John Forrest bigraphy, stories - Explorer, Premier of Western Australia

John Forrest : biography

22 August 1847 - 2 September 1918

Sir John Forrest GCMG (22 August 1847 – 2 September 1918) was an Australian explorer, the first Premier of Western Australia and a cabinet minister in Australia's first federal parliament.

As a young man, John Forrest won fame as an explorer by leading three expeditions into the interior of Western Australia. He was appointed Surveyor General and in 1890 became the first Premier of Western Australia, its only premier as a self-governing colony. Forrest's premiership gave the state ten years of stable administration during a period of rapid development and demographic change. He pursued a policy of large-scale public works and extensive land settlement, and he helped to ensure that Western Australia joined the federation of Australian states. After federation, he moved to federal politics, where he was at various times postmaster-general, Minister for Defence, Minister for Home Affairs, Treasurer and acting Prime Minister.

Shortly before his death, Forrest was informed that the King had approved his being raised to the British peerage as Baron Forrest of Bunbury. He immediately began signing his name as "Forrest", as if he were already a peer. However, at the time of his death his peerage had not been legally established by letters patent. References to him as "Lord Forrest" are therefore incorrect.

Forrest the explorer

Between 1869 and 1874, Forrest led three expeditions into the uncharted land surrounding the colony of Western Australia. In 1869, he led a fruitless search for the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, in the desert west of the site of the present-day town of Leonora. The following year, he surveyed Edward John Eyre's land route from Perth to Adelaide. In 1874, he led a party to the watershed of the Murchison River, and then east through the unknown desert centre of Western Australia. Forrest published an account of his expeditions, Explorations in Australia,Explorations in Australia illustrations by G.F. Angas; with an introduction by Valmai Hankel. Adelaide: Friends of the State Library of South Australia, 1998. ISBN 1-876154-19-5 – see also Project Gutenberg Australia for online copy in 1875. In 1882, He was made a Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) by Queen Victoria for his services in exploring the interior.

The search for Leichhardt

In March 1869, Forrest was asked to lead an expedition in search of the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, who had been missing since April 1848. A few years earlier, a party of Aborigines had told the explorer Charles Hunt of a place where a group of white men had been killed by AboriginesSome historians like Ernest Favenc (as well as other killings of Europeans) as being murdered by the aborigines. Indigenous Australians take offence at this characterisation of events and have called the killing of the Europeans an act of war or an act of defence. a long time ago, and some time afterwards an Aboriginal tracker named Jemmy Mungaro had corroborated their story and claimed to have personally been to the location. Since it was thought that these stories might refer to Leichhardt's party, Forrest was asked to lead a party to the site, with Mungaro as their guide, and there to search for evidence of Leichhardt's fate.

Forrest assembled a party of six, including the Aboriginal trackers Mungaro and Tommy Windich, and they left Perth on 15 April 1869. They headed in a north-easterly direction, passing through the colony's furthermost sheep station on 26 April. On 6 May, they encountered a group of Aborigines who offered to guide the party to a place where there were many skeletons of horses. Forrest's team accompanied this group in a more northerly direction, but after a week of travelling it became clear that their destination was Poison Rock, where the explorer Robert Austin was known to have left eleven of his horses for dead in 1854. They then turned once more towards the location indicated by their guide.

The team arrived in the location to be searched on 28 May. They then spent almost three weeks surveying and searching an area of about 15,000 km² in the desert west of the site of the present-day town of Leonora. Having found no evidence of Leichhardt's fate, and Mungaro having changed his story and admitted that he had not personally visited the site, they decided to push as far eastwards as they could on their remaining supplies. The expedition reached its furthest point east on 2 July, near the present-day site of the town of Laverton. They then turned for home, returning by a more northerly route and arriving back in Perth on 6 August.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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