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Chaining over the sandhills to Lake Torrens
Title : Chaining over the sandhills to Lake Torrens Chaining over the sandhills to Lake Torrens
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Creator : Gill, S. T. (Samuel Thomas), 1818-1880
Source : Narrative of an expedition into Central Australia, performed under the authority of Her Majesty's government, during the years 1844, 5, and 6: ..., vol.1, frontis.
Place Of Creation : London
Publisher : T. and W. Boone
Date of creation : 1849
Additional Creator : Sturt, Charles, 1795-1869
Format : Book
Catalogue record
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Description :

ST Gill's drawing shows Charles Sturt's Central Australian expedition of 1844-46 chaining the distance travelled from his base at Depot Glen to Lake Blanche, or as he believed it to be, Lake Torrens. He wished to accurately determine the distance between the lake and the Darling River. While a trigonometrical survey by theodolite would have been more accurate, this was impractical given the nature of the terrain Sturt was crossing, with no high points available to make the surveys from.

Chain surveying is the simplest method of surveying. Equipment consists of the survey chain, usually a Gunter's chain of 66 feet, with the individual links measuring 7.92 inches, arrows and rods and a box compass or prismatic compass. Wear and tear on the chain could result in the distance measured being slightly inaccurate. James Poole, Sturt's second-in-command on the expedition was a government surveyor and well equipped to handle this work. Sturt himself had previously and briefly served as South Australia's Surveyor General.

Charles Sturt left Adelaide in August 1844 to explore Central Australia, and determine the continent's watershed. He also hoped to unveil the secrets of the centre, and to discover the inland sea he believed existed. He took with him a boat to sail upon it. In the end, he discovered no inland sea, only the Stony Desert and the endless sand dunes of the Simpson Desert. He did however discover and name Cooper Creek, the great but ephemeral river of central Australia. James Poole died of the effects of scurvy and was buried at Depot Glen.
Related names :

Sturt, Charles, 1795-1869

Gill, S. T. (Samuel Thomas), 1818-1880

Coverage year : 1845
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :
Cumpston, J. H. L. Charles Sturt: his life and journeys of exploration Melbourne: Georgian House, 1951
Brock, Daniel George, To the desert with Sturt: a diary of the 1844 expedition Adelaide: Royal Geographical Society of Australasia, South Australian Branch, 1975
Stokes, Edward, To the inland sea: Charles Sturt's expedition 1844-45 Melbourne: Hutchinson of Australia, 1986
The central Australian expedition, 1844-1846: the journals of Charles Sturt edited by Richard C. Davis London: Hakluyt Society, 2002
Internet links :
Institution of Surveyors, Australia: What is surveying?
Exhibitions and events :

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



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