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Sturt turns back from the desert
Title : Sturt turns back from the desert Sturt turns back from the desert
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Creator : Sturt, Charles, 1795-1869
Source : Narrative of an expedition into Central Australia ..., volume 1, p. 406
Place Of Creation : London
Publisher : T. and W. Boone
Date of creation : 1849
Format : Book
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

Wisely Charles Sturt decided to turn back, rather than risk the lives of his expedition among the interminable sand ridges of what would later be called the Simpson Desert. He was only 150 miles from the centre of the continent and was bitterly disappointed. He would make several more attempts to push north but each time was repelled by sand-hills. He retreated finally on 14 September and reached Cooper Creek on 25 September, and by 1 October had reached his depot at Fort Grey. Here after a short rest Sturt would again go out, exploring to the north, somewhat to the east of his previous route. On 24 October 1845 he began his final retreat from the central deserts of Australia.

Charles Sturt had long believed that there was an inland sea in Australia. He was not the first to think so; Matthew Flinders had considered there could be one in 1802. It was hard for European explorers to believe that such a vast land could not hold useful tracts of land, great rivers or an inland sea. Sturt had also observed the flights of birds on his earlier expeditions on the rivers of western New South Wales, and on his current expedition. He was convinced that this indicated the direction of water. The unpredictability of rainfall, and the narrow confines within which it would fall would continue to baffle him in his attempts to explore the centre of Australia. His original instructions had been to seek the north - south watershed that appeared to exist between South Australia and New South Wales. He did discover this although it was not recognised as such. He had explored further into the interior than any other man at this time. One of his men, John McDouall Stuart would later successfully cross the continent from north to south and in so doing would name a hill nearest to the centre of Australia, Central Mount Sturt. The authorities in Adelaide would overrule him and call it Central Mount Stuart.
Related names :

Sturt, Charles 1795-1869

Flinders, Matthew, 1774-1814

Period : 1836-1851
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :

Langley, Michael, Sturt of the Murray: father of Australian exploration London, Hale, 1969

Beale, Edgar Sturt, the chipped idol: a study of Charles Sturt, explorer Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1979

Stokes, Edward, To the inland sea: Charles Sturt's expedition 1844-45 Melbourne: Hutchinson of Australia, 1986

Rudolph, Ivan Sturt's desert drama Rockhampton, Qld.: Central Queensland University Press, 2006

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