In April 1874 Alfred Gibson vanished in the region that would become known as the Gibson Desert. No trace of him, his horse, or equipment has ever been found. Using modern Spatial System and data a probability surface is built in an attempt to shed light on his disappearance, and showcase the use of Spatial technologies in the fields of Historic Geography and Forensic Archaeology.
On April 23rd 1874 after one horse had died, and left with very little water, Ernest Giles and Alfred Gibson turned back from an attempt at crossing the centre of Australia. Giles sent Gibson back to the main camp to get help and that was the last time that Gibson was seen.
This story is an important part of Australia’s contemporary history, having been presented in the public area many times over the ensuing years, with search party’s from subsequent expeditions, as well as from a more modern time, failing to find any trace of Gibson.
One possible theory that has been proposed is that Gibson misread his compass, and mistook one Range for another, and so thereby deviating further from his intended course, ultimately to his demise.
This study will use a modern Geographic Information System as an applied evidence-based tool by building a probability surface that could illustrate what Gibson may have seen as he deviated from the return track. This surface will be further strengthened by the inclusion of previous searches in an attempt to answer the question of why, despite several extensive searches throughout the area, has the remains of Alfred Gibson, or his horse, never been found?