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The Huts of Ellerslie : A Story of Leichhardt single work   short story   adventure  
Issue Details: First known date: 1898... 1898 The Huts of Ellerslie : A Story of Leichhardt
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Prologue: Leichhardt's departure for the Swan River Settlement (Perth) in 1848 with his party from the Moreton Bay district (now Brisbane). Tale takes up in 1873 when a party formed in QLD to explore the centre and north are near dying of thirst. Their leader Mitchell finds a waterhole and hut left, he is convinced, by Leichhardt. As the party continue on, one of the members disappears in a mysterious inland lake, seemingly pulled down by a monster. The three remaining discover mysterious underground caverns. There are ancient rock carvings, prehistoric fossils, precious stones embedded in concrete in a cavern of great beauty, and Leichhardt's diary from 1855 from Ellerslie - the place where they are. He describes his explorations of the cave, encounters with the Aboriginal groups, the loss of his brother-in-law and stock to them. The journal takes up again in 1859 when he returned from an expedition of three and a half years which he describes. His travels, clothing, food, landscape - lagoons which he follows in hope of finding the source of the river in the Gulf of Carpentaria. He is befriended by a tribe of Aborigines (the Cooroi) who regard him as a sacred man and in effect keep him prisoner. In 1857 he attempted escape and finally succeeds in 1859 - but only to be driven back to them by hunger - journal ends. Mitchell, Carton and Raynor resolve to follow in Leichhardt's tracks. Carton incites Raynor to agree to kill Mitchell but Mitchell saves himself by leaving them. They are eventually rescued by a boat from the Gulf, but say that Mitchell died. Attempts to follow up Leichhardt's journal and rescue him if alive, fail. Mitchell's fiancee Alice Rivers, who Carton also loved and tried to kill Mitchell to possess, refuses to believe Mitchell is dead. When Carton proposes she only agrees to marry him if he finds Leichhardt as proof of his death. Carton takes Raynor, but Alice (together with a detective and her brother) follow them secretly in September 1873. Dangers faced include an inland riverbed flood; losing their quarry and being robbed of stores. They meet Mitchell in animal skins - he had been saved by Gilbert Murray, an escaped convict from Swan River settlement - a political prisoner. Their fate included a crocodile wrestle; meeting the Aboriginal tribe who had kept Leichhardt honoured prisoner; an Aboriginal battle and cannibalism; and fighting off attacks. The party is fire on by Carton and Raynor at the caves - and finally follow them into the caves, Carton jumping to his death. The party returns to the old station, passing evidence of a huge amphibian at the lake and finding Raynor's dead body. Mitchell and Alice marry. (PB)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1898
Serialised by: The Australian Journal 1865 periodical (900 issues)
Serialised in four monthly instalments in the Australian Journal between March 1898 and June 1898.
Last amended 12 Dec 2013 14:38:51
  • 1848
  • 1870s
  • 1850s
  • Queensland,
  • Perth, Western Australia,
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