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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

‘In a palm-thatched house a gaunt and im­pov­er­ished white man lay on a cot, sto­ically sweat­ing and shiv­er­ing through an at­tack of fever. It was late Fe­bru­ary or early March 1858, the pre­cise date lost be­cause the in­valid had made so many field trips that his di­ary had be­come vague, and he may have been con­fused by the fever. For three and a half years he had been ex­plor­ing some of the re­motest is­lands on earth … the re­sults of his wan­der­ing lay scat­tered about him. Wa­ter­proof stor­age boxes, lo­cally made of wo­ven and lac­quered palm leaves, con­tained thou­sands of in­sects. They were mostly bee­tles, but there were also sam­ples of the re­gion’s vivid and spec­tac­u­lar but­ter­flies.’

TIM SEV­ERIN

THE SPICE IS­LANDS VOY­AGE: IN SEARCH OF WAL­LACE (1997)

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