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The Sky Travellers by Bill Gammage

The Sky Travellers by Bill Gammage

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The Sky Travellers

Journeys in New Guinea 1938-1939

by Bill Gammage

Melbourne University Press, 1998, ISBN 0522848273, black and white photographic plates, fold-out map, hardcover, dustjacket

Very Good Condition, minor edge and shelf wear, minor rubbing and bumping to edges and corners, no inscriptions, dustjacket shows minor edge and shelf wear with minor rubbing and bumping to edges and corners (see photographs)

“The Sky Travellers is the story of an extraordinary journey of exploration – three thousand kilometres by foot, from March 1938 to June 1939, through the formidable mountains of the western highlands of Papua New Guinea.  The Hagen-Sepik Patrol was Australia’s last great exploring expedition, and it marked the end of 450 years of European land exploration worldwide.  It mapped and described unknown country, made first contact with many Highlands peoples, established outposts including Mount Hagen and found a major goldfield...
Over 350 people were on the patrol.  Most were carriers from Highlands areas already familiar to Europeans.  About forty New Guinean police came from distant coastal places.  Jim Taylor led the expedition, accompanied by two other Australians, John Black and Pat Walsh.
Their remarkable achievements are little known.  War was looming, and Jim Taylor’s perceptive report and John Black’s fine map contained strategic detail that the Japanese must not see.  They were officially supressed.
Many of the people who made the journey, and many of the Highlanders who saw white men for the first time, lived long enough to tell their story directly.  Bill Gammage interviewed scores of them.  He tramped some of the patrol route, locating the original campsites and mapping them.  He tested unpublished private diaries against official reports.  His experience was unique, for Papua New Guinea is the only place in the world where all sides of ‘first contact’ can still be explored.”


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