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John McDouall Stuart: First three expeditions

Explore the resources in the collections of the State Library of South Australia about South Australia's most famous explorer, who successfully crossed the continent from south to north, through the centre, and returned alive.

Links

Journal articles

Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London volume 3: pages 151-60. Stuart, Babbage, Warburton. This article gives details of the work of all three explorers, who were exploring in the same general area. Babbage led a government expedition and was subsequently replaced by Warburton. Stuart's small, privately funded expedition covered more ground, describing a large circular journey around the area covered by Babbage and Warburton.

Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London volume 31, 1861 pages 65-83: Journal of Australian exploration: John McDouall Stuart, Gold medallist, FRGS. The running page title for this article provides more detail: Second preparatory journey in the vicinity of Lake Torrens [i.e. Lake Eyre]. Stuart's diary of this journey was read at the RGS meeting 12 March 1860

Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London volume 31, 1861 pages 83-100: Journal of Australian exploration: John McDouall Stuart, Gold medallist, FRGS. The running page title for this article provides more detail: Third preparatory journey in the vicinity of Lake Torrens [i.e. Lake Eyre]. Stuart's diary of this journey was read at the RGS meeting 14 January 1861.

Parliamentary paper (South Australia. Parliament) ; 119 of 1858 Mr. Stuart's exploration: journal of an expedition into the unexplored country to the north-west and south-west of Port Augusta Adelaide: [Government Printer], 1858

South Australian Register Thursday 4 November 1858 p. 3 Explorations by Mr Stuart

First three expeditions

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.

Books about Stuart

Maps

Lake Eyre und Sein Sudwestliches Flussgebiet in Sud-Australien [map]/ von A Petermann. Shows route of John McDouall Stuart, 1859 & 1860 to the west of Lake Eyre. Stuart's April-July 1859 route shown in red, his November-January 1860 route shown in green. Place names in English, notes on topography in German

Country explored by John McDouall Stuart June-September 1858 / by Richard Loveday [map] Map showing the country explored by John McDouall Stuart in northern South Australia, 1858. This map was part of Parliamentary Paper 119 of 1858 ('Mr Stuart's Exploration' of 5 November 1858).