The Lost Explorers by Alexander MacDonald
The Preface says:
In this work I have endeavoured to portray a phase of life in a far-away land, a land concerning which we have only too little knowledge at the present time, though it is one of our Empire's greatest colonies. I am aware that to make a book composed largely of real happenings—especially when one writes for the youth of the nation—is a somewhat unusual thing to do. In The Lost Explorers I have given a tale of gold-digging and of exploration—a tale, for the most part, of events that have actually happened. My characters are all drawn—however crudely—from life; my descriptions are those of one who has seen and felt in a similar environment. My boys in the story were real boys, and they dared and suffered and accomplished together. As for Mackay, he is still a power in the land, ready and willing always, as he said to his young companions, "to shed the light of his great knowledge abroad for the benefit of mankind in general".
The last few chapters of the book are based on an explorer's natural deductions. We all, who have forced a painful path over Central Australia's arid sands, hope—ay, believe—in the existence of a wonderful region in the vague mists of the Never Never Land. Perhaps the very strenuousness of the wish brings about the belief. Who can say? My descriptions of the strange aborigines beyond the mystic mountains are not altogether fanciful. In my own wanderings I have encountered more than one tribe whose mental development was far in advance of that usually credited to the untutored savage of the great Island Continent. What I have written, I have written faithfully, and to the best of my ability. If The Lost Explorers gives pleasure to my readers, I shall indeed be more than content.