The Incredible Life of Hubert Wilkins: Australia’s greatest explorer
By Peter FitzSimons
Published by Hachette
RRP $49.99 in hardback
In his introduction to this book, Peter FitzSimons admits he had never heard of Hubert Wilkins until 2009 when his name kept cropping up in the research he was doing for other books.
There was Wilkins as the polar explorer (with Ernest Shackleton), as war photographer (with Charles Bean), as navigator and aviator (with Sir Charles Kingsford Smith) and again as photographer (with General Sir John Monash in his first battle in command of all Australian troops).
As a WW1 photographer Wilkins was twice awarded the Military Cross for bravery under fire, the only Australian photographer in any war to be decorated.
Such an adventurous life was sure to attract the interest of such a great Australian storyteller.
Fitzsimons begins with Wilkins’ early tough life with his parents on a marginal farm in South Australia until 1905 when drought consumes the dream.
The move to Adelaide opens up new horizons for a youngster with boundless intellectual curiosity.
What follows is an extraordinary life of adventure fuelled by Wilkins’ quest for knowledge and his life-long passion for polar explorations.
With his usual storytelling flair, FitzSimons illuminates the incredible life and achievements of Hubert Wilkins.
One question remains: is it possible to live such a life in modern times?