Intrepid Journeys. Travelling with the Hakluyt Society. Online exhibition


Special Collections, University of Otago

Date Created

8th June, 2017


‘I am on the road to Timbuktu’

Intrepid Journeys is an exhibition that highlights two major aspects. The first is the Hakluyt Society, established in London in 1846 with a commitment to print rare or unpublished voyages and travels. Beginning in 1847 with The Observations of Sir Richard Hawkins, Knt in his Voyage into the South Sea in the year 1593, their publication programme has continued, enthralling readers around the world with the accounts of a wide range of voyagers and travellers, who manage to document something of their toil and adventures as they traverse unknown and distant regions. The second aspect celebrates the work of Dr Esmond de Beer, the Dunedin-born scholar of John Evelyn and John Locke, who was President of the Hakluyt Society from 1972 to 1978. De Beer and his sisters were generous and indefatigable supporters of the Society and its activities. He is the University of Otago Library’s prime benefactor, giving his large library collection to Special Collections.

Rather than concentrate on well-travelled paths like the Pacific, more attention in this exhibition has been given to those lesser known accounts, those that reveal something of those strange, exotic, out of the way areas of the world that have been explored, travelled, and mapped. The range is wide, covering 14th century Greenland and 17th century India, to mysterious Timbuktu, and travel into the interior of Australia. Magellan, James Cook, and Carteret also feature. Importantly, included are a number of maps. Not only do these documents help ground the reader in what was the real world, ‘terra firma’, but they also offer excellent visual impact. The Hakluyt Society continues to produce very pleasing, scholarly editions that make journeying easy and accessible; ideal for the armchair traveller. Please enjoy the journey.


Special Collection, University of Otago Library

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