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

Pass in Rowe's Creek
Title : Pass in Rowe's Creek Pass in Rowe's Creek
Add To My SA Memory
Creator : Henderson, James, artist
Source : B 2434/22, see also, Pass in Rowe's Creek Sketch (B 2434/7)
Date of creation : 1843
Format : Artwork
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 :

Pass in Rowe's Creek, which Frome's party reached about 25 July 1843, sketched by James Henderson during the expedition to the area north of the Flinders Ranges. The expedition returned to this spot about 16 August 1843.

Three years earlier, Edward Eyre had explored north and west of the Flinders Ranges, and after sighting several salt lakes concluded that a continuous horse-shaped Lake Torrens created a barrier to the north of the continent. As Surveyor-General, Frome attempted to find the southern boundary of the eastern section of the lake. He was unable find this boundary, and reported that the land eastwards was not suitable for agriculture. Acceptance of the 'horseshoe lake myth' is understandable given the difficulties experienced by the expeditions in exploring the harsh terrain. The horseshoe myth was challenged in the late 1850s when Acting Deputy Surveyor-General George Goyder reached Lake Torrens and found it surrounded by vegetation. In 1858 Babbage, Warburton and Gregory proved that the 'horseshoe Lake Torrens' in fact comprised many separate lakes.

Born in Scotland, James Henderson came out to Australia for health reasons, travelling with a party of Royal Engineers under E.C. Frome. He was engaged in numerous surveys, particularly around Lake Alexandrina and the NW bend of the Murray River, and during this time developed a reputation as an artist. In 1841 he transferred to the Public Works Department where he remained until returning to England in 1851. He was a member of Frome's Expedition to Lake Frome, July 8 - April 29, 1843, and kept a journal (D 7504 L) and sketchbook (B 2434) of 42 drawings.

Captain Edward Charles Frome, Royal Engineer, arrived in South Australia in September 1839 to take up the task of surveying South Australia. The country blocks were his immediate priority. This was a task that the first Surveyor-General, William Light had been unable to complete because of interference from London. Frome had an onerous task as the colonists clamoured for their land. He had not only to revise the work that had been inadequately marked by George Kingston, Light's second-in-command, but also to undertake the commencement of the Special Surveys of very large country blocks. By 1841 Frome had laid out roads and secondary towns and taken accurate trigonometrical survey to the limits of settlement. Frome returned to England in 1849 and retired in 1877 with the rank of General.

Related names :

Henderson, James, 1821-1903

Eyre, Edward John, 1815-1901

Frome, Edward Charles, 1802-1890

Sturt, Charles, 1795-1869

Coverage year : 1843
Period : 1836-1851
Place : Flinders Ranges, South Australia
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :

Auhl, Ian Journey to Lake Frome 1843 : paintings and sketches by Edward Charles Frome and James Henderson Blackwood, S.A. : Lynton Publications, [1977?]

Frome, Edward Charles, Colonial surveying Adelaide: Public Library of South Australia, 1962

Newland, B. C Edward Charles Frome Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia, South Australian Branch, vol. 63 (1962), p. 51-71

Porter, J. R. The priceless gift - an ordered land: a brief history of the early surveying of South Australia Adelaide?: Institution of Surveyors?, 1986?

South Australia. Survey Dept Field service: handbook for government surveyors compiled by C. H. Harris Adelaide: Govt. Printer, 1914

Internet links :


Australian Dictionary of biography online: Frome, Edward Charles (1802-1890)

SA memory, Foundation of South Australia 1800-1851 Eyre describes the extent of the salt lake

SA Memory, Taking it to the edge Objects of exploration

SA Memory, Foundation of South Australia 1800-1851 Surveyors



About SA Memory

Explore SA Memory

SA Memory Themes


My SA Memory


What's on