closing_in_on_the_kimberleyClosing in on the Kimberley. 1819-1884.

Exploration of Western Australia’s Kimberley Region and the Adjoining Victoria River District of Northern territory.

Edited by Ned Overton.

ISBN 978-0-85905-950-3, (New, 2022), 165 x 240, casebound, 730 pages, heavily illustrated, with maps. Fully indexed, 2kg, $220.00*

A magnificent volume on the early exploration of the Kimberley and NT Victoria River region. Little known expeditions and explorers. Contains the near complete suite of geologist E.T. Hardman’s sketches and watercolours.  

This volume documents the interplay between 1819–1884 of exploration of the Kimberley region and adjoining Victoria River District. From early on, expeditions established different settlement patterns between Kimberley’s eastern and western halves.

Main categories of exploration included appraisal of pastoral lands, topographical, hydrographical and geological surveys and prospecting for precious metals. All but prospecting generally yielded detailed reports, commonly in diary format, mostly with maps of varying accuracy, some in colour. These records are compiled here.

One noteworthy feature of this first Kimberley volume – from an era predating printed photographs – is a collection of Edward Hardman’s 1883–84 watercolour and pastel sketches, many of them full-page, together with the copied etchings. Another highlight is a full translation of the shorthand diary of John Pentecost, ‘Stumpy’ Durack’s 1882 expedition navigator.

All the precursors of Western Australia’s first gold rush are documented; the rush was about to begin.