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Introduction

“An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told.”


The following pages profess to be no more than a faithful narrative of five years spent on the goldfields and in the far interior of Western Australia. Any one looking for stirring adventures, hairbreadth escapes from wild animals and men, will be disappointed. In the Australian Bush the traveller has only Nature to war against—over him hangs always the chance of death from thirst, and sometimes from the attacks of hostile  aboriginals next hit; he has no spice of adventure, no record heads of rare game, no exciting escapades with dangerous beasts, to spur him on; no beautiful scenery, broad lakes, or winding rivers to make life pleasant for him. The unbroken monotony of an arid, uninteresting country has to be faced. Nature everywhere demands his toil. Unless he has within him impulses that give him courage to go on, he will soon return; for he will find nothing in his surroundings to act as an incentive to tempt him further.

I trust my readers will be able to glean a little knowledge of the hardships and dangers that beset the paths of Australian pioneers, and will learn something of the trials and difficulties encountered by a prospector, recognising that he is often inspired by some higher feeling than the mere “lust of gold.”

Wherever possible, I have endeavoured to add interest to my own experiences by recounting those of other travellers; and, by studying the few books that touch upon such matters to explain any points in connection with the previous hit aboriginals next hit that from my own knowledge I am unable to do. I owe several interesting details to the Report on the Work of the Horn Scientific Expedition to Central Australia, and to Ethnological Studies among the North-West Central Queensland previous hit Aboriginals , by Walter E. Roth. For the identification of the few geological specimens brought in by me, I am indebted to the Government Geologist of the Mines Department, Perth, W.A., and to Mr. W. Botting Hemsley, through the courtesy of the Director of the Royal Gardens, Kew, for the identification of the plants.

I also owe many thanks to my friend Mr. J. F. Cornish, who has taken so much trouble in correcting the proofs of my MSS.

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