This work is an experiment in history communication. It owes its existence to the encouragement of Alice Luetchford and Claire Ovaska, librarians at the Eddie Koiki Mabo library, James Cook University. Alice and Claire suggested writing an Open Education Resource based on my teaching of exploration history at undergraduate level. Both Alice and Claire have been instrumental in the creation of this work. It builds on a strong tradition of librarians working with scholars to make knowledge and resources available to everyone. It draws on efforts by a wide range of institutions that have made significant collections, works, and items available online.
I acknowledge my colleagues Russell McGregor, Koen Stapelbroek and Nigel Chang who found time to review drafts of this work. I appreciate their insights, and their generosity. I also acknowledge my colleague Shelley Greer, who helped teach me what little I know of archaeology (to Nigel goes credit for my understanding of the value archaeologists assign to rubbish), and Viv Moran of the Museum of Tropical Queensland, who has advised me on effective exhibitions and audience engagement.
I acknowledge the support of the interdisciplinary Coral Discovery research group. Working with that group has raised interesting questions, some of which I address in this work. I also acknowledge the JCU Blue Humanities Lab, which returned my gaze to coasts and oceans.
I acknowledge Hugh Laracy, who introduced me to the history of Pacific exploration when I was an undergraduate at the University of Auckland. I acknowledge my friends Leilani Tamu and Ruth Barton, with whom I have discussed matters of history. I acknowledge my friend and PhD supervisor Don Garden, who has long been a great help. I acknowledge the students of HI2006 at James Cook University, who have asked important questions and forced me to express myself clearly.
And, fundamentally, I must acknowledge my family. My parents Mervyn and Josephine Brennan, my husband Colin O’Donnell, and my children Peter and Liam.