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Emerald Spring described
Title : Emerald Spring described Emerald Spring described
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Creator : Babbage, Benjamin Herschel, 1815-1878
Source : PRG 404/19/3/51A
Date of creation : 1858
Format : Artwork
Catalogue record
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Description :

In addition to his sketch of Emerald Spring, Benjamin Babbage made notes regarding it in his sketch book. He wrote: 'A hot spring on the west side of Lake Gregory discovered by me on -- Oct: the mound in the centre of the sketch is of a marly sand about 20 feet above the clay from below. The top is round the edge covered by reeds and forms the rim of the basin about 5 feet deep and 40 yards diam[eter]: the bottom is covered with rushes out of which at all points bubbles up hot water at about 90 degrees. The rate per 24 hours of this spring is about 175,000 gallons.' What Babbage did not write here, but included in his report to the South Australian government is that as he did not have a suitable thermometer, he tested the water temperature with his arm, and pushed down into the underlying sand and found this 'so hot as to be scarcely bearable.' The water was readily drunk by his horses. Babbage's Lake Gregory is now Lake Eyre South.

Benjamin Babbage was the leader of a South Australian government expedition exploring the northern portion of the colony. He was searching for a path through the apparent horseshoe shaped salt lake that had barred progress to the north for nearly 17 years, since first described by Edward Eyre. Emerald Spring was the first discovered, of many mound springs which lie around the circumference of the Great Artesian Basin, and are an invaluable fresh water supply in the arid Outback.
Related names :

Babbage, Benjamin Herschel, 1815-1878

Coverage year : 1858
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :
Harris, Colin 'Oases in the desert: the mound springs of northern South Australia', Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (South Australian Branch), vol. 81, 1980/81, pp. 26-39
Babbage, B. H. 'Northern explorations', South Australian Parliamentary Papers, no. 151, 1858, pp. 9-10
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
Gill, Dawn, Iron tracks and dusty trails: the life of Benjamin Herschel Babbage Henley Beach, S. Aust.: Seaview Press, c2002
Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

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



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