To no one could I more appropriately dedicate this effort to portray the difficulties and hardships experienced during our trip across the Continent, than to you, our worthy Leader, who piloted us through the wilderness, and brought us again to the haunts of our fellow men, with such intrepidity and judgment.
Yours very truly,
Adelaide, February, 1863.
As we shall occupy the reader's attention at some length in the Introductory View, he may reasonably claim exemption from a long Preface. Our allusions here are confined to two subjects: our Chapters, and our Illustrations.
To have given three hundred successive pages of Journal without a break would have been tolerable to very few, and the less so from some degree of sameness that characterizes Australian scenery and incidents of travel. Mr. McKinlay, indeed, was fortunate in meeting with such weather as greatly dispelled this Australian sameness, and in many parts substituted for scrub, spinifex, and parched ground, the pleasant spectacle of lakes and running streams, waving grass and flowery meadows. Nevertheless, a subdivision of the Journal into Chapters will be found acceptable. We have succeeded in finding demarcation lines for eleven Chapters, and at the beginning of each Chapter we have given a short précis of the subject. At the beginning of the last Chapter we give the very interesting account of an Englishman, James Morrill, who had lived seventeen years with the Aborigines of the lower Burdekin, and whose history lately reached us while occupied with this work.
With reference to the Illustrations, the Publishers are indebted to the courtesy of the Proprietors of the Illustrated London News for permission to make use of three of the Lake Views, and also of the Portraits of Burke and Wills, and J. McDouall Stuart. The latter is taken from a photograph by Mr. R. S. Stacey, North Adelaide, and is specially interesting from the fact that the background scene is a representation, sketched by Mr. Stuart himself, of the shores of the Indian Ocean, on the Northern coast of Australia. The other Lake Views are from sketches supplied by Mr. Davis; and the Portraits of McKinlay and party are from a photograph supplied by the same gentleman. As to the "little canvas camp flying in all directions," the Author, in his Journal, invokes "the spirit or the pencil of 'Crowquill,' or the world-known George, to scratch that ludicrous scene." It is hoped that our friend, Mr. C. H. Bennett, has not unworthily caught the spirit both of the scene and the invocation. The same gentleman has also, it is believed, adhered to nature and to truth in depicting the more serious scene of the alligators.