Book Review: The Ways of the Bushwalker: On foot in Australia

book cover - The Ways of the Bushwalker, On foot in AustraliaA book review was recently published on Wild, about a book that has become something of a bible for local bushwalking enthusiasts.

From gentleman walkers to the mystery hiking mania of the 30s as well as how bushwalkers contributed to conservation, Melissa Harper gives an insight into the origins of bushwalking in Australia and how it is unique because of this.

The Ways of the Bushwalker: On foot in Australia, by Melissa Harper (University of New South Wales Press Ltd, 2007).

This book is based on the PhD thesis of the author and as such there are numerous quotes and references, which can, at times be, distracting. However, this detail is necessary, especially in the early chapters which explore how early colonialists and settlers began to walk for leisure (in comparison to early explorers) in the Australian bush.

The book picks up pace around half way, with chapters on the hiking “crazes” of the 30s.

The author captures the reader’s attention with the sections on how bushwalkers took simple recreation a step further and became conservationists, map makers and lobbied for national parks to be created.