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The beckoning west : the story of H.S. Trotman and the Canning Stock Route

by Eleanor Smith

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These are the reminiscences of H.S. Trottman, Canning's assistant, on the survey and well drilling as told to Eleanor Smith. The narrative is of the "nation building" genre and expounds on the physical difficulties and dangers associated with this enterprise.
The Aboriginal perspective doesn't exist in the Canning/ Trottman world. Aboriginals exist to help locate water for the expedition. They are viewed as others. The irony of using Aboriginals to save the expedition through their the knowledge of water sources and then to claim credit for the establishment of the series of wells on the route is lost on Trottman. The wells were of European style construction and proved inaccessible and dangerous to local tribes.
The Canning Stock Route was a victim of late nineteenth century "boosterism". It was seldom used; twenty-eight times in all. The route could only support an uneconomical number of stock units through insufficient water, making it impractical to use.
"Poor Fellow, My Country" to quote Xavier Herbert. ( )
  ivanfranko | Nov 7, 2015 |
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