Francis Birtles, Australian explorer and author died at his home at Croy-
don yesterday, aged 58. He was the son of David Birtles, formerly of Macclesfield England and was born in Melbourne and educated at the South Wandin State School Victoria.
Mr Birtles's work was of inestimable value to Australia. He journeyed across the continent by cycle, car and aeroplane, gathering inportant in-
formation and recording many exciting events. He claimed to have travelled 500,000 miles overland and to have
crossed or circled Australia 88 times. He pioneered the England-Australia car route through Europe and Singa- pore in 1927, and as far back as 1912 undertook journeys that led to the opening of motor roads between Fre- mantle and Sydney and Adelaide and the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Twice he cycled round Australia, covering 150,000 miles. One of his most valuable works was to survey Central Australia by plane in 1921. Two of his best-known books are "Lonely Land" and "Battleposts of the Outback."
In recent years Mrs. Birtles accom- panied her husband, and they were arranging to make a caravan journey through Queensland when he recovered from illness.
The funeral will take place at Northern Suburbs Crematorium to-day.