Ernest Giles: Explorer and Traveller 1835-1897

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 320 pages
Author: R. Ericksen
Year: 1997
ISBN: 0859052400
Other: b&w photos, maps, bibliog, index
Publisher: Hesperian Press

Between 1872 and 1876 Ernest Giles led 5 expeditions into Australia's western interior, during which he discovered more land than any other explorer of this continent.

Fiercely individualistic and driven by a desire 'to be the first to penetrate the region', Giles proceeded without official support. Despite initial setbacks and the seemingly impenetrable wilderness that confronted him, Giles never weakened in his purpose or his love of exploration. This was partly due to his being romantic - any situation, even the most desperate, was an 'experience', capable of stimulating his poetic imagination and his talent for writing.

Ray Ericksen has travelled through most of the country of Giles' expeditions. This familiarity with the interior, together with new information unearthed in his extensive research, forms the basis of his approach to Giles' life - a life which, after a long term of preparatory experience in the back country of western New South Wales, suddenly flowered in an astonishingly productive four-year period.

Ericksen focuses on this period, presenting a penetrating study of the explorer in action. The main stages of the expeditions are unravelled and analysed, revealing the mettle of the man as he pits himself against the forbidding desert expanses, weighing up chances and frequently dicing with death. Throughout, Giles' performance in the field is closely compared with the work of his contemporaries - Gosse, Warburton and Forrest - and of his predecessors.

This definitive study of Giles is also a stimulating contribution to the history of Australian exploration.

1. By Chance and Design
2. The Training Ground
3. Schooled by Experience
4. Constructing a Challenge
5. From Dream to Reality
6. The First Expedition
7. The Rivals
8. The Second Expedition: Part 1
9. The Second Expedition: Part 2
10. The Third Expedition
11. The Fourth Expedition
12. The Fifth Expedition
13. And Who Shall Claim Him?
14. A Place in History
Select Bibliography
Notes on Sources

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Ernest Giles: Explorer and Traveller 1835-1897

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