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Planting the flag on the shore of the Indian Ocean
Title : Planting the flag on the shore of the Indian Ocean Planting the flag on the shore of the Indian Ocean
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Creator : Stuart, John McDouall, 1815-1866
Source : Explorations in Australia : the journals of John McDouall Stuart during the years 1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, & 1862, ..., opp. p. 410
Place Of Creation : London
Publisher : Saunders, Otley, and Co.
Date of creation : 1864
Additional Creator : Angas, George French, 1822-1886
Format : Book
Catalogue record
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Description :

The illustration is by George French Angas, who was noted for his folio, South Australia illustrated. It shows the culmination of John McDouall Stuart's last voyage of exploration to the north of Australia.

On 24 July 1862 Stuart and his party reached the north coast of Australia. The following day at a point some two miles further to the west, a tall tree was stripped of its branches and the British flag was raised. A note was buried in an airtight tin at the base of this tree. It stated that the South Australian Great Northern Exploring Expedition had reached the spot on 25 July 1862 'having crossed the entire continent of Australia from the Southern to the Indian Ocean, passing through the Centre...' They also carved a message on the tree 'Dig one foot -S'. The tin and its note have never been found, possibly washed away by high tides or storm damage.

On 8 January 1862, John McDouall Stuart had left Chambers Creek, South Australia on his sixth expedition. The group consisted of 71 horses and ten men; Stuart, William Kekwick, Patrick Thring, W Patrick Auld, James Frew, Stephen King, Heath Nash, John McGorrerey, John Billiatt and Frederick Waterhouse.

Although Stuart had made previous attempts to reach the north coast of Australia, he had always turned back rather than risk the lives of his men by pushing them beyond their limits. The care he showed for his team ensured that he never lost a man, despite the harshness of the terrain.
Stuart's exporations made it possible for the Overland Telegraph Line to be built from South Australia to the north. It was constructed between 1870-72 and became fully operational in August 1872. The telegraph largely followed Stuart's route, as did the railway. The Stuart Highway from Port Augusta to Darwin also follows his trail to a large extent.
Related names :

Stuart, John McDouall, 1815-1866

Angas, George French, 1822-1886

Coverage year : 1862
Place : Chambers Bay (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

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

Stuart, John McDouall, Explorations in Australia: the journals of John McDouall Stuart during the years 1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, & 1862 ... Carlisle, W.A.: Hesperian Press, 1984

Webster, M. S. (Mona Stuart) John McDouall Stuart [Carlton]: Melbourne University Press, 1958

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

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



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