This edited collection understands exploration as a collective effort and experience involving a variety of people in diverse kinds of relationships. It engages with the recent resurgence of interest in the history of exploration by focusing on the various indigenous intermediaries – Jacky Jacky, Bungaree, Moowattin, Tupaia, Mai, Cheealthluc and lesser-known individuals – who were the guides, translators, and hosts that assisted and facilitated European travellers in exploring different parts of the world. These intermediaries are rarely the authors of exploration narratives, or the main focus within exploration archives. Nonetheless the archives of exploration contain imprints of their presence, experience and contributions. The chapters present a range of ways of reading archives to bring them to the fore. The contributors ask new questions of existing materials, suggest new interpretive approaches, and present innovative ways to enhance sources so as to generate new stories.
Colonial exploration continues, all too often, to be rendered as heroic narratives of solitary, intrepid explorers and adventurers. This edited collection contributes to scholarship that is challenging that persistent mythology. With a focus on Indigenous brokers, such as guides, assistants and mediators, it highlights the ways in which nineteenth-century exploration in Australia and New Guinea was a collective and socially complex enterprise. Many of the authors provide biographically rich studies that carefully examine and speculate about Indigenous brokers' motivations, commitments and desires. All of the chapters in the collection are attentive to the specific local circumstances as well as broader colonial contexts in which exploration and encounters occurred. This collection breaks new ground in its emphasis on Indigenous agency and Indigenous–explorer interactions. It will be of value to historians and others for a very long time. Professor Ann Curthoys, University of Sydney. In bringing together this group of authors, the editors have brought to histories of colonialism the individuality of these intermediaries, whose lives intersected colonial exploration in Australia and New Guinea. Dr Jude Philp, Macleay Museum.