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The Great Race- compelling Australian history

by Random House on 13 Aug 2012
David Hill Author .. ©
In his latest tome, 'The Great Race', former chairman of the ABC, author and speaker, David Hill is not talking about a sailing race. Instead he reveals how two of the world’s then superpowers became locked in a perilous race to complete the map of Australia.

This is the remarkable story of a chance encounter that changed the course of Australian history.

On the afternoon of 8 April 1802, deep in the Southern Ocean where no ship had ever sailed before, two explorers come face-to-face in one of the remotest areas of the world.

This chance encounter occurred during a contest between the French and the British to provide the first definitive map of The Great South Land, or ‘Terra Australis Incognita’.

'The Great Race' tells of the unshakeable determination that saw ordinary men journey against unbelievable odds, in the name of duty, and in the spirit of discovery.

Celebrating an era when exploration was wrought with extreme danger, and incredible expeditions lasting several years took place in hazardous, cramped, leaking ships, sometimes less than 30 feet long. 'The Great Race' tells of the men who faced unbelievable challenges – from shipwreck, starvation and disease, to hostile locals and the occasional mutiny. Death was the only constant, and it was not uncommon for an entire crew – hundreds of men – to disappear forever, never to be seen again.


'The Great Race' draws on diary entries and other first-hand accounts that bring to life the colourful lives of adventurers Dampier, Tasman, Cook, Flinders, Baudin and La Pérouse. It explores the origins of some of the most fanciful castaway legends such as Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver’s Travels, set against the gripping political backdrop of nineteenth century Europe in turmoil.

This is a thrilling inside account into the lives of the men whose skill and courage enabled ‘Terra Australis Incognita’ to become Australia.

About David Hill:
During his career, David Hill has been chairman then managing director of the ABC, chairman of the Australian Football Association, chief executive and director of the State Rail Authority NSW, chairman of Sydney Water Corpora¬tion and chairman of CREATE, a national organisation responsible for representing the interests of young people and children in institutional care.

Hill is the author of the bestsellers The Forgotten Children, 1788 and The Gold Rush.

'The Great Race', published by William Heinemann, is available from October. RRP $34.95. Also available as an ebook

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