Back o’ Bourke

Australian Geographic - - Geobuzz - WITH FRANK POVAH

THE FAR­THEST west you could travel by

NSW Rail­ways in the days when steam was king, Bourke be­came syn­ony­mous with what was seen as Aus­tralia’s vast empti­ness. Aus­tralia’s poets once rev­elled in syn­onyms for the “great un­known”, the coun­try “Back o’ Bourke”, where “the pel­i­can builds her nest” – the “dead heart” out where “the dead men lie”.This was the coun­try where ex­plorer Charles Sturt’s Euro­pean bias had him be­lieve an in­land sea must lie.

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