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Exploration of Western Australia

John Forrest Scrapbook

John Forrest, 22 years old and a surveyor in the Surveyor-General’s Department in the Swan River Colony, undertook his first expedition into the interior in 1869. He kept a personal scrapbook of his three journeys.

John Forrest Scrapbook

Back to Exhibitions Telling Stories

John Forrest kept a personal scrapbook of his three journeys. He proudly collected newspaper articles, letters, telegrams, and photographs to tell the story of the achievement of his teams, including the Aboriginal members. At this time a public celebration was called a ‘Demonstration’. Here is a selection that gives you the personal perspective of the man who became the first Premier of the Colony of Western Australia in 1890 and the first Treasurer of the Federal Parliament in 1901. It is of its time and therefore does not record alternative stories that are presently expounded.

  • 1869: an expedition from Perth in search of clues to the fate of the Leichhardt party of 1848
  • 1870: an expedition to make a proper survey of the route along the coast between Western Australia and South Australia taken thirty years earlier by Edward John Eyre in the other direction
  • 1874: the first west-east expedition through central desert country from Champion Bay (Geraldton) to the north-south overland telegraph line and south to Adelaide

Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.

The Scrapbook has been conserved and digitised through funds from the Minderoo Foundation. It can be accessed in full at the RWAHS library. Experience your own journey through the selection in this Flipbook presentation.

John Forrest Flip Book