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Exploration party hoisting flag

Catalogue record

Creator: King, Stephen, 1841-1915, artist

Date of creation : 1862

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Format : Artwork, 135 mm x 185 mm

'J.McD. Stuart's party Hoisting the Flag on the north coast of Australia at Chamber's Bay on the 25th of July 1862, Lat 12{230}-14-50, drawn 25 July 1862'. One of 44 sketches of the John McDouall Stuart expedition across Australia 1861-1862

On 24 July 1862 John McDouall Stuart and his men reached the north coast of Australia. The following day at a point some two miles further to the west, a tall tree was stripped of its branches and the British flag raised. A note which stated that the South Australian Great Northern Exploring Expedition had reached the spot on 25 July 1862 'having crossed the entire continent of Australia from the Southern to the Indian Ocean, passing through the Centre ...' was buried in a tin at the base of this tree. The tin and its note have never been found, presumably washed away by high tides or storm damage.

John McDouall Stuart had left Chambers Creek in South Australia on his sixth expedition on 8 January 1862. He was equipped with 71 horses and his party included William Kekwick, Patrick Thring, W Patrick Auld, James Frew, Stephen King, Heath Nash, John McGorrerey, John Billiatt and Frederick Waterhouse. Stuart had made several previous attempts to reach the north coast of Australia, but had always turned back rather than risk the lives of his men in pushing beyond the limit of their resources.

This final expedition had been financed in part by the South Australian Government. The route Stuart took across the continent would subsequently be largely that used to build the Overland Telegraph Line.


Related names

John McDouall Stuart, 1815-1866

Further reading

Stuart, John McDouall, Explorations in Australia: the journals of John McDouall Stuart during the years 1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, & 1862 ... Carlisle, W.A.: Hesperian Press, 1984

John McDouall Stuart's explorations, 1858-1862: South Australian parliamentary papers 1858-1863 Adelaide: Friends of the State Library of South Australia, 2001

Stokes, Edward, Across the Centre: John McDouall Stuart's expeditions, 1860-62 St. Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 1996

Webster, M. S. (Mona Stuart) John McDouall Stuart [Carlton]: Melbourne University Press, 1958


John McDouall Stuart Society

Australian dictionary of biography: Stuart, John McDouall (1815-1866)

Wikipedia John McDouall Stuart Stuart, John McDouall

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