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Issue Details: First known date: 2000... 2000 A Frenchman's Walk across the Nullarbor : Henri Gilbert's Diary, Perth to Brisbane, 1897-1899
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Crossing Australia's 600 km Nullarbor Plain on foot isn't everybody's cup of tea, as Colin Dyer states. Edward Eyre did not quite achieve it (East to West) in 1841. His companion Baxter was murdered by Aborigines and Eyre himself was close to extinction, experiencing "[...] a dreamy kind of pleasure" as a prelude to death. Forrest in 1870 crossed it (West to East) with a well-organised and equipped expedition and surveyed the route. Between 1875 and 1877 the telegraph line was built linking Western Australia telegraphically with the outside world through Adelaide and Darwin.
Henri Gilbert was born in Nantes in 1865 to a couple where the husband was a shoemaker, an occupation possibly the source of Henri's later interest in ultra long distance walking. In response to a wager of 10,000 pounds between six wealthy French businessmen that he could walk around the world by 1900, Gilbert left Paris in 1895 and walked through Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, India and Singapore. In August 1897 he left Fremantle and arrived in Brisbane in December 1898, travelling on foot the whole way while carrying a 38 kg backpack and wearing out eight pairs of shoes. His hitherto unknown diary, with en route certifications by local authorities, is here introduced, translated and presented with a selection of his photographs.
After Australia, Gilbert planned to walk through China, Japan, North and South America, Great Britain and back to Paris to collect his wager and then publish a book of his achievement. However, after Brisbane no more is heard of him despite his celebrity at the time in Australia and abroad.' (Publisher's blurb)

Notes

  • Author's note: Henri Gilbert’s diary and scrapbook are in the collection of the John Oxley Library, Brisbane, and are reproduced by kind permission of the Library.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Carlton South, Parkville - Carlton area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,: Melbourne University Press , 2000 .
      Extent: xii, 195 pp.p.
      Description: 14 p. of plates : ill., maps, plate
      Note/s:
      • Includes index and bibliography.
      ISBN: 0522849164

Works about this Work

Untitled Edward Duyker , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: Explorations : A Journal of French-Australian Connections , December no. 31 2001;

— Review of A Frenchman's Walk across the Nullarbor : Henri Gilbert's Diary, Perth to Brisbane, 1897-1899 Henri Gilbert , Colin Dyer (translator), 2000 single work diary
Untitled Edward Duyker , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: Explorations : A Journal of French-Australian Connections , December no. 31 2001;

— Review of A Frenchman's Walk across the Nullarbor : Henri Gilbert's Diary, Perth to Brisbane, 1897-1899 Henri Gilbert , Colin Dyer (translator), 2000 single work diary
Last amended 7 Jun 2011 10:15:40
Subjects:
  • Perth, Western Australia,
  • Brisbane, Queensland,
  • Nullarbor area (South Australia), Far North South Australia, South Australia,
  • 1897
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