It is also to be regretted that so long a time should have been allowed to elapse between the end of the journey and the publication of these pages. The causes of the delay are—first, the indisposition on the part of the Brothers to “go into print,” their modesty leading them to imagine they had done nothing worth “writing about,” nor was it until the writer pressed them to allow him to compile and edit their journals that they consented to make them public; next, the want of leisure on the part of the compiler, whose official duties have prevented application to his task, save in detached and interrupted periods; and last, by the difficulty of making arrangements for publication at a distance.
If his labor secures to the young explorers the credit and praise which is the just and due reward of a gallant achievement, and adds a page of interest to the records of Australian Exploration, his aim will have been attained, and he will be fully rewarded.
The Hermitage, ‘Rockhampton, December’, 1866.
In presenting the following pages to the Reader, it may not be out of place to take a retrospect of the progress of Australian Settlement generally, and particularly in the young northern colony of Queensland.
During the last six years the great question of the character of Central Australia, in the solution of which the lives of the unfortunate Leichhardt and his party have been sacrificed, has been set at rest by the memorable trip of Burke and Wills, and no less memorable, but more fortunate one of McDouall Stewart. The Search Expeditions of McKinlay, Howitt, Landsborough, and Walker, have made it still more familiar, their routes connecting the out-settlements of South Australia with those of the Gulf Shores and East Coast, and adding their quota of detail to the skeleton lines of Leichhardt, Gregory, and Burke and Wills; whilst private enterprise has, during that time, been busy in further filling in the spaces, and utilizing the knowledge gained by occupying the waste lands thus opened up.