'At the turn of the twentieth century, J. W. Gregory, a professor of geology at the University of Glasgow, travelled to the Lake Eyre region in South Australia. As the lowest point on the continent, it is the focal point of the Lake Eyre Basin - which covers one-sixth of Australia - and on the rare occasion that it fills, it is our largest lake. It's not hard to see why all roads led to Lake Eyre for the early European explorers. Indeed, Gregory titled the memoirs of his journey The Dead Heart of Australia, concluding that "there is nothing on earth more desolate than its stony plains and bare clay-pots". And despite our tropical rainforests and green mountain ranges, the Australian imagination has always been dominated by the desert, the outback.'