Australia Scots Who Found the Modern World


Australia

For centuries, the vast island continent of Australia remained a blank space on the map. This film tells the story of the Scottish exploration of Australia.


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Transcript


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For over two centuries, a remarkable collection of Scots

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blazed a trail into unknown corners of the world.

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Their epic journeys in the harshest of conditions

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helped forge nations and draw the maps of three continents.

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From the frozen wastes of Canada to the unseen heart of Africa

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and across the rolling oceans to the parched deserts of Australia,

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Scottish explorers have been at the forefront of expanding the frontiers

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of the world in which we live.

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This is the story of the Scottish discovery of our world.

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NEWSREEL: Today, seven million Australians celebrate with pride

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and thanksgiving the mighty growth of the seed

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planted less than five generations ago.

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In 1938, Australia celebrated its 150th birthday.

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The story of the arrival of Captain Cook

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and Captain Phillip, of the First Fleet

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first-footing an empty continent in the southern ocean,

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was by then a well known one.

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But behind the pageantry and backslapping

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was an unspoken truth - that the country called Australia

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was only just within the grasp of its white rulers.

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NEWSREEL: "A white man arrives..."

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A mere 80 years before these celebrations,

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no white man had even seen the centre of the continent.

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Parts of the continent remained blank spaces on the map.

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Australians were celebrating the birth of a country they barely knew.

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People are still scared by this country.

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Australia's a hard place - it won't give easily,

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because it's so old, so worn down

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and you have to know it really, really well to survive in it.

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Lachlan Macquarie, from Ulva near Mull,

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became governor of New South Wales in 1809.

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The young colony was not in good shape.

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The life of the convicts in early Australia

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was nasty, brutish and short.

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People who have convict ancestors today will say,

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"Oh, no, they were all sent out for stealing a loaf of bread."

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This is rubbish.

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Most of them were fairly crooked people

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and they were thrown on very harsh times and they had to survive.

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So, yes, there was a lot of nastiness going on,

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not only from the convicts -

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the soldiery were equally lecherous and evil.

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The corruption and vice offended Macquarie's staunch Presbyterianism.

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He immediately disbanded the local police force

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and replaced them with his own soldiers.

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He would rule New South Wales as a benevolent dictator.

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He was the first military army governor.

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There was always this tension going on between the armed forces

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who were supposed to control what was going on

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and the governor who was supposed to make the rules about what went on.

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Once Macquarie was here, there wasn't that tension,

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that was taken out of the equation,

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and so the governor was able to make decisions and force things to happen.

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And Macquarie had a vision for his dusty, unruly colony.

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He thought it could become a nation, populated by free men and women,

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paying its way within the British Empire.

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Macquarie had a big repair job to do in the first instance

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and then moved on to develop the colony

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like no other governor before him had been able to.

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Macquarie believed Australia needed more of three things -

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more free people, more buildings

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and more land...much more land.

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The first two were relatively easy.

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Macquarie encouraged the rehabilitation of convicts

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and employed many of them in powerful positions.

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He was quite good at locating convicts

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who had something to offer the colony.

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An outstanding example is Francis Greenway the architect,

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who was very useful in many of the building projects.

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Macquarie saw the need to build a proper nation

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and while there were people who said, "He's getting above himself,

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"this is too good, we just want slab huts,

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"that's good enough for the colonials,"

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Macquarie was building for a greater future.

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But if Macquarie's vision were to be realised,

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if New South Wales were to flourish, the people who lived there

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were going to have to move beyond their little strip of coast.

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Sydney is hemmed in by the Blue Mountains to the west

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and the ocean to the east.

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When Macquarie arrived, Australia effectively stopped

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only a few miles from the water's edge.

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For 25 years, the Blue Mountains,

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the great dividing range west of Sydney,

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stopped anyone getting over to the arable lands

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and the good water on the other side.

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Once we had a way across,

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suddenly the whole colony could expand massively

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and go in all directions, but people had to map it out,

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find where the good land was

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and Macquarie was the one to send people out to do that.

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Millions of acres of unmapped land sat on Macquarie's doorstep.

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If the land could be claimed and tamed,

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then the prison could become a nation.

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But to unlock that land, Macquarie would need explorers.

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North of Sydney is the city of Brisbane.

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200 years ago, this tropical paradise

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was the site of the Morton Bay penal colony.

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Its commander was Captain Patrick Logan

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from Berwickshire.

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Patrick Logan, like a lot of Scots,

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found an outlet for limited employment in Scotland

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by joining the army or the colonial service

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and he was certainly a zealous commandant

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of the Morton Bay convict establishment.

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Logan was a harsh, unforgiving jailer.

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He had none of Macquarie's enlightened attitude to his convicts,

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who frequently suffered hundreds of lashes as punishment.

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So hated was Logan

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that he soon acquired the nickname The Tyrant of Brisbane Town.

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But Logan was also a compulsive explorer,

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sharing Macquarie's belief in opening up the country.

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He charted local rivers

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and travelled across a range of mountains

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he named the McPherson Range.

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When he ascended Mount Barney in 1827,

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Logan had climbed higher than any white man on the continent.

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Step by step, he was increasing European knowledge

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of the land west of Morton Bay.

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But this kind of exploration

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inevitably brought Europeans like Logan into contact

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with Australia's Aboriginal people.

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The result was a clash of two very different civilisations.

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The first instinct of Aboriginal people in seeing Europeans,

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because of all the gear, the paraphernalia,

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the boats and things like that, there was an element of fear

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and a bit of aggression as well,

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as has been documented time and time again.

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But a lot of the time, they wanted Europeans to take their pants off.

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You know, "Who are you? Oh, you're a man." They wanted to know that.

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It might have seemed funny to the explorer.

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For Aboriginal people, it was deadly serious.

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"We need to know who you are, what sex you are

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"and where you've come from."

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So the whole meeting between Aboriginal people

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and Europeans was generally completely misunderstood.

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Craig Ross is an Aboriginal land owner from central Australia.

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The experience of his ancestors

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in meeting European explorers for the first time was typical.

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When our great grandmother, when she was a little girl

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and seen them people coming here, most of the time

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they seen them coming sitting on top of the bushes, in a sense, floating.

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Might have been with no shirt on.

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And they're like, "What's this here, coming back? Mumoo,"

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you know, monster or spirit, you know, bad one,

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coming back to visit again.

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So it was a "run away" job!

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And the pale colour of European skin was not a good omen.

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Death, in a way, is represented by white,

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so our people viewing the white skins of those visitors

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had some type of fear - fearing of returning spirits and so forth.

