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Memorandum on Central Mount Sturt
Title : Memorandum on Central Mount Sturt Memorandum on Central Mount Sturt
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Creator : Stuart, John McDouall, 1815-1866
Source : Stuart, John McDouall, PRG 833/3
Date of creation : 1860
Format : Manuscript
Catalogue record
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Ms Anne Bachelard. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Ms Anne Bachelard and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

The original note which was placed in a cairn on Central Mount Stuart in the Northern Territory and in which John McDouall Stuart named the hill, Central Mount Sturt. The note is signed by Stuart and expedition members, William Darton Kekwick and Benjamin Head. Stuart reached this point in his explorations on 21 April 1860. This was Stuart's fourth expedition.

He had carefully calculated what he believed to be the centre of Australia as being halfway between Shark Bay (WA) and Brisbane in the east-west direction; and 22 degrees south as the halfway point between the north coast at latitude 11 degrees 53 minutes and the south coast at 32 degrees 7 minutes.

Stuart blazed a tree and climbed the nearest hill to raise the flag and build a cairn in which he placed the note. He wanted this point on the Australian continent to be named in honour of Charles Sturt, leader of the 1844-46 Central Australian expedition on which Stuart had served. Sturt had struggled to reach the centre of Australia but had been turned back by the sand dunes of the Simpson Desert, 150 miles short of his target.

The government in Adelaide later overruled the explorer's decision and instead renamed the landmark in his honour, Central Mount Stuart. The note was retrieved from the cairn by John Ross, one of the surveyors working on the Overland Telegraph Line in 1870-72.

The centre of Australia is now generally accepted to be at 25 degrees 36 minutes 36 seconds South; and 134 degrees 21 minutes 17 seconds East. The location is called the Lambert Centre and is near Finke, home of the Aputula Aboriginal community.

Related names :

Stuart, John McDouall, 1815-1866

Kekwick, William Darton

Sturt, Charles 1795-1869

Coverage year : 1860
Place : Central Mount Stuart (NT)
Further reading :

John McDouall Stuart's explorations, 1858-1862: South Australian parliamentary papers 1858-1863 Adelaide: Friends of the State Library of South Australia, 2001

John McDouall Stuart [Carlton]: Melbourne University Press, 1958

Stokes, Edward Across the Centre : John McDouall Stuart's expeditions, 1860-62 St. Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 1996

Sturt, Charles Narrative of an expedition into Central Australia ..., New York: Greenwood Press, [1969]

Internet links :

Australian Dictionary of Biography online, see Stuart, John McDouall

Australian Government Geoscience Australlia: Centre of Australia, States and Territories

Geographical centre of Australia

Exhibitions and events :

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



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