Thomas Baines: Exploring Tropical Australia, 1855 to 1857
Jane Carruthers, Lindy Stiebel
National Museum of Australia Press, 2012 - History - 177 pages
This book focuses on a little-known but fascinating contribution by Thomas Baines to Augustus Gregory’s North Australian Expedition: the artist–explorer’s audacious attempt, in an open longboat with two companions, to link up with Gregory at the Albert River at the southern end of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Here, for the first time, the remarkably accurate map that Baines compiled of this voyage and extracts from his accompanying manuscript journals are evaluated and published. The hardships suffered by these men, their courage in dangerous waters and their encounters with Aboriginal Australians provide detailed insights into the complexities of Australian mid-19th century history. However, this book also illuminates important general issues related to imperial maritime history, the colonial encounter, and colonial art. Illustrated by Baines’s accomplished sketches and paintings inspired by the Expedition, this work arises from a partnership between South African and Australian scholars. Their combined insights substantially augment current scholarship on Thomas Baines as colonial explorer, naturalist, diarist, cartographer, and artist.