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In 1830, as Logan pushed inland,

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tensions with the local Aborigines were running high.

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On several occasions, Logan's party was confronted

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and warned not to cross the river.

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Logan was a very strong commandant but he perhaps was too zealous

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and too lacking in care for his own safety.

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Impatient with the slow progress,

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Logan abandoned his travelling companions and pushed ahead alone.

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He was never seen alive again.

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A search party found his lifeless body buried in a shallow grave,

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his skull caved in.

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Logan is said to have been killed by Aboriginal people

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at the instigation of convicts.

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That's one theory.

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Another theory is that perhaps runaway convicts

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in cahoots with Aboriginal people did the deed.

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Blame for Logan's death eventually fell on the local Aborigines.

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Shock, fear and anger spread through white Australia.

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Logan's exploits had expanded their knowledge of their country,

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but his death crystallised the dangers of their new home.

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Outside their small settlements and beyond the barricades,

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lurked a strange group of people they simply did not understand.

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But exploration need not always open the door on a terrifying world.

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Another Scottish explorer who looked beyond the city walls

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saw a land ripe for cultivation and settlement,

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a paradise beyond the Blue Mountains.

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Thomas Livingstone Mitchell

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from Grangemouth was the Scotsman

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whose surveys and maps opened the way for the settlement

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of much of South Eastern Australia.

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"Of this Eden, I was the first European to explore its mountains

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"and streams, to behold its scenery,

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"certain to become at no distant date of vast importance to a new people."

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Mitchell was a very dominant figure

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in the survey department and perhaps domineering.

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I think he's a man of enormous ambition.

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I don't think I'd like him as my boss on an expedition,

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but if I were travelling with the expedition and I didn't know much

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about the country, I would rather have him in charge,

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because he was going to get through it and he was going to survive.

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Thomas Mitchell honed his surveying skills

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on the battlefields of the Peninsula War.

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Mitchell spent a lot of his time behind enemy lines

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with a theodylite and a rifle

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and he did topographic surveys where Wellington's troops were to go.

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The type of surveying

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was what we call reconnaissance trigometrical surveying,

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where you climbed up the top of mountains

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and you observed other mountains and features down the valley,

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then you went to another mountain and you observed again

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and put them all together like a matrix of triangles.

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He put a lot of the country on the map

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in a way where others could then find their way through it,

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but a lot of it was finding routes.

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People think it was about going out and looking for stuff,

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but often it was just getting a way through,

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knowing this was a direction you could travel.

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The more Mitchell explored,

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the more he realised the immense potential of the land.

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"We were delighted with the prospect

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"of so favourable a country for extending..."

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"The soil of this last plain..."

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"Trees grew upon it in beautiful groups..."

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"The grass resembled a field of young wheat."

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"The scrub beyond was close

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"and consisted of a variety of dark leaves..."

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"The region beyond these mountains is beautiful

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"and it is sufficiently well watered

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"to become an important addition

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"to the pastoral capabilities of New South Wales."

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In 1831, only 12 months after the death of Patrick Logan,

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Mitchell began an extraordinary series of expeditions

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into the Australian heartland,

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journeys which would transform Australian's knowledge

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of their own country and pave the way for the nation it would become.

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Today, Australian artist Eliza Tree is retracing Mitchell's steps,

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camping in the same sites that he did

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and re-imagining, through Mitchell's eyes,

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the way that Australia once was.

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Well, I suppose when I discovered Mitchell's journal,

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I realised that it just contained so much information

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which I'm really intrigued with.

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When I found out that he had taken such a huge party of people with him

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and all that kind of thing, I just thought,

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"This is bigger than Ben Hur

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"and I need to find out what it's all about."

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They usually travelled between 10 and 16 miles a day,

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which was pretty well all they could manage with the oxen and drays.

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Mitchell himself would have covered vastly more country than that.

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He would have been up every hilltop, every valley.

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Beautiful country.

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Well, Mitchell at the time was the surveyor general of Sydney

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and this was what was known as the 19 counties

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which they'd spent quite a bit of time mapping

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and this was the outer limits of the settlement.

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Mitchell had, in 1831, taken a journey up north.

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In 1835, he travelled out west but on his journey of 1836,

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which is my main focus,

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it was a 2,400 mile journey

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over eight or nine months.

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It was extensive.

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So extensive, in fact, that Mitchell realised he would need help.

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He developed a profound appreciation of the bush ranging skills

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of the Aborigines.

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"Their shrewdness shines,

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"even through the medium of imperfect language,

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"and renders them, in general, very agreeable companions."

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Mitchell saw the great beauty of Aboriginal life.

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He saw the comfort, the happiness, the produce,

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the health and he was enamoured of those things

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and so many other fellow explorers and settlers,

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they went out of their way to demean Aboriginal people.

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Mitchell pushed further and further

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into the heart of South-Eastern Australia.

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In March 1836, disregarding orders to return home,

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he set off on what is regarded as his most significant journey -

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the Australia Felix - or Happy Australia Expedition.

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Mitchell had instruction to look around for any good pasture land

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and pasture land was very important in those days because sheep

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came into their own as a primary earner of money in Australia.

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In South-West Victoria, Mitchell uncovered a region

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of rich agricultural land that reminded him of home.

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The land is dotted with familiar names.

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To follow these place names today is to follow Mitchell's route.

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He discovered very valuable pastureland

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and he made his name through that in many ways.

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You don't make your name as being a surveyor - you make your name

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being an explorer and discovering things that people appreciate.

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Mitchell's Australia Felix expedition

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confirmed Lachlan Macquarie's belief

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that the land beyond the cities would be the foundation of a new nation.

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But Mitchell could also see the ancient way of life he so admired

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was under threat.

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"The kangaroo disappears from cattle runs

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"and is killed by stockman merely for the sake of its skin

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"but no mercy is shown to the natives who may help themselves

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"to a bullock or a sheep.

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"Such a state of things must infallibly lead to the extirpation

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"of the Aboriginal natives unless timely measures are taken

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"for their civilisation and protection."

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Every time you got on a horse

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and rode into new country, they knew that within days,

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sometimes hours, there were other men following these footsteps.

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The reports of Mitchell's discoveries in South-West Victoria

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were a clarion call.

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His expeditions were the first footsteps in a frantic process

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which would see large parts of Victoria

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become populated by like-minded Scottish pioneers.

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Well, the 1830s was a period of rapid expansion of settlement

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because of the development of the wool industry.

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You've got huge areas of land being opened up extremely quickly

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because you needed vast areas of land to run sheep

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and a lot of the impetus behind exploration comes from that.

