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McKinlay's route from Adam Bay to the East Alligator
Title : McKinlay's route from Adam Bay to the East Alligator McKinlay's route from Adam Bay to the East Alligator
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Creator : McKinlay, John, 1819-1872
Source : Parliamentary paper (South Australia. Parliament); no. 82 of 1866
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : Government Printer
Date of creation : 1866]
Additional Creator : Edmunds, Robert Henry, 1834-1917
Format : Map
Catalogue record
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Map of John McKinlay's 1866 expedition in which he was to examine the country in the Northern Territory and to search for a suitable site for the main settlement. At this time the settlement for the newly declared Northern Territory of South Australia was at Escape Cliffs at the mouth of the Adelaide River in Adam Bay (north of present day Darwin). It was however unsuitable for a permanent settlement. McKinlay left on his expedition in January and the onset of the Wet Season came soon after. The deep mud greatly affected his travel. In the end he had to escape by using the hides of his horses to build a punt and sailed down the East Alligator River and around the coast back to Escape Cliffs. He subsequently explored along the coast by ship and recommended Port Darwin as a suitable site.

McKinlay was equipped with 45 horses and 14 men. His instructions were to explore the country east of the Adelaide River in the direction of the Liverpool River and then south to the Roper River. Additional supplies would be dumped for him by the colonial schooner Beatrice at the mouths of the Liverpool, Roper and Victoria Rivers. At this time there was very little knowledge of this area; previous explorations had been John McDouall Stuart in 1862, who had followed the Adelaide and Mary Rivers to the sea after crossing the continent from Adelaide, Augustus Gregory in 1856 and Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844-45 both of whom had travelled overland from Queensland. In addition the extreme conditions of the dry and wet seasons were not fully comprehended by the men who came from the south side of the continent. They did not appreciate the need for an early departure before the wet arrived and this was one of the causes of dissent between McKinlay and Robert Edmunds, his surveyor.

Related names :

McKinlay, John, 1819-1872

Edmunds, Robert Henry, 1834-1917

Coverage year : 1866
Place : Top End (N.T.)
Further reading :
Lockwood, Kim, Big John: the extraordinary adventures of John McKinlay 1819-1872 Melbourne: State Library of Victoria, 1995

Browne, L. F. S John McKinlay and the Mary River mud Darwin: State Library of the Northern Territory, 1993
Climate of the Northern Territory [Canberra]: Bureau of Meteorology, 1998
Powell, Alan, Far country: a short history of the Northern Territory Carlton South, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 2000
Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

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



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