Diary of a journey through Aboriginal communities is priced at £40,000

A handwritten account of an extraordinary trip to the remote areas of Western Australia's North-West Coast is being auctioned at Bonham's Travel and Exploration sale in London.

In 1982, five famous Australians, the artist John Olsen, writers Dame Mary Durack and Geoffrey Dutton, the conservationist Vincent Serventy and the art dealer and collector Alex Bortignon, set out on a 10 week journey to visit Aboriginal and other isolated communities and to study the land forms of the area. 

The fruits of their adventure are celebrated in the 1984 book, 'The Land Beyond Time', but Alex Bortingnon and John Olsen also collaborated on a diary.

Olsen drawing of Basil
Olsen's drawing of Kalumburu's 'Basil'
(Click to enlarge)

Written after the event, it was transcribed by Olsen from Bortignon's notes and recollections and is illustrated by 133 photographs and 42 original sketches by Olsen including some pasted into the manuscript from a sketchbook used on the journey. 

The diary is a vivid account of their observations as they criss-crossed several thousand miles of terrain on land and by air.

Olsen's drawing of a treefrog
Olsen's drawing of a treefrog

The diary is accompanied by a copy of, 'The Land Beyond Time', signed by Bortignon and Olsen, with two original sketches by Olsen, and a collection of source material, newspaper cuttings, etc relating to the journey. 

The whole lot is estimated between £30,000 - 40,000 and will sell on 15 September 2010 in London.


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