Ian Burnet has a B.Sc from Melbourne University and has spent more than thirty years living, working and travelling in the Indonesian archipelago in his professional career as a petroleum geologist/geophysicist. He first went to work in Indonesia in 1968 and was fascinated by the rich history of the archipelago, the spices that grew there, and particularly the role played by the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and English in the history of the islands.
His first book Spice Islands, tells of the history, romance and adventure of the spice trade from Eastern Indonesia over a period of 2000 years, and how this drove the ‘The Age of Discovery’. It was published in 2011 to critical acclaim;
‘This is a wonderful book; a triumph of passion and scholarship’ (Brian Geach – Townsville Bulletin).
His second book East Indies tells the story of the 200 year struggle between the Portuguese Crown, the United Dutch East India Company, and the English East India Company for trade supremacy in the Eastern Seas. This book follows the trade winds, the trade routes and the port cities across the East Indies and the Orient. Beginning in Malacca which was one of the world’s largest trading ports in the 16th century and finishing with the founding of Singapore and Hong Kong. It was published in 2013 and has been described as ‘a scholarly, intensively researched and well-illustrated book which will satisfy the taste buds of the armchair traveller as well as the world history buff’ (Thomas Sigler, School of Geography, University of Queensland).
In his third book Archipelago – A Journey across Indonesia, Ian Burnet sets out on a journey to discover the rich cultural diversity of the Indonesian archipelago. Travelling by bus, plane, ferry, boat, car and motorcycle from Java to Timor, he hops from island to island across the archipelago following the smoking volcanoes that form its spine. He combines his love of adventure and travel with his knowledge of history to take us on a personal journey through geographic space and historical time, which will delight all armchair travellers. Published in 2015 it has been described as ‘A beautifully illustrated and informative book which takes the reader on a journey both through the landscape of Indonesia and also back through Indonesia’s past. It weaves a spellbinding experience … that will that will delight, entice and inform both newcomers to Indonesia and old hands alike (Dr. Ron Witton, University of Wollongong).
Ian lives with his family in Sydney, Australia and is currently researching another book about the fascinating history of the Indonesian archipelago.