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Taking it to the edge: Land: 1840s - Grey and Frome

George Grey in the South East

In 1844 Governor Grey led an expedition that included the artist George French Angas to the south-eastern portion of the colony.  Prior to this the area had only been traversed from east to west by overlanders with their herds.  Grey and his party travelled along the Coorong and reached Cape Bernouilli (now Cape Jaffa) on 28 April.  From here the nature of the country changed and became more luxuriant with numerous trees and grass.  A number of lakes were discovered and at Rivoli Bay a camp was established.  While several men were left to make a chart of the Bay, Grey proceeded inland to Mount Schank and Mount Gambier.  Another mountain was discovered and named Burr, after the father of Thomas Burr, the Deputy Surveyor General.  Governor Grey was pleased with the results of his expedition, with good land discovered between the rivers Murray and Glenelg (in Victoria); 'it forms one of the most extensive and continuous tracts of good country which is known to exist within the limits of South Australia….'

Several years later in 1846 Governor Robe also led an expedition to the south-east in which Guichen Bay was examined in detail and considered superior to Portland Bay, and more accessible from the interior than Rivoli Bay.  The town of Robe was surveyed by Thomas Burr and proclaimed as a port in 1847.

Edward Frome

Edward Frome, Surveyor General, led expeditions north from Adelaide in the early 1840s as did his deputy Thomas Burr.  Good pastoral land was found on the eastern side of the Flinders Ranges.  Frome led another expedition north to Lake Torrens and the east boundary of the colony.  Recent rain aided his work, and he had none of the water shortages that had dogged Edward Eyre.                                                              

Despite this, however after several forays to the east, Frome concluded that there was 'no country eastward of the high land extending N. from Mount Bryan as far as Mount Hopeless, a distance of about 300 miles, … available for either agricultural or pastoral purposes; and that, though there may be occasional spots of good land at the base of the main range, on the sources of the numerous creeks flowing from thence towards the inland desert, these must be too limited in extent to be of any present value.' Williams, Gwenneth South Australian exploration to 1856, Adelaide: Board of Governors of the Public Library, Museum, and Art Gallery of South Australia, p 78.

Gill sketched the country : letter 8 September 1846
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Grey's route
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Grey's wallaby
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Horrocks decides to use a camel : letter 8 September 18
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Horrocks sets out with Gill and Kilroy : letter 8 Septe
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Horrocks terminates the expedition : letter 8 September
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Horrocks's severely wounded : letter 8 September 1846
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Kilroy returns alone : letter 8 September 1846
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Mt Gambier climbed
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Rivoli Bay surveyed
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