TRIBUTE PAID TO TRAILBLAZER
FOR years the exploration work of John Septimus Roe has been overlooked, but no more, according to Burswood geographer Marion Hercock, editor of a new book about WA’s first surveyor general.
Dr Hercock said Roe was probably the most objective observer of the people of WA and their environment and The Western Australian Explorations of John Septimus Roe 1829–1849 featured reproductions of his exploration reports, handwritten journals and many of his sketch maps and drawings.
Dr Hercock edited and indexed the tome and also wrote its introduction as a volunteer for WA Explorers’ Diaries Project (WAEDP), which published its first book in 2005. Carlisle-based Peter Bridge, of Hesperian Press, has published all WAEDP books using local materials and labour.
The hardback includes fresh analysis of Roe’s work by scientists, who have shown that his exploration writings are the earliest and most detailed record of the WA environment at first contact by Europeans. The scientists also prepared the indexes of plants and animals.
Dr Hercock said donors recognising the value of Roe’s records, including several country local governments, the Land Surveyors Licensing Board, the WA Institution of Surveyors and citizens, paid for the publication.
“The indexes alone show the breadth and depth of Roe’s records. People, places, and general items are all indexed with separate listings for plants and animals,” Dr Hercock said.
“The book’s explanatory footnotes and appendices assist the modern reader to appreciate the original 19th-century manuscripts and the social context of the explorations.”
■ The Western Australian Explorations of John Septimus Roe 1829–1849 (ISBN 978-0-85905-527-7) can be ordered from Hesperian Press at www.hesperianpress. com. The 726-page book is $100 plus postage.
Burswood’s Marion Hercock, editor of a new history of Australian exploration(shown inset), with Hesperian Press publisher Peter Bridge.