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On Bannockburn Road on the outskirts of the city of Geelong

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stands a blue-stone mansion house built in 1876.

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Its owner was George Russell, a Fife-born sheep farmer.

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Russell's descendants still live in the area today.

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When he ruminates on the past, he'd hoped to earn...

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something like £100 a year would be great -

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his own 30-40 acres,

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£100, a few heads of stock and things.

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I think the last published accounts for his personal assets

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was something like £280,000.

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That's money, plus the land he'd accumulated.

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I guess he'll be feeling pretty good about that.

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George Russell's journeys are an example of how the exploration

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of Australia could be the passport to riches,

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if you played your cards right.

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It just must have been overwhelming to have been somewhere

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so absolutely different.

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He talks when he goes back to Scotland about how constraining

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the view is in that it's all villages

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and wee little paddocks and hedgerows and everything's broken up.

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He said there's no vistas like there is in Australia

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where there are no fences and nothing to break the view.

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I think he was riveted by what he'd found.

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For Scots like Russell, Australia offered an escape

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from the hard scrabble, impoverished existence they had known at home.

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"The continuous hard work day after day caused me

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"to be too tired for improving myself to any extent.

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"My father was never in a position to put his sons on farms of their own,

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"which was one of their reasons for their settling in the colonies."

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When George Russell emigrated to Tasmania in 1831,

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he was typical of a new wave of Scottish pioneers.

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Youthful and hard-working, educated but certainly not rich.

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The aristocracy didn't need to emigrate

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and the really poor people couldn't,

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so what you got was the upper-working class,

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the lower-middle class, predominantly,

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and they were very keen to get on

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but they had a keen sense of their own worth.

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"The principle which prevailed at the time

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"in the taking up of the country for occupation by early settlers

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"was that the person who was first on the ground had the prior claim to it.

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"The whole country was open."

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Russell boarded a schooner for Port Phillip Bay

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and headed out into the uncharted bush

0:22:080:22:11

to claim as much land as he could.

0:22:110:22:13

Geelong, close to where Russell first landed,

0:22:140:22:17

is now a pleasant modern city.

0:22:170:22:19

But in 1836, it consisted of a few huts and some tents

0:22:190:22:23

and George Russell wasn't the only pioneer

0:22:230:22:26

landing livestock on the beach.

0:22:260:22:28

Russell watched as John Aiken, formerly of Edinburgh,

0:22:280:22:32

unloaded his brig full of sheep onto the beaches at Port Phillip Bay.

0:22:320:22:37

"Mr Aiken carried every sheep to shore from the boats himself,

0:22:370:22:41

"wading up to his neck in the sea.

0:22:410:22:44

"They continued to work day and night until all the sheep were landed -

0:22:440:22:48

"I think about 800."

0:22:480:22:50

He had to physically lift 800 sheep, he and the others,

0:22:520:22:58

into the lifeboats and then push them or swim them in,

0:22:580:23:02

I don't know how they got them to shore.

0:23:020:23:04

It took all day and well into the night.

0:23:040:23:07

Absolutely extraordinary, I can't imagine how you'd do it.

0:23:070:23:10

Physically, it would have been just a huge feat.

0:23:100:23:15

Russell found himself racing through the bush with livestock

0:23:150:23:19

to grab land,

0:23:190:23:20

leapfrogging the Scots who had already staked their claim

0:23:200:23:23

closer to the bay.

0:23:230:23:25

As he did so, he was pushing into territory

0:23:250:23:27

that no European had ever set foot in.

0:23:270:23:30

This was the era of a different sort of exploration.

0:23:300:23:33

Not one made with the intention of taking survey reading

0:23:330:23:36

with compass and sextant, but one solely motivated by land.

0:23:360:23:40

The main thing now is to find good farming land

0:23:400:23:43

and hopefully to get it and claim a big clump of it for yourself first.

0:23:430:23:47

If you couldn't succeed in doing that,

0:23:470:23:49

then you pretty well missed the boat.

0:23:490:23:51

The land Russell eventually selected was ideal for farming

0:23:510:23:55

and he set about building huts and erecting fences.

0:23:550:23:59

His prospects looked good.

0:23:590:24:01

Out they went looking for good land, good water,

0:24:010:24:04

and then quickly as possible to grab as much of it as they could,

0:24:040:24:07

get some stock, get it on the land so it was theirs.

0:24:070:24:10

But Russell had travelled far beyond established colonial territory.

0:24:100:24:14

He was, in the parlance of the day, a squatter.

0:24:140:24:18

Well, squatting simply means you squat on the land.

0:24:180:24:20

You just go and occupy the land.

0:24:200:24:22

But how did he accumulate 72,000 acres

0:24:220:24:26

without anybody saying to him, "That's far too much land?" I don't know.

0:24:260:24:30

It was really impossible to survey

0:24:300:24:33

and those that got there first got the best land on the river.

0:24:330:24:37

No man's land this may have been, but that didn't mean the government

0:24:370:24:41

passed up a chance to make money from it.

0:24:410:24:44

The land was put up for auction and, to add insult to injury,

0:24:440:24:48

Russell was outbid for the country he had discovered and improved.

0:24:480:24:52

So he simply upped sticks and moved further inland.

0:24:540:24:58

This new country became the basis of a pastoral empire

0:24:580:25:01

that eventually spanned 40 square miles -

0:25:010:25:05

one tenth of the size of his native Fife.

0:25:050:25:08

In the end, having got through all that and ended up owning his land

0:25:090:25:12

and ending up with his big bank balance

0:25:120:25:15

and his family and all of that around him, he must have felt pretty good.

0:25:150:25:18

The journeys of George Russell were central to the expansion

0:25:200:25:23

and taming of Victoria.

0:25:230:25:26

His life is a fine example of the virtues of hard work,

0:25:260:25:30

thrift and determination.

0:25:300:25:32

But whilst he and his fellow Scottish settlers flourished,

0:25:320:25:36

he noticed others were suffering.

0:25:360:25:38

"After some years, the periodical visits I had received from

0:25:380:25:43

"the parties of natives became less frequent and their parties smaller.

0:25:430:25:48

"Great numbers of them

0:25:480:25:50

"died from inflammation of the lungs brought on by severe colds.

0:25:500:25:54

"The general opinion appears to be that the natives are destined

0:25:540:25:58

"to become extinct as a race."

0:25:580:26:02

As Scots and others became ever more successful explorers

0:26:020:26:07

and ever more dedicated to building the Australian nation,

0:26:070:26:10

the predicament of the people who had lived in this land

0:26:100:26:13

for thousands of years grew worse day by day.

