Edward John Eyre was one of the bravest explorers to tackle the unforgiving Australian outback - and one of the youngest. Lake Eyre, the Eyre Peninsula, the Eyre Highway that traverses the Nullarbor between Adelaide and Perth and many other landmarks are named after him - so why do Australians know so little about him today? In this new biography, Ivan Rudolph shows how this idealistic young Englishman - still in his teens when he arrived in New South Wales in 1833 to seek his fortune - transformed himself into a rugged frontiersman, taking up farming and later overlanding cattle to Melbourne and Adelaide. But it’s Eyre’s attempt on the Nullarbor that was the peak of his Australian career. Determined to find an overland route to Perth, he left Adelaide with a small party on 24 February 1841. Using Eyre’s own journals and other sources, Ivan Rudolph relates their journey step by step - and it makes for gripping reading. Beset by the harsh terrain, a constant lack of water, food rations running low, the danger from hostile Indigenous people and dissent - and worse - among Eyre’s companions, could Eyre achieve his ambition and find a way across the Nullarbor? Based on original documents, letters and previously unpublished material, this fascinating portrait reveals a young pioneer who led an adventurous life in the early years of the colonies. Truly a forgotten hero of Australian history.
About the Author
Ivan Rudolph has spent eight years researching and writing about Eyre. He is the author of twelve books, including Sturt's Desert Drama (Central Queensland University Press), John Flynn: Of Flying Doctors And Frontier Faith And Flynn's Outback Angels.