Desert, Drought and Death

Desert, Drought and Death : The Border Exploration Expedition of 1901

BY Henry W. Hill  EDITORS Peter Bridge, OAM and Mark Chambers.

Published 2010.



Following reports of gold in the Rawlinson Range an expedition was organised by the Border Exploration Syndicate. Desert, Drought, and Death is the previously unpublished story of that expedition as written by the leader, Henry W. Hill.

Despite having provisions for a year, the party the party of six seasoned adventurers experienced problems finding water, and by the end of September their lives were in peril. The stress was too much for the Afghan cameleer who went mad and was killed as a result of attacking his companions. Another man was speared, as were nine camels.

Nine months after leaving the north-east goldfields town of Menzies in Western Australia in 1899, Hill struggled into Oodnadatta in the centre of South Australia, with three of those men and with less than half the camels. What really happened? Now the annals of this disastrous expedition are brought to light, to intrigue the reader and enthral the student of Centralian life for the first time in over a century.

Desert, Drought, and Death contains 26 appendices, including biographical notes on the expedition members, agreements and reports by members of the expedition, documents by Henry Hill on prospecting, documents on the death of Shannawaz, the Afghan camel driver including the names in facsimile of the Afghan petitioners, and indexes to the fauna and flora mentioned in the report.

The Volume contains two maps – the confidential leader’s map, and that submitted to the Western Australian Department of Mines.

This Volume would certainly add interest to your next trip along the Great Central Road. Using the facsimile maps included with the volume, the competent navigator can plot the original route and develop their own unique tour.

ISBN 978-0-85905-383-9

Hardcover, Case Bound, Dust Jacket, Illustrated, Maps, Indexed, 158 pages, 465 grams.

$70.00 plus postage.


Order this Volume from Hesperian Press.