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Taking it to the edge: Land: David Lindsay - Elder Expedition

Elder Scientific Exploring Expedition

'…but, alas for us, the magnificent spring, which we had come 400 miles to find, had ceased to exist, for no water was visible.'

South Australian Parliamentary Paper no. 45 1893; Journal of the Elder Exploring Expedition, 1891 p. 40

In 1891 Lindsay was selected as the leader of the Elder Scientific Exploring Expedition.  The expedition funded by Sir Thomas Elder, was to explore western South Australia and into Western Australia to the headwaters of the Murchison River - '... to fill up the Map of Australia, that purpose will not be fulfilled if any appreciable area anywhere, be omitted.'  The expedition was also to look for traces of Alfred Gibson, lost on the Ernest Giles expedition of 1873.

The expedition consisted of Lindsay, FW Leech, LA Wells, Frederick Elliott, Victor Streich, Richard Helms, Alfred Warren, RG Ramsay, AP Gwynne and four Afghan camel drivers: Hadji Shah Mahomet, Mahyedin, Alumgool, Mahmoud Azim and Abdul.  Forty-four camels, which included 10 riding camels were supplied from Elder's Beltana camel stud.  The expedition started badly with Leech the second in command suffering from a strained knee - this necessitated crutches and a special bed - and W Bowden, one of the original list, died one week out of a respiratory complaint, and was replaced by an additional camel driver, Abdul.  Bowden was an experienced bushman and Lindsay regretted his loss.  Leech had been with Lindsay on prior expeditions and was highly regarded.  His unfortunate accident would debilitate him for several weeks.

The Everard Ranges were reached on 2 June this being the true beginning of the expedition, as west of here the country was unexplored.  Rain had fallen recently and the country contained good grazing for the camels.  Lindsay was experiencing difficulties with the camel men, several of whom had been kicked and injured by the camels.  Hadji the senior camel man was also causing problems with his bad temper and vile language. He appeared to lack any knowledge of treating the camels when they were sick, and had also been seen mishandling them. Later he began refusing to do his duties, and was annoyed by the water rationing, that Lindsay imposed when unable to locate good supplies. In general the tracking skills of the Afghans, at finding the camels after a night's grazing, were poor.

Camel dies from eating poisonous vegetation
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Discovery of garnets
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Expedition reaches Moses Creek
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Expedition reaches Skirmish Hill
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Explorers dig for water
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Horses are daily weaker
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Instructions to the second officer and the surveyor
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LA Wells' report of his side trip, 14 to 17 July
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Lindsay continues his summary
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Model handbook for explorers
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Objectives of the expedition
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Previously discovered permanent waters
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