"The Gentle Art of Beachcombing" presents a selection of little-known writing by E. J. Banfield, the Beachcomber of Dunk Island and author of the classic "Confessions of a Beachcomber". Collected and edited by Banfield's biographer Michael Noonan, this new volume gives an entertaining insight into the mind of a man who, at the turn of the century, chose to live apart from society on his own island paradise in the Great Barrier Reef. Banfield's apprenticeship in beachcombing is represented here by his early travel writings: a romantic steamship voyage via Eastern ports to London in the 1880s; a stay in a Dickens-like English village; and his first discovery of tropical Queensland. During his twenty-five years of isolation on Dunk Island, the Beachcomber did make one excursion back into civilisation, and his impressions of this 1911 trip give us the bustle of Sydney and Melbourne. Here too are the writings of a gifted self-taught naturalist, observing with whimsical and joyful appreciation the beauty of his island.