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Bushmanship: the explorers' silent partner

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Bushmanship, or the competence to interact meaningfully with newly encountered environments in the achievement of predetermined goals, is a factor overlooked in analyses of land-based exploration. The importance of bushmanship is examined in this paper through a comparison of George Grey's inept exploration of north-western Australia in 1836-37 with Edward Eyre's increasingly successful overlanding ventures in south-eastern Australia at approximately the same time. Grey's impetuosity, inexperience and lack of competence contrast sharply with Eyre's growing confidence to handle unfamiliar conditions. The comparison reveals many of the factors that differentiate externally initiated expeditions such as Grey's from forays by settlers determined to wrest a living from newly settled territories.
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Keywords: AUSTRALIAN HISTORY; BUSHMANSHIP; EDWARD JOHN EYRE; EXPLORATION; GEORGE GREY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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