The Other Side of the Mountain
How a Tycoon, a Pastoralist and a Convict Helped Shape the Exploration of Colonial Australia
Ian W Shaw
In the early 1800s the Great Australian Unknown would be slowly revealed, in part by formal government expeditions, but also by runaway convicts, little known and privately funded explorers, and pastoralists seeking both knowledge of what lay beyond and land to occupy. Through extensive research, and with engaging storytelling, The Other Side of the Mountain brings three of these men’s stories together into a single enthralling narrative: Ralph Entwistle, runaway convict and bushranger who led a brief and briefly successful rebellion against the brutality of the convict system on the fringes of New South Wales’ western plains; John Horrocks, an English textiles magnate who brought most of his village from the north of England to Adelaide and beyond, and who was the first to explore Australia’s parched interior by camel - a decision that cost him his life; and Horace Wills, a printer, rebel, overlander, pastoralist and politician who gave up everything to push the frontier back in the far north of the continent.
While our history books recount the momentous advances made when Europeans spread across the continent, the stories of Ralph Entwistle, John Horrocks and Horace Wills are a reminder that those advances were almost always built on smaller endeavours, often made by people whose names we rarely hear today but whose impacts were often of the greatest significance.