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Taking it to the edge: Land: Barclay and Winnecke in the Northern Territory

'Our camels are completely done up. I am not at all surprised; no other living animal could travel over such a stretch of barren sandridges as we have come over during the last week or two.'
'Mr Winnecke's explorations during 1883' South Australian Parliamentary Paper no. 39 1884 p. 4

Herbert Vere Barclay

In 1877 and 1878 Henry Vere Barclay with Charles Winnecke as second in command led the Herbert River and North East Exploring Expedition. The purpose of this expedition was to explore and survey the country east of Alice Springs to the Queensland border. While Winnecke conducted a trigonometrical survey of the area around Alice Springs, Barclay travelled to the east to the Herbert River, discovered the Jervois Range and the Hay River and reached the edge of what would later be called the Simpson Desert before turning back due to water shortages and ill health brought on by a fall from his horse. Barclay returned to Adelaide and Winnecke was appointed to continue the survey.

In 1904 Barclay led the first of the Barclay-MacPherson expeditions, financed by Ronald MacPherson. The party set out from Oodnadatta in July with the purpose to explore the country bounded by the Finke and Plenty Rivers, the MacDonnell Ranges and by the Hay River and the Queensland border. The expedition hoped to find a viable stock route from Charlotte Waters to Birdsville, and would also look for traces of the long lost explorer Ludwig Leichhardt. The expedition covered part of the Jervois Range discovered by Barclay in 1879. A new discovery was the Bonython Hills, now considered to be the Pillar Range. A possible stock route was found if bores could be drilled, in particular one 40 miles east of Anacoora. The results of the expedition were few with very little previously unexplored country being discovered. No traces of Leichhardt were discovered.

Charles Winnecke

Charles Winnecke took over command of the Herbert River expedition after Barclay's return to Adelaide. He discovered the Hale and Bundey Rivers and a garnet field in the Hart Range. He then travelled north-west to Central Mount Stuart, Lander River and back to Alice Springs. He established some 50 trigonometrical stations during the surveys he undertook in the course of his journey. Recuperating his men he then returned to the field to continue his surveys but was forced to return due to water shortages and incipient scurvy. He finally linked up with Barclay's work in 1880. In 1883 Winnecke led the South Australian government's Northern Exploration Party. This expedition also covered some of western Queensland, passing through Poeppel's Corner at the junction of South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Water shortages and lack of horses compelled Winnecke to switch to camels. Crossing into the Northern Territory he explored the eastern portion looking for potential pastoral lands. In 1894 Winnecke was appointed to lead the Horn Scientific Exploring Expedition.

Anacoora Bore and a possible stock route
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Bonython Hills named
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Central Australian stock route
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Disruptive camels and dry wells
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Hay River gum flats
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Sandringham Station misplaced on the maps
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This country is a perfect desert
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