from Albany to Thursday Island, from “The Gulf” to the Snowy River—

“Alike to him the sea, the shore,
The pen, the bridle and the oar.”

To him, familiar as highways are the endless solitudes of the “Never Never Country”—he has tempted the Desert Sphinx, gazed upon gold matrix and opal hoards which gleamed in mockery of the exhausted wanderer. Trusted for dear life in forest glades to a steady eye and a true rifle. Listened in a canoe on the Coral Sea to the moaning of the approaching tempest.

Long a leading actor upon Dame Nature's stage, he has turned scene-painter for the nonce, and limned with lifelike effect the drama of the Waste.


Albury, N.S. Wales,

Nov. 10, 1892.

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