Thomas Baines: Exploring Tropical Australia, 1855 to 1857

Front Cover
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.

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About the author (2012)

Jane Carruthers is a professor in the department of history at the University of South Africa, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and of Clare Hall, Cambridge. She has held visiting fellowships at the Australian National University and the University of Western Australia and she is currently president of the International Consortium of Environmental History Organisations. She is a coauthor of The Life and Work of Thomas Baines. Lindy Stiebel is a professor of English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is the editor of a collection of essays entitled Thomas Baines and the ‘Great Map’ and Imagining Africa. She has published in a variety of local and international academic journals on spatial discourse and South African writing.

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