0:26:130:26:16

The initial reaction of the Aboriginal people was,

0:26:210:26:24

if someone enters your country you try to deal with them.

0:26:240:26:27

Your first instinct is not to kill

0:26:270:26:29

but to make these people respond to the law of the land

0:26:290:26:34

and you just expect that they will,

0:26:340:26:36

because in 60,000 years that's all you've known.

0:26:360:26:40

Accompanying the arrival of white Australia

0:26:400:26:42

was a whirlwind of violence.

0:26:420:26:45

There was a war going on in the country

0:26:450:26:47

and Aboriginal people were turning back Europeans all over Australia.

0:26:470:26:52

In Victoria, in the western district,

0:26:520:26:55

Aboriginal people drove the early settlers out of the country

0:26:550:26:58

back towards Melbourne.

0:26:580:27:00

On the 9th June, 1838,

0:27:010:27:04

the Aborigine people of Myall Creek in New South Wales

0:27:040:27:07

were confronted by a band of frontiersmen

0:27:070:27:10

intent on punishing Aborigines for rushing their cattle.

0:27:100:27:13

The frontiersmen rounded up nearly 30 men, women and children.

0:27:130:27:18

Tied together they were led into the hills.

0:27:180:27:20

There they were killed - their children were decapitated.

0:27:200:27:24

There's not only brutality happens on the Australian frontier

0:27:270:27:30

from time to time, there's actually depravity.

0:27:300:27:33

There are just appalling things happening.

0:27:330:27:37

Depraved is the right word for it

0:27:380:27:40

Even by the lawless standards of the frontier,

0:27:420:27:45

the Myall Creek massacre was an outrage which could not be ignored.

0:27:450:27:49

Seven frontiersmen were tried, found guilty and sentenced to death.

0:27:490:27:54

In their defence, they claimed that killing Aborigines was so common they hadn't realised it was illegal.

0:27:540:28:00

In all these places, it was possible to do things a bit differently

0:28:020:28:06

and you probably didn't need to drive people

0:28:060:28:11

off cliffs into the sea.

0:28:110:28:12

You didn't need to round them up and shoot them in water holes.

0:28:120:28:15

The events of Myall Creek left a profound impression

0:28:150:28:20

on the settlers in nearby Victoria, many of them Scottish.

0:28:200:28:23

The lesson was clear.

0:28:230:28:25

If you were going to get into a fight with the Aborigines,

0:28:250:28:28

best to keep quiet about it.

0:28:280:28:29

To the east of Melbourne is a region called Gippsland. It is remote.

0:28:330:28:38

Cut off from the rest of the continent by the Snowy Mountains.

0:28:380:28:42

Much of it today remains a wilderness.

0:28:420:28:45

Its discovery and mapping are largely down to one man -

0:28:480:28:52

a Gaelic-speaking islander called Angus McMillan.

0:28:520:28:56

In the 1830s, traditional Gaelic culture in the Highlands

0:28:580:29:02

of Scotland was in decline.

0:29:020:29:04

Estates were being cleared of tenant farmers

0:29:040:29:07

to make way for profitable sheep.

0:29:070:29:09

Poverty and hunger stalked the glens

0:29:090:29:12

but many Presbyterian Highlanders saw this disaster

0:29:120:29:16

as an opportunity to start again -

0:29:160:29:18

to build a promised land on the other side of the world.

0:29:180:29:22

There's a certain amount of imagery around the immigration

0:29:220:29:25

of Highlanders that calls on biblical images of Exodus.

0:29:250:29:30

That's not uncommon.

0:29:310:29:33

You know, people who were in captivity

0:29:330:29:37

and suffering under the Highland Clearances who were now reluctantly

0:29:370:29:43

leaving their homeland but they're looking for a new promised land.

0:29:430:29:47

Born in Skye and brought up on Barra, Angus McMillan

0:29:470:29:52

sailed for Australia at the age of 28.

0:29:520:29:55

An austere, religious young man, McMillan did not want to leave Scotland

0:29:550:30:01

but he believed God had a plan for him.

0:30:010:30:03

If Australia was to be his destiny, so be it.

0:30:030:30:06

McMillan arrives in Australia with not much notion

0:30:080:30:12

of what he's going to do but with letters of introduction to men of much more means,

0:30:120:30:17

much more status and probably much more education.

0:30:170:30:20

McMillan found work with Lachlan McAlister - a fellow islander

0:30:250:30:29

and owner of huge tracts of land in New South Wales.

0:30:290:30:32

But in 1839, a drought struck.

0:30:320:30:36

McMillan, the determined and resourceful new man,

0:30:360:30:39

was sent out to find new land to farm.

0:30:390:30:43

McMillan pushed on into the endless bush,

0:30:450:30:48

forcing his horse through forests,

0:30:480:30:50

into gullies, around swamps and up mountain slopes.

0:30:500:30:54

Finally, after weeks in the saddle, McMillan crashed through the trees -

0:30:540:30:59

he was delighted with what he'd found.

0:30:590:31:01

"It put me more in mind of the scenery of Scotland than any other country

0:31:070:31:10

"I had hitherto seen and therefore,

0:31:100:31:13

"I named it at that moment Caledonia Australis - Scotland of the South.

0:31:130:31:19

"It was then I keenly felt I had a noble and glorious task to perform

0:31:210:31:25

"and that I was only an instrument in the hands of the almighty.

0:31:250:31:30

"This was land sufficient to feed all my starving countrymen."

0:31:300:31:33

He's doing the Lord's will. He must be, it's manifest.

0:31:370:31:41

Why else would he be here?

0:31:410:31:43

Why would it be so good for cattle if it wasn't the Lord's will?

0:31:430:31:46

But really, while he's thinking about the Lord's will,

0:31:480:31:50

he also thinking how he, Angus McMillan, can grow fat.

0:31:500:31:55

McMillan returned to Sydney

0:31:570:31:59

and drove 500 of McAlister's cattle into the new territory.

0:31:590:32:04

He claimed a property for himself twice the size of Barra,

0:32:040:32:08

the island where he'd grown up.

0:32:080:32:10

He was soon joined by others as an almost exclusively Gaelic community

0:32:100:32:15

of cattlemen followed his path south.

0:32:150:32:17

One of them was Robert Thompson.

0:32:180:32:21

His great, great grandson Andrew is still there.

0:32:210:32:24

There's about 550 in this mob. Enough to keep busy.

0:32:290:32:32

Not enough to make money.

