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Rare map showing the country that John McDouall Stuart explored on his second expedition, during June to September, 1858. John McDouall Stuart led six expeditions; His first expedition was with Charles Sturt in 1844, and his second expedition was in … Read Full Description
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Rare map showing the country that John McDouall Stuart explored on his second expedition, during June to September, 1858.
John McDouall Stuart led six expeditions; His first expedition was with Charles Sturt in 1844, and his second expedition was in 1858. Stuart led his third expedition in 1859, followed by his fourth in 1860, and his fifth in 1861. His final expedition was his successful crossing of the continent from south to north in 1862.
John McDouall Stuart’s first exploration was financed by his friend William Finke. Leaving from Oratunga station in the northern Flinders Ranges he passed around the southern end of Lake Torrens and headed north-west. he was accompanied by one European, known only as Mr Forster, an Aboriginal boy and five or six horses. Working with only a pocket watch and compass he daily plotted his route on an Arrowsmith map of Captain Sturt’s expedition of 1844-46. he was already practising a lesson learnt from Sturt’s expedition and used pack horses only, no drays or wagons to slow his progress. From the Andamooka waterhole they continued to the north-west, meeting with some Aboriginal men who spoke to them of a well- watered country called Wingillpin. Stuart thought this might be an extension of Cooper Creek discovered by Sturt and flowing to the south-west. Continuing on beyond the northern tip of Lake Torrens, Stuart discovered a large gumtree-lined creek: he named this Chambers Creek, after James Chambers. With permanent waterholes it would serve as an advance base for all his future explorations. From here they turned more westerly seeking less stony ground for their horses. Stuart had omitted to carry spare horseshoes and his horses were suffering as a result. They travelled as far north as what is now Coober Pedy before turning to the south-west. The region was now good saltbush country but his horses were weakening, with provisions running low so Stuart headed south. He abandoned his grey mare on 5 August in an area of good grass and running water. Stuart hoped to retrieve her later. Conditions were now poor, their provisions exhausted and they lived on the little game they were able to kill. By the 16th they were nearing the coast and pushed on to Streaky Bay and Gibson’s station. They rested here for two weeks. Stuart was unable to retrieve the mare but wrote to his friend James Sinclair at Green Patch station asking that if anyone found her, it should be returned to him. From here he returned to the northern Flinders Ranges. He had travelled about 1500 miles, and his journey was received with acclaim. He was awarded a gold watch by the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Stuart led his first expedition in 1858, departing from the Chambers’ station at Oratunga on 14 May 1858. He was accompanied by just two men, one of whom was an Aboriginal, and with five horses and six weeks provisions. They rounded the southern end of Lake Torrens travelling up its western side and at its northern tip turned north-west. Stuart discovered a large tree lined creek which he named Chambers Creek. Stuart would use this as an advance depot for all of his expeditions. He continued in a north-westerly direction and travelled as far as today’s Coober Pedy. The country was terrible – reminding Stuart of Sturt’s Stony Desert, and extremely difficult for the horses. He turned back, heading south to Denial Bay which was reached on 17 August, and then along the coast to Gibson’s Station at Streaky Bay. After resting here for sometime Stuart returned to Mount Arden.
Stuart set out on his second expedition 2 April 1859. On this expedition a number of mound springs were discovered. These would provide permanent water sources for further explorations and pastoralists. Stuart travelled as far north as 27° latitude, discovering the Neales River flowing into Lake Eyre North and he considered the country as good as that adjacent to Chambers Creek. Some days later he saw some distance to the north-east a ‘large dark-coloured hill’ which he named after Dr JH Browne, from Sturt’s expedition of 1844. At this point he decided to return and reached Glen’s Station on 3 July.
William Kekwick joined Stuart for the first time on the third expedition, and would remain with him for all of the remaining journeys. Again financed by the Chambers Brothers, Stuart was this time better equipped for surveying and this enabled the creation of more accurate maps. They were provisioned for three months and had 12 horses. They again travelled to Chambers Creek, discovering more springs. The expedition continued north, surveying as it went. At length in late December Stuart decided to return as provisions were running low. The expedition had reached further north into South Australia than anyone had previously. Stuart remained at Chambers Creek while Kekwick returned to Chambers’ Station at Moolooloo with the reports of the land surveyed and to seek more men. Stuart was already planning the fourth journey.
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