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Discovery of Ayers Rock: diary 19 July 1873
Title : Discovery of Ayers Rock: diary 19 July 1873 Discovery of Ayers Rock: diary 19 July 1873
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Creator : Gosse, William Christie, 1842-1881
Source : Gosse, William Christie, D6994(L)
Date of creation : 1873
Format : Manuscript
Catalogue record
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Mr J G Gosse. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Mr J G Gosse and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :


William Christie Gosse describes Ayers Rock (Uluru) as he approaches it for the first time, the first white man to do so. It appeared to him as a most peculiar hill, the upper portion riddled with caves, and to his surprise was one immense rock. He named it after Sir Henry Ayers, Premier of South Australia. The following day, 20 July 1873, he continued his exploration of the site. He discovered several waterholes and springs and then with Khamran the cameleer, climbed the Rock and viewed the surrounding country. He named the Musgrave Ranges to the south-east, and its highest point Mount Woodroffe, after the Surveyor General. He also noted that there was much evidence of Aboriginal occupation of the Rock's caves.

The South Australian government had commissioned Gosse to lead the Central and Western Exploring Expedition to seek a route to the west coast of Australia. The expedition had set out from Alice Springs in April, at the same time as Peter Egerton Warburton left on his separate expedition with the same aim. From King's Creek on 12 July, Gosse went out on a reconnoitering trip with Khamran the cameleer. It was on this trip that they sighted and then explored Uluru (Ayers Rock). From this point the entire expedition then moved south-west and then west along the line of the Musgrave, Mann, and Tomkinson Ranges. By 17 September they had reached the western limit of the expedition, confronted by the spinifex and sand dunes of the western deserts. They reached the Overland Telegraph Line on 19 December having explored 60,000 square miles of previously unknown country.

Related names :

Gosse, William Christie, 1842-1881

Ayers, Henry, Sir, 1821-1897

Coverage year : 1873
Place : Uluru/Ayers Rock (NT)
Further reading :
Gosse, William Christie, Report and diary of Mr. W. C. Gosse's central and western exploring expedition 1873 Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1973
Threadgill, Bessie South Australian land exploration, 1856 to 1880 Adelaide: Board of Governors of the Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of South Australia, 1922
Laube, Anthony The Hays of Mount Breckan--1879-1909 [Adelaide, S. Aust.]: A. Laube, 1982
Sweet, I. P. Uluru & Kata Tjuta: a geological history Canberra: Australian Geological Survey Organisation, 1992
Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing. Taking it to the edge August 2004-



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