State Library of South Australia logo Foundation Documents 1800-1851
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

S.A. Northern Pioneers: Captain Sturt
Title : S.A. Northern Pioneers: Captain Sturt S.A. Northern Pioneers: Captain Sturt
Add To My SA Memory
Source : B 6912/E7
Date of creation : ca. 1870
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 50 x 33 mm
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
The State Library of South Australia is keen to find out more about SA Memory items. We encourage you to contact the Library if you have additional information about any of these items.
Copyright : Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Portrait of Captain Sturt, explorer, from the S.A. Northern Pioneers' composite, 1850-1859 (shown in position on B 6912/2).

Charles Sturt, one of the most important Australian explorers, was born on 28 April, 1795 in India. He was the eldest of eight sons and one of thirteen children. At the age of five he was sent to England to continue his education. In 1813 he joined the British Army and served in Spain, Ireland, Canada and France. In 1827 Sturt sailed to New South Wales escorting convicts bound for Sydney. While there he developed an interest in exploring the western flowing rivers of the colony, wondering as did others whether there was an inland sea. With the approval of Governor Darling he set out to solve this riddle and discovered the Darling River. Not satisfied he set out on another expedition in the course of which he discovered the Murray River, which he followed downstream until he reached present day Goolwa.

Sturt's description of the country along the banks of the lower river was an influencing factor in the determination to colonise South Australia. After overlanding cattle from New South Wales in 1838, he decided to remain in South Australia and took up land at the Reedbeds (now Grange). After holding some official posts in the colony, in 1844 he left on an expedition charged with exploring a central mountain range observed some years before by Edward Eyre. He also hoped to find the inland sea that he believed to exist in central Australia. His party included John McDouall Stuart who would subsequently make his own name as an explorer. Sturt's expedition explored the Barrier Ranges on the border on New South Wales and South Australia, discovered Cooper Creek and penetrated across the Stony Desert to the edge of the Simpson Desert. He did not find an inland sea.

Sturt returned to Adelaide to take up the position of Colonial Treasurer and subsequently Colonial Secretary. He retired from this position in 1851 with failing eyesight. He returned to England in 1853 for the benefit of his children, and died in 1869 shortly before receiving a knighthood.

Related names :


Period : 1836-1851,1852-1883
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :

Sturt, Charles. Two expeditions into the interior of southern Australia, during the years 1828, 1829, 1830, and 1831: with observations on the soil, climate, and general resources of the Colony of New South Wales, Adelaide: Public Library of South Australia, 1963. Australiana facsimile editions; no. 4. Reprint of the 1833 ed. published by Smith, Elder, London

Sturt, Charles, Narrative of an expedition into Central Australia: performed under the authority of Her Majesty's Government, during the years 1844, 5, and 6, ... New York: Greenwood Press, [1969]

Cumpston, J. H. L. Charles Sturt: his life and journeys of exploration, Melbourne: Georgian House, 1951

The central Australian expedition, 1844-1846: the journals of Charles Sturt edited by Richard C. Davis London: Hakluyt Society, 2002

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

Internet links :



About SA Memory

Explore SA Memory

SA Memory Themes


My SA Memory


What's on