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Letter to Henry Cox
Title : Letter to Henry Cox Letter to Henry Cox View More Images
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Creator : Gawler, George, 1795-1869
Source : D 3063 (L)
Date of creation : 1839
Format : Letter
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

Letter written by Lt.-Col. George Gawler to his brother-in-law, Henry Cox, in Derby, 20 December 1839. Describes the circumstances in which Henry Bryan lost his life during Gawler's northern expedition to Mount Bryan, 1839.

In 1839 Governor Gawler led a party, which included Charles Sturt up the River Murray and continued  to explore the country between the North West Bend of the river and the head of the gulfs.  The country was found to be sandy with stunted vegetation and little water.  With men and horses suffering from lack of water Governor George Gawler decided the expedition should return to its camp on the river. Gawler and Henry Bryan left ahead of the main party under Sturt. When Gawler's horse collapsed from the heat and thirst, Bryan went on alone to fetch help, Gawler confident that he was able to use a compass and follow the course he was given. Bryan however never reached the camp on the river. When Gawler reached the camp and discovered Bryan had not arrived extensive searches were made for him, but after eight days these were reluctantly called off as provisions were running out. The expedition returned to Adelaide.

In his report of the expedition Charles Sturt detailed the searches that were made over those eight days. Even the Aboriginal man with the party was unable to find more than a trace of Bryan's footsteps, particularly after his horse wandered off. A note was found, together with the horse's saddle and bridle, Gawler's telescope and some clothing. This note indicated that Bryan was exhausted, and that he had travelled SSE. Following this course the searchers were still unable to find him, or further traces of him. Mount Bryan is named for Henry Bryan.

Image is from a report of the search for Bryan: South Australian Register, 4 January 1840, p. 4, col. a-b

Related names :

Sturt, Charles, 1795-1869

Gawler, George, 1795-1869

Bryan, Henry, d. 1839

Coverage year : 1839
Period : 1836-1851
Place : Adelaide, and Flinders Ranges
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :

Sturt, Charles, The Mount Bryan expedition 1839 Adelaide: Sullivan's Cove, 1982

Borrow, KT Lieutenant-Colonel George Gawler, K.H. Governor and Commander-in-Chief of South Australia 1838-1841 Adelaide: Pioneers' Association of South Australia, 1955

Williams, Gwenneth South Australian exploration to 1856 Adelaide: Board of Governors of the Public Library, Museum, and Art Gallery of South Australia, 1919

'The search for Bryan' South Australian Register, 4 January 1840, p. 4, col. a-b

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

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



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