Robert Macklin is a great admirer of Hamilton Hume (1797–1873). He paints a vivid, scholarly picture of one of Australia’s lesser-known ‘currency’ explorers: a man who spent his youth hiking in the bush, with his brother and an Aboriginal guide, as often as his mother would allow. Hume was a successful farmer, able bushman and an expert on Aboriginal customs and languages. It was these skills that led to Hume’s being invited on expeditions to find arable land. These journeys were successful: land and water were found, and Hume’s teams returned alive and without the bloodshed which occurred in later expeditions, where the leaders lacked Hume’s linguistic skills and cultural understanding.
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