An Australian In China: Being The Narrative Of A Quiet Journey Across China To British Burma
By George Ernest Morrison (1862-1920)
Originally published in 1895
Book review (submitted by Bruce Royall)
As a youth of 17, Morrison was already famous for walking from Queenscliff to Adelaide (960 km).
In 1893, he started on the epic walk across China (3000 km) which he recounts in this book. He wore out a pair of woven bamboo shoes a day, buying a fresh pair at the end of each day’s stage.
He adopted Chinese clothing: dressed as a teacher, he attached a pigtail to the back of his hat, rather than dress in a European suit and ride. This provoked amusement and some small respect, instead of the incomprehension, animosity or contempt which greeted the grand tour style of most European travellers.
He is observant, amusing and critical of European assumptions about China and the efforts of numerous Christian missions. It was his comments about local engineering and medical practices which I found particularly interesting.
After publishing this book he became a special correspondent in Asia for 20 years for the London Times. His papers and diaries are now held in the Mitchell Library in Sydney.
I agree with Peter Macinnis‘s review in Google books: **** “A brilliant read by a marvellously eccentric and clever man”
I borrowed this travelogue after reading the library’s copy of “The reporter and the warlords” by Craig Collie (Allen & Unwin, 2013), which is about William Henry Donald (1875-1946) who once worked at the Lithgow Mercury.
You can reserve the Library’s copy from the catalogue.