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Discovery of Ayers Rock [Uluru]: diary 19 July 1873
Title : Discovery of Ayers Rock [Uluru]: diary 19 July 1873 Discovery of Ayers Rock [Uluru]: diary 19 July 1873
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Creator : Gosse, William Christie, 1842-1881
Source : D6994(L)
Date of creation : 1873
Format : Manuscript
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Mr J G Gosse. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Mr J G Gosse and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Diary and report of William Christie Gosse's central and western exploring expedition. Includes map.

William Christie Gosse describes Ayers Rock (Uluru) as he approaches it for the first time, the first white man to do so. It appeared to him as a strangely shaped hill with its upper portion riddled with caves. He was surprised to find that it was a single huge rock. He named it after Sir Henry Ayers, then Premier of South Australia. The following day, 20 July 1873, he continued his exploration of the site and discovered several waterholes and springs.  With his cameleer, Khamran, Gosse climbed the Rock and viewed the surrounding country. He named the Musgrave Ranges to the south-east and called their highest point Mount Woodroffe, after the Surveyor General. He also noted a lot of evidence of Aboriginal occupation in the rock's caves.

In order to find a route to the west coast of Australia, the South Australian government had commissioned Gosse to lead the Central and Western Exploring Expedition. This group set out from Alice Springs in April 1873.  At the same time Peter Egerton Warburton left on a separate expedition, with the same intention. On 12 July, Gosse left from King's Creek on a reconnoitering trip with Khamran the cameleer. It was on this trip that they sighted and then explored Ayers Rock (now known by its indigenous title, Uluru). From this point the full expedition then moved south-west and then west along the line of the Musgrave, Mann, and Tomkinson Ranges. By 17 September the group had gone as far westward as they could, confronted by the spinifex and sand dunes of the western deserts. They reached the Overland Telegraph Line on 19 December after exploring 60,000 square miles of previously unknown country.

Related names :

Gosse, William Christie, 1842-1881

Ayers, Henry, Sir, 1821-1897

Coverage year : 1873
Period : 1852-1883
Place : Uluru/Ayers Rock (NT)
Region : Northern Territory
Further reading :

Gosse, William Christie, Report and diary of Mr. W. C. Gosse's central and western exploring expedition 1873 Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1973

Kerle, J. Anne Uluru, Kata-Tjuta & Watarrka = Ayers Rock, the Olgas & Kings Canyon, Northern Territory Sydney: UNSW Press, 1995

Laube, Anthony The Hays of Mount Breckan--1879-1909 [Adelaide, S. Aust.]: A. Laube, 1982

Sweet, I. P. Uluru & Kata Tjuta: a geological history Canberra: Australian Geological Survey Organisation, 1992

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 :
Exhibitions and events :

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



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