0:32:320:32:33

Because Macmillan was the main explorer,

0:32:360:32:38

everyone knows everyone in your community

0:32:380:32:41

so he's not going to give first heads up that there's good country

0:32:410:32:44

down here to the Irish, to the Poms, to the Welsh or anyone else.

0:32:440:32:48

It's all going to be, "Right, I'll get on the phone

0:32:480:32:50

"and tell all my Scottish mates this is the promised land."

0:32:500:32:54

"This is all good. There are acres and acres of grass,

0:32:550:32:58

"you're going to be able to make a quid down here."

0:32:580:33:01

Today, Andrew Thompson trades in a global market

0:33:020:33:05

and farming is a tough business.

0:33:050:33:07

But the greatest risk was taken by men like his great,

0:33:070:33:11

great grandfather who followed in McMillan's footsteps 180 years ago.

0:33:110:33:16

To come over those mountains with animals

0:33:170:33:19

and not know what's at the other end... You break a leg up there,

0:33:190:33:22

you got nothing. And to punt your whole life, your family's life

0:33:220:33:29

and all future generations on something like that

0:33:290:33:32

when you could have just sat at home and done nothing, that's fairly amazing.

0:33:320:33:36

It's a real test of character and sign of strength,

0:33:360:33:42

so it's kind of amazing to me.

0:33:420:33:43

By the 1850s, Angus McMillan owned nearly 2,500 cattle, 9,000 sheep

0:33:460:33:53

and had land stretching as far as the eye could see.

0:33:530:33:57

The Presbyterian prophecy of a Gaelic promised land was fulfilled.

0:33:570:34:02

The name Caledonia Australis didn't stick,

0:34:020:34:05

but McMillan was quickly recognised as one of early Australia's

0:34:050:34:09

most important explorers and agriculturalists.

0:34:090:34:12

Among his many positions was protector of the local Aborigines.

0:34:150:34:19

But on closer examination, this picture tells a different story.

0:34:220:34:26

My skin crawls when I see that photograph.

0:34:270:34:30

When I first saw it...

0:34:300:34:34

I felt like vomiting, because it's so plain in the photograph

0:34:340:34:40

that the two Aboriginal men have fear

0:34:400:34:43

and revulsion in their eyes.

0:34:430:34:46

In 1843, Aboriginal warriors ambushed

0:34:490:34:53

and killed a prominent local white man.

0:34:530:34:56

The Aborigines made one terrible mistake when they killed a man

0:34:560:34:59

because he turned out to be the nephew of the number one man,

0:34:590:35:03

Lachlan McAllister, who financed McMillan's trips.

0:35:030:35:07

In response, McMillan formed a posse of stockmen.

0:35:070:35:12

He called them the Highland Brigade.

0:35:120:35:14

Macmillan...got his fellows, the clans, organised

0:35:160:35:22

and...he was of the opinion -

0:35:220:35:27

and militarily, it makes for common sense -

0:35:270:35:32

that you hit early and you hit hard and you solve the problem

0:35:320:35:37

before the soft hearts get a chance to become involved.

0:35:370:35:42

McMillan reminded his men what had happened at Myall Creek.

0:35:450:35:49

Too much loose talk had alerted the authorities.

0:35:490:35:52

The men pledged a pact of silence.

0:35:520:35:55

The covenant held, for a time,

0:35:590:36:01

but the terrible events of that day are no longer shrouded in silence.

0:36:010:36:06

In 1925, an anonymous account appeared in a Melbourne newspaper.

0:36:060:36:10

"The brigade coming up to the blacks camped around the water hole

0:36:120:36:15

"at Warrigal Creek surrounded them

0:36:150:36:17

"and fired into them, killing a great number.

0:36:170:36:20

"Some escaped into the scrub, others jumped into the water hole

0:36:230:36:28

"and as fast as they put their heads up for breath,

0:36:280:36:31

"they were shot until the water was red with blood."

0:36:310:36:35

Estimates of the number of Aborigines killed

0:36:370:36:40

at Warrigal Creek range from 60 to 150.

0:36:400:36:43

In the case of Angus McMillan, he and his Scottish friends seemed to

0:36:470:36:50

have been especially savage in their reprisals.

0:36:500:36:55

He was prepared to do anything to get what he wanted

0:36:550:36:59

and he had no time for Aboriginal people at all.

0:36:590:37:03

He held the Aboriginal people in contempt.

0:37:060:37:09

I think his bible allowed him to do that.

0:37:090:37:12

By the mid 1850s, when Angus McMillan's

0:37:150:37:18

transformation from destitute cattlehand to a wealthy explorer

0:37:180:37:22

was complete, there were barely 100 Aborigines left in all of Gippsland.

0:37:220:37:27

When McMillan arrived, there had been 2,000.

0:37:280:37:31

The grand irony is that a lot of these people who came

0:37:320:37:37

and moved by force, or some other means, the Aboriginal people

0:37:370:37:44

off the land had been themselves moved off.

0:37:440:37:48

So I think that made them quite immune

0:37:480:37:52

to any sentiment about moving the next lot.

0:37:520:37:55

McMillan is the dark side of the Scottish exploration of Australia.

0:37:550:37:59

The thirst for new land was all-consuming

0:37:590:38:03

and even in one of the biggest countries in the world,

0:38:030:38:07

for some Scots there was no room for anyone else.

0:38:070:38:10

But by the mid-19th century, European knowledge of the size

0:38:140:38:17

and nature of Australia was still limited.

0:38:170:38:20

For all their achievements, Australians could not truly

0:38:200:38:23

regard themselves as masters of the continent

0:38:230:38:26

until they knew what lay at its heart.

0:38:260:38:28

In October 1860, a small, thin, bearded man arrived in Adelaide.

0:38:360:38:42

A crowd of people, including newspaper reporters, had gathered to meet him.

0:38:420:38:47

He looked half dead.

0:38:470:38:49

He told them he'd been to the centre of Australia and back.

0:38:490:38:53

Like a man today claiming he'd walked on Mars, his tale defied credibility.

0:38:530:38:58

The national library in Sydney has a tiny leather-bound notebook

0:39:000:39:04

and a series of hand-drawn charts.

0:39:040:39:07

These are the original field journals and maps

0:39:070:39:09

of Australia's greatest inland explorer.

0:39:090:39:12

Obsessive, one would say. Neat in his expeditions.

0:39:120:39:18

In his personal life, I think you'd describe him as chaotic.

0:39:190:39:23

THEY LAUGH

0:39:230:39:24

He certainly wasn't a dandy.

