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G'day! This is Laurie McArthur, photographer, adventurer and web builder from the country town of Bega on the Far South Coast of New South Wales, NSW, Australia and website administrator of Australian Explorers.
My interest in the great explorers who traveled the vast and inhospitable interior, the fertile coastal fringes and the treacherous coastline, came out of my outback photography trips and my research into areas that are way off the tourist track. I needed searchable versions of the explorer's journals and I was surprized to find that none existed.
The Australian Explorers website that you are now viewing comes from a succession of rebuilds as my vision for the site has expanded and refined and there's plenty of room for it to continue to develop. I'd appreciate feedback from users in this regard.
Website visitor statistics have a pattern suggesting that school students make up a fair proportion of visitors so it would not be out of the question to provide free webspace for the publishing of related school assignments. It would also be possible to add an explorers forum.
Camping in the campsites of John McDouall Stuart and drinking from his waterholes has been a life changing experience as I've developped an affinity with country substantially unchanged over the time of European settlement.
In the journal of his 1858 expedition Mr. Stuart writes:
Thursday, 17th June, Bottle Hill. Got on the top of Bottle Hill to take bearings, but was disappointed; could see no hill except one, which was either Mount Deception or Mount North-west; the bearing was 51 degrees 30 minutes. There is a small cone of stones on the top, and a flat stone on the top of it, with the names of Louden and Burtt. From here I saw the gum trees in the Elizabeth; course to them 325 degrees 30 minutes, seven miles to the creek. The country from the hill here is of the very worst description--nothing but sand and salt bush.
For me, the rediscovery of the remains of this small cone of stones left by the first white men in the area was indeed an exciting experience.
Many of the original hardcopy published versions of explorer's journals have been reproduced in recent times on the web. Generally, these are excessively long documents, not so easily read and not readily searchable. I have set out to provide a searchable and readable resource for students, teachers, researchers, historians and authors as well as the casual reader of great adventure stories.
- Written by Laurie McArthur
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Australian Explorers has three search systems, each with it's uses, strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your needs, one or the other will suite you best.
You'll find the Standard Search box above the right side bar. This search box searches the whole site for exactly what you type in, up to a maximum of 20 characters.
Upon searching with the standard search box, you'll be taken to the Search Results page where you'll find another search box that allows you to refine your search.
The most useful boxes to tick may be Categories and Articles.
Categories (for the purpose of this explanation) are are the titles and descriptions of whole journals or chapters, depending on the set out of the original work.
Articles are individual, daily journal entries and do not include other information on the page.
Google Custom Search Engine
The Google Custom Search Engine on the Australian Explorers website, searches only this website.
The shortcoming of this system is it's dependance upon Google's indexing of the site. At the time of writing (June 2011) 93% of the site's pages appear in Google's index.
Google indexes everything on the page except for a few minor things you won't need such as the Google ads. Using this search box makes an advanced Google search possible, restricting your search to a particular explorer, journal or chapter. It's also possible to exclude specified terms from your results.
"John McDouall Stuart - First Expedition" copied and pasted from a page into the Google Custon Search box and enclosed in quotes will restrict the search to the journal of Stuart's first expedition.
If you want to know about Stuart and the Aboriginal people on his first expedition, search on:
"John McDouall Stuart - First Expedition"+black OR blacks OR native OR natives OR aborigine OR aborigines
exactly as you see it. That will give you indexed results for the terms black, native and aborigine in both singular and plural form, as found in the journal of Stuart's first expedition. You'll find the (+) and (OR) search most valuable.
You can also use the (-) sign to exclude specified terms.
The Google Custom Search Engine gives only the first 100 results so you may need to further refine your search.
These advanced search methods also work with the normal Google search engine. Google is your friend!
Alternative Search for Long Pages
While most pages on the Australian Explorers website are short, a few are quite long, owing to the nature of the original text. Here's a work-around for Windows users:
* Navigate on this website to the required page.
* Copy the entire page or the relevant part of the page. Right click>Select All>Copy will copy the whole page including the navigation and more.
* Open Microsoft Notepad. Start>All Programmes>Accessories>Notepad.
* Place the cursor in the Notepad window and right click>Paste.
* Be sure the cursor is at the beginning of the journal.
* Type your search term into the "Find what" box and click Find Next.
* You may need to drag the search box to the side so you can see the results.