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Pernatty Creek
Title : Pernatty Creek Pernatty Creek
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Creator : Babbage, Benjamin Herschel, 1815-1878
Source : PRG 404/19/3/5
Date of creation : 1858
Format : Artwork
Catalogue record
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Description :

From March 1858, Benjamin Babbage was in and around the Pernatty Creek region. This drawing was done on 25 May. Pernatty Creek had been discovered and named by Charles Swinden on 3 August 1857, using the Aboriginal name for the creek. Swinden described it as an excellent water source only 75 miles from Port Augusta.

Close to Beda Creek in March 1858, Babbage met William Scott and Henry Brooks, who were close to death from exhaustion. Near Pernatty Creek they had become separated from their companion, William Coulthard, while searching for water. Babbage went straight to Pernatty to search for the missing man. Despite extensive searching, Coulthard's body was not found until 15 June. He was buried nearby.

Benjamin Babbage was the leader of a South Australian government expedition which was exploring the northern reaches of the colony. His task was to search for a path through the apparent barrier of salt lakes that blocked progress to the north. He was equipped for an 18 month expedition but was recalled by the government for being too slow. Babbage was replaced by Peter Egerton Warburton just as he found a passage between the lakes.

Decades before, in 1840, Edward Eyre had explored north from Adelaide and found his path to the far north blocked by what he believed was an extensive horseshoe-shaped salt lake that extended from west to east across his path. For 17 years this blocked further exploration in the region, as subsequent explorers also could see no way through the barrier. In 1858 Babbage, Warburton, and John McDouall Stuart all discovered various gaps between the lakes in the west and Augustus Gregory, coming down from Queensland, found a gap on the eastern side. The supposed great horseshoe lake was finally seen to be many salt lakes, thus opening up the far north of South Australia.

Related names :

Babbage, Benjamin Herschel, 1815-1878

Swinden, Charles

Coverage year : 1858
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :

Babbage, BH 'Northern exploration', South Australian Parliamentary Papers, no. 25, 1858

Gill, Dawn Iron tracks and dusty trails: the life of Benjamin Herschel Babbage Henley Beach, S. Aust.: Seaview Press, c2002

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

Internet links :

Babbage, Benjamin H. (1815-1878) Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, Biography

Babbage, Benjamin Herschel (1815-1878) Australian dictionary of biography online

Exhibitions and events :

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



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