0:39:240:39:28

John McDouall Stuart from Dysart in Fife

0:39:300:39:33

was not only a brilliant explorer -

0:39:330:39:36

he was the epitome of the Australian spirit.

0:39:360:39:39

His battles with this harsh land and with his own personal demons

0:39:390:39:43

combined to create a compelling, flawed, yet heroic figure.

0:39:430:39:48

He was, in the words of one historian, "A very big little man."

0:39:480:39:53

There's lots in his character

0:39:530:39:55

and his personality that appeals to Australians today

0:39:550:39:58

because he was tough and he was successful and he was resourceful.

0:39:580:40:03

He didn't consume a lot of people's efforts.

0:40:030:40:07

He could do it alone,

0:40:070:40:08

a lot of it, and that's sort of the great Australian spirit that we all aspire to.

0:40:080:40:14

Stuart's early prospects were not good.

0:40:160:40:19

Orphaned at the age of ten, he was too short for the military

0:40:190:40:22

and mumbled too much to be a minister.

0:40:220:40:24

When he washed up in Adelaide in 1839, he was only 23 years old.

0:40:250:40:31

What's surprising about Stuart is how quickly

0:40:310:40:34

he adapted to the Australian landscape.

0:40:340:40:37

Within a few years, he was going deep into the fringes of civilisation,

0:40:370:40:43

producing maps for pastoralists who were looking for land.

0:40:430:40:47

He was able to survive in quite arid country, leading just a few

0:40:470:40:50

horses and two or three helpers.

0:40:500:40:52

But after returning from the punishing harshness

0:40:530:40:56

of the outback, Stuart routinely headed straight for the pub.

0:40:560:41:01

He did love a drink, there's no doubt about that.

0:41:010:41:03

So when he got to town, he had a few.

0:41:030:41:05

After five years in the colony, Stuart had no money and no fixed abode.

0:41:080:41:13

But in 1844, he was accepted as part of explorer Charles Sturt's

0:41:130:41:18

expedition into the centre of Australia.

0:41:180:41:21

It was the job that changed his life.

0:41:210:41:24

Sturt was looking for a legendary inland sea believed to be

0:41:260:41:29

in the centre of the continent.

0:41:290:41:31

All societies had their dreams of the paradise,

0:41:330:41:36

and in Australia, that dream was of an inland sea.

0:41:360:41:42

That is that the rivers flowing from the east

0:41:420:41:45

and the west must go somewhere,

0:41:450:41:48

because navigators had never found an Amazon or a Nile coming out

0:41:480:41:52

into the ocean. Therefore, there must be a huge pond in the middle.

0:41:520:41:57

This was enhanced by indigenous people

0:41:570:42:01

relating stories of a watery paradise

0:42:010:42:05

surrounded by flocks of kangaroos and emus and a place where

0:42:050:42:10

there were no white men but there was lots of food and birds to eat.

0:42:100:42:14

It doesn't exist and it never did.

0:42:160:42:19

Sturt found no inland sea.

0:42:290:42:31

Instead, his expedition encountered the full harshness of the Australian climate

0:42:310:42:36

and the further he went, the drier and more brutal it became.

0:42:360:42:40

Sturt wrote in his journal that,

0:42:410:42:43

"Nothing can exceed the dreadful nature

0:42:430:42:46

"of the country we have entered."

0:42:460:42:48

The first thing is the physical hardship. In patches,

0:42:480:42:52

the scrub can be really tough and impenetrable, so that means the horses

0:42:520:42:56

don't go through it easily, so you've got to force them or get off them

0:42:560:42:59

and lead them and that can be really hard. But that's almost the easiest.

0:42:590:43:02

What's harder is the lack of water and

0:43:020:43:05

if you haven't got a drink from sun up to sun down, it's kind of tough.

0:43:050:43:08

Sturt's expedition was a failure

0:43:080:43:11

and he brought back to Adelaide the appalling prospect

0:43:110:43:15

that the interior of the country was one gigantic desert.

0:43:150:43:19

But for John McDouall Stuart, the experience was a formative one.

0:43:200:43:24

He had come face to face with the worst the outback had to offer

0:43:240:43:28

and survived, and he learned some valuable lessons

0:43:280:43:32

about how to navigate the interior.

0:43:320:43:34

What Stuart probably learns from Sturt is that there might be

0:43:350:43:39

another way to do it.

0:43:390:43:41

You don't have to take oxen and boats and water wagons and travel

0:43:410:43:45

quite as well provisioned and you could move more quickly, perhaps.

0:43:450:43:49

Stuart devised a new way of travelling,

0:43:490:43:52

one specifically adapted to the outback.

0:43:520:43:55

The way he did it was he'd get to a landmark

0:43:550:43:59

and he'd look ahead for water and a route,

0:43:590:44:03

so he'd use his telescope

0:44:030:44:05

and probably his binoculars to pick a point,

0:44:050:44:08

and you head straight for it.

0:44:080:44:10

Now, you can't do that with wagons all the time,

0:44:100:44:12

and flocks of sheep and oxen and all the rest of it.

0:44:120:44:15

It's too long and it's too slow.

0:44:150:44:17

So he got this new pattern of travel from point to point,

0:44:170:44:19

and it's very mobile and very quick.

0:44:190:44:22

Stuart's journal is all about finding water -

0:44:220:44:27

if he couldn't find water, he was doomed.

0:44:270:44:32

He was accomplished at it.

0:44:320:44:34

He would climb the highest mountain

0:44:340:44:36

and look perhaps for a dip in the land and head that way.

0:44:360:44:40

He knew the birds that would assemble at evening near water

0:44:400:44:44

such as finches and pigeons.

0:44:440:44:46

He would dig in the bed of dry rivers and after a metre or two down

0:44:460:44:53

he normally found something to drink there.

0:44:530:44:56

And Stuart was canny enough to pick the brains of the people

0:44:560:44:59

who had long ago worked out how to live in this land.

0:44:590:45:03

Water is the most precious resource to us.

0:45:030:45:06

Those first guys that came to us, our people seen them perishing

0:45:060:45:10

and really struggling and thought, like, "Poor bugger,

0:45:100:45:14

"maybe we should give them a hand". So we did.

0:45:140:45:17

Stuart's mastery of the outback

0:45:190:45:21

alerted Adelaide businessman James Chambers.

0:45:210:45:25

He wanted to expand his cattle empire beyond the frontier.

0:45:250:45:29

Between 1858 and 1859, Stuart set out on a series of ambitious expeditions,

0:45:290:45:36

sponsored by Chambers.

0:45:360:45:38

Each journey took him further into the interior

0:45:380:45:41

than any other European before him.

