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Journeys & exploration

An adventurous spirit is characteristic of many Australians and is evident in the wealth of collection material recording the experiences of the many travellers, migrants, explorers and tourists who have documented their journeys to, from and around Australia, and beyond.

Along the way, these travellers have recorded key moments in our history such as:

  • coastal and inland exploration
  • European settlement
  • first contact with Victoria’s Koori population
  • 19th-century migration
  • 20th-century journeys across Australia
  • travel abroad for pleasure, leisure, education or artistic endeavour.

We also have documents from significant historical figures who undertook and recorded adventures, including:

  • Matthew Flinders, who kept a diary of his coastal voyage of 1798 in the colonial schooner Francis
  • John Helder Wedge, the surveyor and explorer who journeyed around Port Phillip in 1835-36, recording his experiences and impressions in great detail in his field book
  • the papers relating to the Burke and Wills’ epic journey across Australia in 1860-61
  • the observations of the Welsh swagman Joseph Jenkins as he wandered Victoria between 1874 and 1894, commenting on people, politics, farming and the seasons, and recording his observations in over twenty diaries.

Lonely Planet, one of the world's most successful guidebook publishers, was originally based in Footscray, Melbourne. The Library has a copy of every Lonely Planet book ever published, including the very first, Across Asia on the cheap, which records the 1972 honeymoon trip of Lonely Planet founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler.

More to explore