by John Morrison
The story of Harry Readford, born in 1841 on the frontier of the infant colony of New South Wales, who became a proficient bushman, stockman, drover, explorer, pioneer and above all, a renowned cattle duffer, has passed into Australian folklore.
The pivotal event in the story was the famous cattle theft in 1870, of 1200 head from the Longreach area of Central Queensland, and droving them nearly 1600 kilometres through virtually unexplored desert country deep into South Australia.
This feat, and the subsequent ‘infamous’ trial at the Roma courthouse in 1873, was portrayed in Rolf Boldrewood’s classic novel Robbery Under Arms. Boldrewood created the mythical Captain Starlight, so Harry Readford, already a legend in his own lifetime, became the myth – and rode into history.
This book incorporates a complete series of landscape, portrait and narrative paintings, drawings, photographs, maps and text, woven around a theme of major historical and cultural importance, which was significant then and is now.