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1862 McKinlay and Camels

Despite travelling north during the summer, McKinlay's party had no trouble finding water, unlike Sturt's expedition of 15 years previously. On 19 February 1862 the expedition crossed into Sturt's Stony Desert, heading for Eyre Creek. On 13 May the expedition reached as near to the Gulf of Carpentaria, and from there proceeded to Port Denison (Bowen) on the Queensland coast. McKinlay had shown the worth of camels in the outback with their ability to travel over sand dunes and even stony desert, and their instinct for finding water. McKinlay found another virtue in the height of the camels which kept provisions and the expedition's ammunition above water when crossing flooded creeks.

With both Stuart and McKinlay's favourable reports and at the urging of the South Australian government, the British government annexed the land north of South Australia which would be known as the Northern Territory of South Australia and was officially proclaimed on 6 July 1863.

For more information about McKinlay see SA Memory, Taking it to the edge: Land: John McKinlay - Burke & Wills Relief Expedition.


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