A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Peter Fogg
Date: 2009 Apr 26, 15:49 +1000
Lord Melchett says to Blackadder:
"Farewell, Blackadder! The foremost cartographers of the land have prepared this for you.. It's a map of the area you'll be traversing."
Blackadder unrolls it and replies: "But it's blank!"
Lord Melchett: "Yes, they'd be most grateful if you could just fill it in as you go along. Goodbye!"
Frank Hugh Hann
Frank Hann came to Australia with his parents and four older siblings in 1862. In 1875 Hann joined in partnership with ER Edkins to muster cattle from abandoned stations in the western Gulf area of Queensland. This allowed him to take up Lawn Hill Station and he made extensive journeys droving cattle to the Northern Territory goldfields and Darwin. Hann developed an excellent reputation as a bushman and drover.
By 1895 Hann was suffering from a combination of misfortunes, led by falling beef prices and drought. The Bank of New South Wales questioned his handling of Lawn Hill Station and set about dictating conditions for his management of the property. Hann had more bad luck when he broke his thigh while mustering. He walked off Lawn Hill with 67 horses and, accompanied by several faithful Aborigines, travelled overland to Halls Creek in Western Australia.
Although Frank Hann at age 50 was virtually broke and homeless he decided to look for new pastoral lands and new mining prospects, and spent the next 12 years exploring Western Australia from the Kimberley to the southern goldfields. Many of his explorations started from a place still known as Hann’s Camp to the east of Laverton, where Hann lived for about 15 years. He was always accompanied by Talbot, one of the faithful Aborigines from Lawn Hill.
Frank Hann was not a surveyor but he developed a skill at recording his diary entries and maps so that they can still be followed quite accurately almost 100 years later. He travelled as far afield as Oodnadatta in South Australia (twice), and carried out numerous surveys into the Great Victoria Desert. Hann found traces of copper in the Warburton Ranges and some suitable pastoral areas around the fringes of the desert, but it was his expertise that charted most of the deserts of Western Australia.
Frank Hann named more than
500 features during his travels, more than any other Australian explorer. He
penetrated some of the most inhospitable country on earth, surviving on rough
bush tucker and salted meat and always battling to find sufficient water. A
stupid statement about wishing to cut off the head of an Aboriginal attacker led
to the Mines Department withdrawing aid to assist Hann in his travels. Frank
Hann died in 1921 and was buried as a pauper in his brother’s grave at
Karrakatta cemetery in Perth.
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