0:45:410:45:43

Stuart was mapping a pristine landscape

0:45:430:45:46

for James Chambers' cattle.

0:45:460:45:48

His success changed forever this part of Australia.

0:45:480:45:53

The next lot of people that came back, there was a little bit more,

0:45:530:45:57

so there had to be a little bit more water here.

0:45:570:46:00

Then a mob after that came back with a cow and a horse,

0:46:000:46:05

possibly a couple of sheep, so there was more water being used.

0:46:050:46:11

It got to the point where sometimes there was not even enough for us.

0:46:110:46:15

And Stuart had grander ambitions than just seeking out good agricultural land.

0:46:150:46:20

There's no doubt that Stuart saw himself on a quest

0:46:210:46:24

and that is to be the first European to cross the Australian continent from south to north.

0:46:240:46:30

In 1860, Stuart set out for a fourth time,

0:46:330:46:38

heading for the centre of Australia.

0:46:380:46:40

His party consisted of three people including himself.

0:46:400:46:44

Under provisioned, under equipped,

0:46:440:46:46

under resourced in terms of horse flesh, man power.

0:46:460:46:50

Travelling via springs and water holes

0:46:520:46:54

he'd identified on his previous expeditions,

0:46:540:46:57

Stuart and his two companions made their way north.

0:46:570:47:00

He was a hard taskmaster.

0:47:020:47:05

He set by example, and if they had to ride a long distance,

0:47:050:47:11

say 20 miles in a day, that would be what he did,

0:47:110:47:15

with steely determination,

0:47:150:47:16

and you'd better keep up because you'd be left behind.

0:47:160:47:19

Every day, pretty much, they're crossing a new frontier

0:47:190:47:23

of toughness, and it might be environment,

0:47:230:47:25

and it might be lack of water, and then finally it's lack of food.

0:47:250:47:29

He keeps on halving his rations, so he gets a bit further north

0:47:290:47:32

and, "Oh, I'm not going to make it back, we'll halve them again."

0:47:320:47:36

It was really tough - beyond any modern comprehension of tough.

0:47:360:47:39

Just way beyond.

0:47:390:47:41

Six weeks after their departure, Stuart left his tent

0:47:460:47:50

and took his daily readings of the sun to calculate their position.

0:47:500:47:54

"Today I find from my observations of the sun -

0:47:550:47:58

"111 degrees, zero minutes 30 seconds -

0:47:580:48:03

"that I am now camped in the centre of Australia."

0:48:030:48:07

Ascending the nearest peak, Stuart marked the momentous moment.

0:48:100:48:15

"I built a large cone of stones, in the centre of which

0:48:150:48:18

"I placed a pole with a British flag nailed to it,

0:48:180:48:22

"then gave three hearty cheers."

0:48:220:48:24

Stuart decided to push north

0:48:260:48:28

to complete the crossing of the continent, but as the land beneath his feet dried up, doubt crept in.

0:48:280:48:34

"We are expecting every moment to come upon a gum creek,

0:48:350:48:39

"but hope is disappointed.

0:48:390:48:41

"How far this country may continue is impossible to tell.

0:48:410:48:46

"It is very alluring, and apt to lead the traveller into serious mistakes.

0:48:460:48:51

"I wish I had turned back earlier,

0:48:510:48:53

"but I am almost afraid I have allowed myself to come too far."

0:48:530:48:57

As Stuart inched towards the north coast, the landscape changed,

0:48:580:49:02

and so did the native people he encountered.

0:49:020:49:05

"I heard the voice of a native.

0:49:050:49:07

"He made the sign that natives generally do

0:49:070:49:10

"if wanting something to eat, and pointed towards me.

0:49:100:49:14

"Whether he meant to ask if I was hungry,

0:49:140:49:17

"or to suggest that I should make a very good supper for him, I do not know."

0:49:170:49:22

The days passed, and Stuart and his men realised they were being followed.

0:49:220:49:27

At night, fires lit the horizon.

0:49:270:49:30

When those people were observing those new explorers,

0:49:300:49:34

it was a way to signify that you're not alone and you're being watched,

0:49:340:49:39

and that's the same thing what happens as an Aboriginal person

0:49:390:49:43

at that same time going into another's area.

0:49:430:49:46

It's also signifying danger.

0:49:460:49:50

"Suddenly, from behind some scrub,

0:49:500:49:52

"upstarted three, tall, powerful fellows,

0:49:520:49:55

"fully armed, having a number of boomerangs, waddies and spears.

0:49:550:49:59

"In a few minutes, their numbers had increased to upward of 30.

0:49:590:50:03

"We received a shower of boomerangs accompanied by a fearful yell.

0:50:030:50:08

"They then set fire to the grass."

0:50:080:50:10

Stuart named the place of the skirmish Attack Creek.

0:50:120:50:15

Why the attack occurred on this particular location

0:50:150:50:18

is not quite clear.

0:50:180:50:21

It could well be that it was a dispute about water,

0:50:210:50:25

because Stuart had been taking his number of horses from water hole

0:50:250:50:30

to water hole and emptying them,

0:50:300:50:33

and it's also extremely likely that he had crossed sacred ground.

0:50:330:50:38

The attack shook Stuart and his men. Their rations were running low.

0:50:380:50:41

They were experiencing the first signs of scurvy,

0:50:410:50:44

and, with no sign of rain,

0:50:440:50:46

they risked death should they continue into the unknown.

0:50:460:50:49

Reluctantly, Stuart decided to head for home.

0:50:490:50:52

"It would be madness and folly to attempt more.

0:50:520:50:56

"If my own life were the only sacrifice,

0:50:560:50:58

"I would willingly risk it to accomplish my purpose,

0:50:580:51:01

"but it seems I am destined to be disappointed."

0:51:010:51:04

And so he says that, "Because of my manpower, my lack of supplies,

0:51:060:51:10

"because we're so far from anywhere

0:51:100:51:12

"and because of the Aboriginal situation, I'm going to retreat."

0:51:120:51:16

Stuart returned to Adelaide a hero.

0:51:170:51:20

It's internationally hugely important,

0:51:210:51:23

because, at that time, geography and travels

0:51:230:51:28

were very much the popular press of the day

0:51:280:51:31

and the great unknown was what's in the centre of Australia.

0:51:310:51:35

Today, tourists can complete the journey from Adelaide to the centre in a matter of hours.

0:51:380:51:43

The railway tracks run close to the route originally mapped by Stuart.

0:51:430:51:48

But Stuart, so confident in the outback, did not enjoy his new fame.

