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Exploration and expansion into the interior 1836 -1883

After the establishment of Adelaide in 1836, the colonists gradually pushed out the boundaries of settlement in their search for pastures and minerals. The salt lakes of the arid interior barred initial progress, but 26 years after the first colonists landed at Glenelg, the north coast of Australia was finally reached by John McDouall Stuart. Many northern explorers, also including Goyder, Swinden, Hack, Warburton, Gregory, Burke, Wills, Finniss and McKinlay, forged ahead and observed, discovered and named vast areas as well as land, rivers and coasts.

Exploratory expeditions to the north of South Australia as well as the development of Goyder's Overland Telegraph Line project (see Diary of W.A. Crowder of the Overland Telegraph Line, pictured right), provided opportunities for exploration and expansion into the interior. Explorers like Thring, Edmunds, Glen, Mayo, Crispe, Gilbanks, Horner, Ryan, Morris, Young, Collier, Hulls, Watts, Tuckwell, McMinn, Ross, Giles and Lewis forged their way into the Australian exploration legacy and by 1888 the town of Stuart (now Alice Springs) had been surveyed by David Lindsay.

Click on the names below for information about these individual explorers.

For more information about exploration see SA Memory, Taking it to the edge, exploration in South Australia.

1843 Frome

1844 Stuart

1857 Goyder

1857 Swinden and Hack

1856 Babbage

1857 Warburton and Gregory

1861 Burke and Wills Relief Expedition

1862 McKinlay and Camels

1866 Northern Territory Expedition: Finniss

 

1866 East Alligator River to sea

1869 Survey completed

1872 The Overland Telegraph Line

1873 Gosse

1873 Warburton

1874 Lewis

1883 Lindsay

1885 Great Central Exploring Expedition

 

South Australiana: Sources a comprehensive list of websites, published and non-published sources for South Australiana materials.

Click on 'view details' below to explore resources, including photographs and daguerreotypes, first-hand accounts in diaries and letters, newspaper reports, artistic impressions of Adelaide and the expanding townships, maps and archival records. Displayed items illustrate the effects of the gold rush, exploration, mining developments... and more.

Afghan handlers and camels
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Australian exploring expedition in the scrub
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Babbage's map
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Burtt's path through the lake
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Cathedral rock
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Central Mt Stuart
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Charley is praised for his efforts
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Diary of W.A. Crowder of the Overland Telegraph Line
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Elizabeth Creek
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Emerald Spring
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Emerald Spring described
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Fitzroy Gold Fields, Port Curtis showing the route of t
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