Expert Footnotes

A feature of all volumes in the Western Australian Exploration series is the expert annotations.

One could go to the State Records Office of Western Australia at the Alexander Library in the Perth Cultural Centre and find the originals of the diaries that are reproduced in the various volumes. A knowledge of the archival system in use and the finding aids (coupled with a free afternoon) make this a relatively simple task. The time spent in unearthing original documents is rewarding and can engender a feeling of being closer to the writer. But anyone who has waded through the horrendous handwriting and idiosyncratic spelling and grammar found in many of these documents knows the frustration of encountering indecipherable text, unknown historical terms, and references to persons, places and events that may be unfamiliar to the reader.  This is particular so with the names of features recorded by explorers. Many of these were never officially approved or are not known by that name today which makes trying to retrace the route particularly difficult.

The Western Australian Exploration series solves the problem of the difficult text. Volunteers with the Western Australian Explorers’ Diaries Project have read the original document up to four times and rendered it to a useful and easily readable document. Their efforts, largely unnoticed, greatly enhance the reader experience.

The Footnotes contain biographical information on a wide variety of historical figures prominent at the time of an expedition who are not recorded in the Biographical Information Appendix at the rear of the Volume. The Footnotes also contain the present-day name of geographic features and places mentioned in the text, meanings of historic terms, details of other expeditions and a wealth of ancillary information.

Kim Epton
Series Editor


Posted by Kim Epton in General, 0 comments