In June 1948 Nolan embarked on a period of travel to remote areas of Australia. Travelling by truck, train, aeroplane and boat, he journeyed inland across New South Wales to Adelaide. He then went north across the central desert to Darwin, returning via the Western coast to Sydney. The view of inland Australia seen from the air made the greatest impression on Nolan. He was profoundly affected by the vast scale, desolation and silence of the desert - the second largest in the world. Like his many other paintings of this subject, this work is what Nolan called a 'composite impression'. It combines documentary observation with visionary imagination, faithfully evoking a landscape whose immensity seems strangely unreal.