'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)