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Walking on a salt lake
Title : Walking on a salt lake Walking on a salt lake
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Creator : Hergott, Joseph Franz Albert David (1823 - 1861)
Source : RGSSA ms 54c
Date of creation : 1858
Additional Creator : Babbage, Benjamin Herschel, 1815-1878
Format : Artwork
Contributor : Royal Geographical Society of South Australia Inc
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Royal Geographical Society of South Australia Inc.. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Royal Geographical Society of South Australia Inc. and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

For 17 years it was believed that the route to the north of South Australia was blocked by a great horse-shoe shaped barrier of salt lakes, first seen by Edward Eyre in 1840-41. A number of attempts had been made to find a route through them and in 1858 the South Australian government financed the largest expedition to date and sent out Benjamin Herschel Babbage to explore the region between Lakes Gairdner and Torrens and to the north. The botanical collector on the expedition was Joseph David Hergott, who was also a talented artist. Hergott's humorous sketches provide another dimension to the tedium of the long expedition as they surveyed the dry northern reaches of the colony. Here he has drawn an attempt to cross the salt lake, using long planks. Babbage stands on the salt lake itself, almost knee deep in the salt crust and mud beneath. Hergott's botanical collection was written up by Ferdinand von Mueller.

Babbage was the first to discover one of the many mound springs that are a welcome feature of the Lake Eyre region. He also mapped Lake Eyre South, naming it Lake Gregory. However Babbage was replaced by Peter Egerton Warburton as the government considered he was taking too much time-- this despite being equipped for 18 months by the same government. With the combined efforts of Babbage, Warburton and Augustus Gregory several paths to the north were discovered. There was not one salt lake stretching across the horizon from west to east, but many salt lakes with gaps between. Passage to the north was possible.
Related names :

Babbage, Benjamin Herschel, 1815-1878

Herrgott, Joseph Franz Albert David (1823 - 1861)

Coverage year : 1858
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :
Gill, Dawn, Iron tracks and dusty trails: the life of Benjamin Herschel Babbage Henley Beach, S. Aust.: Seaview Press, c2002
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

Orchard, A. E A History of Systematic Botany in Australia Flora of Australiavolume 1 second edition Canberra Australian Biological Resources Study; CSIRO, 1999-
Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

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



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