In 1832, aged just seventeen, the future colonial governor Edward John Eyre (1815–1901) set sail from London for Australia. The farming life that awaited him laid the foundations of an enduring interest in the topography, anthropology and zoology of his adopted homeland. Following an initial expedition in 1839, in 1840 Eyre set out on his pioneering trek from Adelaide to Western Australia. The year-long adventure financially ruined the explorer, but won him the coveted gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society for discovering Lake Torrens. Published in 1845, this two-volume account of the expedition made Eyre a household name in Britain and fuelled popular interest in the former penal colony. It reveals the hardship experienced on the journey, including conflicts within the party, desperate searches for water, and the murder of an overseer. It concludes with a fascinating account of the celebratory aborigine reception that awaited the survivors.