If you’ve read Horizon Fever 1, you’ll know that my Uncle Archie was not just a famous explorer but also a bit of a rogue. In fact, as Joe was going through Archie’s old scrapbooks, he discovered that Archie was sentenced to three months hard labour by a judge in Innisfail, Queensland.
It seems that in 1924, according to court records, Archie helped himself to a motorcycle and side-car, then took himself and a mate on a road trip. He was caught, and incarcerated as he couldn’t pay the fine.
In Horizon Fever II, the irrepressible Archie describes how he came to perform reckless feats as a buckjumper in a circus rodeo, and embraced the opportunity to become a jockey, photographer, actor, hotel representative, pilot, car-salesman and pearl diver.
Of course, there are many more adventures, like his expedition into the Nullabor (meaning no trees, an arid plain in south Australia) with a partner who went insane.
We had covered about 700 miles [1126 km] and were now on the Plains of Nullabor, an endless desert of sand, scrub and desolation, and, of course, waterless.Chapter 6 Horizon Fever II
It was there I had a real shock and a narrow shave for my life. I was cooking breakfast and prodding the eggs and bacon with a large skewer, when my eye chanced to roam to my shaving mirror on the ground. In a flash I saw a black box coming down from the sky behind me. I sprang aside and discovered Jake bringing down a large cooking pot in an attempt to brain me.
Uncle Archie died before I was born, living only 43 years, but he crammed more into every day of his short life than most of us do in a lifetime.
It’s almost a hundred years since Archie first set foot in Australia, and I doubt he’d recognise the places he visited then if he saw them now. I found his adventures fascinating, and I hope you do, too.
Amazon Link: http://bit.ly/2HVwiJL