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Emerald Spring
Title : Emerald Spring Emerald Spring
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Creator : Babbage, Benjamin Herschel, 1815-1878
Source : PRG 404/19/3/52
Date of creation : 1858
Format : Artwork
Catalogue record
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Description :

Emerald Spring is one of the many mound springs that occur along the circumference of the Great Artesian Basin, and are an important source of fresh water in the arid Outback of Australia. Emerald Spring was the first of these to be discovered, in October 1858, by Benjamin Babbage. Others were found in quick succession by a number of other explorers including John McDouall Stuart and Peter Egerton Warburton. Babbage named it for the rich green colour of the vegetation around the spring, and measured its flow at about 175,000 gallons a day. He wrote that the water was fresh, 'it made very good tea; and our horses drank it readily.'

Babbage was the leader of a large South Australian government expedition sent out to explore the northern region of the colony, and to find, if possible, a passage through the horseshoe shaped salt lake that had blocked the way to the north for 17 years since it was first described by Edward Eyre. Babbage was recalled by the government for being too slow, even though his expedition was equipped for 18 months. He was just on the verge of discovering a route through to the north, but was refused the chance to prove it, by his replacement, Peter Egerton Warburton.
Related names :

Babbage, Benjamin Herschel, 1815-1878

Coverage year : 1858
Period : 1852-1883
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :

Babbage, B. H. 'Northern explorations', South Australian Parliamentary Papers, no. 151, 1858, pp. 9-10

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

Harris, Colin 'Oases in the desert: the mound springs of northern South Australia', Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (South Australian Branch), vol. 81, 1980/81, pp.26-39

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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