0:51:530:51:58

He retreated to Adelaide's pubs and, at a dinner given in his honour,

0:51:580:52:02

was so nervous that someone else had to deliver his speech.

0:52:020:52:06

He was an isolate. He preferred his own company,

0:52:070:52:12

the isolation of the Australian bush.

0:52:120:52:16

He preferred being in a bush tavern drinking

0:52:160:52:20

than high society in Adelaide.

0:52:200:52:23

In response to Stuart's success, the state of Victoria decided to send an expedition north

0:52:250:52:29

to complete the crossing of the continent -

0:52:290:52:33

the last great prize of Australian exploration.

0:52:330:52:36

The Victorian exploring exhibition is completely different

0:52:360:52:40

because it's funded by a very wealthy colony, Victoria,

0:52:400:52:43

and they took everything, including the kitchen sink

0:52:430:52:46

and the dining room table, and they were very well equipped -

0:52:460:52:49

perhaps the best equipped expedition in Australia ever.

0:52:490:52:53

The expedition was led by Irish policeman Robert O'Hara Burke.

0:52:530:52:58

It consisted of 27 camels, two dozen horses,

0:52:590:53:03

six wagons carrying food for two years, and six tonnes of firewood.

0:53:030:53:08

The Burke expedition is a case study in how not to do things.

0:53:080:53:13

They had tables, they had desks, they had huge amounts of stuff,

0:53:130:53:17

most of which never made it out of Victoria,

0:53:170:53:20

including the lime juice, which would have been quite good,

0:53:200:53:24

because scurvy in the end was what undid the whole expedition.

0:53:240:53:27

Burke is a joke. He was useless in the bush.

0:53:300:53:34

He couldn't fend for himself,

0:53:340:53:36

he couldn't eat, and when Aboriginal people gave him food

0:53:360:53:40

and water, he shot over their head because he was afraid of them.

0:53:400:53:43

Burke's expedition never made it across the continent.

0:53:450:53:49

Instead, he vanished into the interior and was never seen alive again.

0:53:490:53:53

Despite Burke's death,

0:53:580:54:00

the goal of crossing Australia was closer than ever.

0:54:000:54:03

Stuart resolved to make one last attempt to cross the continent.

0:54:030:54:07

And by now, the Australian interior was John McDouall Stuart's true home.

0:54:090:54:14

He understood its dangers. He embraced its silence.

0:54:140:54:18

He knew its landmarks - he had discovered and named many of them.

0:54:180:54:22

Finally, after seven months of trekking

0:54:290:54:32

and a lifetime of trying, the sound of the sea confirmed his triumph.

0:54:320:54:38

"I came upon a broad valley covered in long grass.

0:54:380:54:42

"From this, I can hear the wash of the sea."

0:54:420:54:45

"I advanced a few yards onto the beach, and was gratified

0:54:460:54:49

"and delighted to behold... the ocean."

0:54:490:54:54

Stuart turned back towards Adelaide almost immediately,

0:54:560:55:00

however, within days, his iron will and indomitable constitution began to fade.

0:55:000:55:04

Ulcers blistered his mouth. Sharp shooting pains wracked his chest.

0:55:040:55:09

His eyes, blasted by the glare of the desert sun for so many years,

0:55:090:55:13

blurred and faded.

0:55:130:55:15

"I am in the grasp of death - a cold clammy perspiration

0:55:160:55:21

"with a tremulous motion creeping over my body during the night.

0:55:210:55:25

"Everything near me has the smell of decaying mortality.

0:55:250:55:29

"My limbs so weak and painful that I am obliged to be carried about.

0:55:290:55:34

"My body reduced to that of a living skeleton.

0:55:340:55:38

"My strength an infantile weakness. A sad wreck of my former days."

0:55:380:55:44

At the end of his sixth expedition,

0:55:450:55:49

Stuart was really a mental and physical wreck.

0:55:490:55:53

He had to be carried back all the way

0:55:530:55:57

from the northern part of Australia to Adelaide.

0:55:570:55:59

It took Stuart six months to reach Adelaide.

0:55:590:56:03

His greatest achievement had nearly killed him.

0:56:030:56:07

But his crossing of the continent has had a profound legacy.

0:56:070:56:10

The way he went is the way we still go.

0:56:120:56:15

In other words, the route he used became the stepping stone

0:56:150:56:19

for all the European development.

0:56:190:56:21

And Stuart's notebooks provided the route map for the telegraph line

0:56:210:56:25

that linked Australia to the rest of the world.

0:56:250:56:27

But whilst John McDouall Stuart may have conquered Australia,

0:56:320:56:36

Australia had perhaps also conquered him.

0:56:360:56:40

He had his moment of fame, he was celebrated,

0:56:410:56:44

but once in the town he began to drink heavily.

0:56:440:56:48

It's almost as if he'd achieved what he wanted to out of life

0:56:480:56:53

and had nothing to replace it.

0:56:530:56:56

When he was aged 50, he died,

0:56:560:57:00

and only seven people attended his funeral.

0:57:000:57:04

And most of those were strangers

0:57:040:57:06

who had come along to pay their respects to this great man.

0:57:060:57:10

Modern Australia has many fathers.

0:57:220:57:25

People from every corner of the globe

0:57:250:57:28

have made this country what it is today,

0:57:280:57:31

but the mark of Scottish explorers on Australia has been profound.

0:57:310:57:35

Resourceful, tough, successful.

0:57:420:57:45

They're forming this Australian character.

0:57:450:57:48

It didn't matter how you were born or what you were,

0:57:500:57:53

these Scottish travellers, explorers,

0:57:530:57:56

simply went out and got on with it and did what they wanted to do

0:57:560:58:00

because they wanted to get on in life.

0:58:000:58:02

And in opening this country to European eyes,

0:58:020:58:05

Scottish explorers have helped make Australia what it is today.

0:58:050:58:09

Because of where they came from in Scotland being a fairly hard

0:58:120:58:16

country itself, they were probably set up better to handle it

0:58:160:58:19

than a lot of other nations that came here,

0:58:190:58:22

because Scotland's a tough bit of dirt, you know,

0:58:220:58:24

and Australia's a tough bit of dirt.

0:58:240:58:27

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:470:58:51

Email subtitling@bbc.co.uk

0:58:510:58:54

For centuries, the island continent of Australia remained a blank space on the map. Its fierce climate and vast empty interior remained untouched and untamed.

Among the explorers who opened up the country were a remarkable collection of Scots. This film tells the story of the Scottish exploration of Australia - a tale of astonishing skill, bravery and fortitude in one of the most difficult environments on earth.